Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 75
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first would be to seize a crossing over the Saar River. The second would be to protect the
northern flank of the 10th AD and 90th ID as they encircled the city of Metz.
The Brave Rifles began their move on 14 November, with their drive to the north
kicking off in earnest on 17 November. The next day saw both squadrons engaged in heavy
urban combat as they fought from town to town north into the Saar-Moselle Triangle. 18
November saw the cavalrymen advance a little over a mile on a five mile frontage. The addition
of the M18 Hellcats of the 705th TD battalion proved decisive in much of the fighting as their
76mm high velocity cannons were able to destroy most German positions with a few well placed
rounds, and were vastly superior to any organic firepower carried by the cavalry. The fighting
around and in the town of Bischdorf, Germany was typical of the day's action. A company
sized formation of Germans (approximately 100 men) entrenched behind roadblocks attempted
to resist the efforts of C Troop (reinforced by a platoon of M18s and a squad of engineers) and F
Company, 43rd Squadron as they assaulted into the town. Once again, the cavalry demonstrated
an understanding of combined arms, by using its tanks and tank destroyers to suppress the
enemy, its engineers to clear the roadblocks, and then dismounted cavalrymen moving under the
suppressive fire to clear the enemy from their positions. The next day, 19 November, TF Polk
advanced to portions of the Siegfried Line. While the 43rd Squadron on the east flank made
limited progress (one mile) seizing its objectives for the day, the 3rd Squadron on the west flank
met such determined resistance from heavily entrenched German forces in bunkers and pillboxes
that they were obliged to withdraw to their start lines for the day.165
The fighting on 18 and 19 November again revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the
mechanized cavalry in direct combat. The combined arms nature of the organization allowed the
165 "Patton's Ghost Troops" -After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 72-74. "XX Corps After
Action Report, 1 November 1944 - 30 November 1944,"14-21.
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Nance, William Stuart. Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army, thesis, May 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68023/m1/81/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .