Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 80
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Polk with all prior TD, engineer, and artillery supports, the 3rd MCG, and the 16th MCG. 175 The
corps plan involved the cavalry making a diversionary attack on the north flank of the corps' line
to draw German forces out of position prior to a general offensive set to begin on 13 March (see
Map 6).176 On 12 March, the 43rd Squadron attacked to seize high ground to the east of the
Ruwer river as part of the larger brigade push to expand its positions across the Saar. Although
the Germans stoutly held their positions with 88mm fire as well as intense artillery support, the
cavalry managed to seize their limited objectives. The defender's artillery support was unusually
high, noted by both the group and the corps, and was explained by the fact that the cavalry were
the only force in the corps attacking at that time, thus attracting the attention of every German
battery within range. The attacks had been conducted dismounted but supported by the light
tanks of the squadron's tank company as well as attached tank destroyers. Casualties for the
squadron (all three reconnaissance troops, the tank company, attached tank destroyer company)
amounted to four dead, 23 wounded, and four missing. Four tank destroyers were also
destroyed by 88s as they attempted to suppress those weapons.77 This attack demonstrates the
ability of the cavalry to fight in direct combat to seize limited objectives. Moreover, their
opponents seemed to be of at least average quality, though perhaps outmatched in terms of total
firepower available when compared with the 316th Brigade.
The next day, the 3rd Squadron, holding positions to the south of the 43rd Squadron's
newly gained ground, repulsed a small German counterattack of fifty soldiers supported by three
tanks and artillery support. Despite being forced from their initial positions, the cavalrymen
defeated the attack, destroying one tank and inflicting a number of casualties on the German
175 For the purposes of this chapter, the 16th MCG will be only briefly mentioned. For a more detailed
appraisal of this group's time with the Third Army, please read chapter 5.
176 Charles B. MacDonald, United States Army in World War II. European Theater of Operations. The Last
Offensive (Washington, D.C.: Historical Division of the Army, 1950), 244.
177 "Patton's Ghost Troops" -After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 114.
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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/m1/86/: accessed October 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .