Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 83
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On the afternoon of 16 March, XX Corps halted the 316th Brigade's attack. The rest of
the corps' attacks had met success (though still facing determined if disjointed defenses) and the
efforts of the cavalry brigade were no longer necessary on that front. Consequently, the 16th
MCG, as well as all remaining TD and engineer attachments, were removed from the control of
the 3rd MCG, and the 3rd MCG was ordered to the rear to become a part of the Supreme
Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) Reserve. Though the direct impact of the
cavalry's actions in this offensive may be hard to assess, a force of two cavalry groups, the size
of one infantry Regimental Combat Team (RCT) (the cavalry group was long on firepower, but
short on personnel), had attacked on a divisional frontage, allowing the corps to mass its efforts
where it willed, while also steadily pressuring the enemy in its zone, preventing the Germans
from conducting an economy of force mission there as well. In its short existence, the 316th
Provisional Cavalry Brigade had advanced approximately 15 miles. 182
No sooner had the last elements of the 3rd MCG closed on the group's assembly area in
Trier on 19 March, than XX Corps ordered the Brave Rifles back into the fight, this time to
support the 65th ID. This division had held the line of the Saar river on the southern edge of the
corps while the rest had continued the attack to the east-southeast. The result was a pocket of
German forces stuck in a wedge on the east bank of the Saar river near Saabrticken with the 65th
ID to their front, other XX Corps elements (26th ID and 10th AD) to their rear, and 7th Army
formations (70th ID of XXI Corps) closing from the south. XX Corps had ordered the 65th ID to
clear this pocket before assuming duty as the corps reserve. On 20 March, the 65th ID sent the
43rd Squadron to the south, where it protected the division's southern flank along a frontage of
ten miles and maintained contact with XXI Corps to the south. The 3rd Squadron moved in front
of the division's main body, protecting it against enemy delaying efforts. A single company of
182 The XX Corps. Its History and Service in World War II, 296.
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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/m1/89/: accessed February 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .