Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 84
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the 245th Combat Engineer Battalion was attached to the cavalry in support of their efforts.
German defenses in the area had crumbled after the 65th ID had forced a crossing of the Saar
River, and the 3rd MCG's advance was swift and virtually unopposed. The mission took
approximately two days to accomplish, at the end of which the cavalry were again moved to rest
areas in the corps rear.183 During this period the troopers assisted in guarding temporary POW
camps in Kaiserslautern. On 26 March XX Corps ordered the Brave Rifles forward to protect
bridges over the Main and Rhine rivers in the Mainz region following the assault crossing of that
river a few days earlier.184
On 29 March, XX Corps ordered the 3rd MCG to the front of the corps to lead the
exploitation from the Rhine Bridgehead. With the 6th AD to the north and the 4th AD to the
south, and the 65th ID trailing, the Brave Rifles moved out at top speed against light resistance.
By the end of the day, the group had covered 25 miles, and was now in the northern suburbs of
Frankfurt. The next several days witnessed a rapid advance as the cavalry led the corps deeper
into Germany towards the Fulda River with the 3rd Squadron on the north and the 43rd Squadron
to the south (see Map 7). However on 31 March, the cavalrymen met stiff German resistance to
the west of the Fulda River, south of Kassel. The Wehrmacht had assembled a large force
comprised of elements of the 5th Fallschirmjager Division, the 6th SS Mountain Division, and
other hastily assembled formations backed by tanks, anti-tank guns, protected by minefields and
field fortifications.185 These defenses had also stopped the 4th and 6th ADs to the flanks as well.
Thus, the cavalry moved to a defensive posture to protect the 65th ID as it moved up to prepare to
assault through this new defensive belt. This advance demonstrates the true potential of cavalry
183 "Patton's Ghost Troops" -After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 118-119.
184 The XX Corps. Its History and Service in World War II, 330-331; "Patton's Ghost Troops" - After
Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 120.
185 "Patton's Ghost Troops" - After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 123.
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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/m1/90/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .