Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 85
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in a fluid situation. If the Brave Rifles had been equipped with more combat power, the group
could have conducted probing attacks to ascertain weak points in the enemy positions prior to the
attack of the 65th ID, perhaps even achieving a small penetration. However, the organization of
the cavalry did not allow for such a move, though pre-war doctrine would have advised just such
a course of action. Still, the cavalry had advanced over ninety miles in three days, a substantial
achievement even with the near collapse of German resistance, and allowed the 65th ID to move
from the Rhine to the Fulda River in trucks, without having to dismount and fight.186
The group spent the first couple days of April conducting reconnaissance of the German
positions to their front in preparation for the 65th ID's attack. On 2 April, XX Corps launched a
coordinated attack with the 65th ID, the 4th AD, and the 6th AD, completely rupturing the German
positions along the Fulda River. That same day, the group was relieved by the 6th MCG as the
VIII Corps assumed responsibility for XX Corps' sector. While waiting for the larger corps
reorganization to shake out, XX Corps ordered the Brave Rifles to clear the forests and roads
leading into Kassel while the 80th ID cleared the city. The majority of this mission posed no
difficulty for the cavalrymen except for a determined defense of the towns of Obervellmar and
Heckerhausen, three miles to the north of Kassel, on the west bank of the Fulda River, by a
company of German infantry supported by twelve 88mm guns.187 The group did not close with
and engage this garrison, but instead chose to stand off and blast them with concentrated artillery
On 6 April, the group, now reinforced with engineers, and tank destroyers, moved into
assembly areas to await further orders. The next three days saw the cavalry move from one
position to the other along the Kassel pocket as the XX Corps slowly reduced the German forces
186 Utterback, 230.
187 "Patton's Ghost Troops" - After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 128.
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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/m1/91/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .