Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 87
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By 13 April, the corps was approaching the Czechoslovakian border, with the 3rd MCG
scattered throughout the corps zone, weaving its elements together with communications, as well
as maintaining contact with V and VIII Corps on the flanks. On 15 April, Third Army halted XX
Corps' drive to the east and reoriented it to the south. On 17 April, the 3rd MCG and the 80th ID
remained with the corps and began a 120 mile move to the south to assembly areas around
Bamberg. 188 Upon arrival at the staging areas, the group's new task organization included the 5th
Ranger Battalion, two companies of the 811th TD Battalion (M18), and a company of engineers
from the 245 Combat Engineer Battalion. 189
On 22 April the cavalry moved to the front of the corps to begin the attack, with the 3rd
Squadron leading the 71st ID and the 43rd Squadron leading the 65th ID. Based upon past
experience, the group commander task organized his formation specially for this mission:
"Using the six reconnaissance troops of the Group as the basic unit, each of the reconnaissance
troop[s] had a light tank platoon (M24) attached, a TD Platoon (M18), a company of [r]angers
and a squad of [e]ngineers."190 These small battle-groups possessed enough combat power to
deal with most of the remaining German resistance in Bavaria, and proved highly successful in
protecting the infantry divisions of the corps as they attacked towards Regensburg and the
Danube River. Once the 65th and 71st IDs reached the Danube, the Brave Rifles moved to protect
the corps' northern flank. On 28 April, the group crossed the Danube River in a continuation of
the attack to the south. The following day, the cavalry captured a depot containing "95,000 large
gas bombs with the capacity to kill every person in Bavaria."191 By the end of the month the
cavalry had led the corps nearly to the Austrian border along the Isar River. Additionally, as the
188 The XX Corps. Its History and Service in World War II, 374.
189 "Patton's Ghost Troops" -After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 140.
190 Ibid., 140. Of particular note, with the exception of the ranger company, this task organization bears a
striking resemblance to a modem heavy cavalry troop.
191 "Patton's Ghost Troops" -After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 142.
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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/m1/93/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .