Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 88
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threat against the group diminished, XX Corps removed most of its attachments, leaving it with
only a company of the 260th Combat Engineer Battalion.
On 4 May the group crossed the Inn River and continued to move east protecting the
corps' move to the east as it attempted to link up with the advancing Soviet forces. On 6 May,
the 3rd Squadron liberated the concentration camp at Ebensee in Austria. The next day, the group
received orders to cease all offensive operations in preparation for VE day on 8 May. At this
point the cavalry were over 50 miles deep into Austria. Eleven days later, on 19 May, General
George Patton, the 28th Colonel of the Regiment, celebrated the 99th birthday of the 3rd Cavalry
Regiment with the troopers, lauding them for their achievements.192 The "Brave Rifles" had led
XX Corps across France, Germany, and Austria, fighting for information, protecting the main
body divisions, and fighting as infantry in economy of force missions, all in direct contravention
to established army doctrine. During the group's nine months in combat, it inflicted over 43,000
casualties (dead, wounded, captured) on the German forces, a huge number for a group that was
authorized fewer than 1500 men and officers.193
Although hostilities were in Europe had come to a close, the 3rd and 43rd Squadrons were
alerted for rapid movement back to the United States in preparation for operations in the China-
Burma-India theater against Japan. The group headquarters was to remain in Europe taking
charge of a displaced persons camp, primarily occupied by concentration camp survivors.194 The
end of the war in the Pacific would find the members of the group training in the United States
for combat against the Japanese.
192 Utterback, 227.
193 "History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment," 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Website, accessed 10 January
2011; available from http://www.hood.army.mil/3d_acr/Unit%20Lineage/Regimental%20History.aspx.
194 World War H Letters of James H. Polk, 1944- 1945. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Museum
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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/m1/94/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .