Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 91
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in the Brittany Peninsula. The standard time for an AIS message to go from battlefield to Army
headquarters averaged two hours, twenty minutes, while the conventional channels took eight to
The AIS detachments moved across Brittany and central France with their assigned
headquarters, providing such accurate and up-to-date intelligence that the official history of the
northern France campaign states that "on occasion... the army staff was better informed on a
particular situation than the corps directing the operation."201 As the distances between the corps
of the army grew, problems became apparent in the communications equipment that had not
been fully tested prior to the operation due to the need for the army to maintain radio silence
prior to COBRA.202 The AIS detachments improvised by acquiring motorcycles, which were
used for couriers. The cavalry's bantams (jeeps) were also pressed into service as retransmission
vehicles, enabling the widely scattered formations of the Third Army to communicate.203
During the early days of the Brittany campaign, the 6th Armored Division (AD)
experienced tremendous difficulties in communicating with VIII Corps headquarters as the
division rapidly advanced towards the city of Brest. The corps frequency was overloaded,
requiring the division to fight for space and time to communicate with the corps. Moreover, as
the 6th AD was the most distant formation, its radio calls were the most faint, and could be
'stepped on' with greater frequency.204 The AIS helped alleviate this division's communications
200 Unicorn Rampant- History of the Sixth Cavalry Regiment / Group at Home and Abroad, 64.
201 Martin Blumenson, United States Army in World War II. European Theater of Operations. Breakout
and Pursuit (Washington, D.C.: Historical Division of the Army, 1961), 350.
202 Unicorn Rampant- History of the Sixth Cavalry Regiment / Group at Home and Abroad, 63;
203 Unicorn Rampant- History of the Sixth Cavalry Regiment / Group at Home and Abroad, 63-64.
204 Blumenson, 352. The phrase 'stepped on' refers to a condition wherein two stations on a radio
frequency are broadcasting simultaneously. The stronger signal will override the weaker, so that the intended
recipient will only hear that message. Although divisions had similar radio equipment, closer stations to the corps
headquarters would have had a stronger signal at the corps command post. When large distances are involved, this
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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/m1/97/: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .