Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 92
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problems by providing an additional channel of communications that was not jammed with corps
level traffic. Moreover, the cavalry were more heavily armed than the ad hoc couriers the
division had been relying upon, and thus could fight their way through minor resistance to
deliver messages as well.205 Although communications difficulties continued to plague the 6th
AD and VIII Corps throughout their operations in Brittany, it is doubtful whether any form of
meaningful communications could have occurred without the participation of the AIS.
As the month of August wore on, the 6th MCG continued in its dual role as AIS and
security for Third Army headquarters. On 27 August, Third Army ordered the cavalry to send
reconnaissance forces south to reconnoiter the Loire River from Orleans to Saumur, a stunning
distance of 100 miles. A single reinforced troop from the 28th Squadron (Troop A) departed and
spent two days covering that distance, ensuring the destruction of all bridges in the area and that
no strong German forces were attempting to drive north into the Army's wide open flank.206 The
4th AD had also screened this flank in its move to the east, but that had been more than a week
prior, and the area had since only been covered by the XIX Tactical Air Force and the very thinly
spread 83rd Infantry Division (ID).207 The cavalrymen met little opposition, but their presence
provided the army headquarters with at least a measure of peace of mind until the 83rd ID could
muster enough combat power in the region.
This screen mission attests to the mobility and flexibility of the cavalry. No other unit
could have traversed this distance in such a short period of time. Moreover, although the cavalry
were too lightly armed to have stopped a determined assault, their radio assets and prior
problem is exacerbated as neither the station being 'stepped on' or the other station might not even realize what is
going on, as they may not hear the other party, but only the higher powered corps signal.
205 Blumenson, 353.
206 ",6th Mechanized Cavalry Group AAR August 1944," record CAVG6, entry 427, RG 407, National
Archives II, 27 August.
207 Don M. Fox, Patton's Vanguard. The United States Army Fourth Armored Division (Jefferson, NC:
McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003), 83; Unicorn Rampant- History of the Sixth Cavalry Regiment / Group at
Home and Abroad, 66.
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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/m1/98/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .