Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 93
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communications experience allowed them to remain in communications with higher headquarters
much easier than any other company sized formation in the army. Additionally, the combined
arms nature of the cavalry allowed a tank-motorized team to be quickly assembled within a
single day with almost no issues with interoperability of the units, as they all came from the same
battalion level headquarters.
By the beginning of September, the Third Army stretched a tremendous 475 miles from
Brest to the Moselle River.208 Throughout this huge zone, the 6th Cavalry's AIS squadron aided
the Army commander in maintaining a timely information flow in what would have otherwise
been a communications disaster. As the members of the AIS all came from the same squadron,
they were able to utilize their much less crowded battalion, company and platoon radio nets to
relay information from one detachment to another, much like a radio pony express. This ability
to move information so quickly allowed Patton a degree of flexibility and battlefield awareness
not often possible in combat, and nearly unheard of for such a large fight. Although the assault
across France involved huge command and control difficulties, the mere fact that the Army
Headquarters was able to manage such a large formation (at one point four corps) over a vast
area speaks to the herculean efforts of the cavalry in support of the communications fight. Thus,
the problems that existed would have been much worse without the presence of the 6th MCG
operating in a behind the scenes role.
On 5 September, the commander of the 6th MCG, LTC James Polk, was relieved by the
original commander, COL Fickett, who had missed the first month of combat due to injuries
sustained in a traffic accident in June. Polk would move to command of the 15th MCG, then
operating in Brittany, but General Patton immediately pulled him from that group after a mere
three days with that unit so that he could replace the now-missing COL Drury, commander of the
208 Robert S. Allen. Patton 's Third U.S. Army - Lucky Forward (New York: Manor Books Inc., 1947), 104.
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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/m1/99/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .