Mech Cavalry Doctrine in WWII

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    THE U.S. ARMY'S MECHANIZED CAVALRYDOCTRINE IN WORLD WAR I1

    A thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. ArmyCommand and General Staff College in partial

    fulfillment of the requirements for thedegree

    MASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCE

    LOUIS A. DiMARCO, MAJOR, USAB.S., United States Military Academy,

    West Point, New York, 1981

    Fort Leavenworth, Kansas1995

    Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

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    REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE I Form ApprovedOM8 No. 704-01881 2 June 1995 I Master's Thesis, 2 ~ u q4 - 2 Jun 95

    L. TITLE A N 0 SUBTITLE 5. FUNDING NUMBERSThe U.S. Army's Mechanized Cavalry Doctrine Iin World War I1

    i. AUTHOR(S)Major Louis A. DiMarco, U.S. Army II

    I PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND AODRESS(ES) 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATIONREPORT NUMBERU.S. Army Command and General Staff CollegeATTN: ATZL-SWD-GDFort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-6900

    I. PONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY N AME ($) A ND ADDRESS(ES) ' 10. SPONSORINGIMONITORINGAGENCY REPORT NUMBER

    1. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES

    Za. DlSTRlBUTlONlAVAlLABlLlTY STATEMENT 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODEApproved for public release, distributionis unlimited.

    3. ABSTRACT (Maximum 00words)This study focuses on doctrine of the U.S. Armyls echanized cavalry during World war'11.The study identifies how and why doctrine proved inadequate for actual battlefieldconditions. The North African Campaign demonstrated that the doctrine had only limitedapplication to the World War I1 battlefield. Combat experience revealed that cavalrymissions were not limited to reconnaissance, which constituted the main mission undermechanized cavalry doctrine, but included the complete range of traditional horse cavalrymissions as well. Combat further revealed that cavalry had to fight to gain information.Although doctrine was adjusted during the war, the published tactical and operationalconcepts never caught up with the reality of the battlefield. The campaign in NorthwestEurope confirmed many of the lessons-learned n North Africa, and revealed the importanceof the corps cavalry groups to corps level maneuver. The published mechanized cavalrydoctrine of World War I1 did not meet the needs of the battlefield, yet the cavalry's combatrecord in World War I1 was impressive. This record of success, and the reasons for it, arestill relevant to modern armored cavalry as well as to future Force XXI Army designs andconcepts.

    I . d U & E m R M S. . y, Cavalry, Mechanized Cavalry, Doctrine, 15. NUMBER OF PAGESWorld War 11, Organization, R~connaissance 16516. PRICE CODE

    II . SECURITY CLASSIFICATION 18. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION 19. SECURITY CLAS SIFICAT ION 20. LIMITATION OF ABSTRAC1OF REPORT OF THIS PAGE OF ABSTRACTUnclass~fied Unclassified Unclassified UnlimitedI I IN 7540-01-280-5500 Standard Form 298 (Rev. 2.89)

    ~ r c x o w nm $ 139-18298.102

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    MASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCETHESIS APPROVAL PAGE

    Name of Candidate: Major Louis A. DiMarcoThesis Title: The U.S. Army's Mechanized Cavalry Doctrine in World WarI

    Approved by:

    l&$ MQ , Thesis Committee ChairmanChristopher R. Gabel, Ph.D., Member

    Colonel John M. Xain, M.B.A.

    , Member

    , Member

    Accepted this 2d day of June 1995 by:& kL , Director, Graduate Degree ProgramsPhilip J. Brookes, Ph. D.The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the studentauthor and do not necessarily represent the view of the U.S. Armycommand and General Staff College or any other governmental agency.(References to this study should include the foregoing statement.)

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    ABSTRACT

    THE U.S. ARMY'S MECHANIZED CAVALRY DOCTRINE IN WORLD WAR I1 By MajorLouis A. DiMarco, USA, 158 pages.This study focuses on doctrine of the U.S. Army's mechanized cavalryduring World War 11. The study identifies how and why doctrine provedinadequate for actual battlefield conditionsThe North African Campaign demonstrated that the doctrine had onlylimited application to the World War I1 battlefield. Combat experiencerevealed that cavalry missions were not limited to reconnaissance, whichconstituted the main mission under mechanized cavalry doctrine, butincluded the complete range of traditional horse cavalry missions aswell. Combat further revealed that cavalry had to fight to gaininformation.Although doctrine was adjusted during the war, the published tacticaland operational concepts never caught up with the reality of thebattlefield. The campaign in Northwest Europe confirmed many of thelessons learned in North Africa, and revealed the importance of thecorps cavalry groups to corps level maneuver.The published mechanized cavalry doctrine of World War I1 did not meetthe needs of the battlefield, yet the cavalry's combat record in WorldWar I1 was impressive. This record of success, and the reasons for it,are still relevant to modern armored cavalry as well as to future ForceXXI Army designs and concepts.

    iii

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    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    First I would like to acknowledge the support and theunderstanding of my family, without which this project would not havebeen possible. Next in importance are the members of the committeewhose time and eye for detail were invaluable to the process ofcompleting this project.

    A special note of thanks to Colonels Thomas A. Dials, and Peter D.Wells, fellow cavalrymen whose expertise in the arena of cavalrydoctrine, and interest in the subject, was critical to keeping mefocused.

    Finally, a note of appreciation to all the members of the CombinedArms Research Library (CARL) staff for their assistance locating the

    primary sources and doctrinal publications which are the heart of thiswork

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    APPROVAL PAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiiACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ivLIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viCHAPTER

    1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . .. PREWAR DEVELOPMENT OF CAVALRY AND RECONNAISSANCE 73. COMBAT AND LESSONS LEARNED 1942-1944 . . . . . . . . . . . 354. COMBAT AND POST WAR REVIEW 1944-1945 . . . . . . . . . . . 755. THE LEGACY OF MECHANIZED CAVALRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130

    BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

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    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONSFiqure1. Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized). 1938 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 ArmoredCarTroop.193 3.1934 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103. Reconnaissance Troop. 1938 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 Cavalry Regiment (Horse and Mechanized). 1941 . . . . . . . . . 185. 107th Cavalry (horse and Mechanized).Louisiana. 1940 . . . . . 196 Reconnaissance Platoon. 1941 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227. Scout Cars of the 13th Cavalry Regiment(Mechanized). 1939 . . . 238 Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (CRS). 1942 . . . . . . . . . 259 M3 White Armored Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2810 1/4 Ton Bantam.. .~eep" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 M3 Stuart Light Tank 2912 Cavalry Reconnaissance Platoon. 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3613 Reconnaissance Platoon (Armored Reconnaissance Battalion).

    1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37. . . . . .4 M3. Light Tank. 1st Amored Division. Tunisia. 1943 38. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Reconnaissance to Station de Sened 39

    16 Dispositions of 81st ARB. 14-15 February. 1943 . . . . . . . . . 4317 Reconnaissance Patrol in North Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4718 Attack on Djebel Ichkeul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5019 T30. 75-mm Assault Gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5320 Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6421 Cavalry Reconnaissance Platoon. 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6522 M8. Armored Car. "Greyhound" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6623 ME. 75-mm Assault Gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6724 M5A1. Light Tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

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    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 VIII Corps Dispositions. December 1944 8226 14th Cavalry Group Positions. 16 December 1944 . . . . . . . . . 8427 3d Cavalry Group Disposition. October. 1944 . . . . . . . . . 9028 M8 Assault Gun in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9329 2d Cavalry Group Delay at Luneville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9430 25th CRS Leading Attack to Bastogne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98. . . . . . . . . . .1 Cavalry Advancing During the Summer of 1944 10032 82d ARB Leads Allies into Belgium . . . . . . . . . . . . 01. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 M8 Armored Car in Winter Camouflage 104. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 M5A1 of the 4th Cavalry Group 10635 24th CRS Reconnaissance of the Cotentin Peninsula . . . . . . . 10736 M24 Light Tank. "General Chaffee" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - 1 2 037 M24 Light Tank in Action. 117th CRS. 1945 . . . . . . . . . 21. . . . . . . . .8 The General Board Recommended Cavalry Regiment 13139 Reconnaissance Platoon. 1950 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3240 Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) and Reconnaissance Battalion.

    1948 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134.1 H-Series Cavalry Platoon.