2nd Cavalry Group

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Toujours Pret

Always Ready


Regular Army

    Normandy //  Northern France // Ardennes- Alsace // Rhineland // Central Europe

Commander: Charles H. "Hank" Reed, COL, CAV

The 2d Cavalry Group, “Toujours Pret,” traces its history to 1836 when it was established by Congress as the 2nd Regiment of Dragoons.  As Dragoons, the unit participated in the early battles with the Indians most notably the Seminole War in Florida .  The 2nd Dragoons also distinguished themselves in the Mexican War when Captain May led them in a charge to capture Mexican cannon with the battle cry “Remember Your Regiment.” 

 In 1861 the Regiment was redesignated as the 2nd Cavalry and served with distingshion throughout the Civil War and the Indian Wars that followed.  As the the nineteenth century ended the unit was called to service in the Philippines during the insurrection and along the Mexican Border.  WWI saw the unit deployed to France and see limited action.  They were the only US Cavalry to fight mounted in that conflict.  Between WWI and WWII the stationed at Fort Riley , Kansas were it performed both active service roles and support missions for the Cavalry School .  As war loomed the regiment was assigned to the new 2nd Cavalry Division.  However, in 1942 the decision was made to mechanize it and it conducted its last mounted review in August 1942 at Fort Reno Nevada.

 In January 1943 the regiment was stood up again under command of Colonel Charles H. Reed, at Fort Jackson , South Carolina, as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized).  The regiment was cadred with a small group of regular cavalry NCOs and Officers from throughout the cavalry force and received an influx of draftees and new officers from from both West Point and the Cavalry Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Riley . 

  Europe late in 1943 and in early was reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Cavalry Group with attached 2d and 42d Cavalry Squadrons.  The Group arrived in France on 19 July 1944 .  It moved immediately to an assembly area near the battered town of Valognes and set out on its first mission, protecting the lines of communication from Cherbourg to Carentan.  however, this important though unexciting mission was to last only a short time and on 26 July the group was assigned to Task Force A under Brigadier General Ernest.  En route to join this task force, the group assignment was changed and instead it was attached to the 4th Armored Division.  The group was given the mission of protecting the division’s left flank and routed south units mission.  Just 5 days and some 200 miles later the Group Commander, “Hank” Reed, reported. “We are washing our tanks in the Loire River .”

 The Group remained on the Loire screening a 90 mile front until 10 August , then moved east to join the XII Corps east of Le Mans .  The XII Corps, began its drive to the east on the 12th of August and the 2d Cavalry Group protected the right flank of this fast-moving corps, and was engaged in several sharp actions in the vicinity of Montagis, Auxerre, and Tonnerre.  After the fall of Troyes to the 4th Armored Division, the group led the racing columns to Nancy and the Moselle River .  There the group screened the right flank of the corps while other troops captured Nancy , and gasoline supplies were replenished.

 Moving forward across the Moselle , the group advanced to Luneville and the Foret de Parroy.  Here on the morning of 18 September the 111 Panzer brigade launched an attack on the corps’ flank and of the groups’ most memorable battles was fought.  The 2 months following the battle of Luneville found the group dismounted and fighting as infantry in the notorious French mud just north of the Foret de Parroy.

 On 8 November the group advanced to the east and during November and December continued to operate on the flanks of XII Corps.  When the German offensive was launched in the Ardennes , 16 December, the group was screening the corps’ flank in the vicinity of Sarreguemines.  As part of XII Corps, the 2d Cavalry Group moved north to Luxembourg to spend the 2 months of January and February protecting the corps’s right flank along the Moselle River .  During this period the group, heavily reinforced with engineers, tank destroyers, and artillery, occupied a division sector.

 When the offensive was resumed in March, the group passed through the Seigfried Line at Wasserbillig and pushed on into Germany , reaching the Rhine River on 16 March, where the group maintained a screen from Boppard to Bingen which they had captured.  Crossing the Rhine, 25 March, the group continued to operate on the flank of the XII Corps, clearing up enemy pockets of resistance, until the end of the war.  The end of the war found the 2d Cavalry Group in Czechoslovakia in contact with the Russians and arranging the details of the surrender of some 2,000 German artillery officer candidates who had surrendered just 2 days prior to V-E Day.  The speed and vigor with which the 2d Cavalry Group operated earned for it the title “Patton’s Ghosts,” a title which speaks for itself.   

This article is extracted from a supplemental student text (undated) written for the US Army Armor School by LTC (Ret) James W. Cooke


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