3rd Cavalry Group

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"Brave Rifles"
3d Armored Cavalry Shoulder Sleeve Insignia     3d Armored Cavalry Distinctive Unit Insignia
Regular Army

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

Commander: F.W. Drury, COL, CAV, Jame H. Polk, COL, CAV

French Croix de Guerrere with Silver Star

Troop B, 43d CRS


French Croix de Guerrere with Palm

Troop C, 3d CRS


The 3d Cavalry Group (Mecz), “Brave Rifles,” under command of Colonel F.W. Drury, Cavalry, and later replaced by Colonel James H. Polk, Cavalry, with its 3d and 43d Cavalry Squadrons, came over the beach on the 10th of August, raced to join XX Corps in the Le Mans area, and was immediately committed to action.  The 3d Squadron was shortly detached and joined CCA of the 4th Armored Division, where for 10 days the 3d Squadron led General Bruce Clark’s fast moving combat command through Sens and Troyes , rejoining the group on the Seine River .  The 43d Squadron operated on the north flank of Third Army’s racing spearheads, generally maintaining contact between widespread divisions and reconnoitering in the zone of advance of XX Corps.  Small but sharp engagements were fought in Fontainbleau, along the Seine , in the Argonne Forest , and at Longuyon.

 During the gasolineless first week of September, the group was deployed in advance of the corps between the Meuse and Moselle Rivers in a defensive screen.  Upon resumption of the advance, the 3d Squadron developed the formidable defenses of Metz and was then committed as infantry, to spend the better part of 6 weeks under the guns of Fort Driant, fighting as doughboys with the 5th Division.  The other squadron re-established contact with First Army in Luxembourg and was deployed along a 20 mile front in Luxembourg and Lorraine , playing cat and mouse with a superior German force across the Moselle .  By mid-October, the group was reunited and reinforced with artillery, engineers, tank-destroyers, and infantry.  For the next four months the 3d Cavalry, increased in size to a sizable task force of varying composition, held a division sector on the north flank of XX Corps.  This period embraced the Moselle crossing, and the capture of Metz , the defensive action in front of the Siegfried Line, and the eventual clearing of the Saar-Moselle triangle.  The group was the first Third Army unit to cross the German border and gained the nickname of the “3rd Cavalry Division” in both prominent US publications and German intelligence circles during this bitter fighting.

 Upon the resumption of the offensive in March, the 3d Cavalry was brigaded with t he 16th Cavalry to form the 316th Cavalry Brigade (Provisional).  With reinforcing artillery, tank destroyers, and engineers, this force attacked on an 8 mile front near Trier and in a series of sharp and bitter actions assisted in the collapse of the Palatinate .  After a short period in reserve, the 3d Cavalry crossed the Rhine on 29 March and in 3 days advanced 150 miles to the Fulda River in advance of the corps.  From here to the war’s end, the group operated on the front or flanks of XX Corps’ advance, leading the corps in the drive from west of Nurnburg to the Danube and again from the Inn River to final junction with the Russians near Steer, Austria.  During the entire 261 combat days, the group remained attached to the XX Corps of Third Army.  famous former commanders of this regiment include General Jonathan Wainwright and General George S. Patton.

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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