81st Cavalry Reconnassance Squadron

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The 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance was formed in 1940 as the 81st Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) of the 1st Armored Division.  The 1st Armored Division was formed from the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized) with the 1st and 13th Cavalry Regiments (Mechanized) becoming the division’s 1st and 13th Armored Regiments.  The old mechanized cavalry brigade also had an armored car troop under brigade control.  The elements of this armored car troop became the core of the 81st ARB. 

 The 81st ARB saw its first action with the 1st Armored Division in North Africa.  In the famous battle of Kasserine pass the battalion was distributed across the front of the division in an early warning screen.  Elements of the B and C companies (the ARB consisted of three armored reconnaissance companies and a light tank company) were able to provide early warning of the German attack and withdraw.  Company C also provided early warning but retreated as far as the ___ infantry regiment which was in defensive positions.  The infantry were not authorized to retreat and the reconnaissance company, despite its high mobility, choose to remain in place with the infantry.  Ultimately the __ infantry was surrounded and most of C Company, 81st ARB was captured with the infantry.  After Kasserine the battalion was reconstituted and served with distinction through the rest of the campaign.

 The 81st ARB next saw action in Italy with the division. However, because of the mountainous terrain in the theater, much of the battalion's combat operations were dismounted. In 1943 the battalion was reorganized as the 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, as part of the division’s conversion from a “heavy” armored division to the new 1943 “light” division organization.   Mounted action resumed briefly during the liberation of Rome during the summer of 1944.

 

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