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  • The Army-of-Excel 1ence Divisional Cavalry Squadron -A Doctrinal Stop Dackward?


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    Major Peter S. ,Ktdsvtter.


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    School , ,,, ancod -'Military Stut Los S. Army t d and aeheral Staff College

    LeavenwOrth, KanA~p"

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    2 December 1985

    Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. 86 2188

    86-2188 .".'."

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  • The Army-of-Excellence Divisional Cavalry Squadron

    --A Doctrinal Stop Backward?

    b y ,-.,,- Major Peter S. Kindsvatter 0. e


    bchool of Advanced Military Studies U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

    Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

    2 December 1985

    Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.

    86-2188 NOW


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  • School of Advanced Military Studies Monograph Approval

    Name of Student: MAJ Peter S. Kindavatter

    Title of Monographs The Army-of-Excellence Divisional Cavalry Squadron--A Doctrinal Step Backward?

    Approved by-

    * Seminar Leader (LTCTIoiuas 6. F rg n, Ph.D.)

    Director, School of Advanced

    (COL Richard Hart Sinnroich, MA) Military Studies

    . . ..__ _ _Director, Graduate Degree

    (rookes, Ph.D.) Programs

    Accepted this _______day of ~6W W1985.

    V -


    .-. T



    This monograph examines the organization and missions of the Army-of-Excellence divisional cavalry squadron as outlined in the 1980 Operational and Organizational Concept for Division and Corps S6 Cavalry and in Field Circular 71-9, AGE Close Combat Heavy Brigade and Divisional Armored Cavalry Squadron (Preliminary Draft), 1984. The AOE squadron, without tanks and at greatly reduced strength, is to be used primarily as a reconnaissance-by-stealth force, with secondary emphasis on screening, line-of-communication security, and command-and-control enhancement.

    The AOE squadron is a radical departure from itsPfighting 0

    cavalry"epredecessor, which was a strong squadron equally capable of performing reconnaissance, security, and economy-of-force missions. The AOE squadron seems to be a return to the pre-World War I armored division reconnais- sance battalion--a lightly armed and armored force also __ designed primarily for reconnaissance by stealth.

    This monograph, by examining the experiences of cavalry leaders, various research reports, review board findings, after-action reports, and official manuals, traces the evolution of the reconnaissance battalion from a reconnaissance-by-stealth unit into a strong, multipurpose cavalry squadron and then back to a reconnaissance-by- stealth unit under AOE. The arguments in favor of recon- naissance by stealth are examineds Fighting distracts reconnaissance units from their primary mission and causes unnecessary casualties, and cavalry units sufficiently armed and armored to permit combat lose the traditional cavalry advantage of mobility. Advocates of fighting ,cavalry refute these arguments-,nd also point out that the divisional cavalry squadron musu be able to combat the tanks that will be found in sovi t reconnaissance and "S' CTED security elements. 30

    Accesion For

    NTIS CRAM # DTIC TAB ] Unannounced

    Justification. .......... "", .... . ,.'. 'i*

    By ............. Dist. ibution I

    Availability Codes

    Avail and /or Dist Special

  • Table of Contents


    Section 1. Introduction .......... 0.......0.........a........ 1

    Section II. Historical Development of the U.S. Army Divisional Cavalry Squadron.................. 3

    Section II. Division 86 and the Doctrinal About-Faces Return to "Sneak-and-Peek" Reconnaissance ..... 23

    Section IV. The Arguments For and Against Fighting Cavalry ..... ................. 0................ 27 '

    Section V. Conclusions The Time and Mission Dilemmas .... 37

    APPENDIX A Reconnaissance Battalion (Armored), 10 July 1940 ........ . . . ................... 41 -.

    B Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1 March 1942 .......... ....................... 42

    C Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 15 September 1943 ............................ 43

    D Reconnaissance Battalion, 14 May 1948 ......... 44

    E Armored Cavalry Squadron, June 1964 ........... 46

    F Armored Cavalry Squadron, 10 January 1984 ..... 48

    Endnotes ............ . ................................a..... 49

    Bib i ogr aphy ......... ....... ............................... 57


  • I. Introduction

    After World War 1, even the staunchest advocate of horse cavalry

    had to admit that the advent of the machinegun and the rapid-firing

    artillery piece had spelled the demise of the mounted charge. As

    * the postwar American Expeditionary Force (AEF) Cavalry Board

    admitted, "mounted combat of large bodies of cavalry is probably a

    thing of the past. " " But few cavalrymen were ready to

    admit that the horse had had its day, arguing that the trench

    warfare of the stalemated Western Front had been an aberration.

    Future wars would again be wars of movement, and the cavalry, while

    it might now have to dismount to close with the enemy, would remain

    a vital part of the Army's fighting force. The AEF Cavalry Board

    concluded that "the role of cavalry, in general, had changed little

    when considering war of movement."12

    What was horse cavalry's role? As pointed out in the 1941

    FM 100-5, Field Service Regulations: "The primary mission of Cavalry

    is combat."3 As late as June 1944, FM 100-5, Field Service

    Regulations, continued to view horse cavalry as a viable fighting

    force, assigning to it a wide variety of combat missions:

    Horse cavalry capabilities are offensive combat; exploitation and pursuit; seizing and holding impor- tant terrain until the arrival of the main forces; ground reconnaissance; ground counterreconnaissance (screening), both moving and stationary; security for the front, flanks, and rear of other forces on the march, at the halt, and in battle; delaying action; covering the retrograde movements of other forces; combat liaison between large units; acting as a mobile reserve for other forces; harassing action; and surprise action against designated objectives deep in hostile rear areas.4



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  • The U.S. Army's horse cavalry, however, would perform none of

    these cavalry missions during World War II because, except for the

    26th Cavalry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts, no U.S. Army

    horse-mounted units would fight in the war.0 Who then

    performed these vital reconnaissance, security, and combat missions? I'

    The task fell to the mechanized reconnaissance groups, squadrons and

    troops--organizations not originally intended to perform most of

    those missions. Unlike the all-purpose horse cavalry, the mechan-

    ized reconnaissance elements were intended to be special-purpose

    units "organized, equipped, and trained to perform reconnaissance.-

    . missions employing infiltration tactics, fire, and maneuver. They

    engage in combat only to the extent necessary to accomplish the

    assijned mission."'.

    Not surprisingly, such specialized units were hard pressed to

    perform the wide range of traditional horse-cavalry missions.

    Changes in organization, equipment, and doctrine would be necessary

    before the reconnaissance units were capable, on their own, of

    adequately performing those missions. This paper will trace the

    development of one of these specialized units--the reconnaissance

    battalion of the 1940 U.S. armored division--into a worthy successor

    to the horse cavalry, able to perform all of the missions ascribed

    to the horse cavalry in the 1944 Field Service Regulations. This

    transition began following World War 11 and carried through the

    period of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, with changes in organization

    and equipment making the reconnaissance battalion increasingly

    capable of performing a wide range of combat missions. Even the


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  • battalion's name would change to "armored cavalry squadron" to

    reflect this capability.

    This paper then discusses the changes wrought in this cavalry

    squadron by the 1980 Division 86 Study and by the follow-on Army-

    of-Excellence (AOE) Study--changes which reduce the squadron's

    strength and relegate it to its former specialized mission of

    reconnaissance by stealth. This paper's primary purpose is to

    present the arguments for and against this doctrinal reversal and

    the implications of the squadron's new organization for its parent

    formation, the AOE heavy division. The personal experiences and

    opinions of cav