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The 102nd Cavalry Group Mechanized was a cavalry group/reconnaissance unit that served under the United States during World War II. During the war, the 102nd Cavalry Group was assigned to the 1st US Army under V Corps. By 1943, the group consisted of the 102nd and 38th Cavalry Squadrons following the transformation of the former 2nd Squadron into a separate cavalry group, the 117th Cavalry Squadron.[1] The 102nd Cavalry Group began its career as the 1st Cavalry Squadron, formed on May 29, 1913 and assigned with the New Jersey National Guard.[2]

Commanders

Perhaps the most notable commander of the 102nd Cavalry Group was Donald W. McGowan, commander of the unit from 1941 to late 1944, who lead the group from its pre-war days to its landing on Omaha beach. However, after poor performance in Normandy and the accepting of a new position, McGowan was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus A. Dolf III, the only noncavalry officer to command an American cavalry group during World War II. Under his command, the 102nd's performance improved significantly.[3]

Structure

The 102nd Cavalry Group Mechanized, initially being a mechanized regiment at first consisted of two cavalry squadrons. These squadrons would later be reorganized in 1943. The 1st squadron would be formed into the 102nd Cavalry Squadron and the 2nd into the 117th Cavalry Squadron which would be transferred away from the 102nd Cavalry Group and sent to Algeria. To make up the group's strength, the 3rd Recon Squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division was reassigned to the 102nd Group and redesignated as the 38th Cavalry Squadron.[1]

History

The 102nd Cavalry Group was formed as the 1st Cavalry Squadron on May 29, 1913 and assigned with the New Jersey National Guard. On August 17, 1921, the squadron was reorganized and redesignated 102nd Cavalry. In June, 1937, the regiment was assigned to the 21st Cavalry Division. In 1941, the regiment was inducted into federal service and began training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. In October 1942, the group arrived in Great Britain. By 1943, had undergone its reorganization into a cavalry group. With the 117th Cavalry Squadron departing for Algeria, the 102nd Group prepared for its departure and introduction into combat in Normandy in 1944. The group fought across France for the remainder of the summer, entering Belgium by September before entering Germany and Luxembourg. By winter, the group entered the fighting of the Battle of the Bulge before moving once more and arriving in Czechoslovakia in May for occupation service.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rottman, Gordon L. World War II US Cavalry Groups: European Theater. Osprey Publishing (2012), Page 38
  2. http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/armor-cav/102cvrg.htm
  3. Hofmann, George, F. Through Mobility we Conquer: The Mechanization of US Cavalry. University Press of Kentucky (2006)
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