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US Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Structure

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Doc Sausage, Jun 13, 2015.

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  1. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Hello

    Can anyone explain how US Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons were made up in late 1944?

    I'm looking at the 14th Cavalry Group which was made up of the 18th and 32nd Squadrons.

    A, B & C Troops appear to be reconnaissance troops using M8 Armoured cars; E Troop seems to be self propelled Howitzers and F Troop seems to be light tanks

    I can't find any mention of a D Troop, was there one?

    What would the SP howitzers be? The M7 Priest seems to be too cumbersome for a swift moving force.

    Thanks in advance
    Steve
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    IIRC, the Cavalry Squadrons that were not part of armored divisions had 3 Troops, and Cavalry Squadrons that were part of Armored Divisions had 4 Troops.

    The SP Howitzer would be 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to answer and dig out the picture Takao, but I'm not sure that's right and this is where I'm getting confused:

    To take one example, Michael Reynolds in his account of KG Peipers advance, "The Devils Adjutant", says that on the 16th Dec the (independent) 14th Cavalry Group consisted of the 18th and 32nd Cavalry Squadrons which were battalion sized units consisting of three 137 man reconnaissance troops with M8 armoured cars, half tracks and jeeps; a 95 man light tank troop with 17 Stuarts and an 85 man assault gun troop with 6 75mm guns mounted on light tank bodies.

    He goes on to say Squadron HQ, E Troop guns and F Troop tanks were in Manderfeld, A Troop were in Roth and Kobscheid, B Troop were detached to the 106th ID and C Troop were in Krewinckel, Weckerath and Afst

    That makes 5 troops but I can find no reference to a D Troop in anything I've found on the subject - would it have disappeared when "square" formations became "triangular" and if so why didn't they rename E & F
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    AFAIK, there was no "D Troop" at the time, except in the recon squadrons of the armored divisions.

    The earliest Field Manual reference that I could find was FM-2-10 "Cavalry Field Manual: Mechanized Elements"(dated April 8, 1941 - IIRC, this was when the US Army was in the process of changing over from square to triangular divisions). It lists the Squadron as an HQ Troop, 2 mechanized reconnaissance Troops, a motorcycle Troop, and an armored Troop(light tanks). However, no mention that I saw mentioned a naming convention("A Troop", "B Troop", etc.)
    http://www.easy39th.com/files/FM_2-10_Mechanized_Elements_1941.pdf

    Also, I did find FM-2-15 "Cavalry Field Manual: Employment of Cavalry", also dated April 8, 1941(although the website says it is from 1942), which also lists the Squadron as an HQ Troop, 2 mechanized reconnaissance Troops, a motorcycle Troop, and an armored Troop(light tanks). Because of what is included in this Manual, it was written prior to the "official" changeover. Still, I did not see any mention of the naming convention.
    http://www.easy39th.com/files/FM_2-15_Employment_of_Cavalry_1942.pdf

    This brings us to FM-2-30"Cavalry Field Manual - Cavalry Mechanized Reconnaissance Squadron", dated March 29, 1943. This clearly give us the layout of the Squadron with the Recon Troops A, B, and C, with E Troop being the Support Troop of light tanks(Appendix I, pg. 93). Also note, at this time, there is no "F Troop". However, this manual makes no mention of the Armored Division Squadrons as having an extra Recon Troop.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM2-30.PDF

    Now, we move into 1944...Finally...Right.
    Now both FM-2-20"Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized", dated February 24, 1944, and the updated FM-2-30, dated August 8, 1944, bring us to your question.
    Both show us the make up of the Squadron: A, B, and C, Reconnaissance Troops, E Troop(assault guns), and F Company - the light tanks. Also, both note that the Reconnaissance Squadrons of Armored Divisions have an fourth Reconnaissance Troop(the missing "D Troop".
    FM-2-20: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM2-20.pdf
    FM-2-30: http://117th-cav.org/WWII%20History/Recon%20Squadrons%20WWII%20FM%202-30%20-2.pdf
     
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  5. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Many thanks for your time and effort Takao, that makes so much more sense now
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    As Takao posted, both organizations, with 3 or 4 'line' troops, were in use at the same time. Apparently it was considered easier for E and F troops always to be assault guns and tanks whether or not the squadron had a D troop.
     
  7. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Makes sense, thanks Carronade
     
  8. CavalryDave

    CavalryDave New Member

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    Hi all. I am brand new to this forum, forums in general really. I need a little help on vehicle bumper ID markings. Pics I've seen and the Army guide on the subject are contradictory and confusing. The WWII (post D-Day 1944) unit I am researching is: 2nd Cavalry Group; 42nd Recon Squadron; Troop A. I understand they were not attached to a Div they were in fact attached to 12th Corp. The Army guide is pretty clear that the first number/letter group on the bumper should be Roman Numeral XII and the last group should be A followed by a number 11 thru 20. My problem is that I can't figure out what the middle group(s) should be. Any help, advice, or pics would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    1A-42C A-11...12...etc. For non-divisional units such as the Cavalry Groups and Squadrons, and Separate Battalions, the practice was to use the Army they were assigned to as the initial sequence. The corps identifier was not used unless the unit was an assigned corps asset, which essentially meant the corps HQ units. Then, since the Cavalry squadrons were technically attached to the Group HQ, it was the Squadron identifier used for its vehicles. If it had been a vehicle of the Cavalry Group HQ it would be something like 1A-2C HQ-11...etc.
     
  10. CavalryDave

    CavalryDave New Member

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    Wow, great info. Thanks. Any thoughts on a specific vehicle number for a Command Car in Third Army, 12 Corp, 2nd Cav Group, 42nd Recon Squadron, Troop A (3A-2C A-XX)? I can see a command type vehicle out in front of line of march thereby having a low number, maybe 11, 12, 13; but I can also see the M8s & M-20s out front with the lower numbers with the command vehicle farther back in the column. Probably a stretch that Troop A even had Command Car, they likely had Jeeps, but I have a WC 56 so I need to make due. Thoughts? BTW, the unit I am trying to emulate is the unit that stole into Czechoslovakia at the end of the war to get the Lipizzaners out.
     
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  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid the only place the Dodge 3/4-ton WC-series were found in the Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech) was in the attached Medical Detachment, which had a single WC-64 (KD) Ambulance and a single WC-51 or -52 Weapons or Troops Carrier. The use of the WC-56 was pretty much limited to divisional headquarters and above. For example, the Infantry Division HQ & HQ Company had six, one with the Company HQ and five with the Transportation Platoon. It would be extremely unlikely for a Cavary Reconnaissance Squadron to have one.
     
  12. CavalryDave

    CavalryDave New Member

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    Thank you. As I said, I figured a Command Car would be a stretch for a Cav Recon unit. However, that's what I own. They are more unique than a jeep, are not the logistic headache of a halftrack, not as pricy as armored car, and I just like the look of them. Plus I am a horseman, a collector, and a cavalry living historian so I was trying to meld the CC and the "cavalry". I appreciate your efforts and all the great info! Thanks again.
     
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  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Why not do it as a vehicle from HQ & HQ Co, 1st Cavalry Division then? It would be likely be more accurate.
     
  14. CavalryDave

    CavalryDave New Member

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    First Cav DIVISION was in the Pacific, right? I really wanted to tie my CC to the 2nd Cav Group, 42nd Recon Squadron, A Troop because they rescued the Lipizzaners in Czechoslovakia at the end of the war. It's a horse rider thing.
     

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