Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 49

Volume XXX January, 1921 Number 122 THE CAVALRY JOURNAL Comments on “Cavalry Tanks” BY Major GEORGE S. PATTON, Jr., Cavalry (These comments are made at the request of the writer of the preceding article) In response to a request for remarks on the foregoing article, I must begin by a most vigorous dissent from the writer’s picture of a senile and impotent cavalry, futilely butting it’s head against impregnable strong points. I can agree only to the extent of admitting that a cavalry which so deported itself would certainly have no future; nor has it, when well led, had any such past in history. Cavalry, now as always, must advance by enveloping. When the ground, as in France, was so limited as to prevent this, cavalry must await the breakthrough made by the tanks. However, western Europe is the only country small enough and with sufficient population and roads to render such a state of things possible. In other theaters of war, the constant power of envelopment which the mobility of cavalry makes possible will render strong points nothing but asylums for the safe-keeping of the hostile idiots who infest them. There are many cases, such as in raids, long turning movements, screening, etc., where cavalry is and ever will be wholly self-sufficient and where the addition of mechanical devices will be more of a hindrance than otherwise. Cavalry has lived off the country and can yet do so. To it, lines of supply are unnecessary. Tanks, on the other hand, depend wholly on lines of supply for the vast tonnage of gas, oil, and spares. Without these they become merely inferior pill-boxes. Hence, to attach them to cavalry on lengthy operations is to seriously demobilize the latter. In other cases, however, such as in short turning movements, advance and rear guard work of mixed commands, counter-attacks, etc., where lines of supply are not needed or already exist, tanks will be of MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 43