Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 50

The Cavalry Journal great assistance to cavalry, combining, as they do, great mobility with concentrated firepower. The point as to the economic impossibility of building enough tanks to constitute a mechanical army is well taken. In addition, however, to this vital objection to the ubiquitous use of tanks should be mentioned the restrictions due to unsuitable terrain and the difficulty of oversea transport. I was, and believe that I still am, as enthusiastic a tanker as ever caterpillared, yet I cannot bring myself to the point of picturing tanks, present or future, real or imaginary, as ever operating in the mountains of Mexico, the rice paddies of the Philippines, the forests of Canada, or, in face of competent artillery, on the sandy and gully-infested plains of Texas. I cannot picture a large oversea force giving up that priceless commodity, deck space, to large shipments of tanks; nor can I imagine a sea-borne invasion so transporting them to our shores. Tanks are a new and special weapon—newer than, as special, and certainly as valuable as the airplane. Can one imagine infantry airplanes manned by detailed doughboys; or artillery airplanes manned by wagon soldiers or cosmoline kids; or yet cavalry airplanes ridden by sturdy troopers with the use of “lateral aids”? Hardly! The tank is a special, technical, and vastly powerful weapon. It certainly is neither a cavalryman nor an infantryman. Yet, give it half a chance, over suitable terrain and on proper missions, and it will mean the difference between defeat and victory to the infantry or cavalry with which it is cooperating. What is wanted, then, is neither infantry tanks nor cavalry tanks, but a TANK CORPS, a special mobile general headquarters reserve, to be detailed, as circumstances demand, with whichever arm it can best cooperate. Editor’s note: The U.S. Army has a long history of internal discussion and debate among junior and field grade officers on issues of contemporary military concern. Many important ideas surfaced in such discussions that incubated overtime and were later brought to fruition as those officers ascended to higher rank and influence. Among the many venues in which such important discussions took place was the The Cavalry Journal, which was published from 1888 to 1946, after which it was superseded by The Armored Cavalry Journal. As a prelude to a continuation of this heritage of internal Army debate over proposed innovations that appear in this issue of Military Review, an article written by then Maj. George S. Patton Jr. has been republished here for reader interest with permission of the U.S. Cavalry & Armor Association. 44 November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW