Book Review
World War II US Cavalry Groups
World War II US Cavalry Groups European Theater
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


** Mounted in armored cars, jeeps, light tanks, and self-propelled howitzers, the US Army’s Cavalry Groups (Mechanized) were intended to perform classic cavalry tasks on the drive from Normandy to Berlin. The cavalry groups were some of the Allie’s most versatile assets, forming the core of many temporary task forces with attachments from other arms. The troopers were in fact committed to a much wider range of tasks than those for which they had originally been structures and equipped: not only screening, security, liaison, and pure reconnaissance in the spearhead, but also taking and holding of ground – a type of fighting for which they were not properly organized, trained, or equipped. **
** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.


Osprey Publications Ltd has released World War II US Cavalry Groups European Theater by author Gordon L. Rottman as Number 129 in their Elite series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations and maps, informational charts, and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-797-1.


- Introduction
- The Pre-War Cavalry Regiments
- Regiments, squadrons, and troops
- The Cavalry Group (Mechanized)
- Organization: Headquarters and Headquarters Troop
- Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons (Mechanized)
- Troops
- Cavalry Group armament and vehicles
- Cavalry Group Missions
- Doctrine and practice
- Group and squadron tactics
- Task organization for combat
- Cavalry Group Deployments
- The Test Of Battle
- Representative examples of cavalry groups in action: 113th Cavalry Group reconnaissance mission
- 4th Cavalry Group screening mission
- 113th Cavalry Group in the defense
- 6th Cavalry Group in the offensive
- 2nd Cavalry Group in defense of a river
- 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron in a river assault
- 316th Cavalry Brigade in the offensive
- 101st Cavalry Group, miscellaneous missions
- 3rd Cavalry Group in the pursuit
- Conclusions
- Assessments
- The post-World War II mechanized cavalry
- Select Bibliography
- Index


The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Gordon L. Rottman covers the World War II US Cavalry Groups European Theater nicely and with great depth. Rottman covers the make-up of the cavalry units, the numbers of officers and enlisted men as well as the small arms issued to the cavalry units. Rottman goes into specifics on the various vehicles used by the cavalry units such as armament, rounds (ammunition) carried, and the dates the vehicles were issued to the various units. Rottman also covers various combat actions and details the cavalry units involved, the dates of the fighting, the actions taken by both the allies and axis forces and the outcome of the battles. Another area that Rottman covers is the European cavalry units, the dates of activation, the specific states they were deployed from, the area or areas where they were deployed and saw combat and what became of the units after the hostilities in Europe had ended. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


There are a total of 49 black and white photographs featured throughout the book. There are no color photographs featured in this volume. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark. However this is typical for this period of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book and provide a visual guide for the actions described in the book. They will also prove valuable to the military vehicle, figure and diorama modelers as well as the cavalry historian and enthusiast. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself


There are several different types of vehicles and armor shown throughout this volume. Some of various vehicles and armor shown are:

- Harley-Davidson motorcycle
- White M3A1 scout car
- M8 armored car
- US ¼ ton Jeep
- M3A1 halftrack
- M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage
- M5A1 Stuart tank
- M20 armored utility car
- M24 Chaffee light tank
- Caterpillar D-4 light bulldozer
- Fargo Motors 1 ½ ton cargo truck
- M36 tank destroyer
- German staff car
Please refer to the scans of the photographs that I have provided to see some of the vehicles and armor I have mentioned.


There are several cavalry groups mentioned and discussed in great detail. Some of these cavalry groups are:

- 2nd Cavalry Group
- 3rd Cavalry Group
- 4th Cavalry Group
- 6th Cavalry Group
- 11th Cavalry Group
- 14th Cavalry Group
- 15th Cavalry Group
- 16th Cavalry Group
- 101st Cavalry Group
- 102nd Cavalry Group
- 106th Cavalry Group
- 113th Cavalry Group
- 115th Cavalry Group
- 316th Cavalry Brigade (Provisional)
- 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
- 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
As I live in Wyoming I enjoyed reading about the 115th Cavalry Group “Powder River” due to the fact that it was a Wyoming National Guard unit that was inducted in 1941 and started out as horse-mechanized unit and then became a mechanized unit.

There are 8 color illustrations by illustrator Peter Dennis that are very well done and nicely detailed.

The color illustrations are of:

- The Mechanized Cavalryman’s Mounts
- The Reconnaissance Platoon
- Formations – Reconnaissance Teams
- Cavalry Troop Conducting Reconnaissance
- Formations – Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
- Cavalry Squadron In Defense – September -November 1944
- Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop In Dismounted Attack
- Fire Support

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


There is 1 color map provided that is also one of the color illustrations. It is:

- Cavalry Squadron In Defense – September -November 1944


There are 4 informational charts provided in this volume. They are:

- Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized) T/O&E 2-25, Sept 15, 1943
- Cavalry and infantry unit firepower comparison, 1945
- Examples of cavalry group task forces
- Cavalry groups and separate reconnaissance squadrons


The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. They cover things such as the units shown, as well as the vehicles, armor, equipment, weapons, dates, and locations shown. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.

All in all I am very impressed with the book. It details the World War II US Cavalry Groups in the European Theater very well and in depth with specifics given to the various cavalry units involved. This volume will be of great use to the military vehicle and figure modeler as well as anyone interested in World War II European combat and obviously the cavalry enthusiast and historian. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing LTD titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


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Osprey Publishing’s website:

Amazon's Website where you can take a look inside the book and buy the Kindle edition:

Highs: Well researched, written, and detailed text and captions Nice photographs and illustrations
Lows: Nothing to mention
Verdict: This is a nice well researched reference book that details the World War II US Cavalry Groups in the European Theater nicely and will benefit the military cavalry enthusiast and historian.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-797-1.
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95
  PUBLISHED: Oct 28, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


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