CAVALRY RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON, US ARMY, 1944
The reconnaissance squadron is a self-contained unit. It is composed of a headquarters, headquarters and service troop, three reconnaissance troops, an assault gun troop, a light tank company, and a medical detachment.
The reconnaissance squadron, armored division, has an additional reconnaissance troop and an additional platoon in the assault gun troop.
a. The mechanized reconnaissance squadron employs infiltration tactics, fire, and maneuver to accomplish reconnaissance missions.
Its elements seek unopposed routes of advance to gain observation points.
It engages in combat only to the extent necessary to accomplish the assigned mission and to avoid destruction or capture.
The squadron should be reinforced before departing on a mission when sustained combat or the crossing of obstacles is anticipated.
Infantry, field artillery, tanks, tank destroyers, and engineers are suitable attachments.
b. The reconnaissance squadron performs distant, close, and battle reconnaissance within zones or areas or along designated routes.
The zone assigned will vary with the routes available to the enemy, the effect of terrain and weather, feasibility of movement, information desired by the higher commander, and the facility with which reserves can be moved within the zone.
c. Operations of the mechanized reconnaissance squadron and aviation are complementary.
Reconnaissance aviation furnishes higher commanders with information of large enemy concentrations and movements.
The employment of the reconnaissance squadron is based on this information and information obtained from other sources.
On occasions when air is attached to the higher echelon, an air party may be attached to a reconnaissance squadron.
Through this channel, the air reconnaissance may report pertinent information directly to the squadron.
The information derived from this source may be expected to be of a very general nature.
d. The operations of reconnaissance squadrons with a corps are coordinated with those of the reconnaissance elements of divisions, tank destroyer, and other attached units.
Similarly, the operations of reconnaissance squadrons of cavalry or armored divisions are coordinated with those of the reconnaissance elements of organic units and of attached non-divisional forces.
e. Orders to the reconnaissance squadron must give definite missions and state specifically what information is desired and when it must be reported.
The squadron commander must know the plans of the higher commander sufficiently and in time to insure the effective employment of the squadron.
Within the squadron and its subordinate elements, all personnel should be familiar with and understand their specific missions and that of the squadron.
This is essential to insure continuity of action when the situation necessitates that a small unit or the crew of an individual vehicle operate entirely on its own.
The headquarters contains personnel, transportation, and equipment for command, staff, communication, and administration.
Headquarters and service troop performs housekeeping duties for the headquarters, and maintenance and supply duties for the squadron.
CAVALRY RECONNAISSANCE TROOP
The cavalry reconnaissance troop, mechanized, is organized, equipped, and trained to perform reconnaissance missions.
Other types of missions are given only in the furtherance of a reconnaissance mission of the troop or the squadron of which the troop is a part, unless no other troops are available for other types of operations for the division or other larger unit.
Reconnaissance missions are performed by employment of infiltration tactics, fire, and maneuver.
Combat is engaged in only to the extent necessary to accomplish the assigned mission.
The mechanized cavalry reconnaissance troop has a troop headquarters and three reconnaissance platoons.
Each reconnaissance platoon contains an armored-car section and a scout section.
Armored cars and trucks, ¼-ton, are included in the platoon in the ratio of one armored car to two trucks, ¼-ton.
This permits flexibility in the organization of reconnaissance teams for specific missions.
By attachment of transportation from troop headquarters, two of the three platoons can operate on detached missions beyond supporting range of the remainder of the troop.
Elements of the mechanized reconnaissance troop are mounted in various types of wheeled and half-track vehicles, the characteristics of which must be appreciated in order to employ the unit effectively.
Each tactical vehicle carries a ground mount for each type of machine gun mounted in or on the vehicle.
Light armored car, M8
Armored cars are the basic command and communication vehicles.
The light armored car, M8, is a 6 by 6 vehicle, weighs 16,400 pounds with equipment and crew, and is capable of cruising from 1oo to 250 miles cross country or 200 to 400 miles on highways without refueling. On a level, improved road, it can sustain a speed of 55 miles per hour.
Each armored car is equipped with a long-range radio set to assist in the exercise of command or for the purpose of relaying information received from subordinate elements to higher headquarters, and a short-range radio set for communication within a platoon, reconnaissance team, or headquarters.
The armor of the vehicles provides a fair degree of protection against small-arms fire, while the 37mm antitank gun permits mobile defense against lightly armored vehicles at ranges not exceeding 400 yards when armor-piercing ammunition is used.
The ¼-ton truck is the basic reconnaissance vehicle.
The dominant characteristics of the ¼4-ton truck are low silhouette, speed, and exceptional cross-country mobility.
These characteristics facilitate concealment and effective use of the minimum amount of cover.
It is the cross country scouting vehicle of the troop; it is not designed for offensive combat.
Equipped with short-range radio, ¼4-ton truck patrols extend materially the range and effectiveness of the armored car.
During maneuvers, they provide the means of transporting fire power rapidly and effectively to outflank resistance.
ASSAULT GUN TROOP
The assault gun troop is composed of a headquarters and three two-gun platoons.
The assault gun troop in the reconnaissance squadron, armored division, has an additional platoon.
The headquarters is designed for administration and training.
Platoons are attached to reconnaissance troops or to tank companies on reconnaissance missions.
a. The primary mission of the assault gun is to give close fire support to small units-battalion, company, platoon.
In this role it relieves the artillery of some close support missions but does not replace artillery fire.
b. As a secondary mission, assault guns may be grouped and used as reinforcing artillery.
Such missions must not interfere with their primary mission of close support.
The assault gun is the 75-mm howitzer, motor carriage, M8.
The weapon is effective in neutralizing automatic weapons and antitank guns when high explosive or smoke shell is used.
High explosive antitank shell is effective against armor.
A caliber.50 machine gun on a ring mount is provided for antiaircraft protection.
LIGHT TANK COMPANY
The light tank company is the support element of the squadron.
The company provides combat power to overcome minor opposition.
It can be employed most effectively in combat as a unit, supported by the fire of assault guns to neutralize antitank weapons.
a. The light tank is the principal offensive weapon of the squadron.
The role of the tank is destructive of personnel.
Armor provides protection against small-arms fire.
The light tank has good road speed and excellent mobility across country.
b. The antitank gun mounted in the tank is both an antitank and an antipersonnel weapon.
The machine guns are antipersonnel and antiaircraft weapons.
This attached unit is organized and equipped to provide close medical support for the tank battalion.