Original U.S. WWII 6th Cavalry Regiment Named Officer Tanker Jacket - Size 38
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. WW2, U.S. Army, Combat Field Jacket or Tanker Jacket. This hard wearing and warm jacket was the perfect replacement for the in service M1938 and M1941 jackets. When worn with it's matching bibbed trousers it became the combat uniform of choice for the Armored Forces and was much in demand by all other ground forces, even AAF pilots were seen wearing this jacket!
This jacket is in very good condition, the "gold" hued color is still strong while the cuffs, collar and waist band display minor wear and are sturdy and totally wearable. The jacket shell and liner are in very good condition with little wear. The pocket openings show no wear and the blanket lining is extremely clean. Functional Zipper, Data tag is present but faded, the size appears to be a 38".
Left shoulder bears a 7th Army Seven Steps to Hell patch, front left chest bears a 6th Cavalry Regiment and name tag that reads MEIER. Each epaulet has embroidered Major oak leaf insignias. Overall a very interesting well-preserved jacket for an officer that served in World war Two. Certainly some research potential with this one!
During the years between World War I and World War II, the 6th Cavalry participated in the Army's experiments to modernize the cavalry force and it became a "horse-mechanized regiment" with modern vehicles supported by horse trailers for operational mobility. However, once America became involved in the war after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the 6th Cavalry shed its horses and became solely a mechanized unit. Because of this pre-war experimentation, the 6th was not broken up like many Army outfits, but retained the majority of its original personnel allowing for added stability and training continuity. The 6th Cavalry Regiment was renamed the 6th Mechanized Cavalry Group (MCG), and was organized into two squadrons; the 6th SQDN and the 28th SQDN. The 6th MCG was assigned to General Patton's Third Army and arrived in Normandy between 9–10 July 1944. GEN Patton wanted an Army-level reconnaissance unit in order to bypass traditional reporting channels and enable quicker decision making at the field army level; this was to be called the Army Information Service (AIS), and the 6th MCG was chosen for the role.
Brittany to Belgium
One squadron would fulfill the duties of the AIS, while the other, in conjunction with the associated parts of the AIS squadron not needed for that role (the tank company and assault gun troop), would serve as a security force for the Army headquarters and “hip pocket” reserve for the Army Commander.
While continuing to provide reconnaissance and security for Third Army units during the Brittany Campaign, on 27 August 1944 A TRP, 28th SQDN was dispatched South to reconnoiter the Loire River from Orleans to Saumur, a distance of 100 miles. The Troop successfully completed this mission in two days, and ensured that all bridges over the river were destroyed so no German counterattack could drive into the Third Army's southern flank. Although Third Army operations covered some 475 miles at the beginning of September 1944, the 6th Cavalry moved information so quickly to Army HQ that GEN Patton was afforded an unprecedented amount of flexibility and battlefield awareness. On 5 September, LTC James H. Polk was replaced by COL Edward Fickett to command the 6th Cavalry, and LTC Polk would go on to command the 3rd MCG. On 18 September, GEN Patton ordered the creation of a Task Force consisting of the assault gun Troops (E/6th and E/28th SQDNs) and the tank Company of the 6th SQDN (F CO), with minor supporting elements to assist TF Polk in operations along the Moselle River. During these operations, the tanks and assault guns provided fire support and gained valuable combat experience until 30 September.
During the month of October, rain and mud slowed AIS communications by hindering the mobility of motorcycle and Jeep couriers. In response, the 6th MCG used carrier pigeons beginning 8 October. Although slower than motorized vehicles, the birds provided a useful alternative when radio communications failed.
The Battle of the Bulge
TF Fickett was forced to leave the 5th Ranger BN behind as they moved North on Christmas Eve, 1944 to support III Corps in the Battle of the Bulge. Operating on the flanks of the 4th Armored Division and the 26th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Neufchateau, TF Fickett advanced on the enemy on Christmas Day. By protecting the western flank of the 4th AD, the cavalrymen allowed that division to reach the surrounded paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne on the following day."
On 2 January, the 28th SQDN was attached to the 35th Infantry Division facing Harlange to allow them to divert an infantry battalion to the main effort in the north. Meanwhile, the 6th Squadron patrolled the rear areas of the 26th and 35th ID's until 9 January when both Squadrons moved up to the Harlange pocket. Although not in the Group's orders, COL Fickett ordered an attack, and, using combined arms maneuver, the 6th MCG seized the towns of Harlange, Watrange, and Sonlez where they linked up with the 90th Infantry Division. The Germans in the area had held off the 26th, 35th, and 90th IDs for eleven days, but the 6th MCG defeated them and seized eight 88mm guns, five Nebelwerfer launchers, and 300 prisoners. For their actions in this battle, the 6th Mechanized Cavalry Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
Advance into Germany
On 20 January 1945, 28th SQDN relieved the 26th ID and promptly seized a bridgehead over the Wiltz River, the town of Winseler, and then the town of Wiltz. The Cavalry continued the advance and maintained the lines of communication between III Corps and XII Corps as the Third Army attacked across the Our River.
On 5 March, the 6th MCG was sent to protect VIII Corps' Northern flank. Here they assisted the 87th Infantry Division and the 11th Armored Division as they attacked east across the Rhine River. On 26 March, TF Fickett was ordered to pass through the two divisions and serve as the Corps' advance guard into Germany. For this mission, TF Ficket consisted of the 6th and 28th SQDNs of the 6th MCG, 1 BN of artillery, 2 Tank Destroyer COs, 1 CO of Engineers, and 2 Infantry COs of the 76th Infantry Division.
On 11 April, Third Army began advancing toward Czechoslovakia, and 6th MCG was split into two elements; 28th SQDN committed a TRP to act as a liaison between XX Corps and VIII Corps, while 6th SQDN operated in a security role on the edges of the VIII advance. On 15 April, the 6th MCG crossed the Saale River, fighting their way through light German resistance, and encouraging pockets of Germans to surrender, or bypassing those who didn't and reporting their location to the following larger forces. Seizing and securing bridges for the VIII Corps advance, the 6th Cavalry entered Czechoslovakia on 20 April 1945. On 12 April, Third Army was ordered to assault into Bavaria, the "National Redoubt" of NSDAP Germany.
The 6th Mechanized Cavalry Group's exemplary service during the Second World War acting as Army level reconnaissance led to their deserved nickname; "Patton's Household Cavalry." The Regiment would not go home immediately after the war, however, and it remained as part of the United States Constabulary in West Berlin until 1957.
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