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Cav missions

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  • Laurence D. Schiller
    ... These are the missions of cavalry: 1) Reconnaissance - locating and maintaining contact with the enemy. 2) Screening - covering and concealing the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 3, 2004
      Cav missions
      At 5:16 PM +0000 9/3/04, civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      Ok, in this lets examine a few points, in an army what are the roles of a Cavalry Commander? 

      Lee

      These are the missions of cavalry:

      1) Reconnaissance - locating and maintaining contact with the enemy.
      2) Screening - covering and concealing the movements of your own army from the enemy's reconnaissance attempts.
      3) Covering the flanks and rear of your army in battle and threatening those of your enemy.
      4) Shock charges against the enemy to break them, to produce a rout, or, when your own army is withdrawing, to delay the pursuit.
      5) Picketing, orderly, and provost duty.
      6) Long distance raids designed to attack the supply lines of the enemy. These sort of raids became frequently used in the American Civil War.


      As the CW went on, some commanders, as Tom has pointed out, added seizing and holding ground in advance of infantry.

      How you accomplish these is a different matter and in European theory/practice, there were different types of cavalry for different jobs - which quite frankly overlapped.

      Best,

      Laurie Schiller
      -- 
      
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    • DPowell334@AOL.COM
      In a message dated 9/3/2004 2:07:20 PM Central Daylight Time, ... I should add that I omitted two conditions from the list I posted earlier, mostly because ACW
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 4, 2004
        In a message dated 9/3/2004 2:07:20 PM Central Daylight Time, LDS307@... writes:

        3) Covering the flanks and rear of your army in battle and threatening those of your enemy.
        4) Shock charges against the enemy to break them, to produce a rout, or, when your own army is withdrawing, to delay the pursuit.


        I should add that I omitted two conditions from the list I posted earlier, mostly because ACW Cav did not do it enough to be significant, in my book.

        7) battle Cavalry - direct action on the battlefield against formed infantry. To a certain extent, the above conditions posted by Laurie are rolled into this one (where they are not covered by interdiction, or screening.) US nor CS cavalry pursued this with any seriousness, despite some of the rhetoric often read. Heavy battle Cav in the Euro tradition simply were not deployed in either theater. AT Waterloo, for example, Napeoleon had a classically organized Euro army that included 7700 heavy cavalry, out of 14,700 total cav. These 7700 rarely did any other mission but this one. The American forces simply never deployed this kind of specialized force.
               Certainly there are some exceptions, but they prove the rule.

        8) Pursuit. Oft stated, never acheived until the very end of the war. Once defeated, an enemy army was supposed to be pursued to death, never given pause, nor allowed to regroup. Every commander talked about launching a successful pursuit. None acheived it until the last few months of the war. Hood after Nashville and Appommattox stand as successful pursuits, in that each pursued army ceased to play a major role after the event.

        1865 stands as an exception to the above, in my mind, because the Union cavalry were evolving into something much more effective than previously seen. Armed with more modern weapons than the bulk of their enemy, they were driving infantry lines with heavy skirmish lines while still integrating mounted squadrons on the battlefield, which is pretty unique in ACW combat.

        Dave Powell


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