Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
U.S. 1st Cavalry Division
The 1st Cavalry Division (1st Cav Div) is a heavy-armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Fort Hood, Texas. It is the largest division of the U.S. Army with 16,700 soldiers. Currently the 1st Cavalry Division is attached to the U.S. Army III Corps and is commanded by Major General Peter W. Chiarelli .
The US 1st Cavalry Division consists of the following elements:
- Brigade-sized elements
- 1st Brigade, "Iron Horse"
- 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry
- 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
- 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry (Armor)
- 2nd Brigade, "Blackjack"
- 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry (Mechanized)
- 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry (Armor)
- 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry (Armor)
- 3rd Brigade, "Grey Wolf"
- 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry
- 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
- 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry
- 4th Brigade (Aviation)
- 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Armor)
- 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment
- 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment
- Engineer Brigade
- 8th Engineer Battalion
- 20th Engineer Battalion
- 91st Engineer Battalion
- Division Artillery (DIVARTY)
- 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery
- 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery
- 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery
- 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery
- 26th Field Artillery
- 68th Chemical Company (NBC Defense)
- Division Support Command (DISCOM)
- 1st Brigade, "Iron Horse"
- Other Elements
- 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery
- 13th Signal Battalion
- 312th Military Intelligence Battalion
- 68th Chemical Company
- 545th Military Police Company
- Reserve Unit
- 489th Engineer Bn Combat Corps Mechanized, North Little Rock, AR
- National Guard Units:
- 724th Engineer Battalion Combat Corps (Wheeled), Superior, WI
- 212th Corps Area Sig Bn (Mobile Subs Equip), N Little Rock, AR
- 852nd HQ Corps ROAC, Tucson, AZ
The history of the 1st Cavalry Division begins in 1855, when the unit then designated as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was formed. In 1861 it was redesignated the 5th Cavalry. This unit participated in several battles in the American Civil War, including Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Appomattox.
After establishing post-World War I divisions, the US Army experienced a prolonged period of stagnation and deterioration. The National Defense Act of 1920 authorized a Regular Army of 296,000 men, but Congress gradually backed away from that number. The root of the Army's problem was money. Congress yearly appropriated only about half the funds that the General Staff requested. Impoverished in manpower and funds, the divisions dwindled to skeletal organizations.
The Army established a permanent cavalry division Table of Organization & Equipment on April 4, 1921. It authorized a Square Division organization of 7,463 Officers and Men, organized into a Headquarters Element (34); two Separate Cavalry Brigades (2,803 each); an Engineer Battalion (357); a separate Ambulance Company (63); a Field Artillery Battalion (790); a Division Quartermaster Trains Command (276); and a Special Troops Command (337).
Each Cavalry Brigade was organized into a Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (101); two Cavalry Regiments (1,155 each); and a separate Machine Gun Squadron (392).
Each Cavalry Regiment was organized into a Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (121); two Squadrons (428 each); a separate Supply Troop (127); and a Medical and Chaplain Detachment (51).
Each Machine Gun Squadron was organized into a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (47); three Line Troops (110 each); and a Medical and Chaplain Detachment (15)
Each Cavalry Squadron was organized into a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (35); and three Line Troops (131 each).
The Field Artillery Battalion was organized into a combined Headquarters & Headquarters Battery and Combat Trains Command (227); three Batteries (161 each); and a Medical and Chaplain Detachment (30).
The Special Troops Command was organized into a Headquarters Element (11); the Division Headquarters Troop (161); a Signal Troop (78); an Ordnance Maintenance Company (36); a Veterinary Unit (38); and a Medical and Chaplain Detachment (13).
The Division Quartermaster Trains Command was a unitary structure that contained all of the Quartermaster Corps elements of the Division.
At this time, all transportation was pack- or animal-drawn (Horse or Mule), except for 14 Automobiles, 28 Trucks, and 65 Motorcycles that were scattered throughout the various unit headquarters. Without the Trains Command, the 1st Cavalry Division needed 6.5 Miles of Road Space if it moved in a Column of Twos.
On August 20, 1921, the War Department Adjutant General constituted the 1st and 2d Cavalry Divisions to meet partial mobilization requirements, and authorized the establishment of the 1st Cavalry Division under the new TO&E on August 31, 1920. Since 1st Cavalry Division was to assemble from existing units, it was able to go active in September, 1920, even though the subordinate units did not arrive at their assigned stations completely until as late as 1922.
1st Cavalry Division was assigned to the VIII Corps Area, with its Division Headquarters and 2d Brigade located at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the 1st Brigade at Douglas, Arizona. The Headquarters facilities used by 1st Cavalry Division were those previously vacated by 8th United States Brigade when it was commanded by MG John J. Pershing in 1916, and the wartime 15th Cavalry Division, which had existed at Fort Bliss between December 10, 1917 and May 12, 1918.
Headquarters, 2nd Cavalry Brigade, had existed at Fort Bliss since December 10, 1917, when it was part of the wartime 15th Cavalry Division. Headquarters, 2nd Cavalry Brigade was deactivated in July of 1919, and was reactivated at Fort Bliss on August 31, 1920.
Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Brigade had previously existed at Fort Sam Houston, but their quarters had been vacated when 1st Cavalry Brigade deactivated in July of 1919. These facilities passed to the 2nd Infantry Division when they returned from France. 1st Cavalry Brigade was reactivated on August 31, 1920 at Douglas, Arizona, occupying the facilities left vacant when Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Brigade was deactivated in July, 1919
First Cavalry Division’s Troop List was slowly assembled. The 1st , 7th , and 8th Cavalry Regiments had previously been assigned to the wartime 15th Cavalry Division until they were returned to the VIII Corps Area Troop List on May 12, 1918. 1st Cavalry Regiment remained so assigned until it was transferred to 1st Cavalry Division on August 20, 1921. The 7th, 8th, and 10th Cavalry Regiments were transferred on September 13, 1921, although the assignment of the 10th Cavalry Regiment to the 1st Cavalry Division was controversial because the transfer violated the Jim Crow laws. This controversy continued until December 18, 1922, when the 5th Cavalry Regiment, then on the VIII Corps Area Troop List, swapped places with the 10th Cavalry Regiment on the 1st Cavalry Division Troop List.
After establishing post-World War I divisions, the Army experienced a prolonged period of stagnation and deterioration. The National Defense Act of 1920 authorized a Regular Army of 296,000 men, but Congress gradually backed away from that number. As with the Regular Army, the National Guard never recruited its authorized 486,000 men, and the Organized Reserves became merely a pool of reserve officers. The root of the Army's problem was money. Congress yearly appropriated only about half the funds that the General Staff requested. Impoverished in manpower and funds, infantry and cavalry divisions dwindled to skeletal organizations.
Between 1923 and 1939 divisions gradually declined as fighting organizations. After Regular Army divisions moved to permanent posts, the War Department modified command relationships between divisional units and the corps areas, making division and brigade commanders responsible only for unit training. They were limited to two visits per year to their assigned elements-and that only if corps area commanders made funds available. Later, as a further economy move, the War Department reduced the number of command visits to one per year, a restriction that effectively destroyed the possibility of training units as combined arms teams.
The 1st Cavalry Division illustrated all of the aspects of the Army's dilemma between realism and idealism. In 1923 the 1st Cavalry Division held division maneuvers for the first time, intending to hold them annually thereafter. However, financial constraints made that impossible. Only in 1927, through the generosity of a few ranchers who provided free land, was the division able to conduct such exercises again.
In 1928 Maj. Gen. Herbert B. Crosby, Chief of Cavalry, faced with personnel cuts in his arm, reorganized the cavalry regiments, which in turn reduced the size of the 1st Cavalry Division. Crosby's goal was to decrease overhead while maintaining or increasing firepower in the regiment. After the reorganization each cavalry regiment consisted of a headquarters and headquarters troop; a machine gun troop; a Medical and Chaplain Element; and two squadrons, each with a Headquarters Element; and two Line troops. The cavalry brigades' machine gun squadrons were inactivated, while the responsibility for training and employing machine guns fell to the regimental commanders, as in the infantry.
About the same time that Crosby cut the cavalry regiment, the Army Staff, seeking to increase the usefulness of the wartime cavalry division, published new tables of organization for an even larger unit. The new structure summarized changes made in the division since 1921, which involved increasing the size of the signal troop (177), expanding the medical unit to a squadron (233), and endorsing Crosby's movement of the machine gun units from the brigades to the regiments (2X176). A divisional aviation section, an armored car squadron (278), and tank company (155) were added, and the field artillery battalion was expanded to a regiment (1,717). Divisional strength rose to 9,595. Although the new tables had little impact on the peacetime cavalry structure, the 1st Cavalry Division did eventually receive one troop of an experimental armored car squadron, and a field artillery regiment replaced its field artillery battalion.
With the arrival of the 1930’s, serious work started on the testing and refining of new equipment and TO&Es for a mechanized and motorized Army. To facilitate this, 1st Cavalry Division traded 1st Cavalry Regiment for 12th Cavalry Regiment on January 3, 1933. --
Taking into account recommendations from the VIII Corps Area, the Army War College, and the Command and General Staff School, the board developed a new smaller triangular cavalry division, which the 1st Cavalry Division evaluated during maneuvers at Toyahvale, Texas, in 1938. Like the 1937 infantry division test, the maneuvers concentrated on the divisional cavalry regiments around which all other units were to be organized.
Following the test, a board of 1st Cavalry Division officers, headed by Brig. Gen. Kenyon A. Joyce, rejected the three-regiment division and recommended retention of the two-brigade (four-regiment) organization. The latter configuration allowed the division to deploy easily in two columns, which was accepted standard cavalry tactics. However, the board advocated reorganizing the cavalry regiment along triangular lines, which would give it a headquarters and headquarters troop, a machine gun squadron with special weapons and machine gun troops, and three rifle squadrons, each with one machine gun and three rifle troops. No significant change was made in the field artillery, but the test showed that the engineer element should remain a squadron to provide the divisional elements greater mobility on the battlefield and that the special troops idea should be extended to include the division headquarters, signal, and ordnance troops; quartermaster, medical, engineer, reconnaissance, and observation squadrons; and a chemical warfare detachment. One headquarters would assume responsibility for the administration and disciplinary control for these forces.
Although the study did not lead to a general reorganization of the cavalry division, the wartime cavalry regiment was restructured, effective 1 December 1938, to consist of a headquarters and headquarters troop, machine gun and special weapons troops, and three squadrons of three rifle troops each. The special troops remained as structured in 1928, and no observation squadron or chemical detachment found a place in the division. With the paper changes in the cavalry divisions and other minor adjustments, the strength of a wartime divisional rose to 10,680.
In order to prepare for war service, 1st Cavalry Division participated in the following maneuvers:
(|border="1" cellpadding="2" !NAME !DATE |-
- |Toyahvale, TX Maneuvers October 7 through October 30, 1939.
- |Cravens-Pitkin Louisiana Maneuvers August 13 through 24, 1940.
- |Second 3rd Army Louisiana maneuvers August 10 through October 4, 1941.
- |VIII Corps Louisiana Maneuvers near Mansfield, LA July 27, 1942 – September 21, 1942.
With the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the “great laboratory” phase for developing and testing organizations, about which Marshall wrote in the summer of 1941, closed, but the War Department still had not developed ideal infantry, cavalry, armored, and motorized divisions. In 1942 it again revised the divisions based on experiences gained during the great GHQ maneuvers of the previous year. As in the past, the reorganizations ranged from minor adjustments to wholesale changes.
1st Cavalry Division retained its square configuration after the 1941 maneuvers, but with modifications. The division lost its antitank troop, the brigades their weapons troops, and the regiments their machine gun and special weapons troops. These changes brought no decrease in divisional firepower, but placed most weapons within the cavalry troops. The number of .50-caliber machine guns was increased almost threefold. In the reconnaissance squadron, the motorcycle and armored car troops were eliminated, leaving the squadron with one support troop and three reconnaissance troops equipped with light tanks. These changes increased the division from 11,676 to 12,112 officers and enlisted men.
All of the mounted units of the 1st Cavalry Division were stripped of their horses and converted to Infantry on February 28, 1943. The Division shipped out equipped as an Augmented Leg Infantry Division.
1st Cavalry Division reported for its Port Call at Camp Stoneman, CA as follows:
- UNIT STAGED DEPART ARRIVED
- HHT, 1st Cavalry Division June 21, June 26, July 11
- HHT, 1st Cavalry Brigade June 21, July 03 July 24.
- HHT, 2nd Cavalry Brigade June 18, June 26, July 11.
- 5th Cavalry Regiment June 20, July 02, July 24.
- 7th Cavalry Regiment June 18, June 26, July 11.
- 8th Cavalry Regiment June 18, June 26, July 11.
- 12th Cavalry Regiment June 20, July 03, July 24.
- HHB, 1st Cavalry DIVARTY
- 61st Field Artillery Battalion July 03, July 24.
- 82nd Field artillery Battalion June 04, June 23.
- 99th Field Artillery Battalion May 23, June 23.
- 8th Engineer Squadron May 23, June 18.
- 1st Medical Squadron
- 16th Quartermaster Squadron
- 7th Cavalry Recon Squadron June 26, July 11.
- 1st Antitank Troop
- 1st Signal Troop
The 1st Cavalry Division arrived in Australia as shown above, continued its training at Strathpine , Queensland, until 26 July, then moved to New Guinea to stage for the Admiralties' campaign 22-27 February 1944. The Division saw its first combat in the Admiralty Islands, units landing at Los Negros Island 29 February 1944. Momote airstrip was secured against great odds. Attacks by fanatical Japanese were thrown back, and the enemy force surrounded by the end of March. Nearby islands were taken in April and May. The Division next took part in the invasion of Leyte, 20 October 1944, captured Tacloban and the adjacent airstrip, advanced along the north coast, and secured Leyte Valley, elements landing on and securing Samar Island. Moving down Ormoc Valley (in Leyte) and across the Ormoc plain, the Division reached the west coast of Leyte 1 January 1945. The Division then invaded Luzon, landing in the Lingayen Gulf area 27 January 1945, and fought its way to Manila by 3 February 1945. Prisoners at Santo Tomas University were liberated and the 1st Cavalry had advanced east of Manila by the middle of February before the city was cleared. On 20 February the Division was assigned the mission of seizing and securing crossings over the Marikina River and securing the Tagaytay-Antipolo Line. After being relieved 12 March in the Antipolo area, elements pushed south into Batangas and Bicol Provinces . They mopped up remaining pockets of resistance in these areas in small unit actions. Resistance was officially declared at an end 1 July 1945. The Division left Luzon 25 August 1945 for occupation duty in Japan, arriving in Yokohama 2 September 1945 and entering Tokyo 8 September, the first United States Division to enter the Japanese capital.
Occupation duty in Japan followed for the next five years. In the summer of 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea, and the 1st Cavalry Division was rushed to Korea to help shore up the Pusan Perimeter. After the X Corps attack at Inchon, a breakout operation was launched at the Pusan Perimeter. The 1st Cavalry Division remained in the line until it was relieved by the 45th Infantry Division from the United States Army National Guard in January 1952. Following the relief, the division returned to Japan. 1957 saw the division back in Korea, where it remained until 1965.
The Vietnam War was when the division next saw combat. By this time, it was no longer an infantry unit, but an air assault division, using helicopters. The division was re-roled in this way in early 1965, and left for Vietnam later that year. The unit, along with the 101st Airborne Division perfected new tactics and doctrine for helicopter-borne assaults over the next five years in Vietnam.
The unit's first major operation was the Pleiku Campaign . During this action, the division conducted 35 days of continuous airmobile operations. It earned the first Presidential Unit Citation presented to a division during the Vietnam War. Most of 1967 was spent in Operation Pershing . This was a large scale search of areas in the II Corps are which saw 5,400 enemy killed and 2,000 captured. Moving to the I Corps zone, the division saw out the Tet Offensive. 1st Cavalry Division was involved in liberating Quang Tri and Hue. After the intense fighting in Hue, the division then moved to relieve the Marine Corps units at the besieged base of Khe Sahn.
In 1970, a change of pace in the war occurred. The division was among the American units that crossed the border into Cambodia, extending the extent of the ground war quite considerably. However, relatively shortly thereafter, American units withdrew from the country. American units were also leaving Vietnam in large numbers, and by 1973, all were out. 1st Cavalry Division left during 1972.
In the aftermath of Vietnam, the 1st Cavalry Division was converted from the airmobile role into a triple capabilities or TRICAP division. The unit received an infusion of mechanised infantry and artillery, in order to make it capable of missions needing three types of troops; armor, airmobility, and air cavalry. However, the TRICAP concept was not particularly longlasting, and by 1975, the division was equipped as a heavy armored force.
It next saw combat as a heavy division, in the Gulf War of 1990-1991. The 1st Cavalry Division deployed as part of VII Corps, when American heavy armor forces were deployed abroad in significant numbers for the first time since 1945. The division only had two regular brigades assigned to it at the time, and they both deployed. It was planned to add a third brigade from the 2nd Armored Division, but in the end that brigade was needed to give the United States Marine Corps forces on the coast additional firepower. Consequently, 1st Cavalry Division did not see much combat. It was in corps reserve for much of the ground war, only seeing action in the last few hours.
The division did not take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, it deployed to Iraq in early 2004, relieving the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad. It is scheduled to be relieved by the 3rd Infantry Division between November 2004 and March 2005, according to globalsecurity.org
- Early history source:
- Army Lineage Series: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades.
- Army Lineage Series: Armor-Cavalry Part 1.
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