106th_WWII_History2
World War Two History
106th Cavalry Regiment
Illinois National Guard
&
106th Cavalry Group
106th & 121st Cavalry Recon
Squadrons
Utcumque Ubique
Anywhere at Any Time
Serving With Honor in:
1st Army                          3rd Army                          7th Army
 VIII Corps                                        XV Corps                                        XV Corps
27 June - 31 July 44                                                          1 Aug - 27 Aug 44                                                            28 Sept 44 - 15 Oct 45
                                                                                            11 Sept - 27 Sept 44
                                                                                                 
XII Corps
                                                                                           28 Aug - 10 Sept 44
Campaign Credits
Normandy // Northern France // Ardennes // Alsace Rhineland // Central Europe
Commander:  Vennard Wilson, COL, Cavalry
Decorations
Fourragerre
French Croix de Guerre with Palm            "Northern France"                         24 June 1945
French Croix de Guerre with Palm           "Alsace-Rhineland"                       24 June 1945
History
25 November 1940 - 15 March 1944
            The 106th Cavalry Regiment, Illinois National Guard (Horse-Mechanized) was inducted into Federal service on 25 November 1940 at Urbana, Illinois.  The Regiment moved to Camp Livingston, Louisiana on 3 January 1941 under command of V Corps.  The Regiment participated in maneuvers at Hineston, LA 21-24 June; Kinisatchie, LA 27 June-13 August; Dry Creek, LA 13 August-29 September 1941; and the Louisiana Maneuver Area 15 September-10 November 1942.  The Regiment was assigned to Third Army on 12 January 1942, and IV Corps on 1 May 1942.  In 1942 the Regiment became fully mechanized.  They were assigned to XV Corps on 1 March 1943 and transferred to Burkeville, Texas 25 June 43, after which it went to Camp Hood, TX 25 August under the Tank Destroyer Command.  The Regiment staged at Camp Shanks, New York 20 February 1944 until 27 February when it departed the NYPE for England.  The Regiment arrived in England on 9 March 1944.  On 15 March 1944 the Regiment was re-designated as HHT 106th Cavalry Group (Mechanized) and the 106th and 121st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons.  After three months of training the 106th sailed for France.
27 June 1944 - 8 May 1945
          The 106th Cav Group was brought to France under the command of Vennard Wilson, a Regular Army officer.  The Group arrived in France and was first committed to combat on 2 July 1944 with the VIII Corps.  Its first mission was to mop up German forces that had been cut off during the drive of the VIII Corps down the Normandy Peninsula.  The next mission was an offensive screening mission, which led from Normandy to Rennes by way of La Haye de Puits, Coutance, Avaranches, Isigny and St. James.
The Group was then reassigned to XV Corps as VIII turned west into the Brittany Peninsula for Brest and XV Corps turned east into France.  The 106th led XV Corps as it raced to Le Mans, providing a screen and important reconnaissance.  Units of the 106th were among the first to enter Le Mans.  At Le Mans the Corps turned north to close the Falaise pocket, and the 106th provided the flank screen.  This mission helped protect XV Corps against the enemy desperately trying to escape the Falaise Pocket.
With the pocket closed, the 106th again led XV Corps as it advanced on Paris, and helped spearhead the drive through Alencon, Sarthe, Nogent, Dreux and Mantes-Gassicourt.  In one of the fastest advances of the war, the 106th undertook another screening mission, which brought it from the left flank of Third Army to the right flank along a 90-mile front stretching from Auxerre to Gondricourt.  At this time the Group was transferred from XV Corps command to XII Corps.  The Group was given the mission of protecting the XII Corps right flank.  The 106th remained with XII Corps until mid-September, when it was once again assigned to XV Corps at Joinville.  The Group then protected the right flank of XV Corps and Third Army during the lightning advance from Joinville au Marne to Charmes au Moselle.  In this advance the 106th helped contain the German 16th Infantry Division along with the 2nd French Armored Division, which led to the complete destruction of the German unit. 
In late September control of XV Corps passed from Third Army, 12th Army Group to Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.  So the 106th went from screening the right flank of Third Army to maintaining contact between Third and Seventh Armies and screening Seventh Army's left flank.
The Group was assigned to reconnaissance in advance of XV Corps east from the Moselle River to Luneville.  The 106th then attacked into the Forêt de Parroy.  For two months the Group fought dismounted alongside the 79th and 44th Infantry Divisions through extensive minefields and bad weather.  The mission of maintaining contact with Third Army to the north was difficult due to the Group being so thinly scattered.  On several occasions the 106th helped XII Corps to its north repulse enemy attacks with anti-tank support.
In November, despite unfavorable weather, XV Corps began to advance beyond the Forêt de Parroy.  The Group's mission was to support the French 2nd Armored Division attack on Strasbourg on the Rhine through the Vosges Mountains by guarding the Corps left flank.  Once the infantry elements of XV Corps broke through German defenses, the 106th led the attack on Sarrebourg and the Saverne Gap.  While the rest of the Corps turned east to attack and capture Strasbourg, the 106th took up a screening position northwest of Sarrebourg.
On Thanksgiving Night, 23 November 1944, the Germans launched a strong counter-attack against XV Corps left flank using the 130th Panzer Division tanks and infantry.  Their goal was to cut off the supply line of the units east of the Vosges and recapture Saverne to cut off these units.  The 106th executed a brilliant delaying action, which gave Gen. Haislip, the XV Corps commander, time to shift forces to meet this attack.  By doing this, the 106th helped successfully repulse the attack. 
On 16 December 1944, when the Germans launched their offensive in the Ardennes, the 106th Cavalry Group was engaged in dismounted patrolling to the north to maintain contact with the enemy.  On 23 December the Group relieved the 6th Cavalry Group of Third Army in its zone to the north.  The 106th Squadron relieved the 28th Squadron in the vicinity of St. Avold, and 121st Squadron relieved the 6th Squadron in the vicinity of Merlebach.  The 106th helpedmaintain contact with Third Army on the shoulder of the Bulge and contain the German attack.
Just before midnight, 31 December 1944, the Germans launched "Operation Nordwind", which was designed to take pressure off the troops in the Ardennes.  The objective was to recapture Saverne Gap and there meet a northward thrust by Nineteenth Army (German).  This would trap seven American Divisions along the Rhine River.  This attack first struck the right center of the 106th.  The Group was forced to withdraw, but a swift counterattack forced the Germans back.  Once the German attack was stopped, Seventh Army and French First Army returned to the offensive on 29 January.  The 106th Cav Group continued patrol activity until 11 February 1945, when the 101st Cavalry Group relieved it in place.  The 106th then moved to the vicinity of Merlebach for rest, maintenance and refitting.  During this time the Group was issued the new M-24 'Chaffee' light tank armed with a 75mm gun, which was a vast improvement over the M5A1 'Stuart' with its 37mm gun.
On 15 March 1945 the 106th Cavalry Group returned to action.  It would be engaged until the end of the war.  Between 15 March and 26 March the Group led in advance of the XV offensive through the Siegfried Line near Saarbrucken.  This brought the Group to the Rhine and cleared German resistance in this area.  On 27 March 1945 the 106th crossed the Rhine and cleared and secured Salzbach.  The Group then covered the advance of XV Corps to Aschaffenburg am Main.  The 106th protected the left flank of the Corps and maintained contact with the 2nd Cavalry Group and the 44th and 45th Infantry Divisions. 
Between 1 April and 5 April the Group advanced north to Bad Orb to assist 2nd Cavalry Group in securing an Allied PW camp.  The 121st Squadron was then assigned to reconnoiter the main road to Neustadt.  The Group cleared the towns of Alberg, Siedensroth, Steinau, Schlichtern and Flinden.  From 5 April to 13 April the Group cleared the enemy to the Main River and covered the advance of the 45th Infantry Division into Königshofen.  The 106th protected the left flank of the 45th Infantry Division as that unit attacked and captured Nürnberg (Nuremburg) on 20 April.  A Troop of the 106th Squadron was given the mission on 21 April of leading the 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 5th Division to the Danube River and upon reaching the river securing and holding a crossing in the vicinity of Neuberg.
From 22 April to 23 April the 106th Cav Group fought its last major engagement of the war.  The city of Augsburg was captured, and the Group led the 45th Infantry Division as it moved into capture Munich.  The 45th captured Munich on 23 April.  During this drive the concentration camp at Dachau was liberated, and the conditions there exposed to the world.  After assisting in the capture of Munich, the 106th continued to lead XV Corps as it drove to Austria.  On 2 May, the Group received orders toward Salzburg.  General Patch, commander of Seventh Army, wanted to beat General Patton and Third Army to Salzburg.  This was accomplished on 4 May 1945, when Salzburg surrendered.  During this action, the 106th captured an entire Division, the 9th Hungarian, about 8800 men.  A truce was established in the vicinity and city of Salzburg, which lasted until the end of the war.
     The Groups final blaze of glory in the war was the rescue of King Leopold of Belgium.  A small recon party was sent out to search the towns of St.Wolfgang and Strobl when they learned King Leopold was under guard in a nearby villa.  Travelling in a six wheeled Mercedes previously owned by Von Ribbentrop, the troops located the villa.  Waving aside the S.S. guards, the men of the 106th entered the villa.  The guards did not resist and were disarmed by the troops.  Thus was Leopold, King of Belgium liberated 6 May 1945.  The 106th then remained in Austria as an occupation force until October 1945.  The unit returned to the U.S. by way of New York.  The Group was inactivated 22-23 October 1945.
Home SOP Uniforms & Equipment Events WWII History Recruiting Photos Links
1