101st Cavalry Regiment
World War Two
The 101st Cavalry Regiment was a New York State National Guard Regiment with
a long history of service in the United States Army. Originally the 1st New York
Cavalry Regiment, elements of the 101st Cavalry first saw action in Puerto Rico
in 1898 during the Spanish American War. The regiment participated in the Mexican
Border dispute of 1916 and in World War I the regiment was temporarily converted
into machine gun battalions and assigned to the 27th Infantry Division where they
served with distinction. In 1920 the regiment was reequiped for cavalry duty and
in 1922 the 1st New York Cavalry officially became the 101st Cavalry. For service
in World War II the 101st Cavalry was fully mechanized, changing over from a mixed
horse-mechanized format that had existed before the U.S. entry into the conflict.
Initially the 101st had a number of Squadrons with purely New York State membership.
The unit drew its strength from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Geneseo with a smattering
of men from other upstate communities thrown in as well. The unit was further
augmented by the addition of the 101st and 116th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance
Squadrons. On January 21st, 1941 the 101st Cavalry Regiment was inducted into
For the majority of the war, the 101st Cavalry Regiment trained and served at
various posts in the United States. From February 2nd, 1941 to March 10th, 1943
the regiment trained at Fort Devens MA with a few brief periods of maneuvers and
training at other locations. For the latter half of 1943 and most of 1944 the
101st served within mobile groups in Virginia and Maryland. During this period
the 101st Cavalry Regiment was redesignated the 101st Cavalry Group and the New
York soldiers were strengthened by the addition of troopers from other states.
On October 31st, 1944 the 101st embarked at New York City bound for Liverpool
in England where they arrived on the 12th of November.
On January 30th, 1945 the 101st Cavalry crossed the English Channel and landed
in Normandy. From there the unit moved to Camp Twenty Grand, forty-four miles
from the debarkation point, arriving in total by February 2nd. The 101st Cavalry
Group was attached to the XV corp. of the American 7th Army and sent up to relieve
the 106th Cavalry Group. The relief took place from the 9th to the 11th of February
and the 101st found itself stationed in Wadgassen Germany along the line Emmersweiller.
The assignment to the XV corp. was a short one however for after holding a defensive
line from February 11th to the 28th, the 101st Cavalry Group was assigned to the
XXI corp. The 101st was kept in line until the 14th of March when the Cavalry
Group launched an attack that eliminated all enemy resistance south of the Saar
River. Following this successful assault, the 101st was relieved and attached
to the 63rd Division. On the 17th of March the group relieved the 253rd Infantry
Regiment and took its place opposite the formidable German Siegfried Line. The
101st noting signs of enemy withdraw on their front launched an advance on the
20th and broke through German lines, capturing the town of St. Ingbert. During
the month of April, the 101st Cavalry Group screened the advance of the XXI corp.
deeper into Germany against rapidly stiffening resistance. During this time the
German’s advanced jet aircraft made their first appearance strafing and
bombing units all over the 7th Army front including the 101st. Throughout April
and the first few days of May the 101st continued to screen the advance of the
XXI corp. and fought a number of gritty battles with troops from the 17th SS Panzer
Division and the elite SS Totenkopf Division. On May 5th the fighting ended for
the 101st Cavalry Group. On May 8th a platoon from the 101st Cavalry Group captured
Field Marshal Kesselring and his entire staff at Zeller See. The 101st also captured
a number of German governmental officials including the Secretary of Agriculture,
the Postmaster General, and the chief of the Reich Chancellery in addition to
the Japanese ambassador to Germany and his diplomatic entourage. The unit was
relieved on May 11th, 1945 and would soon return home for deactivation.
During its drive across Germany, the 101st Cavalry Group sustained a total of
217 casualties. Of these 44 were killed, 162 were wounded, and 11 were missing
in action. The 101st advanced quickly and almost recklessly during its 85 days
of combat and in so doing captured a total of 27,346 enemy prisoners, a total
that surpasses the unit’s own effective strength by over 15 times.
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Stanton, Shelby L. World War II Order of Battle.
New York: Galahad Books, 1991, pgs. 103-105, 216, 230.
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New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
April 6, 2006