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The Shaolin Monastery
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Sabers through the ReichSabers through the Reich

World War II Corps Cavalry from Normandy to the Elbe 

William Stuart Nance

Narrated by Jim Woods

Available from Audible

Book published by The University Press of Kentucky

Before the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944, their aerial reconnaissance discovered signs of German defenses on the Îles St. Marcouf. From these two coastal islands, German artillery could bombard the 4th US Infantry Division and repulse a crucial thrust of Operation Overlord. With the fate of the war on the line, the 4th Mechanized Cavalry Group navigated the islands’ minefields and reported no trace of German soldiers. Their rapid and accurate intelligence gave the Allies the necessary time and concentration of forces for the D-Day invasion to succeed.

In Sabers through the Reich, William Stuart Nance provides the first comprehensive operational history of American corps cavalry in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II. The corps cavalry had a substantive and direct impact on Allied success in almost every campaign, serving as offensive guards for armies across Europe and conducting reconnaissance, economy of force, and security missions, as well as prisoner of war rescues. From D-Day and Operation Cobra to the Battle of the Bulge and the drive to the Rhine, these groups had the mobility, flexibility, and firepower to move quickly across the battlefield, enabling them to aid communications and intelligence gathering and reducing the Clausewitzian friction of war.

William Stuart Nance is an active duty armor officer who taught military history at the United States Military Academy from 2011 to 2014.


“This work fills a significant gap in the historiography of the US cavalry in WWII, and makes a significant contribution to understanding the cutting-edge synergy between mass and mobility that defined the US Army’s outstanding combat record in the ETO. ”

—Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler’s Panzers: The Lightning Attacks That Revolutionized Warfare

“What makes this such a particularly important work is that clearly the corps cavalry did extraordinary work with execrable equipment. Without the ability of these small, ill-equipped units to screen the flanks of main line infantry and armored units the US Army could not have been as successful as it was in breaking the German ground army. ”

—Williamson Murray, author of Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World

“An armor officer with a doctorate in history, Nance throws fresh light on a very neglected branch of the US Army in World War II, the cavalry. This is a very valuable addition to the literature on the war in Europe, not to mention the history of the cavalry.”

NYMAS Review

“Nance’s description and analysis of the contribution of U.S. Army cavalry groups significantly sharpens our understanding of one of the most significant military campaigns in U.S. history.”

Journal of Military History

“Nance succeeds in his well-organized, well-researched and well-written account of this underdeveloped topic. The book’s blow-by-blow account reveals the extensive research Nance conducted to improve the historical record. ”

Armor Magazine

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University Press Audiobooks