Patton file photo

George Patton

Born11 Nov 1885
Died21 Dec 1945
CountryUnited States
CategoryGround

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

George Smith Patton, Jr. was born in San Gabriel, California, United States to the affluent George Smith Patton and Ruth Wilson; although he was the third George Smith Patton, he was given the suffix of junior as if he was the second. Of his paternal lineage, his grandfather was Brigadier General George Smith Patton of the Confederate States of America, his father was a lawyer and politician who graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in Virginia, United States in 1877, and three of his great uncles were also military officers; on his mother's side, he descended from several businessmen with varying degrees of success. Patton, who cared little about business, chose to follow the footsteps of the military commanders. Part of the influence also came from John Singleton Mosby, a former Confederate cavalry officer, who was a family friend. Although he was commonly believed to be suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia, he loved reading, particularly military history. His love of reading was said to be cultivated by his parents, who not only encouraged it as a daily habit but also read to him well beyond the age when parents typically stopped doing so. He attended Virginia Military Institute for one year, and then through his father's connections secured a transfer to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, United States. He was a gifted athlete and played sports for both schools. He was well versed in sword fighting, fencing, and horseback riding. Academically, he performed well in all subjects except for mathematics. In fact, he had to repeat his first year at West Point because his mathematics grade was unsatisfactory; a proud man, he studied even harder than he did, and completed his second try of his first year with honors. He graduated from West Point in 1909. Initially, he debated whether he would join the infantry or the cavalry upon graduation; the former was the core of the United States Army, while the latter tended to be considered an elite branch. He chose the latter.

Patton married Beatrice Banning Ayer on 26 May 1910; she was the daughter of a very wealth textile merchant; the couple would later have three children, Beatrice, Ruth Ellen, and George III.

Patton competed in the Olympic Summer Games of 1912 at Stockholm, Sweden, competing in the first modern pentathlon, finishing at the fifth place overall (7th of 37 in 300-meter freestyle swimming, 4th of 29 in fencing, 6th in equestrian cross-country steeplechase, 3rd of 15 in 4-kilometer cross-crountry running, and 20th out of 32 in pistol shooting); he believed that he should have received a higher standing at the pistol shooting event as he had claimed that at least one of his shots passed through the hole made by a previous contestant on the target sheet, but did not lodge any complaints with the judges' decisions against his claim. He made the United States Modern Pentathlon team for the 1916 Olympics, but the games were canceled due to WW1.

For the remainder of 1912, Patton studied swordsmanship from experts in Dresden, Berlin, and Nuremberg in Germany, and then he studied under Adjutant M. Clèry, who was considered the best swordsman in Europe, in Saumur in France at the French Army's Cavalry School. His report of this experience was published in the Mar 1913 issue of the Cavalry Journal, an American military publication. In the summer of 1913, he returned to Saumur for a second session under Clèry, and upon his return he was made the US Army's youngest Master of the Sword, and was made a swordsmanship instructor at Fort Riley, Kansas, United States. In the same year, the Ordnance Department of the US Army began producing the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber designed by Patton, which was nicknamed the Patton Saber; the design was made for thrusting, different from the previous standard saber which was used for slashing. In 1914, he published the manual Saber Exercise.

During the Mexican Expedition of 1916 to 1917, American forces crossed into Mexico after paramilitary forces of Mexican insurgent Francisco "Pancho" Villa raided towns in the United States. Fearing his unit would not be sent to Mexico, thus there was a possibility that he might not become a participant, Patton contacted Brigadier General John Pershing, who made him his aide. During the expedition, while serving as a messenger, he engaged a small group of Mexican insurgents, killing several leaders including Julio Cardenas. After strapping some of the killed on the hood of his detachment's three armor cars as if they were trophy stags, he commanded the small column of vehicles to return, speeding past a larger group of insurgents that his small force could not take on. This action was largely considered to be the first American armored vehicle raid. The American public learned of Patton for the first time as this raid was featured on several major newspapers.

During this time, Patton's sister Anne became involved with Pershing, which delighted Patton. In a letter from Patton to his wife, he noted that Anne might soon outrank him. To his disappointment, however, a marriage never materialized. The working relationship and friendship between Pershing and Patton, however, remained close.

At the onset of the American entry into WW1, Pershing promoted Patton to the rank of captain. When Patton requested a command leading troops at the front, Pershing assigned him to the newly formed Tank Corps. In this role, he initially observed actions of French tank units to learn about these new weapons. On 23 Mar 1918, he received his first ten tanks at the Tank School and Center at Langres, France; he personally backed seven of the ten French-built light tanks off of the train that delivered them. In Aug 1918, he became the commanding officer of the US 1st Provisional Tank Brigade (re-designated the 304th Tank Brigade on 6 Nov). With that unit, he participated in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On 26 Sep 1918, he was wounded in the left leg while leading six soldiers and one tank in an attack on German machine gun positions near Cheppy, France; the war would end while he recovered from this injury. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Purple Heart medal for his WW1 service.

In the early 1920s, Patton became an advocate of tanks, but keen to the US Army's resistance to change, he advocated them only as support weapons to infantry rather as an independent branch. His writings at this time, however, suggested otherwise, calling the tanks to make bold and massed attacks to penetrate enemy defensive lines. Facing dramatic budget cuts in the post-WW1 US Army, he transferred back to the horse cavalry and abandoned for the time being his support for tanks. His colleague and friend Dwight Eisenhower privately thought that Patton had changed his mind due to political reasons, and thus had betrayed the cause that the two had fought together for the past few years. In Jul 1932, he commanded troops in the Bonus Army incident, where his men broke up a protest of veterans gathering in Washington DC, United States; he was said to be disappointed with his superior Douglas MacArthur's decision for such a policing action, but carried out his orders as commanded. In the late 1930s, he commanded Fort Myer, Virginia, United States; although he did not like this appointment as he thought it was a position too far from any potential action, this gave him the opportunity to stay in touch with several key top US Army leaders working in nearby Washington DC, which helped him gain the information that the US Army was finally forming two armored divisions. In Jul 1940, when the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions were formed, Patton managed to receive command in a brigade of the latter. In Oct 1940, he became the assistance division commanding officer at the rank of brigadier general. Between Nov 1940 and Apr 1941, he served as the acting division commander of the 2nd Armored Division; he was made the official commanding general on 11 Apr 1941.

As the United States entered the war in late 1941, Patton prepared the 2nd Armored Division for combat. He then served as the commanding officer of the Desert Training Center in Indio, California, United States, preparing troops for combat in North Africa. He was known to push very hard, putting both officers and men in tents rather than barracks during training, for example. After only months in that role, he was suddenly transferred to command the newly formed I Armored Corps, so sudden that he did not get a chance to speak to the attendees of the training centers, and had to settle for a letter addressed to the entire student body.

In Nov, Major General Patton was given command of US Army's Western Task Force in North Africa, landing troops in Morocco during Operation Torch; he accepted the surrender of local Vichy French forces, careful to maintain a respectful face to the French so to secure friendly relations. In 1943, upon American defeats at Sidi Bou Zid and Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower replaced Major General Lloyd Fredenall as the commanding officer of the US II Corps as a lieutenant general. He was known for his strict discipline, punishing troops who broke rules, however minor, with fines. It was in North Africa that he observed personal friend and superior Eisenhower being more so a politician rather than a military commander. It was also in North Africa that Patton began to regularly visit field hospitals in an attempt to raise morale; it was part of his "see and be seen" command style.

Upon completion of the Desert War, Patton was given command of the US 7th Army for the invasion of Sicily, Italy. Lieutenant Charles Scheffel recalled an incident involving a poor choice of words when Patton spoke to his troops in preparation of this invasion.

Patton began an amazingly bellicose and agitated tirade about what we were going to do to the enemy when we got to Sicily. Then he said, "And gentlemen, when we land on the beaches of Sicily, there will be no prisoners taken."

I sat stunned in the first row of officers, not ten feet away from the pompous man. His words made my skin crawl. Nobody said anything for a long moment.

General [Manton] Eddy stepped forward and tugged gently at Patton's shirtsleeve. "General," he said so softly I could barely hear him, "you might want to rethink your last statement."

Patton looked out over the group of officers sitting on the sand before him. Then he wagged his hand toward us. "Forget what I just said."

Well, you don't forget those things.

The 7th Army's role was to protect the western flank of General Bernard Montgomery's British troops, who was considered to be the main assault force; this annoyed Patton, but he went with the plan. As the Allied commander above him, Harold Alexander, the aggressive Patton took several opportunities to go out of the way to capture positions that were not necessarily in his path in order to secure fame for his commanders. As Montgomery's forces became bogged down by fierce Axis defenses, Patton moved along the coastal road in northern Sicily to capture Messina, the major port city that was originally assigned to the British. He thought it was a major political victory to have American troops entering it before the British. Although the Allied victory at Sicily was a significant one, dealing the Italian a major blow in morale (which would soon lead to Italy switching sides), Patton and Montgomery collectively lost the chance to conclusively defeat Axis forces there, allowing the bulk of the German and Italian forces to flee onto the mainland.

On 3 Aug 1943, Patton visited a field hospital in Sicily as he had often done. After he had just spoken to some of the more severely wounded soldiers, he came upon Charles Kuhl who apparently had no injuries but was registered as a patient. "What's the matter with you?", asked Patton. When Kuhl responded "[I]t's my nerves, I guess. I can't stand the shelling", Patton called him a coward and slapped him in the back of the head with the back of an open hand, sending his steel helmet to the ground. He went on to visit other wounded patients; before he departed, he made sure to yell at Kuhl one more time, demanding him to go back to the front lines. On 10 Aug, at the 93rd Evacuation Hospital a similar incident happened to Private Paul Bennett. The first incident with Kuhl was publicized by the journalist Drew Pearson on 21 Nov, creating a widespread controversy.

After the war, Kuhl revealed that, immediately after, he was diagnosed with malaria, which was the cause of some of the symptoms that led to him being admitted to the hospital in the first place. In 1970, he noted that Patton later personally apologized to him at his headquarters. He added that Patton "didn't know that I was sick as I was" and "I think at the time it happened, he was pretty well worn out himself."

Nevertheless, in 1943, Eisenhower received several letters from the public demanding Patton's removal, but ultimately decided against it because Eisenhower thought Patton's ability as a commander outweighed the negatives from his eccentricities. First, Eisenhower placed a gag order on Patton, forbidding him to speak to the press; "it would be far easier to keep him for a significant role in the war if he could shut off his public utterances", Eisenhower said in his memoirs. Then, as punishment, Eisenhower removed Patton from field command, and keep him off of the front lines for many months. Eisenhower also used this punishment as a deception against the Germans, keeping Patton at locations where he would like to mislead the Germans to believe where the next Allied invasion would be, as the Germans respected Patton's ability as a commander and believed he would for sure play a significant role in the next offensive. In early 1944, he was assigned as the commanding officer of the First United States Army Group, which existed on paper only. This largely fictional army group was headquartered in the Dover, England, United Kingdom area, making the Germans believe that if an eventual cross-Channel invasion was to take place, it would be against the Pas-de-Calais region of France across the Strait of Dover.

Patton remained in England during the initial phase of the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, joining the offensive as the commanding officer of the US Third Army on the extreme western flank of the line only after beachheads had been secured. His first offensive took place on 1 Aug 1944 during Operation Cobra, where he began a movement out of the Normandy hedgerow country into Brittany, France to the west, then turned east. Together with other Allied units, he played a role in nearly trapping a large number of German troops near Falaise, France. He advocated an aggressive move to complete the encirclement, but Eisenhower ordered him to stop, fearing friendly fire between American and British units; as many Germans were able to escape from the area, albeit without much of the heavy equipment, Patton blamed Eisenhower for this failure. Although viewed as brash and overly aggressive, Patton's troops indeed demonstrated the effectiveness of armor-infantry-air movements. Some of his tactical decisions would be reviewed as the theory of combined arms became topics of discussion after the war.

In late 1944, the Germans launched the Ardennes Offensive, which resulted in what the Allies named the Battle of the Bulge. Patton suggested to Eisenhower that the American should "let the sons-of-bitches go all the way to Paris, then we'll cut 'em off and round 'em up!"; Eisenhower, of course, did not take this advice, and instead set the furthest allowed extend to be the Meuse River instead. As an American salient became trapped at Bastogne, Belgium, Eisenhower dispatched Patton to relieve them. Although Eisenhower had given Patton more time to achieve this, Patton pushed to complete this task as quickly as possible, reaching Bastogne, 100 miles away, in the short period of 48 hours after turning his troops northward abruptly. Many considered this maneuver his greatest achievement as a general, citing not only for his ability to keep up the morale of his soldiers in the harsh winter weather, but also for his ability to resolve the difficult logistics issues that arose due to this complex maneuver, especially in such a short period of time.

When Patton crossed the Rhine River into Germany on 24 Mar 1945, he decided to urinate into the river. Like others who had done it (such as Winston Churchill), he thought it was a gesture of pride, noting the Allied superiority over the Germans. In a later official message to Eisenhower requesting more gasoline and supplies for his troops, he opened with the line "Dear SHAEF, I have just pissed into the Rhine River." Upon completing the crossing, he picked up some dirt on the German side of the river, emulating William the Conqueror, who was among his favorite historical figures.

As the war progressed Patton picked up some rather distinct preferences in appearance - lacquered helmet, riding breeches, cavalry boots, and an ivory-handled Colt 45 revolver. Later in the war, he also gained a traveling companion, a bull terrier; initially named William the Conqueror, when the dog displayed an extreme fear of shell bursts, Patton renamed the dog with the diminutive Willie.

On 26 Mar 1945, Patton dispatched the 300-strong Task Force Baum to liberate prisoner of war camp OFLAG XIII-B near Hammelburg, Germany, where his son-in-law John Waters was imprisoned. 32 men were killed and about 200 were captured as the mission resulted in a complete failure. It became another controversy in Patton's military career, in which he was accused of risking 300 lives to save a family member.

Patton had long been known as a lover of horses. Upon learning that a group of horses, which included most of Europe's breeding stock of the fine Lipizzan breed of horses, were at Hostau, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (pre-war Czechoslovakia; now in the Czech Republic), which was about to be captured by Soviet forces, he launched Operation Cowboy on 12 May 1945 to transfer the horses 1,200 found in Hostau to the west, which included 375 Lipizzans It was feared that the Soviet troops would slaughter the horses for food, which was something that they were known to do on a regular basis.

The European War ended as his troops were halted by Eisenhower outside Prague, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He visited several concentration camps and was observed to be disturbed by the sufferings of the inmates. Despite having anti-Semitic tendencies, he was said to have been extremely upset on most trips, and vomited at least once. Having noted that he had anti-Semetic tendencies, it must also be added that he also made comment against African-Americans. His prejudice against the two groups, however, were not different than the societal norm that existed in the United States during that time. When asked about minorities serving in the US Army, he responded "I don't give a damn who the man is. He can be a nigger or a Jew, but if he has the stuff and does his duty, he can have anything I've got. By God! I love him." His personal aide Sergeant Meeks, who he had serving under him for the entire length of the war, was also an African-American.

Patton was also highly critical of the Allied occupation's use of German prisoners of war as forced laborers in Western Europe. He thought such policy was comparable to the German practice that the Allies had long scorned, thus hypocritical.

On 9 Jun 1945, Patton and Lieutenant General James Doolittle were honored at a parade in Los Angeles, California, United States. On the following day, he spoke before a crowd of 100,000 people at the Burbank City Hall nearby. During this trip to California, he donated an original copy of the German anti-Semetic 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which he had found during the war and had stolen, to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. This was kept a secret by the chairman of the Huntington Library Robert Millikan for some time due to the illegal nature of this donation.

Like many others, even before the war had ended, Patton had envisioned that the Soviet Union would soon turn into the next enemy of the Western Allies. He recommended, on several occasions, that the Anglo-Americans should sign a separate peace treaty with the Germans, and then, as the Germans' overlords, join the Russo-German war on the side of the Germans. He argued that in 1945 the Soviet Union was over-extended and extremely weakened by years of war within its borders, and a full-scale invasion by the Western Allies would easily reach Moscow. This recommendation, of course, was not taken seriously, as Allied leadership had long pushed against separate negotiations. Furthermore, civilians all across the Allied nations had long tired of war, and the leaders wished the same.

Although Patton had wanted a field command in the Pacific War, the US Army gave him an administrative position in Germany, instead. As the Military Governor of Bavaria, he was placed in charge of the region's de-Nazification. While others in similar roles across Germany purged the German government of former Nazi Party members, he kept many of them in high positions, citing that most, if not all, German civil leaders were forced to become members of the Nazi Party thus did not necessarily reflect their personal philosophy, and that these men must be retained in positions of power otherwise vital services such as electricity and heat would be interrupted. Already suspected of being too friendly with former Nazi Party members, a speech of his noting that being a Nazi Party member in Germany during war time was "like being a Democrat in the United States" was taken out of context and was used against him. When given a chance to apologize for such a statement that could easily lead to confusion, he re-asserted his statement instead without useful clarification, thus appearing even more so as he was putting the Nazi Party and major American political parties on par. To avoid further controversy, he was transferred to the US Fifteenth Army, a unit charged not with combat, but rather with writing the history of the war. Although disappointed, he was initially excited about the opportunity to partake in writing history, especially since he had been an avid history reader since he was a child. He quickly grew bored of inaction, however. Ultimately, he delegated some of the key tasks to subordinates, and traveled to a few cities in Europe. In Nov 1945, he decided to resign his position with the US 15th Army in early 1946 and to return to the US in 1946; he had planned to possibly retire upon his return, but he had not made up his mind, wishing to discuss it with his wife first.

On 9 Dec 1945, Patton was invited by Major General Hobart Gay to go on a hunting trip near Mannheim, Germany. Private First Class Horace Woodring was the driver at the front of the vehicle that took Patton to Mannheim, while Patton was seated in the rear. According to Woodring, Patton made a comment en route about the destroyed and abandoned vehicles on the side of the road, and Woodring might had momentarily taken his eyes off of the road. At 1145 hours, near Neckarstadt, an on-coming 2 1/2-ton truck driving by US Army Technical Sergeant Robert Thompson made a sudden and unexpected left turn into a supply depot. Woodring stepped on the brake pedal and swerved to the left, still hitting the truck, but his quick reaction reduced the impact to somewhat of a minimum. Woodring, Gay, and Thompson all emerged uninjured, but in the backseat, Patton was bleeding profusely from his head from impact with the division between the front and rear compartments of the vehicle, and he complained that he could not feel anything below his neck. After making sure Woodring and Gay were unharmed, Patton asked them to rub his shoulders and arms to help him regain feeling, but the two were unable to do so. He was rushed to the military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, where it was discovered that he suffered damage in his neck and spinal cord. Eisenhower flew his wife to Europe to be at his side, and Patton, though depressed that he could never ride again, was said to be a model patient. On 21 Dec 1945, he had irregular breathing, which was reported by his wife and tended to by the medical staff. After his breathing became normal, his wife went to the cafeteria to eat dinner, during which she was fetched to return to Patton's side, informed that his condition had once again worsened. Before she reached Patton, he died from a pulmonary embolism.

Patton's funeral service was held at the Christ Church (Christuskirche) in Heidelberg-S¸dstadt in Germany. His wife, noting that Patton wanted to be buried near the men he had commanded, thus he was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg; this suited Eisenhower, who feared that, had Patton be flown back to the US, it might stir controversy as it would be a clear exception of US Army policy at the time where fallen servicemen were buried relatively locally where they had died. A cenotaph was later palced at the Wilson-Patton family plot at the San Gabriel Cemetery in San Gabriel, California, United States as a memorial.

Patton's personal virtue could be summed up with his quote "wars are fought with weapons, but they are won by men". He earned the nickname "Old Blood and Guts" from the press for his aggressive and effective style of leadership, though he hated the name, for that it was only selectively quoted from some of his speeches; this nickname left out a third characteristic he thought was equally important for a military leader: intelligence..

Sources:
Alan Axelrod, Patton
Barry Basden, Crack! and Thump
Donald Bennett, Honor Untarnished
Dwight Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe
Wikipedia

Famous Quote(s)

George Patton Timeline

11 Nov 1885 George Patton was born.
11 Jun 1909 George Patton was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant.
26 May 1910 George Patton and Beatrice Banning Ayer became married; they would later have three children.
23 May 1916 George Patton was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant.
15 May 1917 George Patton was promoted to the rank of captain.
26 Jan 1918 George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of major.
23 Mar 1918 George Patton, commanding officer of the American Tank School in France, received his first 10 light tanks by train; he personally backed 7 of them from the train.
30 Mar 1918 George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel.
26 Sep 1918 George Patton was injured in the leg during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France.
17 Oct 1918 George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of colonel.
20 Jun 1920 George Patton reverted to the permanent rank of captain.
1 Jul 1920 George Patton was promoted to the permanent rank of major.
28 Jul 1932 Major George Patton commanded six battle tanks in the policing operation to disperse demonstrating WW1 veterans in Washington DC, United States.
1 Mar 1934 George Patton was promoted to the permanent rank of lieutenant colonel.
1 Jul 1938 George Patton was promoted to the permanent rank of colonel.
2 Oct 1940 George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general.
4 Apr 1941 George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of major general.
11 Apr 1941 George Patton was made the commanding officer of the 2nd Armored Division.
3 Feb 1943 Over lunch, Dwight Eisenhower informed George Patton that Patton had been chosen to help plan the invasion of Sicily, Italy.
6 Mar 1943 George Patton was named the commanding officer of the US II Corps.
12 Mar 1943 Manton Eddy gave George Patton the unofficial news of Patton's promotion to the temporary rank of lieutenant general. The promotion would be approved by the United States Senate within a few days.
1 Apr 1943 George Patton's aide Captain Richard Jenson was killed during a German air attack; Patton shed tears over Jenson's body and cut a lock of hair, keeping some of himself and sending the remaining to Jenson's family. Patton would blame the British Royal Air Force for allowing German aircraft to operate with impunity; this accusation would create controversial at top levels of Allied command.
4 Apr 1943 Unable to do it himself, George Patton ordered Omar Bradley to fire Orlando Ward for Ward's failures at Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.
15 Jul 1943 George Patton formed a provisional corps in western in Sicily, Italy.
3 Aug 1943 George Patton visited a field hospital in Sicily, Italy and slapped Charles Kuhl for what he claimed as cowardice as Kuhl suffered no physical wounds.
10 Aug 1943 George Patton visited the 93rd Evacuation Hospital in Sicily, Italy and berated Private Paul Bennett for cowardice.
21 Aug 1943 George Patton apologized to Private Paul Bennett whom he slapped at the 93rd Evacuation Hospital for accused cowardice.
22 Aug 1943 George Patton apologized to doctors and nurses who witnessed him slapping enlisted men for accused cowardice. Later in the day, Patton met entertainer Bob Hope and asked Hope to announced on the radio that Patton loved and cared for his men.
23 Aug 1943 George Patton apologized to Charles Kuhl whom he slapped at a field hospital for accused cowardice.
21 Nov 1943 Journalist Drew Pearson publicized George Patton's "slapping incident" of 3 Aug 1943, stirring controversy.
25 Nov 1943 George Patton sent Dwight Eisenhower a cable apologizing for the public relations row that he had caused.
8 Dec 1943 In Sicily, Italy, George Patton was told by US President Franklin Roosevelt in person that Patton was to hold army-level command in the upcoming invasion of France.
18 Feb 1944 George Patton noted in his diary that "I wish [Dwight Eisenhower] was more of a soldier and less of a politician."
1 Mar 1944 George Patton noted in his diary that "[Dwight Eisenhower] drank too much and is lonely", implying that the pressures of being the top Allied commander were taking a toll on his usually healthy and affable friend.
7 Apr 1944 During a dinner with Dwight Eisenhower and other Allied generals in England, United Kingdom, George Patton suggested that divisions used for Operation Overlord should be made over-strength.
25 Apr 1944 George Patton was at a welcome club in Knutsford, England, United Kingdom as the guest of honor. Learning that his visit was supposed to be unofficial, he freely spoke of a post-war world in which the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union would together rule the world. A reporter carelessly missed writing down the Soviet Union, thus when the story was published several days later, it appeared as if Patton was disrespecting the Soviet Union.
6 Jul 1944 Colonel (temporary Lieutenant General) George Patton, Jr. secretly flew into the Cotentin Peninsula in France.
16 Aug 1944 George Patton was promoted to the permanent rank of major general, bypassing the permanent rank of brigadier general.
21 Sep 1944 George Patton traveled to Paris, France to meet with Dwight Eisenhower over lunch.
17 Mar 1945 Eisenhower ordered Patton to cease making plans to enter German-occupied Czechoslovakia.
24 Mar 1945 George Patton urinated into the Rhine River. Upon completing his crossing over a pontoon bridge, he took some dirt on the far bank, emulating his favorite historical figure William the Conqueror.
14 Apr 1945 George Patton was promoted to the permanent rank of general.
12 May 1945 George Patton launched Operation Cowboy in Hostau, Czechoslovakia, rescuing 1,200 horses, including 375 of the Lipizzan breed, from potential Soviet slaughter.
9 Jun 1945 George Patton and James Doolittle were honored at a parade in Los Angeles, California, United States.
10 Jun 1945 George Patton addressed a crowd of 100,000 civilians in Burbank, California, United States.
22 Sep 1945 Taken out of context, Patton's careless comparison of Nazi Party members in Germany to Democratic Party or Republican Party members in the United States stirred much controversy.
28 Sep 1945 George Patton was summoned to Frankfurt, Germany by Dwight Eisenhower, who scolded him for repeatedly stirring up controversies and transferred him to the US 15th Army in the rear, which was tasked with compiling a history of the European War.
2 Oct 1945 Dwight Eisenhower informed George Patton that Eisenhower was to announce Patton's transfer from US 3rd Army to US 15th Army on the following day.
7 Oct 1945 George Patton handed control of the US 3rd Army to Lucian Truscott.
9 Dec 1945 George Patton sustained spinal cord and neck injuries in an automobile accident near Neckarstadt, Germany at 1145 hours. He became paralyzed from the neck down.
11 Dec 1945 Beatrice Patton, wife of paralyzed George Patton, arrived at Heidelberg, Germany.
14 Dec 1945 George Patton asked his wife Beatrice to prevent Walter Bedell Smith from visiting him at the hospital in Heidelberg, Germany.
21 Dec 1945 George Patton passed away from pulmonary embolism at the US Army hospital in Heidelberg, Germany as the result of an automobile accident.
19 Mar 1947 George Patton's remains were moved to a different grave site within the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg.

Photographs

Portrait of Cadet George Patton, 1904Fencers Jean de Mas Latrie of France and George Patton of the United States competing in the 1912 Summer Olympics, Stockholm, Sweden, 1912Mexican Generals Obregon and Villa with US General Pershing at Fort Bliss, Texas, United States, 1913; note Patton behind PershingGeorge Patton riding the steeplechase horse Wooltex, 1914
See all 56 photographs of George Patton



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    2 Mar 2007 11:22:20 AM

    nice
  2. Anonymous says:
    18 Nov 2008 03:37:20 PM

    sweet im using this in my paper
  3. Anonymous says:
    16 Feb 2009 03:31:29 PM

    General Patton was the only Allied Commander that the German's named a group after. It was called "Army group Patton". My late Uncle was with the 3rd Army he served in Tanks, he never talked about his experiences in ww2, but he would always say " I was with Patton" and that was all he would say. God rest his soul.
  4. Dan Phantom says:
    22 May 2009 04:43:28 PM

    However, the soldier he slapped actually forgave him, saying that everyone was under a lot of pressure. Turned out he had Malaria as well, and Patton apologized when he learned, having been unaware of it previously
  5. BILL says:
    10 Jun 2009 01:06:35 PM

    All I ask is a patch of land, not to small nor to large, and on this land a small house, and behind this house an ever present stream of running water, and beyond that a bit of wood.

    "The courage of the Soldier is heightened by the knowledge of this profession"

    -Flavius Vegetius Renatus
    Epitoma Rei Militaris
    4th Century AD

    -Roman Soldier-

    I have always remembered this, that every soldier wants peace to return to his life.
  6. Anonymous says:
    2 Nov 2009 05:33:29 PM

    Your a **** ing dumb **** with first comment, no such regiment get off Wikipedia.
  7. Bill says:
    6 Feb 2010 09:11:52 PM

    Such an ignorant person you are, your stupid
    response was not only rude and hostile, but also unacceptable and your language, you have to stoop to one syllable words, it was not very difficult to form a mental image of
    your lack of etiquette.
    I want you to read very slow, so you don't have to put stress on you brain, and your able to absord this knowledge.

    Flavius Vegetius Renatus:
    Was a writer of the Later Roman Empire, who
    mainly focuses on Military Organization he
    was also Quoted:
    "Let him who desires peace prepare for war".

    I want you to learn more:

    Epitoma Rei Militaris is a treatise it was a
    Manual for Roman Warfare.
    Vegetius
    Oxford University Press
    ISBN 13 9780199264643

    The Army of the Caesars
    Michael Grant Publications Ltd. 1974
    ISBN 0-87131-705-2

    The Roman Imperial Army
    Graham Webster
    Barnes & Noble Books 1994
    ISBN 1-56619-417-2

    Greece and Rome at War
    Peter Connolly
    Published by Prentice-Hall Inc. 1981
    ISBN 013 364976 8
    Library of Congress Catalog No 810218

    The books are hard cover, and average over
    (300)three hundred pages.

    I would have enjoyed a dialoge and exchange of information, opinions and interests, so much I could have shraed with you, such a
    loss.
    Isn't WW2DB, and the internet for?

    I keep six honest serving men
    (They taught me all I know)
    Their names are What and Why and When
    and How and Where and Who.

    -Kipling-

    "Damm Do I enjoy this Data Base!"

    Bill
  8. Bill says:
    7 Feb 2010 11:47:08 AM

    Continued from number seven (7)
    My response to Anonymous Dated:
    2 Nov. 2009 05:33:29PM #(6)

    Such a fine line between intelligence and
    stupidity your response came down to what I would say is on a scale of the lowest form of a common idiotic denominator.
    Interacting with stupid people, is something
    I've grown accustomed to, yet I find it hard
    not to get upset.
    Such low intellect that you can not think on
    a smarter level. To be ignorant means you
    simply don't know things, what makes a person
    unintelligent is that they're unable to grasp
    the tools of knowledge.
    The biggest key to understanding when you have to communicate with stupid people, is never wanting to "Dumb yourself down" I try
    to keep it as simple as possible.

    Dealing with stupid people isn't so bad, once
    you've learned what to expect.

    Damm do I enjoy this Database!

    Bill...
  9. Bill says:
    7 Feb 2010 12:06:01 PM

    People all over the world research this
    database, I had to respond. Over all, I do
    enjoy ww2db. However, some people can not help being truely asinine.

    "If stupidity were curable, the world would
    be a boring place".

    Bill...
  10. Bill says:
    8 Feb 2010 09:20:21 AM

    My last response to Anonymous
    Dated 2 Nov 2009 05:33:29 # (6)

    Definition of Education:

    The process of training and developing
    Knowledge, Skill, Mind and Charactor, Etc.

    Education that which discloses to the wise
    and disguises from the foolish their lack
    of understanding.

    The test and use of a man's education is that
    he finds pleasure in the exercise of the mind

    Bill...
  11. Bill says:
    11 Feb 2010 11:14:20 AM

    "Never express yourself more clearly than
    your able to think".
    -Niels Bohr (1885-1962)-

    "The illiterate of the 21st. Century will not
    be those who cannot read and write, but those
    who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
    -Alvin Toffler-

    I don't have much time interacting with such
    stupid people anymore, but I had to focus my
    attention on this one individual.

    Anonymous:
    dated 2 Nov. 2009 # (6)

    Bill...
  12. Bill says:
    13 Apr 2010 03:28:37 PM

    To Anonymous: 2 Nov. 2009

    "I guess I'll have to wait until hell freezes
    over for your response."

    Bill...
  13. Tony says:
    26 Jun 2010 08:09:52 AM

    My father was at Battle of the Kasserine Pass before Patton took over. I took him to see the movie Patton. It was one of the only times he spoke of Kasserine. He said "We were beat at Kasserine but when Patton took over, everything changed" He commanded a tank company. He was my hero!
  14. Bill says:
    11 Jul 2010 10:07:01 AM

    Patton's 3rd Army used on average 380,000
    gallons of gasoline a day.

    "But I gotta have gas for my tanks, my men
    can eat their belts".

    "Give me all the gas I need, and I'll go all
    the way to Berlin".

    -George S. Patton-

    Enter The Red Ball Express...

    The Red Ball Express was an effort to close
    the gap between front-line units, and rear
    area supplies.
    After the invasion of Normandy, and the big
    brake out into the French country side, the
    Allied armies were advancing so fast they out
    ran the existing supply lines.
    The Red Ball Express used over 6,000 trucks
    and other vehicles to deliver the needed gas,
    food, ammunition and spare parts to keep the
    Allied armies in the field. Trucks would run
    a "loop-run highway" deliver and return, the
    route back trucks would return with disabled vehicles and other equipment needed for repair. It was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    Signs with arrows pointed the route to follow
    the Red Ball Express, kept moving if a truck
    broke down,it was unloaded and passing trucks
    carried off the cargo.
    Military police, Quatermaster and Mechanics
    were ever present, to make sure the supply
    line kept moving.
    By September 1944 Two US Armies were using
    1,000,000 thats One million Gallons of
    Gasoline A Day! and it took over 300,000
    gallons of gasoline a day, just to keep the the Red Ball Express moving.
    All the support troops were the unsung heroes
    of World War Two. Working long and tiresome
    hours with little rest or sleep, working to
    ensure the total and final victory over
    Nazi Germany.
    Many drivers died in accidents from lack of
    rest and sleep. Many more were injuried
    delivering the needed supplies. The trucks
    were run 24 hours a day, pushed until the
    machines broke down, but the gas and ammo had
    to keep the armies supplied.
  15. Bill says:
    14 Jul 2010 11:36:34 AM

    "KEEP'EM ROLLING!"

    Did you know...

    75% of Red Ball Express drivers and crews were African-American.

    The term "Red Ball" is used by the Baltimore
    police dept. to denote cases that are top
    priority for investigation.

    Drivers could rest for 10 minutes every hour
    if and when possible.
    Rest areas were set up for exhausted drivers
    and medical aid stations were set-up if a
    driver could not continue, a replacement
    driver would take his place. Breakdowns were
    serviced by mobile repair shop.

    The Red Ball Express did a magnificant job
    transporting fuel, food and other supplies
    over 400 miles.
    The Red Ball Express lasted three months and
    at its peak,operated over 5,958 vehicles and
    carried 12,500 tons of supplies per-day.

    A US division would use 750 tons of supplies
    a day and there were 28 Allied divisions in the field, that's about 20,000 tons!.

    "RULES OF THE ROAD."
    REMEMBER YOUR IN GOOD HANDS WITH RED BALL.

    Maximum speed was 25mph, no passing and a
    60 yard interval between vehicles. The return
    trip, trucks carried war debris,wounded GI's
    Pow's,the remains of dead soldiers were sent
    back to be processed by graves registration.

    When the Red Ball Express ended in Nov. 1944
    truckers delivered 412,193 tons of gasoline,
    food, medical supplies, oil and lubricants,
    ammunition and other needed supplies.
    It averaged 5,000 tons of supplies per-day
    over its mission.
    By mid Sept. Two American armies, were using
    over 1,000,000 (that's one million gallons of
    gasoline a day!).
    Trucks used were the GMC 2 1/2 ton 6x6
    Studebaker 2 1/2 ton, 6x6 Diamond 4 ton 6x6
    5 ton trucks, any other vehicle, that could carry cargo, was also used.

    Movies:

    Red Ball Express: Staring Jeff Chandler and
    Alex Nicol, produced by Universal (1952).

    1973-74 Television series, based on the 1952
    movie Red Ball Express.


    * Note

    My conclusions, opinions, and the freedom of expression, do not reflect the position of
    ww2db.

    Bill
  16. Luke says:
    12 Feb 2011 09:06:33 AM

    We need more "Patton's" in this world!
  17. Jon Jordan says:
    20 Apr 2011 03:32:34 PM

    Patton was certainly one of the more colorful generals of the war. I've heard the following attributed to historian Martin Blumenson: "Everything ever written about Patton is true." The man was riddled with contradictions, but he stood out as a great general.

    I recently finished writing "Brothers Rivals Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe." Patton stands out among that great group as an outstanding battle commander who could be as erudite, obsequious as much as the swaggering, cursing persona George C. Scott gave us.
  18. qinlin says:
    23 Jun 2011 08:36:30 PM

    I've heard the following attributed to historian Martin Blumenson: "Everything ever written about Patton is true." The man was riddled with contradictions, but he stood out as a great general.

  19. Proud Daughter says:
    12 Feb 2012 07:53:14 PM

    My father is still living today & he served in the 1258th Combat Engineers in the Third Army. He & his fellow brothers built the Remagen pontoon bridge across the Rhine River. He also was on the 100 mile trek to help out at the Battle of the Bulge & he has been talking in the last 6 or 7 years. He is 92 & remembers vividly. They loved serving under Patton. He was quite the team builder.
  20. katten says:
    13 Apr 2012 12:22:10 PM

    I would like to learn more
  21. Anonymous says:
    18 Apr 2012 06:45:11 PM

    This is very informitave, but extremely hard to make a bibliography
  22. jiml says:
    29 Oct 2012 09:51:02 AM

    hey Bill......thought you should know I enjoy your comments.When I think of General Patton only two visions come came to mind....Bull terrier named Willie and the actor George C, Scott....I do not usually read history but your comments have sparked and interest. I remember the name 'Flavius' from a philosophy course or was it Latin. I disagree with Toffler.......Most high school graduates fresh out of school today do not have the slightest idea who Patton was or where Iraq is etc.....well,Bill you take care now......
  23. Darl Mills says:
    9 Dec 2012 08:08:42 PM

    I was wondering if there are any records, as to who might have been General Patton's drivers, while he was in Europe?
    My brother in law (long since passed) claimed that he for a time drove for him and it was such an honor.
    Thanks
  24. Anonymous says:
    29 Dec 2012 05:08:02 AM

    George Patton was a great general but sometimes even he gave odd orders

    http://www.fampeople.com/articles-you-know-for-what-george-smith-patton
  25. Anonymous says:
    23 Jan 2013 07:23:47 PM

    George s. patton was a cool guy he was not at all he did some stuff in his lifetime
  26. Cloudtail says:
    26 Feb 2013 04:07:45 PM

    U guys are very good at this but as for the one that been using bad words watch ur mouth so not cool man also get urself a life! Bill what u say is true ^^ keep up ur hard work and comments *she smiles*
  27. Alan Chanter says:
    18 Mar 2013 01:28:37 AM

    George Smith Patton Junior, was born at San Gabriel, California, on 11 November 1885, on the 1,000 acre Wilson-Patton ranch, belonging to his wealthy Californian rancher/lawyer father. Considered at first too delicate to go to school, he was kept at home where his Aunt 'Nannie' Wilson read aloud to him. So, although he did not learn to read or write until he was 12 years old, he know vast tracts from the Bible, the Iliad, the Odyssey, Plutarch's Lives and all the books on Napoleon almost be heart. Once he had mastered the art of reading, he read avidly for the rest of his life and had an almost photographic memory. His mathematics and spelling suffered badly from this early lack of primary schooling and he never learnt to spell well. It is therefore not surprising that he struggled through school to reach the required educational standards needed for admittance to the West Point Military Academy.
  28. Anonymous says:
    3 May 2013 10:02:58 AM

    Great for reports!
  29. Anonymous says:
    14 May 2013 06:11:49 AM

    hes pretty cool
  30. Kenneth says:
    1 Jan 2014 07:50:44 PM

    My great uncle was one of Patton's drivers in Europe during the war. He said that Patton made him drive very fast. Patton was in a hurry pretty much everywhere he went. He had to drive over, under or around any obstacle in Patton's way. It was war. They had several accidents including one that injured Patton's neck. My uncle was also injured badly enough that he had to leave the Army. His name was Buchanan. I forget his actual first name but he went by Buck I think. He died when I was young. I believe the accident that killed Patton was a re-injury of his neck. But that was a different driver.
  31. Anonymous says:
    19 Feb 2014 11:40:51 AM

    he cool

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More on George Patton
Event(s) Participated:
» Operation Torch
» Battle of El Guettar
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender
» Normandy Campaign, Phase 1
» Battle of the Bulge
» Crossing the Rhine
» Fall of the Ruhr
» Southern Germany Campaign

Document(s):
» The Patton Speech

Related Books:
» Brothers, Rivals, Victors
» Patton
» Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War




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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944