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  George Patton
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
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A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

In the space of two days I had evolved two plans, wholly distinct, both of which were equally feasible. The point I am trying to bring out is that one does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances.
(Neptune conjunct Pluto)

An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.
(Gemini rising)

Nobody ever defended anything successfully - there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
(Saturn square Uranus)

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.

I have studied the enemy all my life. I have read the memoirs of his generals and his leaders. I have even read his philosophers and listened to his music. I have studied in detail the account of every damned one of his battles. I know exactly how he will react under any given set of circumstances. And he hasn't the slightest idea of what I'm going to do. So when the time comes, I'm going to whip the hell out of him.

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
(Jupiter conjunct North Node)

A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood.

If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
(Gemini rising)

A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.

Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.
(Sun in Scorpio)

Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.

Always do more than is required of you.

To be a successful soldier you must know history. . . . What you must know is how man reacts. Weapons change but man who uses them changes not at all. To win battles you do not beat weapons - you beat the soul of man of the enemy man.

Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
(Scorpio Sun opposition Neptune & Pluto)

Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor bastard die for his country.

Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time.

If a man does his best, what else is there?

In war nothing is impossible, provided you use audacity.
(North Node conjunct Jupiter & Uranus)

The most vital quality a soldier can possess is self-confidence, utter, complete and bumptious.

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of Victory.
(Sun in Scorpio)

Better to Fight for Something, Than Live for Nothing
(Sun in Scorpio)

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.”

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
(Gemini Rising; Venus in Capricorn in the 7th)

“A man must know his destiny… if he does not recognize it, then he is lost. By this I mean, once, twice, or at the very most, three times, fate will reach out and tap a man on the shoulder… if he has the imagination, he will turn around and fate will point out to him what fork in the road he should take, if he has the guts, he will take it.”
(Saturn opposition Venus)

“If man does his best what else is there?”

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”

“It seems to me a certainty that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of the Arab women are the outstanding causes for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have been developing.”

“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.”

“I do not fear failure. I only fear the "slowing up" of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, "Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"”
(Capricorn Moon trine Neptune)

“There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.”

“Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader.”

“Pressure makes diamonds.”

“I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.”

“If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.”

“Give me an army of West Point graduates and I'll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies, and I'll win the war.”

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.”

“Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets.”

“You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.”
(Venus in Capricorn in the 7th)

“Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn't give a hoot and hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor ever lose a war.”

“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man. All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.”

“God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever lead us to victory, please continue your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me to my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling, and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord.”

“I have pissed in the Rhine, now send me gas!”

“The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!”

“If you can't get them to salute when they should salute and wear the clothes you tell them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?”

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired - morning, noon, and night.”

“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood.”

“I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.”

“In case of doubt, attack.”

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

"America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser, this is why America has never, and will never, lose a war.”

“By perseverance, study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.”

“Do everything you ask of those you command.”

“Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”

“I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails.”

“Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.”

“Never let the enemy pick the battle site.”

“No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

“The leader must be an actor."
(Gemini Ascendant)

“The soldier is the army.”

“There is only one type of discipline, perfect discipline.”

“War is simple, direct, and ruthless.”

“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.”

“You’re never beaten until you admit it.”

“You shouldn't underestimate an enemy, but it is just as fatal to overestimate him.”
(Scorpio Sun)

"Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching."

"In landing operations, retreat is impossible, to surrender is as ignoble as it is foolish… above all else remember that we as attackers have the initiative, we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest."

"An Army is a team; lives, sleeps, eats, fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is a lot of crap."

"War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity."

"No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage."

"In war the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it."

"… many, who should know better, think that wars can be decided by soulless machines, rather than by the blood and anguish of brave men."

"Tanks are new and special weapon-newer than, as special, and certainly as valuable as the airplane."

"An incessant change of means to attain unalterable ends is always going on; we must take care not to let these sundry means undue eminence in the perspective of our minds; for, since the beginning, there has been an unending cycle of them, and for each its advocates have claimed adoption as the sole solution of successful war."

"The obvious thing for the cavalryman to do is to accept the fighting machine as a partner, and prepare to meet more fully the demands of future warfare."

"Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little."

"War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula."

"It is only by doing things others have not that one can advance."

"Prisoner of War guard companies, or an equivalent organization, should be as far forward as possible in action to take over prisoners of war, because troops heated with battle are not safe custodians. Any attempt to rob or loot prisoners of war by escorts must be dealt strictly with."

“It is absurd to believe that soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle. Officers who fail to perform their duty by correcting small violations and in enforcing proper conduct are incapable of leading.”

“You cannot be disciplined in great things and indiscipline in small things. Brave undisciplined men have no chance against the discipline and valour of other men. Have you ever seen a few policemen handle a crowd?”
- General George S. Patton Jr, May 1941,
in an address to officers and men of the Second Armored Division.

"Infantry must move forward to close with the enemy. It must shoot in order to move…. To halt under fire is folly. To halt under fire and not fire back is suicide. Officers must set the example"
- General George Patton Jr "War as I knew it" 1947

"Few men are killed by the bayonet, many are scared by it. Bayonets should be fixed when the fire fight starts"
- General George Patton Jr, "War as I knew it" 1947

"All men are timid on entering any fight. Whether it is the first or the last fight, all of us are timid. Cowards are those who let their timidity get the better of their manhood."
- General George Patton Jr, "War as I knew it" 1947

"We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit."
(addressing to his troops before Operation Overlord, June 5, 1944)

"Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!"
(addressing his troops before Operation Overlord, June 5, 1944)

"There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates."

"A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances."

"Success demands a high level of logistical and organizational competence."

"Perpetual peace is a futile dream."

"If I win I can't be stopped! If I lose I shall be dead."

"Go forward until the last round is fired and the last drop of gas is expended...then go forward on foot!"

"It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory."

"If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

"I dont give a damn about the color of your skin, just kill as many sons of bitches wearing green as you can."

"Just drive down that road, until you get blown up"

"You must do your damdest and win."


General George S. Patton Jr.,
November 11, 1885 - December 21, 1945

Nickname Old Blood and Guts
Place of birth San Gabriel, California
Place of death Heidelberg, Germany

George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a leading U.S. Army general in World War II. In his 36-year Army career, he was Cadet Adjutant at West Point, finished in Fifth Place in the Modern Pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden; Graduate Student at the Cavalry School at Saumur, France in 1912 and 1913; the designated military member of The American Committee for the Sixth Olympiad, which was scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany in 1916[1], advocate of armored warfare and commanded major units of North Africa, Sicily, and the European Theater of Operations. Many have viewed Patton as a pure, ruthless and ferocious warrior, known by the nickname "Old Blood and Guts", a name given to him after a reporter misquoted his statement that it takes blood and brains to win a war. But history has left the image of a brilliant military leader whose record was also marred by insubordination and some periods of apparent instability.

George S. Patton Jr. was born in San Gabriel, California to George Smith Patton Sr. (September 30, 1856 – June, 1927) and Ruth Wilson, whose parents were Benjamin Wilson, a prominent Pasadena land owner and politician, and Margaret Hereford, a widow, who had been his former housekeeper.

The Pattons were an affluent family. As a boy, Patton was introduced to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Bible, and the works of William Shakespeare. Patton's father was a friend of John Singleton Mosby, a cavalry hero of the Confederate States of America, serving first under J.E.B. Stuart and then as a guerrilla fighter. The younger Patton grew up hearing Mosby's stories of military glory. From an early age, the young Patton sought to become a general and hero in his own right.

Patton's summer home was located in Hamilton, Massachusetts. The town has since dedicated its central park to Patton, boasting a full-size World War II tank in the center of town, and the town's schools play under the name "Generals". In addition, the French Government bestowed two statues to the town commemorating Patton's service to their nation. They were improved in 2003 and sit at the entrance to Patton Park.

Patton came from a long line of soldiers who fought and some who died in many conflicts, including General Hugh Mercer of the American Revolution. A great-uncle, Waller T. Patton, perished of wounds received in Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. Another relative, Hugh Weedon Mercer, was a Confederate General.

Patton's paternal grandparents were Colonel George Smith Patton (June 26, 1833 – September 25, 1864) and Susan Thornton Glassell. Patton's grandfather, born in Fredericksburg, graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Class of 1852, second in a class of 24. Patton was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Order at VMI. After graduation, George Smith Patton studied law and practiced in Charleston. When the American Civil War broke out, he served in the 22nd Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States of America.

Dying at the Battle of Opequon (the Third Battle of Winchester), Patton's grandfather left behind a namesake son, born in Charleston, West Virginia. The second George Smith Patton (born George William Patton in 1856, changed his name to honor his late father in 1868) was one of four children. Graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1877, before taking up a career as an attorney, Patton's father served as the first city level District Attorney of Pasadena, California and the first mayor of San Marino, California.

It is rumored that Patton's mother kept paintings of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in their living room; Patton admired them as she read to him from her rocking chair. He is quoted as saying, "Until I was old enough to know better, I thought those were portraits of God the Father, and God the Son."

Patton, along with many other members of his family, often claimed to have seen vivid, lifelike visions of his ancestors. He was a staunch believer in reincarnation, and much anecdotal evidence indicates that he held himself to be the reincarnation of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, a Roman legionnaire, a Napoleonic field marshal, and various other historical military figures.


Patton at Virginia Military InstitutePatton attended Virginia Military Institute for one year, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. He then transferred to West Point. He was compelled to repeat his first "plebe" year with Courtney Hodges (both were "found deficient" in mathematics), after failing to qualify with a sufficient score in his mathematics exam. He repeated his plebe year with honors, and was appointed Corporal Adjutant (the second highest position for a cadet) eventually graduating in 1909 and receiving his commission as a cavalry officer.

Patton was an intelligent child, intensively studying classical literature and military history from a young age. His cleverness also had an effect on his leadership and military skills. When he was 14 he and a friend built a working glider. He learned to read at a very late age as a child having never seen a printed page until starting school at the age of twelve, and suffering from dyslexia. He also never learned basic skills such as proper spelling. Because of the late academic start that he received, it took him five years to graduate from West Point, although he did rise to become Adjutant of the Corps of Cadets.

While at West Point, Patton renewed his acquaintance with childhood friend Beatrice Ayer, the daughter of a wealthy textile baron. The two were married shortly after his graduation.

After graduating from West Point, Patton participated in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, representing the United States in the first-ever modern pentathlon. He finished fifth. He was leading prior to the shooting competition, in which he decided to use a .38 revolver instead of the .22 caliber pistols the other athletes used. Patton, an excellent marksman with a pistol, saw his ranking in this skill drop dramatically when he inexplicably missed the target with two of his shots. Some observers claimed that the "miss" actually passed through the holes put in the target by his previous bullets (the larger .38 rounds tearing wider holes in his target than the smaller rounds of his competitors). Based on his exceptional performance in the earlier qualifying rounds, this theory is not without merit. His performance in the event was also notable in that he was the only competitor to defeat the French épée champion in the fencing segment of the event while his efforts in the cross-country run were lauded when he exerted himself to the maximum and promptly collapsed upon finishing.

The Patton saber
After the Olympics, Lt. Patton was made the Army's youngest-ever Master of the Sword. While Master of the Sword, Patton improved and modernized the Army's Cavalry Saber fencing techniques and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber. It had a large, basket-shaped hilt mounting a straight, double-edged, thrusting blade designed for use by heavy cavalry. Now known as the “Patton” saber, it was heavily influenced by the 1908 and 1912 Pattern British Army Cavalry Swords.

Early military career
During the Mexican Expedition of 1916, Patton, while assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment[2] in Fort Bliss, Texas, accompanied then-Brigadier General John J. Pershing as his aide during the Mexican Expedition in his pursuit of Pancho Villa, after Villa's forces had crossed into New Mexico and raided the town of Columbus, where they looted and also killed several Americans. During his service, Patton, accompanied by ten soldiers of the 6th Infantry Regiment, killed two Mexican leaders, including "General" Julio Cardenas, commander of Villa's personal bodyguard. For this action, as well as Patton's affinity for the Colt Peacemaker, Pershing titled Patton his "Bandito." Patton's success in this regard gained him a level of fame in the United States, and he was featured in newspapers across the nation.

World War I
At the onset of the USA's entry into World War I, General Pershing promoted Patton to the rank of captain. While in France under the Third Republic, Patton requested that he be given a combat command and Pershing assigned him to the newly formed United States Tank Corps. Depending on the source, he either led the U.S. Tank Corps or was an observer at the Battle of Cambrai, where the first tanks were used as a significant force. As the U.S. Tank Corps did not take part in this battle the role of observer is the most likely. From his successes (and his organization of a training school for American tankers in Langres, France), Patton was promoted to major and then lieutenant colonel and was placed in charge of the U.S. Tank Corps, which was part of the American Expeditionary Force and then the First U.S. Army. He took part in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, September 1918, and was wounded by machine gun fire as he sought assistance for tanks that were mired in the mud. The bullet passed through his upper thigh and for years afterwards, when Patton was inebriated at social events, he would drop his pants to show his wound and called himself a "half-assed general." While Patton was recuperating from his wounds, hostilities ended.

For his service in the Meuse-Argonne Operations, Patton received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Cross, and was given a battlefield promotion to a full colonel. For his combat wounds, he was presented the Purple Heart.

The interwar years
While on duty in Washington, D.C. in 1919, Colonel Patton met and became close friends with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would play an enormous role in Patton's future career. In the early 1920s, Patton petitioned the U.S. Congress to appropriate funding for an armored force, but had little luck. Patton also wrote professional articles on tank and armored car tactics, suggesting new methods for their use. He also continued working on improvements to tanks, coming up with innovations in radio communication and tank mounts. However, with little money in the peacetime military for innovation, Patton eventually transferred back to the cavalry—still a horse-borne force—for career advancement.

In July 1932, Patton served under Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, as a major leading 600 troops, including the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in an action to disperse the protesting veterans known as the "Bonus Army" in Washington, DC. MacArthur ordered the troops to advance on the protesters with tear gas and bayonets. At one point, when the protesters resisted with bricks and curses, Patton led the last mounted charge of the U.S. Cavalry against homeless Americans. One of the veterans roused by the cavalry was Joseph T. Agelino, who won the Distinguished Service Cross in 1918 for saving Patton's life.[3]

Patton served in Hawaii before returning to Washington to once again ask Congress for funding for armored units. In the late 1930s, Patton was assigned command of Fort Myer, Virginia. Shortly after Germany's blitzkrieg attacks in Europe, Patton was finally able to convince Congress of the need for armored divisions. Shortly afterwards, Patton was promoted to Brigadier General and put in command of the armored brigade. The brigade eventually grew into the US 2nd Armored Division and Patton was promoted to major general.

World War II
During the buildup of the U.S. Army prior to its entry into World War II, Patton commanded one of the two wargaming armies in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941. Fort Benning, Georgia, is well known for General Patton's presence. He also established the Desert Training Center in Indio, California.

On June 3, 1942, Patton believed the Japanese were on a course to invade the new Ally Mexico. He believed the Japanese would use the beaches of Mexico to move north into California. For three days, Patton had his troops on high alert to move within minutes to meet the invading Japanese at the tip of the Gulf of California. [4] The Japanese invasion fleet eventually landed on Kiska Island on June 6.

Patton in 1943
North African campaign
See also North African campaign

In 1942, Major General Patton commanded the Western Task Force of the U.S. Army, which landed on the coast of Morocco in Operation Torch. Patton and his staff arrived in Morocco aboard the heavy cruiser USS Augusta, which came under fire from the French battleship Jean Bart while entering the harbor of Casablanca.

Following the defeat of the U.S. II Corps as part of British 1st Army, by the German Afrika Korps at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass in 1943, Patton was made Lieutenant General and placed in command of II Corps on March 6, 1943. Tough in his training, he was generally unpopular with his troops. Both British and US officers had noted the 'softness' and lack of discipline in the II Corps under Lloyd Fredendall. Patton required all personnel to wear steel helmets, even physicians in the operating wards, and required his troops to wear the unpopular lace-up leggings and neckties. A system of fines was introduced to ensure all personnel shaved daily and observed other uniform requirements. While these measures did not make Patton popular, they did tend to restore a sense of discipline and unit pride that may have been missing earlier. In a play on his nickname, troops joked that it was "our blood and his guts". The discipline paid off quickly; by mid-March, the counteroffensive was pushing the Germans east, along with the rest of British 1st Army, while the British Eighth Army commanded by General Bernard Law Montgomery in Tunisia was simultaneously pushing them west, effectively squeezing the Germans out of North Africa.

Italian campaign

Near Brolo, Sicily. 1943As a result of his accomplishments in North Africa, Patton was given command of the Seventh Army in preparation for the 1943 invasion of Sicily. The Seventh Army's mission was to protect the left (western) flank of the British Eighth Army as both advanced northwards towards Messina.

The Seventh Army repulsed several German counterattacks in the beachhead area before beginning its push north. Meanwhile, the Eighth Army stalled south of Mount Etna in the face of strong German defenses. The Army Group commander, Harold Alexander, exercised only the loosest control over his two commanders. Montgomery therefore took the initiative to meet with Patton in an attempt to work out a coordinated campaign.

Patton formed a provisional Corps under his Chief of staff, and quickly pushed through western Sicily, liberating the capital, Palermo, and then swiftly turned east towards Messina. US forces liberated Messina in accordance with the plan jointly created by Montgomery and Patton. Unfortunately for the Allies, the Germans were able to withdraw much of their strength, including heavy equipment, across the straits of Messina onto the Italian mainland.

Patton's bloodthirsty speeches resulted in controversy when it was claimed one inspired the Biscari Massacre in which American troops killed seventy-six prisoners of war. Patton's career nearly ended in August of 1943. While visiting hospitals and commending wounded soldiers, he slapped and verbally abused Privates Paul G. Bennet and Charles H. Kuhl, whom he thought were exhibiting cowardly behavior. The soldiers were suffering from "shell-shock," now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and had no visible wounds (though one was subsequently found to have malaria). Because of this act, Patton was kept out of public view for some time. At the advice of Eisenhower, Patton, although not specifically ordered to do so, apologized to the individual soldiers and hospital units that witnessed the incidents. One of the soldiers thanked him and shook his hand. Ironically, many modern day psychiatrists who have examined these incidents have professed that at the time Patton himself might have been suffering from battle fatigue. When news of Patton's acts was made public months later, there were calls from some that he either resign or be fired.

However, during the period Patton was temporarily relieved of duty, his prolonged stay in Sicily was interpreted by the Germans to be indicative of an upcoming invasion of southern France. Later, a stay in Cairo was interpreted as heralding an invasion through the Balkans. The Germans' respect for General Patton helped to tie up many German troops and would be an important factor in the months to come. Such was the Wehrmacht's respect for Patton's skill, as a combat commander, that they gave him the singular honor of referring to the Allied Army under his command by his name and not its number.

In the period leading to the Normandy invasion, Patton gave public talks as commander of the fictional First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG), which was supposedly intending to invade France by way of Calais. This was part of a sophisticated Allied campaign of military deception, Operation Fortitude.

Following the Normandy invasion, Patton was placed in command of the U.S. Third Army, which was on the extreme left (west) of the Allied land forces. Beginning at noon on August 1, 1944, he led this army during the late stages of Operation Cobra, the breakout from earlier slow fighting in the Normandy hedgerows. The Third Army simultaneously attacked west (into Brittany), south, east towards the Seine, and north, assisting in trapping several hundred thousand German soldiers in the Chambois pocket, between Falaise and Argentan, Orne. Patton used Germany's own blitzkrieg tactics against them, covering 600 miles in just two weeks, from Avranches to Argentan. Patton's forces were part of the Allied forces that freed northern France, bypassing Paris. The city itself was liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division under French General Leclerc, insurgents who were fighting in the city, and the US 4th Infantry Division. These early Third Army offensives showed the characteristic high mobility and aggressiveness of Patton's units. Rather than engage in set-piece slugging matches, Patton preferred to bypass centers of resistance and use the mobility of US units to the fullest, defeating German defensive positions through maneuver rather than head-on fighting whenever possible.

General Patton's offensive, however, came to a screeching halt on August 31, 1944, as the Third Army literally ran out of gas near the Moselle River, just outside of Metz, France. The time needed to resupply was just enough to allow the Germans to further fortify the fortress of Metz. In October and November, the Third Army was mired in a near-stalemate with the Germans, with heavy casualties on both sides. By November 23, however, Metz had finally fallen to the Americans, the first time the city had been taken since the Franco-Prussian War.

Ardennes offensive

Bradley, Eisenhower, and PattonIn late 1944, the German army made a last-ditch offensive across Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeastern France in the Ardennes Offensive (better known as the Battle of the Bulge), nominally led by German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt. On December 16, 1944, the German army massed 29 divisions (totaling some 250,000 men) at a weak point in the Allied lines and made massive headway towards the Meuse River during one of the worst winters in Europe in years.

Walter Cronkite was present as a war correspondent during the staff meeting held the next morning to deal with Rundstedt's breakthrough. Patton turned Third Army north abruptly (a notable tactical and logistical achievement), disengaging from the front line to relieve the surrounded and besieged 101st Airborne Division pocketed in Bastogne. By February, the Germans were in full retreat and Patton moved into the Saar Basin of Germany. The bulk of Third Army completed its crossing of the Rhine at Oppenheim on March 22, 1945.

Patton was planning to take Prague, Czechoslovakia, when the forward movement of American forces was halted. His troops liberated Pilsen (May 6, 1945) and most of western Bohemia.

Brief June 1945 visit to California

Patton during a parade in Los Angeles, California.Largely overlooked in history is the warm reception he received on June 9, 1945, when he and Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle were honored with a parade through Los Angeles and a reception at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before over 100,000 people that evening. The next day, Patton and Doolittle toured the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Patton spoke in front of the Burbank City Hall and at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. He wore his helmet with a straight line of stars, chest full of medals, and two ivory[5] handle trademark pistols. He punctuated his speech with some of the same profanity he had used with the troops. He spoke about conditions in Europe and the Russian allies to the adoring crowds. This may be the only time in America when the civilian people, en masse, heard and saw the famous warrior on the podium.

This was also the time when he turned over key Nazi historical documents that he had unilaterally gathered (such as the original 1935 Nuremberg Laws) to the Huntington Library. This is a world-class repository of historical original papers, books, and maps, near Pasadena. The existence of this trove of historical papers was kept secret for about 55 years, and only publicized generally in April 2006, in a Los Angeles Times in-depth story.[6] The papers are now on permanent loan to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Accident and death
On 9 December, in Germany a day before he was due to return to the United States, Patton was severely injured in a road accident. He and his chief of staff, Major General Hobart R. 'Hap' Gay, were on a daytrip to hunt pheasants in the country outside Mannheim. It was a cold, wet, hazy December morning. Their 1939 Cadillac Model 75 was driven by PFC Horace Woodring (1926 - 2003). Patton sat in the back seat, on the right with General Gay on his left, as per custom. At 11:45 near Neckarstadt, (Käfertal), a 2½ ton truck driven by T/5 Robert L. Thompson appeared out of the haze and made a left-hand turn towards a side road. The Cadillac smashed into the truck. General Patton was thrown forward and his head struck a metal part of the partition between the front and back seats. Gay and Woodring were uninjured. Paralyzed from the neck down, George Patton died of an embolism on 21 December 1945 at the military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany with his wife present.

Patton's grave in LuxembourgPatton was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg along with other members of the Third Army[7]. His body was moved from the original grave site in the cemetery to its current prominent location at the head of his former troops. A cenotaph was placed at the Wilson-Patton family plot at the San Gabriel Cemetery in San Gabriel, California, adjacent to the Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal), where Patton was baptised. In the narthex of the sanctuary of the church is a stained glass window honor which features, among other highlights of Patton's career, a picture of him riding in a tank. A statue of General Patton is in the court yard adjacent to the church.

Patton's car was repaired and used by other officers. The car is now on display, with other Patton artifacts, at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Controversies and criticism
Patton more than once caused political irritations and was criticised for some compromitting faux pas, such as the "Sicily slapping incident" in 1943 (see above). Patton in several reports insisted on the highest standard of order and grooming within his army's area and imposed fines for anyone who violated his strict guidelines. These strictures were applied even to troops coming from the front lines to resupply the line with needed supplies, current maps, intel, food, ammo, resulting in soldiers being delayed in that vital mission because they had to shave, bathe and bring their uniform up to his standards before they were allowed into his general area, which in turn would cause problems or deaths on the front.[citation needed]

Patton's problems with humor, his image, and the press
Patton was not known for his sense of humor, and his reckless words often made him his own worst enemy. Unlike Eisenhower, who was popular with troops partly for his self-deprecating humor, Patton disliked jokes aimed at himself. Soldiers stationed in the Pacific theater of war were not pleased with what was going on in the European continent and disliked him for this reason due to his perceived disregard for the lives of his troops. Patton actually had the utmost respect for the men serving in his command but had no regard for men that were "shell shocked". The cartoonist Bill Mauldin ridiculed Patton several times in his comics, prompting Patton to summon Sergeant Mauldin to his headquarters for a dressing-down. On the other hand, he was himself capable of the occasional blunt witticism: "The two most dangerous weapons the Germans have are our own armored halftrack and jeep. The halftrack because the boys in it go all heroic, thinking they are in a tank. The jeep because we have so many God-awful drivers." During the Battle of the Bulge, he famously remarked that the Allies should "let the sons-of-bitches [Germans] go all the way to Paris, then we'll cut 'em off and round 'em up!" He also suggested that the German forces could attack towards the British and create "another Dunkirk". His remarks frequently ridiculed General Montgomery and at times the Soviet Red Army, contributing to inter-Allied discord. In the context of coalition warfare, these remarks were occasionally harmful. Eisenhower wisely used Patton's high profile with the press to contribute to Operation Fortitude; he knew the press would report on his appearances in Britain and that the Germans would pick up these reports.

Patton deliberately cultivated a flashy, distinctive image in the belief that this would motivate his troops. He was usually seen wearing a highly polished helmet, riding pants, and high cavalry boots. He carried flashy ivory-handled, nickel-plated revolvers as his most famous sidearms (a Colt Single Action Army .45 (aka "Peacemaker") and later the addition of a S&W Model 27 .357). His vehicles carried oversized rank insignia and loud sirens. His speech was riddled with profanities. The toughness of his image and character appeared well-suited to the conditions of battle. His theatrics were admired by many, so much so that, upon his death, upwards of 20,000 soldiers volunteered to be pall bearers at his funeral[citation needed]. This came as a surprise to the American populace, as the media had often portrayed Patton's armies as disliking him.

Task Force Baum controversy
On March 24th, shortly after completing his crossing of the Rhine, Patton ordered US XII Corps commander Major General Manton Eddy to undertake an immediate operation to liberate the OFLAG XIII-B prison camp at Hammelburg, some 80 kilometers behind enemy lines. Eddy strongly argued against the necessity and prudence of the raid, reportedly going so far as to refuse to pass the order to the US 4th Armored Division without General Eisenhower's approval. Patton, having no desire to involve Eisenhower (who was already well acquainted with Patton's headstrong tendencies and would likely have cancelled the operation), flew to the XII Corps command post at Undenheim, waited until Eddy left for dinner, and personally delivered the operation order to Brigadier General Hoge of the US 4th Armored Division. Noting that intelligence indicated a strong Wehrmacht and possible SS Panzer presence in the area (as well as its relative distance from the front line), Hoge and "Combat Command B" commander Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams told Patton that no less than a full Combat Command would be required. Patton rejected this, insisting that only a limited task force be sent. He also mandated that his aide-de-camp and personal friend, Major Alexander Stiller accompany the force "to gain experience". [8]

The task force, named Task Force Baum (after its leader, Captain Abraham Baum), fought valiantly through significant resistance to liberate the camp, but was too exhausted and reduced in size from 52 hours of continuous fighting to break out of the noose of Wehrmacht reinforcements that rapidly swarmed into the area to surround them. The bulk of the remaining force was hacked to pieces and routed in the woods around Hammelburg. Only a few managed to evade the Germans and return to American lines.

After the news of the operation became public, it was revealed that Patton's motivation for ordering the operation against apparent common sense and the strident objections of his officers was most probably personal: he had been informed on February 9th by General Eisenhower that his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters, captured in North Africa in 1943, was being held at Hammelburg. Until this information came out, Patton had always insisted he had no knowledge of the location of Waters. Upon further review, Patton's explanation for insisting that Stiller go along also didn't hold water; as a decorated World War I officer, Stiller had already seen significantly more combat than most of the men in Task Force Baum, and (most importantly) as a personal friend of Patton's family, he had met Waters and would be able to identify him. Furthermore, Patton had always insisted that the operation to liberate the camp at Hammelburg was motivated by a deep concern for the welfare and safety of captured US servicemen, yet in an ironic twist, after Stiller was captured, Patton refused to try to liberate the camp where he and other survivors were being held, even though it was much closer to the 3rd Army line of advance than Hammelburg had been, and contained nearly twice as many troops. Patton's superior, General Omar Bradley, later famously characterized the raid as "a wild goose-chase that ended in a tragedy."[8]

After the German surrender
After the surrender of May 8, 1945 extinguished the common threat of Nazi Germany, Patton was quick to assert the Soviet Union would cease to be an ally of the United States. In fact, he urged his superiors to evict the Soviets from central and eastern Europe. Patton thought that the Red Army was weak, under-supplied, and vulnerable, and the United States should act on these weaknesses before the Soviets could consolidate their position. In this regard, he told then-Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson that the "point system" being used to demobilize Third Army troops was destroying it and creating a vacuum that the Soviets would exploit. "Mr. Secretary, for God’s sake, when you go home, stop this point system; stop breaking up these armies," pleaded the general. "Let’s keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to these people the Soviets. This is the only language they understand." Asked by Patterson — who would become Secretary of War a few months later — what he would do, Patton replied: "I would have you tell the Red Army where their border is, and give them a limited time to get back across. Warn them that if they fail to do so, we will push them back across it."

On a personal level, Patton was disappointed by the Army's refusal to give him a combat command in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Unhappy with his role as the military governor of Bavaria and depressed by his belief that he would never fight in another war, Patton's behavior and statements became increasingly erratic. He also made many anti-Russian and anti-Semitic statements in letters home. Various explanations beyond his disappointments have been proposed for Patton's behavior at this point. Carlo D'Este, in Patton: A Genius for War, writes that "it seems virtually inevitable ... that Patton experienced some type of brain damage from too many head injuries" from a lifetime of numerous auto- and horse-related accidents, especially one suffered while playing polo in 1936. It should be noted, however, that many of the controversial opinions he expressed were common (if not exactly popular) at the time and his outspoken opposition to post-surrender denazification is still widely debated today. Many still laud his generous treatment of his former German enemies and his early recognition of the Soviet threat, while detractors say his protests reflect the views of a bigoted elitist. Whatever the cause, Patton found himself once again in trouble with his superiors and the American people. While speaking to a group of reporters, he compared the Nazis to losers in American political elections. Patton was soon relieved of command of Third Army and transferred to the Fifteenth Army, a paper command preparing a history of the war.

Attitude on race
The use of African American troops during the push to the Siegfried Line offers some insight into Patton's attitude towards them. The first African American tank unit, the 761st "Black Panther" Tank Battalion, was assigned to Patton in the fall of 1944, at his reluctant request. As the 761st was about to enter combat, Patton reviewed the battalion and addressed the men:

Men, you're the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren't good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don't care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to you. Don't let them down and damn you, don't let me down![9]

– George S. Patton, The 761st "Black Panther" Tank Battalion in World War II"

However, like many military officers of the era, Patton expressed his doubts about using black men in combat. On returning to headquarters afterwards, he remarked, "They gave a good first impression, but I have no faith in the inherent fighting ability of the race."[9] He only accepted the 761st because he desperately needed all the ground power he could get. Even after the war, Patton was not inclined to reform his perception of black soldiers. In War As I Knew It, he relates the interaction described above, and comments, "Individually they were good soldiers, but I expressed my belief at the time, and have never found the necessity of changing it, that a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor."[10]

D'Este explains that "on the one hand he could and did admire the toughness and courage" of some black soldiers but his writings can also be frequently read as "disdaining them and their officers because they were not part of his social order." Historian Hugh Cole points out that Patton was the first American military leader to integrate the rifle companies "when manpower got tight."

Patton's views on African Americans seem mild and even generous compared to remarks he made about Jews, Arabs, and other ethnic groups he encountered throughout his military career (much less his legendary hatred of the Russians). Like many Americans of his era, he generally considered those who were not of Northern European ancestry to be dirty and uncivilized. However, his statements regarding history show that this did not amount to lack of respect for the military accomplishments of other races. He expressed his feelings about Jews with his writings:

We entered a synagogue which was packed with the greatest stinking bunch of humanity I have ever seen. Either these Displaced Persons never had any sense of decency or else they lost it all during their period of internment by the Germans... My personal opinion is that no people could have sunk to the level of degradation these have reached in the short space of four years.[11]

– George S. Patton, "After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Post War Germany"

Though many of his attitudes were common (if not universal) in his time, as with all of his controversial opinions, he was often exceptionally blunt in his expression of them. He once wrote:

The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks.[12]

– George S. Patton

Relations with Eisenhower

Patton (seated, second from left) and Eisenhower (seated, middle) with other American military officials, 1945.The relationship between George S. Patton and Dwight Eisenhower has long been of interest to historians in that the onset of World War II completely reversed the roles of the two men in the space of just under two years. When Patton and Eisenhower met in the mid 1920s, Patton was six years Eisenhower’s senior in the Army and Eisenhower saw Patton as a leading mind in tank warfare.

Between 1935 and 1940, Patton and Eisenhower developed a very close friendship to the level where the Patton and Eisenhower families were spending summer vacations together. In 1938, Patton was promoted to full colonel and Eisenhower, then still a lieutenant colonel, openly admitted that he saw Patton as a friend, superior officer, and mentor.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, Patton’s genius of tank warfare was recognized by the Army, and he was quickly made a brigadier general and, less than a year later, a major general. In 1940, Lt. Col. Eisenhower petitioned Major General Patton, offering to serve under the tank corps commander. Patton accepted readily, stating that he would like nothing better than for Eisenhower to be placed under his command.

George Marshall, recognizing that the coming conflict would require all available military talent, had other plans for Eisenhower. In 1941, after five years as a relatively unknown lieutenant colonel, Eisenhower was promoted to colonel and then again to brigadier general in just 6 months time. Patton was still senior to Eisenhower in the Regular Army, but this was soon not the case in the growing conscript army (known as the Army of the United States). In 1942, Eisenhower was promoted to major general and, just a few months later, to lieutenant general — outranking Patton for the first time. When the Allies announced the invasion of North Africa, Major General Patton suddenly found himself under the command of his former subordinate, now one star his superior.

In 1943, Patton became a lieutenant general one month after Eisenhower was promoted to full (four-star) general. Patton was unusually reserved in never publicly commenting on Eisenhower's hasty rise. Patton also reassured Eisenhower that the two men’s professional relationship was unaffected. Privately however, Patton was often quick to remind Eisenhower that his permanent rank in the Regular Army, then still a one-star brigadier general, was lower than Patton’s Regular Army commission as a two-star major general.

When Patton came under criticism for the "Sicily slapping incident" (see above), Eisenhower met privately with Patton and reprimanded him, but then reassured Patton that he would not be sent home to the United States for his conduct. Many historians have speculated that, had it been anybody other than Eisenhower, Patton would have been demoted and court-martialed.

Eisenhower is also credited with giving Patton a command in France, after other powers in the Army had relegated Patton to various unimportant duties in England. It was in France that Patton found himself in the company of another former subordinate, Omar Bradley, who had also become his superior. As with Eisenhower, Patton behaved with professionalism and served under Bradley with distinction. There is evidence that Operation Cobra, 'officially' conceived by Bradley, was in fact the work of Patton.

After the close of World War II, Patton (now a full General) became the occupation commander of Bavaria, and made arrangements for saving the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions of Vienna. However, he was relieved of duty after making comments that the Nazis were nothing more than a normal political party, and ordering former SS units to begin drilling in attempt to gain some respectability. His view of the war was that with Hitler gone, the German army could be rebuilt into an ally in a potential war against the Russians, whom Patton notoriously despised and considered a greater menace than the Germans. During this period, he wrote that the Allied victory would be in vain if it led to a tyrant worse than Hitler and an army of "Mongolian savages" controlling half of Europe. Eisenhower had at last had enough, relieving Patton of all duties and ordering his return to the United States. When Patton openly accused Eisenhower of caring more about a political career than his military duties, their friendship effectively came to an end. In addition, Patton was highly critical of the victorious Allies use of German forced labor. He commented in his diary "I’m also opposed to sending PW’s to work as slaves in foreign lands (in particular, to France) where many will be starved to death." He also noted "It is amusing to recall that we fought the revolution in defence of the rights of man and the civil war to abolish slavery and have now gone back on both principles".[13] (See also Eisenhower and German POWs).

From time to time, conspiracy theorists have suggested that Eisenhower had Patton assassinated; that the auto accident in which Patton broke his neck was not an accident at all. While there is no evidence to suggest that this is true, Patton's diary does suggest that the General was planning either to retire or resign his commission, and enter politics. Given his popularity with the American people and the respect in which he was held by his men, it is entirely possible he could have won the same nomination his erstwhile friend accepted. It must be noted that Patton's medals for combat valor make Eisenhower's medals for merit seem pale by comparison, and that by 1948 many Americans had come to see the Soviet menace as Patton had in 1945.

When the biography of George Patton was aired on the A&E network, a single quote perhaps best described the relationship and destinies of George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower:

“ [The] course of World War II would lead these two men to very different ends: one to the office of President of the United States and the other to a soldier's grave on a foreign shore. ”

Near the end of the war (February 1945), Eisenhower ranked the major generals in Europe. Omar Bradley and Carl Spaatz were rated as the best. Bedell Smith was ranked number 2, Patton was ranked 3, followed by Mark Clark, and Lucian Truscott (others were also ranked). Bradley himself had been asked by Eisenhower to rank all the generals in December of 1945 and he ranked them as follows: Bedell Smith #1, Spaatz #2, Courtney Hodges #3, Elwood Quesada #4, Truscott #5, and Patton #6 (others were also ranked) [14]

These rankings probably included factors other than Patton's success as a battle leader. As to that, Alan Axelrod in his book Patton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) quotes German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt as stating "Patton was your best" and, surprisingly, Joseph Stalin as stating that the Red Army could neither have planned nor executed Patton's advance across France. D'Este reports that even Hitler begrudgingly respected Patton, once calling him "that crazy cowboy general."

Second Lieutenant June 11, 1909 June 12, 1915 United States Army
First Lieutenant May 23, 1916 July 1, 1916 United States Army
Captain May 15, 1917 May 15, 1917 United States Army
Major January 26, 1918 June 17, 1918 National Army
Lieutenant Colonel March 30, 1918 October 14, 1918 National Army
Colonel October 17, 1918 N/A National Army
Captain (Peacetime reversion) June 30, 1920 June 30, 1920 Regular Army
Major July 1, 1920 July 2, 1920 Regular Army
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 1934 July 1, 1936 Regular Army
Colonel July 1, 1938 March 11, 1941 Regular Army
Brigadier General October 1, 1940 September 29, 1941 Army of the United States
Major General April 4, 1941 March 27, 1942 Army of the United States
Lieutenant General March 12, 1943 July 7, 1942 Army of the United States
Brigadier General August 16, 1944[15] N/A Regular Army
Major General August 16, 1944[16] N/A Regular Army
General April 14, 1945 February 11, 1943 Army of the United States
General of the Army N/A December 20, 1944 Army of the United States

Patton, the movie
Main article: Patton (film)
Patton was the focus of the epic (very widely shown in 70mm) 1970 Academy Award–winning movie Patton, with the title role played by George C. Scott. As a result of the movie and its now-famous opening monologue in front of a gigantic American flag, (based on a real speech he made to Third Army troops shortly before the Normandy invasion), in popular culture Patton has come to symbolize a warrior's ferocity and aggressiveness. Although the movie is based upon Ladislas Farago's Patton: Ordeal and Triumph and Omar Bradley's A Soldier's Story, historians have stated the movie's accuracy could be tinged with some bias, noting the heavy influence of Omar Bradley as senior military advisor and writer. Bradley, played in the movie by Karl Malden, had a tumultuous relationship with Patton and the movie's treatment of him could be seen as hagiographic. Still, many Patton contemporaries, including many who knew him personally or served with him, applauded Scott's portrayal as being extremely accurate in capturing the essence of the man. Other historians have praised the film for its generally accurate and balanced portrayal of Patton as a complex, capable, and flawed leader. Another source used by these and other authors is the "Button Box" manuscript written by Patton's wife, Beatrice Ayer Patton.[17]

The image of Patton in the movie is somewhat misleading since the opening monologue is delivered from a stage in front of what sounds like a very large audience. The real George Patton was not known as a good public speaker. He was very self-conscious and knew that his high-pitched voice risked making him sound like an old grandmother, unlike the gravelly voice of George C. Scott, who confidently delivered a finely tuned and concise speech. The movie writers of Patton's famous speech, however, changed the wording here and there, often for the sake of toning it down and removing the general's obscenities.

The movie was a favorite of President Richard M. Nixon, who watched it shortly before ordering the aerial bombing of Cambodia.

Bendetson Interview 1972
Hess: How about General Patton?
Bendetson: General Patton was a unique man and if you have yourself seen the movie "General Patton"...
Hess: I have.
Bendetson: ...I can tell you it is a very accurate portrayal both of General Patton and of General Bradley, although the man who played General Bradley looks less like General Bradley actually looks than [George C.] Scott looks like Patton actually looked."[18]

Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
A museum dedicated to Patton, and his efforts training a million soldiers for African desert combat, is located at the site of his Desert Training Center in Chiriaco Summit, California. A statue of Patton can be seen from nearby Interstate 10.
Two active United States Army installations are named in memory of General Patton. Patton Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany, houses the headquarters for the United States Army Garrison Heidelberg. Patton Army Air Field, located on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, provides rotary-wing aviation support for Army units in souther Kuwait.

Recent research into the psychology of Patton
In the book "In the Mind's Eye", visual thinking researcher Professor Thomas G. West has suggested that Patton's learning difficulties "may be fundamentally and essentially associated with a gift".[19][20][21][22] Such learning difficulties "will variously be labelled as dyslexia, dyspraxia, pragmatic semantic speech and language difficulties, Asperger's syndrome, autistic tendencies, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and so on".[23] He states:

"Many of these individuals (people who are successful and who have learning difficulties) may have achieved success or even greatness not in spite of but because of their apparent disabilities. They may have been so much in touch with their visual-spatial, nonverbal, right-hemisphere modes of thought that they have had difficulty doing orderly, sequential, verbal-mathematical, left-hemisphere tasks in a culture where left-hemisphere capabilities are so highly valued." "For a certain group of people the handicap itself may be fundamentally and essentially associated with a gift. For some the handicap and the gift may be two aspects of the same thing." p.19[23]


One of the most complicated military men of all time, General George Smith Patton, Jr. was born November 11, 1885 in San Gabriel, California. He was known for carrying pistols with ivory handles and his intemperate manner, and is regarded as one of the most successful United States field commanders of any war. He continually strove to train his troops to the highest standard of excellence.

Patton decided during childhood that his goal in life was to become a hero. His ancestors had fought in the Revolutionary War, the Mexican War and the Civil War, and he grew up listening to stories of their brave and successful endeavors. He attended the Virginia Military Institute for one year and went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 11, 1909. He was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 15th cavalry Regiment.

Patton married Beatrice Ayer, whom he dated while at West Point, on May 26, 1910. In 1912 he represented the United States at the Stockholm Olympics in the first Modern Pentathlon. Originally open only to military officers, it was considered a rigorous test of the skills a soldier should possess. Twenty-six year old Patton did remarkably well in the multi-event sport, consisting of pistol shooting from 25 meters, sword fencing, a 300 meter free style swim, 800 meters horse back riding and a 4-kilometer cross country run. He placed fifth overall, despite a disappointing development in the shooting portion. While most chose .22 revolvers, Patton felt the event's military roots garnered a more appropriate weapon, the .38. During the competition Patton was docked for missing the target, though he contended the lost bullet had simply passed through a large opening created by previous rounds from the .38, which left considerably larger holes.

After the Olympics, Patton kept busy taking lessons at the French cavalry School and studying French sword drills. In the summer of 1913, Patton received orders to report to the commandant of the Mounted Service School in Fort Riley, Kansas, where he became the school's first Master of the Sword. He designed and taught a course in swordsmanship while he was a student at the school.

Patton's first real exposure to battle occurred when he served as a member of legendary General John J. Pershing's staff during the expedition to Mexico. In 1915, Patton was sent to Fort Bliss along the Mexican border where he led routine cavalry patrols. A year later, he accompanied Pershing as an aide on his expedition against Francisco "Pancho" Villa into Mexico. Patton gained recognition from the press for his attacks on several of Villa's men.

Impressed by Patton's determination, Pershing promoted him to Captain and asked him to command his Headquarters Troop upon their return from Mexico. With the onset of World War I in 1914, tanks were not being widely used. In 1917, however, Patton became the first member of the newly established United States Tank Corps, where he served until the Corps were abolished in 1920. He took full command of the Corps, directing ideas, procedures and even the design of their uniforms. Along with the British tankers, he and his men achieved victory at Cambrai, France, during the world's first major tank battle in 1917.

Using his first-hand knowledge of tanks, Patton organized the American tank school in Bourg, France and trained the first 500 American tankers. He had 345 tanks by the time he took the brigade into the Meuse-Argonne Operation in September 1918. When they entered into battle, Patton had worked out a plan where he could be in the front lines maintaining communications with his rear command post by means of pigeons and a group of runners. Patton continually exposed himself to gunfire and was shot once in the leg while he was directing the tanks. His actions during that battle earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for Heroism, one of the many medals he would collect during his lifetime.

An outspoken advocate for tanks, Patton saw them as the future of modern combat. Congress, however, was not willing to appropriate funds to build a large armored force. Even so, Patton studied, wrote extensively and carried out experiments to improve radio communications between tanks. He also helped invent the co-axial tank mount for cannons and machine guns.

After WWI, Patton held a variety of staff jobs in Hawaii and Washington, D.C. He graduated from the Command and General Staff School in 1924, and completed his military schooling as a distinguished graduate of the Army War College in 1932.

When the German Blitzkrieg began on Europe, Patton finally convinced Congress that the United States needed a more powerful armored striking force. With the formation of the Armored Force in 1940, he was transferred to the Second Armored Division at Fort Benning, Georgia and named Commanding General on April 11, 1941. Two months later, Patton appeared on the cover of Life magazine. Also during this time, Patton began giving his famous "Blood and Guts" speeches in an amphitheater he had built to accommodate the entire division.

The United States officially entered World War II in December 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. By November 8, 1942, Patton was commanding the Western Task Force, the only all-American force landing for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. After succeeding there, Patton commanded the Seventh Army during the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, and in conjunction with the British Eighth Army restored Sicily to its citizens.

Patton commanded the Seventh Army until 1944, when he was given command of the Third Army in France. Patton and his troops dashed across Europe after the battle of Normandy and exploited German weaknesses with great success, covering the 600 miles across France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. When the Third Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp, Patton slowed his pace. He instituted a policy, later adopted by other commanders, of making local German civilians tour the camps. By the time WWII was over, the Third Army had liberated or conquered 81,522 square miles of territory.

In October 1945, Patton assumed command of the Fifteenth Army in American-occupied Germany. On December 9, he suffered injuries as the result of an automobile accident. He died 12 days later, on December 21, 1945 and is buried among the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm, Luxembourg.

Remembered for his fierce determination and ability to lead soldiers, Patton is now considered one of the greatest military figures in history. The 1970 film, "Patton," starring George C. Scott in the title role, provoked renewed interest in Patton. The movie won seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture, and immortalized General George Smith Patton, Jr. as one of the world's most intriguing military men.


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