Jump to content

George S. Patton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Patton)

George S. Patton
Patton in 1945
"Old Blood and Guts"
Born(1885-11-11)November 11, 1885
San Gabriel, California, U.S.
DiedDecember 21, 1945(1945-12-21) (aged 60)
Heidelberg, Allied-occupied Germany
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1909–1945
Service number0-2605
UnitCavalry Branch
Commands heldFifteenth United States Army
Third United States Army
Seventh United States Army
II Corps
Desert Training Center
I Armored Corps
2nd Armored Division
2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division
3rd Cavalry Regiment
5th Cavalry Regiment
3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry
304th Tank Brigade
See battles
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Complete list of decorations
Alma materUnited States Military Academy
Virginia Military Institute
Beatrice Banning Ayer
(m. 1910)
ChildrenBeatrice Smith
Ruth Ellen
George Patton IV
RelationsGeorge Smith Patton II (father)
George Smith Patton I (grandfather)
Benjamin Davis Wilson (grandfather)
Bernardo Yorba (great-grandfather)
John K. Waters (son-in-law)
Willie (dog)

George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a general in the United States Army who commanded the Seventh Army in the Mediterranean Theater of World War II, and the Third Army in France and Germany after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Born in 1885, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the "Patton Saber". He competed in the modern pentathlon in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Patton entered combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916, the United States' first military action using motor vehicles. He fought in World War I as part of the new United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces: he commanded the U.S. tank school in France, then led tanks into combat and was wounded near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton became a central figure in the development of the army's armored warfare doctrine, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. At the United States' entry into World War II, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division.

Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, and soon established himself as an effective commander by rapidly rehabilitating the demoralized II Corps. He commanded the U.S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command. He was assigned a key role in Operation Fortitude, the Allies' military deception campaign for Operation Overlord. At the start of the Western Allied invasion of France, Patton was given command of the Third Army, which conducted a highly successful rapid armored drive across France. Under his decisive leadership, the Third Army took the lead in relieving beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces drove deep into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.

During the Allied occupation of Germany, Patton was named military governor of Bavaria, but was relieved for making aggressive statements towards the Soviet Union and trivializing denazification. He commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for slightly more than two months. Severely injured in an auto accident, he died in Germany twelve days later, on December 21, 1945.

Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality, and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front, and his ability to inspire troops with attention-getting, vulgarity-laden speeches, such as his famous address to the Third Army, was received favorably by his troops, but much less so by a sharply divided Allied high command. His sending the doomed Task Force Baum to liberate his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters, from a prisoner-of-war camp further damaged his standing with his superiors. His emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved effective, and he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. An award-winning biographical film released in 1970, Patton, helped popularize his image.

Early life


George Smith Patton Jr. was born on November 11, 1885,[1][2] in the Los Angeles suburb of San Gabriel, California, to George Smith Patton Sr. and his wife, Ruth Wilson, the daughter of Benjamin Davis Wilson, the second Mayor of Los Angeles, and Ramona Yorba, daughter of prominent Californio Bernardo Yorba.[3] The wealthy Patton family resided at Lake Vineyard, built by Benjamin Wilson, on 128 acres (52 ha) in present-day San Marino, California.[4] Patton had a younger sister, Anne, nicknamed "Nita."[5] Nita became engaged to John J. Pershing, Patton's mentor, in 1917, but the engagement ended because of their separation during Pershing's time in France during World War I.

Anne Wilson "Nita" Patton, Patton's sister. She was engaged to John J. Pershing in 1917–18.

As a child, Patton had difficulty learning to read and write, but eventually overcame this and was known in his adult life to be an avid reader.[a] He was tutored from home until the age of eleven, when he was enrolled in Stephen Cutter Clark's[6] Classical School for Boys, a private school in Pasadena, for six years.[7] Patton was described as an intelligent boy and was widely read in classical military history, particularly the exploits of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as those of family friend John Singleton Mosby, who frequently stopped by the Patton family home when George was a child.[5] He was also a devoted horseback rider.[8]

Patton never seriously considered a career other than the military.[8] At the age of seventeen he sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He also applied to several universities with military corps of cadet programs, and was accepted to Princeton, but eventually decided on Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which his father and grandfather had attended.[9][10] He attended the school from 1903 to 1904, and though he struggled with reading and writing, performed exceptionally in uniform and appearance inspection, as well as military drill.

Patton at the Virginia Military Institute

While he was at VMI, Senator Thomas R. Bard nominated him for West Point.[11] He was an initiate of the Beta Commission of Kappa Alpha Order.[12]

In his plebe (first) year at West Point, Patton adjusted easily to the routine. However, his academic performance was so poor that he was forced to repeat his first year after failing mathematics.[13] He excelled at military drills, though his academic performance remained average. He was cadet sergeant major during his junior year, and the cadet adjutant his senior year. He also joined the football team, but he injured his arm and stopped playing on several occasions. Instead he tried out for the sword team and track and field and specialized in the modern pentathlon.[14] He competed in this sport in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, and he finished in fifth place—right behind four Swedes.[15]

Patton graduated number 46 out of 103 cadets at West Point on June 11, 1909,[16] and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Cavalry branch of the United States Army.[17][18]

At age 24, Patton married Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrialist Frederick Ayer, on May 26, 1910, in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. They had three children, Beatrice Smith (born March 1911), Ruth Ellen (born February 1915), and George Patton IV (born December 1923).[19] Patton's wife Beatrice died on September 30, 1953, from a ruptured aneurysm[20] after falling while riding her horse in a hunt with her brother and others at the Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.[21]



The Patton family was of English, Irish, Scots-Irish, Scottish, French and Welsh ancestry. His great-grandmother came from an aristocratic Welsh family, descended from many Welsh lords of Glamorgan,[8] which had an extensive military background. Patton believed he had formerly lived as a soldier and took pride in mystical ties with his ancestors.[22][23][24] Though not directly descended from George Washington, Patton traced some of his English colonial roots to George Washington's great-grandfather. He is a 1st cousin six times removed of George Washington.[25][26] He was also descended from England's King Edward I through Edward's son Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent.[25] Family belief held the Pattons were descended from sixteen barons who had signed Magna Carta.[25] Patton believed in reincarnation, stating that he had fought in previous battles and wars before his time, additionally, his ancestry was very important to him, forming a central part of his personal identity.[27] The first Patton in North America was Robert Patton, born in Ayr, Scotland. He emigrated to Culpeper, Virginia, from Glasgow, in either 1769 or 1770.[28] George Patton, Jr.'s paternal grandfather was George Smith Patton, who commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry under Jubal Early in the Civil War and was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester, while his great-uncle Waller T. Patton was killed in Pickett's Charge leading the 7th Virginia Infantry regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg. Patton also descended from Hugh Mercer, who had been killed in the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War. Patton's father, who graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), became a lawyer and later the district attorney of Los Angeles County. Patton's maternal grandfather was Benjamin Davis Wilson, a merchant who had been the second Mayor of Los Angeles.[29] His father was a wealthy rancher and lawyer who owned a one-thousand-acre (400 ha) ranch near Pasadena, California.[29][30][31] Wilson had married into one of the original Southern California settler families by marrying Ramona Yorba, who was the daughter of prominent Californio (Spanish and Mexican settlers in California) Bernardo Yorba, after whom the city of Yorba Linda is named. Patton is also a descendant of French Huguenot Louis DuBois.[32][33]


George S. Patton is believed to have had Narcissistic Personality Disorder by many modern psychologists and historians.[34][35]

Early military career


Patton's first posting was with the 15th Cavalry at Fort Sheridan, Illinois,[36] where he established himself as a dilligent leader who impressed superiors with his dedication.[37] In late 1911, Patton was transferred to Fort Myer, Virginia, where many of the Army's senior leaders were stationed. Befriending Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Patton served as his aide at social functions on top of his regular duties as quartermaster for his troop.[38] Patton had a high-pitched voice and worried that this would make it impossible for him to inspire his troops.[39]

1912 Olympics

Patton (right) fencing in the modern pentathlon of the 1912 Summer Olympics

For his skill in running and fencing, Patton was selected as the Army's entry for the first modern pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.[40] Patton was the only American among the 42 pentathletes, who were all officers.[41] Patton placed twenty-first on the pistol range, seventh in swimming, fourth in fencing, sixth in the equestrian competition, and third in the footrace, finishing fifth overall and first among the non-Swedish competitors.[42]

There was some controversy concerning his performance in the pistol shooting competition, in which he used a .38 caliber U.S. Army-issue pistol while most of the other competitors chose .22 caliber firearms. He claimed that the holes in the paper from his early shots were so large that a later bullet passed through them, but the judges decided that one of his bullets missed the target completely. Modern competitions at this level frequently now employ a moving backdrop specifically to track multiple shots through the same hole.[43][44] If his assertion was correct, Patton would likely have won an Olympic medal in the event.[45] The judges' ruling was upheld. Patton's only comment on the matter was:

The high spirit of sportsmanship and generosity manifested throughout speaks volumes for the character of the officers of the present day. There was not a single incident of a protest or any unsportsmanlike quibbling or fighting for points which I may say, marred some of the other civilian competitions at the Olympic Games. Each man did his best and took what fortune sent them like a true soldier, and at the end we all felt more like good friends and comrades than rivals in a severe competition, yet this spirit of friendship in no manner detracted from the zeal with which all strove for success.[43]

Sword design


Following the 1912 Olympics, Patton traveled to Saumur, France, where he learned fencing techniques from Adjutant Charles Cléry, a French "master of arms" and instructor of fencing at the cavalry school there.[46] Bringing these lessons back to Fort Myer, Patton redesigned saber combat doctrine for the U.S. cavalry, favoring thrusting attacks over the standard slashing maneuver and designing a new sword for such attacks. He was temporarily assigned to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff, and in 1913, the first 20,000 of the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber—popularly known as the "Patton saber"—were ordered.

Patton then returned to Saumur to learn advanced techniques before bringing his skills to the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he would be both a student and a fencing instructor. He was the first Army officer to be designated "Master of the Sword",[47][48] a title denoting the school's top instructor in swordsmanship.[49] Arriving in September 1913, he taught fencing to other cavalry officers, many of whom were senior to him in rank.[50]

Patton on his steeplechase horse, Wooltex, in 1914

Patton graduated from this school in June 1915. He was originally intended to return to the 15th Cavalry,[51] which was bound for the Philippines. Fearing this assignment would dead-end his career, Patton travelled to Washington, D.C., during 11 days of leave and convinced influential friends to arrange a reassignment for him to the 8th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas, anticipating that instability in Mexico might boil over into a full-scale civil war.[52] In the meantime, Patton was selected to participate in the 1916 Summer Olympics, but that Olympiad was cancelled due to World War I.[53]

Pancho Villa Expedition


In 1915, Lieutenant Patton was assigned to border patrol duty with A Troop of the 8th Cavalry, based in Sierra Blanca.[54][55] During his time in the town, Patton took to wearing his M1911 Colt .45 in his belt rather than a holster. His firearm discharged accidentally one night in a saloon, so he swapped it for an ivory-handled Colt Single Action Army revolver, a weapon that would later become an icon of Patton's image.[56]

In March 1916, Mexican forces loyal to Pancho Villa crossed into New Mexico and raided the border town of Columbus. The violence in Columbus killed several Americans. In response, the U.S. launched the Pancho Villa Expedition into Mexico. Chagrined to discover that his unit would not participate, Patton appealed to expedition commander John J. Pershing, and was named his personal aide for the expedition. This meant that Patton would have some role in organizing the effort, and his eagerness and dedication to the task impressed Pershing.[57][58] Patton modeled much of his leadership style after Pershing, who favored strong, decisive actions and commanding from the front.[59][60] As an aide, Patton oversaw the logistics of Pershing's transportation and acted as his personal courier.[61]

The durability of the 1915 Dodge Brothers Model 30-35 touring car won renown for the new automaker following its use in the 1916 Pancho Villa Expedition[62]

In mid-April, Patton asked Pershing for the opportunity to command troops, and was assigned to Troop C of the 13th Cavalry to assist in the manhunt for Villa and his subordinates.[63] His initial combat experience came on May 14, 1916, in what would become the first motorized attack in the history of U.S. warfare. A force of ten soldiers and two civilian guides, under Patton's command, with the 6th Infantry in three Dodge touring cars surprised three of Villa's men during a foraging expedition, killing Julio Cárdenas and two of his guards.[58][64] It was not clear if Patton personally killed any of the men, but he was known to have wounded all three.[65] The incident garnered Patton both Pershing's good favor and widespread media attention as a "bandit killer".[58][66] Shortly after, he was promoted to first lieutenant while a part of the 10th Cavalry on May 23, 1916.[54] Patton remained in Mexico until the end of the year. President Woodrow Wilson forbade the expedition from conducting aggressive patrols deeper into Mexico, so it remained encamped in the Mexican border states for much of that time. In October Patton briefly retired to California after being burned by an exploding gas lamp.[67] He returned from the expedition permanently in February 1917.[68]

World War I

Major General John J. Pershing, accompanied by Captain George S. Patton, inspecting men of Patton's headquarters troop at American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) headquarters, Chaumont, France, 1917

After the Villa Expedition, Patton was detailed to Front Royal, Virginia, to oversee horse procurement for the army, but Pershing intervened on his behalf.[68] After the United States entered World War I, in April 1917, and Pershing was named commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front, Patton requested to join his staff.[58] Patton was promoted to captain on May 15, 1917, and left for Europe, among the 180 men of Pershing's advance party which departed May 28 and arrived in Liverpool, England, on June 8.[69] Taken as Pershing's personal aide, Patton oversaw the training of American troops in Paris until September, then moved to Chaumont and was assigned as a post adjutant, commanding the headquarters company overseeing the base. Patton was dissatisfied with the post and began to take an interest in tanks, as Pershing sought to give him command of an infantry battalion.[70] While in a hospital for jaundice, Patton met Colonel Fox Conner, who encouraged him to work with tanks instead of infantry.[71]

On November 10, 1917, Patton was assigned to establish the AEF Light Tank School.[58] He left Paris and reported to the French Army's tank training school at Champlieu near Orrouy, where he drove a Renault FT light tank. On November 20, the British launched an offensive towards the important rail center of Cambrai, using an unprecedented number of tanks.[72] At the conclusion of his tour on December 1, Patton went to Albert, 30 miles (48 km) from Cambrai, to be briefed on the results of this attack by the chief of staff of the British Tank Corps, Colonel J. F. C. Fuller.[73] On the way back to Paris, he visited the Renault factory to observe French tanks being manufactured. Patton was promoted to major on January 26, 1918.[71] He received the first ten tanks on March 23, 1918, at the tank school at Bourg, a small village close to Langres, Haute-Marne département. The only US soldier with tank-driving experience, Patton personally backed seven of the tanks off the train.[74] In the post, Patton trained tank crews to operate in support of infantry, and promoted its acceptance among reluctant infantry officers.[75] He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on April 3, 1918, and attended the Command and General Staff College in Langres.[76]

Patton at Bourg in France in 1918 with a Renault FT light tank

In August 1918, he was placed in charge of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade (redesignated the 304th Tank Brigade on November 6, 1918). Patton's Light Tank Brigade was part of Colonel Samuel Rockenbach's Tank Corps, part of the American First Army.[77] Personally overseeing the logistics of the tanks in their first combat use by U.S. forces, and reconnoitering the target area for their first attack himself, Patton ordered that no U.S. tank be surrendered.[76][78] Patton commanded American-crewed Renault FT tanks at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel,[79] leading the tanks from the front for much of their attack, which began on September 12. He walked in front of the tanks into the German-held village of Essey, and rode on top of a tank during the attack into Pannes, seeking to inspire his men.[80]

While outside the village of Essey he had his first chance meeting with Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, then commanding a brigade of the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, who, at just thirty-eight, was already one of the most highly decorated officers in the AEF, and with whom Patton would serve later in his career.[81]

Patton's brigade was then moved to support I Corps for the upcoming Meuse–Argonne offensive, which began on September 26.[79] He personally led a troop of tanks through thick fog as they advanced 5 miles (8 km) into German lines. Around 09:00, Patton was wounded while leading six men and a tank in an attack on German machine guns near the town of Cheppy.[82][83] His orderly, Private First Class Joe Angelo, saved Patton, for which he was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).[84] Patton commanded the battle from a shell hole for another hour before being evacuated. Although the 35th Division (of which Patton's tank troop was a component) eventually captured Varennes, it did so with heavy losses.[85] Trying to move his reserve tanks forward, Patton relates that he might have killed one of his own men, stating: "Some of my reserve tanks were stuck by some trenches. So I went back and made some Americans hiding in the trenches dig a passage. I think I killed one man here. He would not work so I hit him over the head with a shovel."[86]

Tank Corps School near Langres, France, July 15, 1918. Tank crew receiving instruction from officers, from left to right: Captain Ranulf Compton, Chief Instructor, and Lieutenant Colonel George S. Patton (center, with back towards the camera), the Commanding Officer

Patton stopped at a rear command post to submit his report before heading to a hospital. Sereno E. Brett, commander of the U.S. 326th Tank Battalion, took command of the brigade in Patton's absence. Patton wrote in a letter to his wife: "The bullet went into the front of my left leg and came out just at the crack of my bottom about two inches to the left of my rectum. It was fired at about 50 m [160 ft] so made a hole about the size of a [silver] dollar where it came out."[87]

While recuperating from his wound, Patton was promoted to temporary colonel in the Tank Corps of the U.S. National Army on October 17. He returned to duty on October 28 but saw no further action before hostilities ended on his 33rd birthday with the armistice of November 11, 1918.[88] For his actions in Cheppy, Patton received the Silver Star, later upgraded to the DSC. The citation for the medal read:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Armor) George Smith Patton, Jr. (ASN: 0-2605), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Tank Corps, A.E.F., near Cheppy, France, 26 September 1918. Colonel Patton displayed conspicuous courage, coolness, energy, and intelligence in directing the advance of his brigade down the valley of the Aire. Later he rallied a force of disorganized infantry and led it forward, behind the tanks, under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire until he was wounded. Unable to advance further, Colonel Patton continued to direct the operations of his unit until all arrangements for turning over the command were completed.[89]

For his leadership of the tank brigade and tank school, he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the citation for which reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Colonel (Tank Corps) George Smith Patton, Jr. (ASN: 0-2605), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. By his energy and sound judgment, Colonel Patton rendered very valuable services in his organization and direction of the Tank Center at the Army schools at Langres, France. In the employment of Tank Corps troops in combat he displayed high military attainments, zeal, and marked adaptability in a form of warfare comparatively new to the American Army.[89]

In addition, he was also awarded the Purple Heart for his combat wounds after the decoration was created in 1932.[90]

On 11 November 1918, World War I ended. In the months and years that followed Patton was haunted by his experience in the Meuse–Argonne. Although he emerged from the war with honours and acclaim, the year 1918 took its toll and the price was indeed high. Contrary to his image as a tough guy, Patton was deeply affected by the horror of war and suffered from post-traumatic stress. What had been a high on the battlefield turned into the giant letdown that is so common to soldiers who have been in combat.[91]

Inter-war years

Patton as a temporary colonel at Camp Meade, Maryland, 1919

Patton left France for New York City on March 2, 1919. After the war, he was assigned to Camp Meade, Maryland, and reverted to his permanent rank of captain on June 30, 1920, though he was promoted to major again the next day. Patton was given temporary duty in Washington D.C. that year to serve on a committee writing a manual on tank operations. During this time he developed a belief that tanks should be used not as infantry support, but rather as an independent fighting force. Patton supported the M1919 design created by J. Walter Christie, a project which was shelved due to financial considerations.[92] While on duty in Washington, D.C., in 1919, Patton met Dwight D. Eisenhower,[93] who would play an enormous role in Patton's future career. During and following Patton's assignment in Hawaii, he and Eisenhower corresponded frequently. Patton sent notes and assistance to help Eisenhower graduate from the General Staff College.[94] With Christie, Eisenhower, and a handful of other officers, Patton pushed for more development of armored warfare in the interwar era. These thoughts resonated with Secretary of War Dwight Davis, but the limited military budget and prevalence of already-established Infantry and Cavalry branches meant the U.S. would not develop its armored corps much until 1940.[95]

On September 30, 1920, then-Major Patton relinquished command of the 304th Tank Brigade and was reassigned to Fort Myer as commander of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry.[94] Loathing duty as a peacetime staff officer, he spent much time writing technical papers and giving speeches on his combat experiences at the General Staff College.[92]

In July 1921 Patton became a member of the American Legion Tank Corps Post No. 19.[96] Maj. Patton led the rescue effort after the January 1922 blizzard destroyed the Knickerbocker Theatre in D.C.[97][98] From 1922 to mid-1923 he attended the Field Officer's Course at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, then he attended the Command and General Staff College from mid-1923 to mid-1924,[94] graduating 25th out of 248.[99] In August 1923, Patton saved several children from drowning when they fell off a yacht during a boating trip off Salem, Massachusetts. He was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for this action.[100] He was temporarily appointed to the General Staff Corps in Boston, Massachusetts, before being reassigned as G-1 and G-2 of the Hawaiian Division at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu in March 1925.[94]

Patton was made G-3 of the Hawaiian Division for several months, before being transferred in May 1927 to the Office of the Chief of Cavalry in Washington, D.C., where he began to develop the concepts of mechanized warfare. A short-lived experiment to merge infantry, cavalry and artillery into a combined arms force was cancelled after U.S. Congress removed funding. Patton left this office in 1931, returned to Massachusetts and attended the Army War College, becoming a "Distinguished Graduate" in June 1932.[101]

In July 1932, Patton (still a Major) was executive officer of the 3rd Cavalry, which was ordered to Washington by Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur. Patton took command of the 600 troops of the 3rd Cavalry, and on July 28, MacArthur ordered Patton's troops to advance on protesting veterans known as the "Bonus Army" with tear gas and bayonets. Patton was dissatisfied with MacArthur's conduct, as he recognized the legitimacy of the veterans' complaints and had himself earlier refused to issue the order to employ armed force to disperse the veterans. Patton later stated that, though he found the duty "most distasteful", he also felt that putting the marchers down prevented an insurrection and saved lives and property. He personally led the 3rd Cavalry down Pennsylvania Avenue, dispersing the protesters.[102][103] Patton also encountered his former orderly, Joe Angelo, as one of the marchers and forcibly ordered him away, fearing such a meeting might make the headlines.[104]

Patton was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the regular Army on March 1, 1934, and was transferred to the Hawaiian Division in early 1935 to serve as G-2. During this posting, Patton feuded with his commander, Hugh Aloysius Drum, another Pershing protégé.[105][106] At a polo match in which Patton was playing, Drum was among the spectators and rebuked Patton for his use of angry profanity during the game.[107] The civilian players, who were members of Hawaii's wealthy elite on friendly terms with the equally wealthy and elite Patton, humiliated Drum by standing up for Patton.[107] Patton followed the growing hostility and conquest aspirations of the militant Japanese leadership. He wrote a plan to intern the Japanese living in the islands in the event of an attack as a result of the atrocities carried out by Japanese soldiers on the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese war. In 1937 he wrote a paper with the title "Surprise" which predicted, with what D'Este termed "chilling accuracy", a surprise attack by the Japanese on Hawaii.[108] Depressed at the lack of prospects for new conflict, Patton took to drinking heavily and allegedly began a brief affair with his 21-year-old niece by marriage, Jean Gordon.[109] This supposed affair distressed his wife and nearly resulted in their separation. Patton's attempts to win her back were said to be among the few instances in which he willingly showed remorse or submission.[110]

Patton continued playing polo and sailing in this time. After sailing back to Los Angeles for extended leave in 1937, he was kicked by a horse and fractured his leg. Patton developed phlebitis from the injury, which nearly killed him. The incident almost forced Patton out of active service, but a six-month administrative assignment in the Academic Department at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley helped him to recover.[109] Patton was promoted to colonel on July 24, 1938, and given command of the 5th Cavalry at Fort Clark, Texas, for six months, a post he relished, but he was reassigned to Fort Myer again in December as commander of the 3rd Cavalry. There, he met the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, who was so impressed with him that Marshall considered Patton a prime candidate for promotion to general. In peacetime, though, he would remain a colonel to remain eligible to command a regiment.[111] When Malin Craig retired as Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1939, Drum was a candidate to succeed him.[107][112] Drum wanted the position badly enough to set aside his feud with Patton and ask Patton to intercede with the retired but still influential Pershing.[107][112] Despite these efforts, Drum was passed over in favor of Marshall.[107][112]

Patton had a personal schooner named When and If. The schooner was designed by famous naval architect John G. Alden and built in 1939. The schooner's name comes from Patton saying he would sail it "when and if" he returned from war.[113]

World War II

Writer Hal Block (far left), comedian Bob Hope (second from left), writer/actor Barney Dean, singer Frances Langford and musician Tony Romano meet George Patton in Sicily during World War II

Following the German Army's invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the U.S. military entered a period of mobilization, and Colonel Patton sought to build up the power of U.S. armored forces. During maneuvers the Third Army conducted in 1940, Patton served as an umpire, where he met Adna R. Chaffee Jr. and the two formulated recommendations to develop an armored force. Chaffee was named commander of this force,[114] and created the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions as well as the first combined arms doctrine. He named Patton commander of the 2nd Armored Brigade, part of the 2nd Armored Division. The division was one of few organized as a heavy formation with many tanks, and Patton was in charge of its training.[115] Patton was promoted to brigadier general on October 2, made acting division commander in November when Charles L. Scott assumed command of I Armored Corps, and on April 4, 1941, was promoted again to major general as Commanding General (CG) of the 2nd Armored Division.[114] As Chaffee stepped down from command of the I Armored Corps, Patton became the most prominent figure in U.S. armor doctrine. In December 1940, he staged a high-profile mass exercise in which 1,000 tanks and vehicles were driven from Columbus, Georgia, to Panama City, Florida, and back.[116] He repeated the exercise with his entire division of 1,300 vehicles the next month.[117] Patton earned a pilot's license and, during these maneuvers, observed the movements of his vehicles from the air to find ways to deploy them effectively in combat.[116] His exploits earned him a spot on the cover of Life magazine.[118]

Major General George S. Patton sitting on a fence and smoking a pipe while observing 1941 maneuvers in Louisiana.

General Patton led the division during the Tennessee Maneuvers in June 1941, and was lauded for his leadership, executing 48 hours' worth of planned objectives in only nine. During the September Louisiana Maneuvers, his division was part of the losing Red Army in Phase I, but in Phase II was assigned to the Blue Army. His division executed a 400-mile (640 km) end run around the Red Army and "captured" Shreveport, Louisiana. During the October–November Carolina Maneuvers, Patton's division captured Drum, the commander of the opposing army.[119] Drum was embarrassed and became the subject of mockery.[120] After soldiers from Isaac D. White's battalion detained Drum,[121] the exercise umpires ruled that the circumstances would not have transpired in combat, so he was allowed to return to his headquarters, enabling the exercise to continue and Drum to save face.[122] Despite the umpires' actions, the incident indicated to senior leaders that Drum might not be prepared to command large bodies of troops under the modern battlefield conditions the Army would face in World War II, so he was not considered for field command.[122][b]

On January 15, 1942, a few weeks after the American entry into World War II, he succeeded Scott as commander of I Armored Corps, and the next month established the Desert Training Center[124] in the Coachella Valley region of Riverside County in California, to run training exercises. He commenced these exercises in late 1941 and continued them into the summer of 1942. Patton chose a 10,000-acre (40 km2) expanse of desert area about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Palm Springs.[125] From his first days as a commander, Patton strongly emphasized the need for armored forces to stay in constant contact with opposing forces. His instinctive preference for offensive movement was typified by an answer Patton gave to war correspondents in a 1944 press conference. In response to a question on whether the Third Army's rapid offensive across France should be slowed to reduce the number of U.S. casualties, Patton replied, "Whenever you slow anything down, you waste human lives."[126] It was around this time that a reporter, after hearing a speech where Patton said that it took "blood and brains" to win in combat, began calling him "blood and guts". The nickname would follow him for the rest of his life.[127] Soldiers under his command were known at times to have quipped, "our blood, his guts". Nonetheless, he was known to be admired widely by the men under his charge.[128]

North African campaign

Patton (left) with Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt aboard USS Augusta, off the coast of North Africa, November 1942
George S. Patton at the Casablanca Conference

Under Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, Patton was assigned to help plan the Allied invasion of French North Africa as part of Operation Torch in the summer of 1942.[129][130] Patton commanded the Western Task Force, consisting of 33,000 men in 100 ships, in landings centered on Casablanca, Morocco. The landings, which took place on November 8, 1942, were opposed by Vichy French forces, but Patton's men quickly gained a beachhead and pushed through fierce resistance. Casablanca fell on November 11 and Patton negotiated an armistice with French General Charles Noguès.[131][132] The Sultan of Morocco was so impressed that he presented Patton with the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, with the citation "Les Lions dans leurs tanières tremblent en le voyant approcher" (The lions in their dens tremble at his approach).[133] Patton oversaw the conversion of Casablanca into a military port and hosted the Casablanca Conference in January 1943.[134]

On March 6, 1943, following the defeat of the U.S. II Corps by the German Afrika Korps, commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Patton replaced Major General Lloyd Fredendall as Commanding General of the II Corps and was promoted to lieutenant general. Soon thereafter, he had Major General Omar Bradley reassigned to his corps as its deputy commander.[135] With orders to take the battered and demoralized formation into action in 10 days' time, Patton immediately introduced sweeping changes, ordering all soldiers to wear clean, pressed and complete uniforms, establishing rigorous schedules, and requiring strict adherence to military protocol. He continuously moved throughout the command talking with men, seeking to shape them into effective soldiers. He pushed them hard, and sought to reward them well for their accomplishments.[136] His uncompromising leadership style is evidenced by his orders for an attack on a hill position near Gafsa, in which he ended by reportedly saying, "I expect to see such casualties among officers, particularly staff officers, as will convince me that a serious effort has been made to capture this objective."[137]

From left to right, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Major General Terry Allen and Lieutenant General George S. Patton, March 1943.

Patton's training was effective, and on March 17, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division took Gafsa participating in the indecisive Battle of El Guettar, and pushing a German and Italian armored force back twice. In the meantime, on April 5, he removed Major General Orlando Ward, commanding the 1st Armored Division, after its lackluster performance at Maknassy against numerically inferior German forces. Advancing on Gabès, Patton's corps pressured the Mareth Line.[136] During this time, he reported to British General Sir Harold Alexander, commander of the 18th Army Group, and came into conflict with Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham about the lack of close air support being provided for his troops.[138] By the time his force reached Gabès, the Germans had abandoned it. He then relinquished command of II Corps to Bradley, and returned to the I Armored Corps in Casablanca to help plan Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. Fearing U.S. troops would be sidelined, he convinced British commanders to allow them to continue fighting through to the end of the Tunisia Campaign before leaving on this new assignment.[138][139]

Sicily campaign


For Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, Patton was to command the Seventh United States Army, dubbed the Western Task Force, in landings at Gela, Scoglitti and Licata to support landings by General Sir Bernard Montgomery's British Eighth Army. Patton's I Armored Corps was officially redesignated the Seventh Army just before his force of 90,000 landed before dawn on D-Day, July 10, 1943, on beaches near the town of Licata. The armada was hampered by wind and weather, but despite this the three U.S. infantry divisions involved, the 3rd, 1st, and 45th, secured their respective beaches. They then repulsed counterattacks at Gela,[140] where Patton personally led his troops against German reinforcements from the Hermann Göring Division.[141]

Lieutenant Colonel Lyle W. Bernard, commanding the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, in conversation with Patton, near Brolo, Sicily, July 1943.

Initially ordered to protect the British forces' left flank, Patton was granted permission by Alexander to take Palermo after Montgomery's forces became bogged down on the road to Messina. As part of a provisional corps under Major General Geoffrey Keyes, the 3rd Infantry Division under Major General Lucian Truscott covered 100 miles (160 km) in 72 hours, arriving at Palermo on July 21. Patton then set his sights on Messina.[142] He sought an amphibious assault, but it was delayed by lack of landing craft, and his troops did not land at Santo Stefano until August 8, by which time the Germans and Italians had already evacuated the bulk of their troops to mainland Italy. He ordered more landings on August 10 by the 3rd Infantry Division, which took heavy casualties but pushed the German forces back, and hastened the advance on Messina.[143] A third landing was completed on August 16, and by 22:00 that day Messina fell to his forces. By the end of the battle, the 200,000-man Seventh Army had suffered 7,500 casualties, and killed or captured 113,000 Axis troops and destroyed 3,500 vehicles. Still, 40,000 German and 70,000 Italian troops escaped to Italy with 10,000 vehicles.[144][145]

Patton's conduct in this campaign met with several controversies. He was also frequently in disagreement with Terry de la Mesa Allen Sr. and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. though often then conceding, to their relief, in line with Bradley's view.[146]

General Sir Bernard Montgomery shakes hands with Lieutenant General George S. Patton at an airport at Palermo, Sicily, July 28, 1943. Major General Geoffrey Keyes, deputy commander of Patton's Seventh Army, stands to the far left of the picture.

When Alexander sent a transmission on July 19 limiting Patton's attack on Messina, his chief of staff, Brigadier General Hobart R. Gay, claimed the message was "lost in transmission" until Messina had fallen.

In an incident on July 22, while a U.S. armored column was under attack from German aircraft, he shot and killed a pair of mules that had stopped while pulling a cart across a bridge. The cart was blocking the way of the column. When their Sicilian owner protested, Patton attacked him with a walking stick and had his troops push the two mule carcasses off the bridge.[142]

When informed of the Biscari massacre of prisoners, which was by troops under his command, Patton wrote in his diary, "I told Bradley that it was probably an exaggeration, but in any case to tell the officer to certify that the dead men were snipers or had attempted to escape or something, as it would make a stink in the press and also would make the civilians mad. Anyhow, they are dead, so nothing can be done about it."[147] Bradley refused Patton's suggestions. Patton later changed his mind. After he learned that the 45th Division's Inspector General found "no provocation on the part of the prisoners ... They had been slaughtered" Patton is reported to have said: "Try the bastards."[147]

Lieutenant General Patton watches operations from a town in the front line accompanied by his staff, July 11, 1943.

Two soldiers were tried for the Biscari massacre, both of whom claimed in their defense that they were acting under orders from Patton not to take prisoners if enemy combatants continued to resist within two hundred yards of their position.[148] Major General Everett Hughes, an old friend of Patton's, defended him, asserting that Patton had not "at any time advocated the destruction of prisoners of war under any circumstances".[149] James J. Weingartner argues that Patton's innocence in inciting violence against prisoners of war is uncertain, stating that

The testimony of multiple witnesses indicated beyond a reasonable doubt that Patton had urged the killing of enemy troops who continued to resist at close quarters, even if they offered to surrender. Patton probably wished his troops to deny quarter or refuse to accept the surrender of enemy combatants who continued to resist at close range, itself a violation of the laws of war (although common practice) by the twentieth century, but it should not be surprising if some Americans concluded that they were authorized to kill resolute enemy soldiers after they had placed themselves under American control.[150][151]

No official action was taken against Patton for any complicity in the massacre.

Slapping incidents and aftermath

Patton talks to wounded soldiers preparing for evacuation

Two high-profile incidents of Patton striking subordinates during the Sicily campaign attracted national controversy following the end of the campaign. On August 3, 1943, Patton slapped and verbally abused Private Charles H. Kuhl at an evacuation hospital in Nicosia after he had been found to suffer from "battle fatigue".[152] On August 10, Patton slapped Private Paul G. Bennett under similar circumstances.[152] Ordering both soldiers back to the front lines,[153] Patton railed against cowardice and issued orders to his commanders to discipline any soldier making similar complaints.[154]

Word of the incident reached Eisenhower, who privately reprimanded Patton and insisted he apologize.[155] Patton apologized to both soldiers individually, as well as to doctors who witnessed the incidents,[156] and later to all of the soldiers under his command in several speeches.[157] Eisenhower suppressed the incident in the media,[158] but in November journalist Drew Pearson revealed it on his radio program.[159] Criticism of Patton in the United States was harsh, and included members of Congress and former generals, Pershing among them.[160][161] The views of the general public remained mixed on the matter,[162] and eventually Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson stated that Patton must be retained as a commander because of the need for his "aggressive, winning leadership in the bitter battles which are to come before final victory."[163]

Patton did not command a force in combat for 11 months.[164] In September, Bradley, who was Patton's junior in both rank and experience, was selected to command the First United States Army forming in England to prepare for Operation Overlord.[165] This decision had been made before the slapping incidents were made public, but Patton blamed them for his being denied the command.[166] Eisenhower felt the invasion of Europe was too important to risk any uncertainty, and that the slapping incidents had been an example of Patton's inability to exercise discipline and self-control. While Eisenhower and Marshall both considered Patton to be a skilled combat commander, they felt Bradley was less impulsive and less prone to making mistakes.[167] On January 26, 1944, Patton was formally given command of the U.S. Third Army in England, a newly formed field Army, and he was assigned to prepare its inexperienced soldiers for combat in Europe.[168][169] This duty kept Patton busy during the first half of 1944.[170]

Phantom Army

Major General Walter M. Robertson (back seat), commanding the 2nd Infantry Division, with Lieutenant General Patton pass in review of elements of Patton's Third Army in April 1944, prior to the Normandy invasion in June.

The German High Command had more respect for Patton than for any other Allied commander and considered him to be central to any plan to invade Europe from England.[171] Because of this, Patton was made a prominent figure in the deception scheme Operation Fortitude during the first half of 1944.[172] Through the British network of double-agents, the Allies fed German intelligence a steady stream of false reports about troops sightings and that Patton had been named commander of the First United States Army Group (FUSAG), all designed to convince the Germans that Patton was preparing this massive command for an invasion at Pas de Calais. FUSAG was in reality an intricately constructed fictitious army of decoys, props, and fake radio signal traffic based around Dover to mislead German reconnaissance planes and to make Axis leaders believe that a large force was massing there. This helped to mask the real location of the invasion in Normandy. Patton was ordered to keep a low profile to deceive the Germans into thinking that he was in Dover throughout early 1944, when he was actually training the Third Army.[171] As a result of Operation Fortitude, the German 15th Army remained at the Pas de Calais to defend against Patton's supposed attack.[173] So strong was their conviction that this was the main landing area that the German army held its position there even after the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, believing it to be a diversionary force. Patton flew to France a month later, and then returned to combat command.[174]

Normandy breakout offensive


Sailing to Normandy throughout July, Patton's Third Army formed on the extreme right (west) of the Allied land forces,[174][c] and became operational at noon on August 1, 1944, under Bradley's Twelfth United States Army Group. The Third Army simultaneously attacked west into Brittany, south, east toward the Seine, and north, assisting in trapping several hundred thousand German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket between Falaise and Argentan.[176][177]

Bradley (center) with Patton (left) and Montgomery (right) at Montgomery's 21st Army Group HQ, Normandy, July 7, 1944.

Patton's strategy with his army favored speed and aggressive offensive action, though his forces saw less opposition than did the other three Allied field armies in the initial weeks of its advance.[178] The Third Army typically employed forward scout units to determine enemy strength and positions. Self-propelled artillery moved with the spearhead units and was sited well forward, ready to engage protected German positions with indirect fire. Light aircraft such as the Piper L-4 Cub served as artillery spotters and provided airborne reconnaissance. Once located, the armored infantry would attack using tanks as infantry support. Other armored units would then break through enemy lines and exploit any subsequent breach, constantly pressuring withdrawing German forces to prevent them from regrouping and reforming a cohesive defensive line.[179] The U.S. armor advanced using reconnaissance by fire, and the .50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine gun proved effective in this role, often flushing out and killing German panzerfaust teams waiting in ambush as well as breaking up German infantry assaults against the armored infantry.[180]

The speed of the advance forced Patton's units to rely heavily on air reconnaissance and tactical air support.[179] The Third Army had by far more military intelligence (G-2) officers at headquarters specifically designated to coordinate air strikes than any other army.[181] Its attached close air support group was XIX Tactical Air Command, commanded by Brigadier General Otto P. Weyland. Developed originally by General Elwood Quesada of IX Tactical Air Command for the First Army in Operation Cobra, the technique of "armored column cover", in which close air support was directed by an air traffic controller in one of the attacking tanks, was used extensively by the Third Army. Each column was protected by a standing patrol of three to four P-47 and P-51 fighter-bombers as a combat air patrol (CAP).[182]

In its advance from Avranches to Argentan, the Third Army traversed 60 miles (97 km) in just two weeks. Patton's force was supplemented by Ultra intelligence for which he was briefed daily by his G-2, Colonel Oscar Koch, who apprised him of German counterattacks, and where to concentrate his forces.[183] Equally important to the advance of Third Army columns in northern France was the rapid advance of the supply echelons. Third Army logistics were overseen by Colonel Walter J. Muller, Patton's G-4, who emphasized flexibility, improvisation, and adaptation for Third Army supply echelons so forward units could rapidly exploit a breakthrough. Patton's rapid drive to Lorraine demonstrated his keen appreciation for the technological advantages of the U.S. Army. The major U.S. and Allied advantages were in mobility and air superiority. The U.S. Army had more trucks, more reliable tanks, and better radio communications, all of which contributed to a superior ability to operate at a rapid offensive pace.[184]

Lorraine campaign

Patton pins a Silver Star Medal on Private Ernest A. Jenkins, a soldier under his command, October 1944

Patton's Third Army was sent to Lorraine. Despite its proximity to Germany, Lorraine was not the Allies' preferred invasion route in 1944. Except for its cities of Nancy and Metz the region contained few significant military objectives. Once the Third Army had penetrated Lorraine there would still be no first-rate military objectives on entering Germany. The Saar's industrial importance region, while significant, was of secondary when compared to the great Ruhr industrial complex farther north.[185] Patton's offensive came to a halt on August 31, 1944, as the Third Army ran out of fuel near the Moselle River, just outside Metz. Patton expected that the theater commander would keep fuel and supplies flowing to support his advance, but Eisenhower favored a "broad front" approach to the ground-war effort, believing that a single thrust would have to drop off flank protection, and would quickly lose its punch.

Still within the constraints of a very large effort overall, Eisenhower gave Montgomery and his Twenty First Army Group a higher priority for supplies for Operation Market Garden.[186] However no supplies were diverted from Patton's Third Army. Three British transport companies were lent to American forces on August 6th for eight days not being returned until September 4th.[187] The Third Army exhausted its fuel supplies, however after the Market Garden operation.[188] According to Bradley there was parity of supplies between the three allied armies, Second British, First and Third US, by mid September 1944 and according to the official US Army History as cited on page 52 in Hugh Cole's book, The Lorraine Campaign, "by 10th September the period of critical [gasoline] shortage had ended". This was a whole week before Market Garden took place. The gasoline drought was the end of August/beginning of September.[189]

The French rail network greatly aided the speed of the Third Army's logistical recovery, which was repaired and quickly put to use. In eastern France the rail network was relatively undamaged by Allied aircraft and had been abandoned almost intact by the retreating Germans. The Third Army brought its railheads as far forward as Nancy. The French themselves operated the trains providing rolling stock and trained personnel to supplement the Third Army.[190][191]

Patton believed his forces were close enough to the Siegfried Line that he remarked to Bradley that with 400,000 gallons of gasoline he could be in Germany within two days.[192] In late September, a large German Panzer counterattack sent expressly to stop the advance of Patton's Third Army was defeated by the U.S. 4th Armored Division at the Battle of Arracourt. The German commanders believed this was because their counterattack had been successful.[193]

External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Carlo D'Este on Patton: A Genius for War, January 28, 1996, C-SPAN

The halt of the Third Army during the month of September was enough to allow the Germans to strengthen the fortress of Metz. Patton's forces reached the fortress at Metz on 5 September 1944, forcing a German surrender on 21 November 1944, taking over 10 weeks in the Battle of Metz[194] with both sides suffering heavy casualties. Also an attempt by Patton to seize Fort Driant just south of Metz was defeated.[195]

From left to right: Major General Leven C. Allen, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, Major General John S. Wood, Lieutenant General George S. Patton and Major General Manton S. Eddy being shown a map by one of Patton’s armored battalion commanders during a tour near Metz, France, November 1944.

Patton's decisions in taking this city were criticized. German commanders interviewed after the war noted he could have bypassed the city and moved north to Luxembourg where he would have been able to cut off the German Seventh Army.[196] The German commander of Metz, General Hermann Balck, also noted that a more direct attack would have resulted in a more decisive Allied victory in the city. Historian Carlo D'Este later wrote that the Lorraine campaign was one of Patton's least successful, faulting him for not deploying his divisions more aggressively and decisively.[197] Patton remained frustrated at the lack of progress of his forces. From November 8 to December 15, his army advanced no more than 40 miles (64 km).[198]

In The Lorraine Campaign An Overview, September-December 1944, on page 36, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel of the Combat Studies Institute stated in February, 1985:

Was the Lorraine campaign an American victory? From September through November, Third Army claimed to have inflicted over 180,000 casualties on the enemy. But to capture the province of Lorraine, a problem which involved an advance of only 40 to 60 air miLes, Third Army required over 3 months and suffered 50,000 casualties, approximately one-third of the total number of casualties it sustained in the entire European war.

Battle of the Bulge

From left to right, Bradley, Eisenhower and Patton in Bastogne, Belgium, 1945

In December 1944, the German army, under the command of German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, launched a last-ditch offensive across Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeastern France. On December 16, 1944, it massed 29 divisions totaling 250,000 men at a weak point in the Allied lines, and during the early stages of the ensuing Battle of the Bulge, made significant headway towards the Meuse River during a severe winter. Eisenhower called a meeting of all senior Allied commanders on the Western Front at a headquarters near Verdun on the morning of December 19 to plan strategy and a response to the German assault.[199]

At the time, Patton's Third Army was engaged in heavy fighting near Saarbrücken. Guessing the intent of the Allied command meeting, Patton ordered his staff to make three separate operational contingency orders to disengage elements of the Third Army from its present position and begin offensive operations toward several objectives in the area of the bulge occupied by German forces.[200] At the Supreme Command conference, Eisenhower led the meeting, which was attended by Patton, Bradley, General Jacob Devers, Major General Kenneth Strong, Deputy Supreme Commander Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, and several staff officers.[201] When Eisenhower asked Patton how long it would take him to disengage six divisions of his Third Army and commence a counterattack north to relieve the U.S. 101st Airborne Division which had been trapped at Bastogne, Patton replied, "As soon as you're through with me."[202] Patton then clarified that he had already worked up an operational order for a counterattack by three full divisions on December 21, then only 48 hours away.[202] Eisenhower was incredulous: "Don't be fatuous, George. If you try to go that early you won't have all three divisions ready and you'll go piecemeal." Patton replied that his staff already had a contingency operations order ready to go. Still unconvinced, Eisenhower ordered Patton to attack the morning of December 22, using at least three divisions.[203]

Patton left the conference room, phoned his command, and uttered two words: "Play ball." This code phrase initiated a prearranged operational order with Patton's staff, mobilizing three divisions—the 4th Armored Division, the 80th Infantry Division, and the 26th Infantry Division—from the Third Army and moving them north toward Bastogne.[200] In all, Patton would reposition six full divisions, U.S. III Corps and U.S. XII Corps, from their positions on the Saar River front along a line stretching from Bastogne to Diekirch and to Echternach, the town in Luxembourg that had been at the southern end of the initial "Bulge" front line on December 16.[204] Within a few days, more than 133,000 Third Army vehicles were rerouted into an offensive that covered an average distance of over 11 miles (18 km) per vehicle, followed by support echelons carrying 62,000 tonnes (61,000 long tons; 68,000 short tons) of supplies.[205]

Shown from left to right are: an unidentified driver, General George C. Marshall, Major General Horace L. McBride, Major General Manton S. Eddy, Lieutenant General George S. Patton, and an unidentified aide.

On December 21, Patton met with Bradley to review the impending advance, starting the meeting by remarking, "Brad, this time the Kraut's stuck his head in the meat grinder, and I've got hold of the handle."[200] Patton then argued that his Third Army should attack toward Koblenz, cutting off the bulge at the base and trap the entirety of the German armies involved in the offensive. After briefly considering this, Bradley vetoed it, since he was less concerned about killing large numbers of Germans than he was in arranging for the relief of Bastogne before it was overrun.[203] Desiring good weather for his advance, which would permit close ground support by U.S. Army Air Forces tactical aircraft, Patton ordered the Third Army chaplain, Colonel James Hugh O'Neill, to compose a suitable prayer. He responded with:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.[158]

When the weather cleared soon after, Patton awarded O'Neill a Bronze Star Medal on the spot.[158]

On December 26, 1944, the first spearhead units of the Third Army's 4th Armored Division reached Bastogne, opening a corridor for relief and resupply of the besieged forces. Patton's ability to disengage six divisions from front line combat during the middle of winter, then wheel north to relieve Bastogne was one of his most remarkable achievements during the war.[206] He later wrote that the relief of Bastogne was "the most brilliant operation we have thus far performed, and it is in my opinion the outstanding achievement of the war. This is my biggest battle."[205]

Advance into Germany


By February, the Germans were in full retreat. On February 23, 1945, the U.S. 94th Infantry Division crossed the Saar River and established a vital bridgehead at Serrig, through which Patton pushed units into the Saarland. Patton had insisted upon an immediate crossing of the Saar River against the advice of his officers. Historians such as Charles Whiting have criticized this strategy as unnecessarily aggressive.[207]

Once again, Patton found other commands given priority on gasoline and supplies.[208] To obtain these, Third Army ordnance units passed themselves off as First Army personnel and in one incident they secured thousands of gallons of gasoline from a First Army dump.[209] Between January 29 and March 22, the Third Army took Trier, Koblenz, Bingen, Worms, Mainz, Kaiserslautern, and Ludwigshafen, killing or wounding 99,000 and capturing 140,112 German soldiers, which represented virtually all of the remnants of the German First and Seventh Armies. An example of Patton's sarcastic wit was broadcast when he received orders to bypass Trier, as it had been decided that four divisions would be needed to capture it. When the message arrived, Trier had already fallen. Patton rather caustically replied: "Have taken Trier with two divisions. Do you want me to give it back?"[210]

The Third Army began crossing the Rhine River after constructing a pontoon bridge on March 22, two weeks after the First Army crossed it at Remagen, and Patton slipped a division across the river that evening.[211] Patton later boasted he had urinated into the river as he crossed.[212]

Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton inspect a cremation pyre at the Ohrdruf concentration camp on April 12, 1945, after liberation.

On March 26, 1945, Patton sent Task Force Baum, consisting of 314 men, 16 tanks, and assorted other vehicles, 50 miles (80 km) behind German lines to liberate the prisoner of war camp OFLAG XIII-B, near Hammelburg. Patton knew that one of the inmates was his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters. The raid was a failure, and only 35 men made it back; the rest were either killed or captured, and all 57 vehicles were lost. Patton reported this attempt to liberate Oflag XIII-B as the only mistake he made during World War II.[213] When Eisenhower learned of the secret mission, he was furious.[214] Patton later said he felt the correct decision would have been to send a Combat Command, which is a force about three times larger.[213]

Senior American commanders of the European theater of World War II. Seated, from left to right, are William H. Simpson, George S. Patton, Carl A. Spaatz, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Courtney Hodges, and Leonard T. Gerow; standing are (from left to right) Ralph F. Stearley, Hoyt Vandenberg, Walter Bedell Smith, Otto P. Weyland, and Richard E. Nugent.

By April, resistance against the Third Army was tapering off, and the forces' main efforts turned to managing some 400,000 German prisoners of war.[214] On April 14, 1945, Patton was promoted to general, a promotion long advocated by Stimson in recognition of Patton's battle accomplishments during 1944.[215] Later that month, Patton, Bradley, and Eisenhower toured the Merkers salt mine as well as the Ohrdruf concentration camp, and seeing the conditions of the camp firsthand caused Patton great disgust. Third Army was ordered toward Bavaria and Czechoslovakia, anticipating a last stand by Nazi German forces there. He was reportedly appalled to learn that the Red Army would take Berlin, feeling that the Soviet Union was a threat to the U.S. Army's advance to Pilsen, but was stopped by Eisenhower from reaching Prague, Czechoslovakia, before V-E Day on May 8 and the end of the war in Europe.[216]

In its advance from the Rhine to the Elbe, Patton's Third Army, which numbered between 250,000 and 300,000 men at any given time, captured 32,763 square miles (84,860 km2) of German territory. Its losses were 2,102 killed, 7,954 wounded, and 1,591 missing. German losses in the fighting against the Third Army totaled 20,100 killed, 47,700 wounded, and 653,140 captured.[217]

Between becoming operational in Normandy on August 1, 1944, and the end of hostilities on May 9, 1945, the Third Army was in continuous combat for 281 days. In that time, it crossed 24 major rivers and captured 81,500 square miles (211,000 km2) of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. The Third Army claimed to have killed, wounded, or captured 1,811,388 German soldiers, six times its strength in personnel.[217] Fuller's review of Third Army records differs only in the number of enemies killed and wounded, stating that between August 1, 1944, and May 9, 1945, 47,500 of the enemy were killed, 115,700 wounded, and 1,280,688 captured, for a total of 1,443,888.[218]


Patton during a welcome home parade in Los Angeles, June 9, 1945

Patton asked for a command in the Pacific Theater of Operations, begging Marshall to bring him to that war in any way possible. Marshall said he would be able to do so only if the Chinese secured a major port for his entry, an unlikely scenario.[216] In mid-May, Patton flew to Paris, then London for rest. On June 7, he arrived in Bedford, Massachusetts, for extended leave with his family, and was greeted by thousands of spectators. Patton then drove to Hatch Memorial Shell and spoke to some 20,000, including a crowd of 400 wounded Third Army veterans. In this speech he aroused some controversy among the Gold Star Mothers when he stated that a man who dies in battle is "frequently a fool",[219] adding that the wounded are heroes. Patton spent time in Boston before visiting and speaking in Denver and visiting Los Angeles, where he spoke to a crowd of 100,000 at the Memorial Coliseum. On June 14, 1945, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson decided that Patton would not be sent to the Pacific but would return to Europe in an occupation army assignment.[220] Patton made a final stop in Washington, D.C., before returning to Europe in July to serve in the occupation forces.[221]

Patton was appointed as military governor of Bavaria, where he led the Third Army in denazification efforts.[221] Patton was particularly upset when learning of the end of the war against Japan, writing in his diary, "Yet another war has come to an end, and with it my usefulness to the world."[221] Unhappy with his position and depressed by his belief that he would never fight in another war, Patton's behavior and statements became increasingly erratic. Various explanations beyond his disappointments have been proposed for Patton's behavior at this point. Carlo D'Este wrote 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.[158]

Patton's niece Jean Gordon spent some time together with him in London in 1944, and in Bavaria in 1945. Patton repeatedly boasted of his sexual success with Gordon, and his wife and family plainly believed that the two were lovers. Some of his biographers are skeptical. Hirshson said that the relationship was casual.[222] Showalter believes that Patton, under severe physical and psychological stress, made up claims of sexual conquest to prove his virility.[223] D'Este agrees that Patton's "behavior suggests that in both 1936 [in Hawaii] and 1944–45, the presence of the young and attractive Jean was a means of assuaging the anxieties of a middle-aged man troubled over his virility and a fear of aging."[224] Whether or not Gordon was sexually involved with Patton, she also loved a young married captain, who returned to his wife in September 1945, leaving Gordon despondent.[225]

Denazification controversy and antisemitism


Patton attracted controversy as military governor when it was noted that several former Nazi Party members continued to hold political posts in the region.[221] Privately, Patton expressed a soldier's respect for the Germans as adversaries and a resistance to removing Nazi Party members from power. "I had never heard," he wrote to his wife Bea, "that we fought to de-Nazify Germany—live and learn. What we are doing is to utterly destroy the only semi-modern state in Europe so that Russia can swallow the whole.... Actually the Germans are the only decent people in Europe."[226]

Patton, in his new role, oversaw the displaced persons camps in Bavaria, which contained a majority of Jews who had survived Germany's concentration camps in the Holocaust. He refused to have Jewish chaplains at his headquarters.[227] Patton decided to keep the Jews detained, according to his diary, because he thought releasing them could lead to violence and re-arrests.[228] He also resisted Eisenhower's orders to evict Germans from their homes in order to house Jews.[229] After Patton accompanied Eisenhower to a Yom Kippur service in one of the camps, he referred to the Jews at the service as a "stinking mass of humanity," and complaining about their hygiene, said: "This happened to be the feast of Yom Kippur, so they were all collected in a large, wooden building, which they called a synagogue. It behooved General Eisenhower to make a speech to them. We entered the synagogue, which was packed with the greatest stinking bunch of humanity I have ever seen. When we got about halfway up, the head rabbi, who was dressed in a fur hat similar to that worn by Henry VIII of England and in a surplice heavily embroidered and very filthy, came down and met the General…. The smell was so terrible that I almost fainted and actually about three hours later lost my lunch as the result of remembering it…. Of course, I have seen them since the beginning and marveled that beings alleged to be made in the form of God can look the way they do or act the way they act."[230] Patton also claimed that "There is a very Semitic influence in the press." "The noise against me is only the means by which the Jews and the Communists are attempting and with good success the further dismemberment of Germany." Biographer Martin Blumenson, who was Third Army Historian and also edited Patton's papers, sums up this period tersely: "Clearly, he had become delusional."[231]

Relieved of command


When he faced questions from the press about his reluctance to denazify post-war Germany, Patton noted that most of the people with experience in infrastructure management had been compelled to join the party in the war. He compared Nazis to Democrats and Republicans, bringing negative press stateside and angering Eisenhower.[232] When Eisenhower ordered him to hold a press conference correcting his statements, Patton instead repeated them.[233]

On September 28, 1945, after a heated exchange with Eisenhower over the denazification controversy, Patton was relieved of his military governorship. He was relieved of command of the Third Army on October 7, and in a somber change of command ceremony, Patton concluded his farewell remarks, "All good things must come to an end. The best thing that has ever happened to me thus far is the honor and privilege of having commanded the Third Army."[232] According to Anthony Cave Brown in Bodyguard of Lies, "Patton was relieved of command of the 3rd Army by Eisenhower just after the end of the war for stating publicly that America had been fighting the wrong enemy—Germany instead of Russia."[234]

Patton's final assignment was to command the U.S. 15th Army, based in Bad Nauheim. The 15th Army at this point consisted only of a small headquarters staff working to compile a history of the war in Europe. Patton had accepted the post because of his love of history, but quickly lost interest. He began traveling, visiting Paris, Rennes, Chartres, Brussels, Metz, Reims, Luxembourg, and Verdun. Then he went to Stockholm, where he reunited with other athletes from the 1912 Olympics.[232] Patton decided that he would leave his post at the 15th Army and not return to Europe once he left on December 10 for Christmas leave. He intended to discuss with his wife whether he would continue in a stateside post or retire from the Army.[235]

Following Eisenhower's return to the United States to become the Chief of Staff of the US Army, Patton was appointed interim commander of US Army Europe on November 11, 1945. He served in the position until relieved by General Joseph T. McNarney on November 26.

Accident and death

Patton's dog, Willie

Patton's chief of staff, Major General Hobart Gay, invited him on a December 9, 1945, pheasant hunting trip near Speyer, Germany to lift his spirits. Observing derelict cars along the side of the road, Patton said, "How awful war is. Think of the waste." Moments later, the 1938 Cadillac limousine driving them to the trip collided with an American army truck at low speed.[235][236][237]

Gay and others were only slightly injured, but Patton hit his head on the glass partition that separated the front and back seat.[237] He began bleeding from a gash to the head and complained that he was paralyzed and having trouble breathing. Taken to a hospital in Heidelberg, Patton was discovered to have a compression fracture and dislocation of the cervical third and fourth vertebrae, resulting in a broken neck and cervical spinal cord injury that rendered him paralyzed from the neck down.[236]

Patton spent most of the next 12 days in spinal traction to decrease the pressure on his spine. All non-medical visitors except Patton's wife Beatrice, who had flown from the U.S., were forbidden. Patton, who had been told he had no chance to ever again ride a horse or resume normal life, at one point commented, "This is a hell of a way to die." He died in his sleep of pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure at about 6:00 pm on December 21, 1945, at the age of 60.[238]

Patton's grave in Hamm district

On December 24, Patton was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in the Hamm district of Luxembourg City, alongside some wartime casualties of the Third Army, in accordance with his request to "be buried with [his] men." While he was initially buried in the middle of a plot like every other service member, the large number of visitors to his grave damaged the cemetery grounds, and his remains were moved to their current location at the front of the grave plots.[239]



According to Martin Blumenson:

Patton epitomized the fighting soldier in World War II. He exercised unique leadership by his ability to obtain the utmost—some would say more than the maximum—response from American combat troops. Through his charisma, exemplified by a flamboyant and well-publicized image, he stimulated, better than any other high-ranking U.S. army commander, American troops to an aggressive desire to close with and destroy the enemy. He personified the offensive spirit, the ruthless drive, and the will for victory in battle....As the outstanding exponent of combat effectiveness, particularly with respect to the employment of armored forces—that is, the combined use of tanks, motorized infantry, and self-propelled artillery, closely supported by tactical aircraft—Patton brought the blitzkrieg concept to perfection.[240]

General Patton U.S. commemorative stamp, issued in 1953

Patton's colorful personality, hard-driving leadership style, and success as a commander, combined with his frequent political missteps, produced a mixed and often contradictory image. Patton's great oratory skill is seen as integral to his ability to inspire troops under his command.[241] Historian Terry Brighton concluded that Patton was "arrogant, publicity-seeking and personally flawed, but ... among the greatest generals of the war".[242] Patton's impact on armored warfare and leadership were substantial, with the U.S. Army adopting many of Patton's aggressive strategies for its training programs following his death. Many military officers claim inspiration from his legacy. The first American tank designed after the war became the M46 Patton.[243]

Several actors have portrayed Patton on screen, most famously George C. Scott in the 1970 film Patton, for which he won (and refused) the Academy Award for Best Actor. He would reprise the role in 1986 in the made-for-television film The Last Days of Patton which tells the story of his last few months.[244] Other actors who have portrayed Patton include Stephen McNally in the 1957 episode "The Patton Prayer" of the ABC religion anthology series, Crossroads, John Larch in the 1963 film Miracle of the White Stallions, Kirk Douglas in the 1966 film Is Paris Burning?, George Kennedy in the 1978 film Brass Target, Darren McGavin in the 1979 miniseries Ike, Robert Prentiss in the 1988 film Pancho Barnes, Mitchell Ryan in the 1989 film Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White, Lawrence Dobkin in a 1989 episode of the miniseries War and Remembrance, Edward Asner in the 1997 film The Long Way Home, Gerald McRaney in the 2004 miniseries Ike: Countdown to D-Day, Dan Higgins in a 2006 episode of the miniseries Man, Moment, Machine, Kelsey Grammer in the 2008 film An American Carol,[245] and Ed Harris in Resistance (2020).


A replica of Patton's World War II command vehicle on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston, Texas

Patton cultivated a flashy, distinctive image in the belief that this would inspire his troops. He carried an ivory-gripped, engraved, silver-plated Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolver on his right hip, and frequently wore an ivory-gripped Smith & Wesson Model 27 .357 Magnum on his left hip.[56][246] He was usually seen wearing a highly polished helmet, riding pants, and high cavalry boots.[247] Patton also cultivated a stern expression he called his "war face".[127] He was known to oversee training maneuvers from atop a tank painted red, white and blue. His jeep bore oversized rank placards on the front and back, as well as a klaxon horn which would loudly announce his approach from afar. He proposed a new uniform for the emerging Tank Corps, featuring polished buttons, a gold helmet, and thick, dark padded suits; the proposal was derided in the media as "the Green Hornet", and it was rejected by the Army.[116]

The historian Alan Axelrod wrote that "for Patton, leadership was never simply about making plans and giving orders, it was about transforming oneself into a symbol".[119] Patton intentionally expressed a conspicuous desire for glory, atypical of the officer corps of the day which emphasized blending in with troops on the battlefield. He was an admirer of Admiral Horatio Nelson for his actions in leading the Battle of Trafalgar in a full-dress uniform.[119] Patton had a preoccupation with bravery,[10] wearing his rank insignia conspicuously in combat, and at one point during World War II, he rode atop a tank into a German-controlled village seeking to inspire courage in his men.[80]

Patton was a devout Christian and prayed regularly.[248] He was also a staunch fatalist,[249] and he believed in reincarnation. He believed that he might have been a military leader killed in action in Napoleon's army or a Roman legionary in a previous life.[5][250]

Patton developed an ability to deliver charismatic speeches.[101] He used profanity heavily in his speech, which generally was enjoyed by troops under his command, but it offended other generals, including Bradley.[251] The most famous of his speeches were a series he delivered to the Third Army prior to Operation Overlord.[252] When speaking, he was known for his bluntness and witticism; he once said, "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."[253] 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 them off and round them up."[253] He also suggested facetiously that his Third Army could "drive the British back into the sea for another Dunkirk."[253]

As media scrutiny on Patton increased, his bluntness stirred controversy. These began in North Africa when some reporters worried that he was becoming too close to former Vichy officials with Axis sympathies.[254] His public image was more seriously damaged after word of the slapping incidents broke.[255] Another controversy occurred prior to Operation Overlord when Patton spoke at a British welcoming club at Knutsford in England, and said, in part, "since it is the evident destiny of the British and Americans, and of course, the Russians, to rule the world, the better we know each other, the better job we will do." The next day news accounts misquoted Patton by leaving off the Russians.[256]

On a visit home after the war, he again made headlines when he attempted to honor several wounded veterans in a speech by calling them "the real heroes" of the war, unintentionally offending the families of soldiers who had been killed in action.[221] His final media blowup occurred in September 1945, when goaded by reporters about denazification, he said "[d]enazification would be like removing all the Republicans and all the Democrats who were in office, who had held office or were quasi-Democrats or Republicans and that would take some time." This caused Eisenhower to relieve Patton from command of the Third Army.[257]

Patton's well-known custom ivory-handled revolver

As a leader, Patton was known to be highly critical, correcting subordinates mercilessly for the slightest infractions, but also being quick to praise their accomplishments.[116] Although he garnered a reputation as a general who was both impatient and impulsive and had little tolerance for officers who had failed to succeed, he fired only one general during World War II, Orlando Ward, and only after two warnings, whereas Bradley sacked several generals during the war.[258] Patton reportedly had the utmost respect for the men serving in his command, particularly the wounded.[259] Many of his directives showed special trouble to care for the enlisted men under his command, and he was well known for arranging extra supplies for battlefield soldiers, including blankets and extra socks, galoshes, and other items normally in short supply at the front.[260]

Views on race


Patton is known to have held racist attitudes typical for those of his upbringing and family roots in the Confederate South [249] .[261] Privately he wrote of black soldiers:

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.[262]

Though publicly, Patton stated that performance was more important than race or religious affiliation:

I don't give a damn who the man is. He can be a Ni**er 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.[263]

Addressing the 761st Tank Battalion Patton also said:

Men, you are the first Negro tankers ever to 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, so long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sonsabitches! 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![264]

Patton called heavily on the Black troops under his command.[249] Historian Hugh Cole notes that Patton was the first in the US to integrate black and white soldiers into the same rifle companies.[264]

Additionally, the one man that Patton spent the most time with during World War II was his aide and personal valet, Sergeant Major William George Meeks. Meeks was an African American career soldier, and considered a personal confidant by General Patton.[265]

Anti-Russian sentiment


Patton admired Russia as a political entity, but was disdainful of Russians as a people, saying:

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 Chinaman 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 Asiatic characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and is an all out son of bitch, barbarian, and chronic drunk.[266]

As viewed by Allied leaders

A statue of Patton at the US Military Academy at West Point

On February 1, 1945, Eisenhower wrote a memo ranking the military capabilities of his subordinate American generals in Europe. General Bradley and the Army Air Forces General Carl Spaatz shared the number one position, Walter Bedell Smith was ranked number three, and Patton number four.[267] Eisenhower revealed his reasoning in a 1946 review of the book Patton and His Third Army: "George Patton was the most brilliant commander of an Army in the open field that our or any other service produced. But his army was part of a whole organization and his operations part of a great campaign."[268] Eisenhower believed that other generals such as Bradley should be given the credit for planning the successful Allied campaigns across Europe in which Patton was merely "a brilliant executor".[268]

Notwithstanding Eisenhower's estimation of Patton's abilities as a strategic planner, his overall view of Patton's military value in achieving Allied victory in Europe is revealed in his refusal to even consider sending Patton home after the slapping incidents of 1943, after which he privately remarked, "Patton is indispensable to the war effort—one of the guarantors of our victory."[269] As Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy told Eisenhower: "Lincoln's remark after they got after Grant comes to mind when I think of Patton—'I can't spare this man, he fights'."[270] After Patton's death, Eisenhower would write his own tribute:

He was one of those men born to be a soldier, an ideal combat leader ... It is no exaggeration to say that Patton's name struck terror at the hearts of the enemy.[268]

Historian Carlo D'Este insisted that Bradley disliked Patton both personally and professionally,[271][272] but Bradley's biographer Jim DeFelice noted that the evidence indicates otherwise.[273] President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared to greatly esteem Patton and his abilities, stating "he is our greatest fighting general, and sheer joy".[274] On the other hand, Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman, appears to have taken an instant dislike to Patton, at one point comparing both him and Douglas MacArthur to George Armstrong Custer.[274]

For the most part, British commanders did not hold Patton in high regard. General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS)—the professional head of the British Army—noted in January 1943 that

I had heard of him, but I must confess that his swashbuckling personality exceeded my expectation. I did not form any high opinion of him, nor had I any reason to alter this view at any later date. A dashing, courageous, wild, and unbalanced leader, good for operations requiring thrust and push, but at a loss in any operation requiring skill and judgment.[275]

One possible exception was Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery who appears to have admired Patton's ability to command troops in the field, if not his strategic judgment.[276] Other Allied commanders were more impressed, the Free French in particular. General Henri Giraud was incredulous when he heard of Patton's dismissal by Eisenhower in late 1945 and invited him to Paris to be decorated by French President, Charles de Gaulle, at a state banquet. At the banquet, President de Gaulle gave a speech placing Patton's achievements alongside those of Napoleon.[277] Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was apparently an admirer, stating that the Red Army could neither have planned nor executed Patton's rapid armored advance across France.[278]

As viewed by Axis leaders

Patton's boots at a museum in Malmedy

While Allied leaders expressed mixed feelings on Patton's capabilities, the German High Command was noted to have more respect for him than for any other Allied commander after 1943.[171] Adolf Hitler reportedly called him "that crazy cowboy general".[279] Many German field commanders were generous in their praise of Patton's leadership following the war,[d] and many of its highest commanders also held his abilities in high regard. Erwin Rommel credited Patton with executing "the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare".[281] Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, chief of staff of the German Army, stated that Patton "was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes."[279] Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring said that

Patton had developed tank warfare into an art, and understood how to handle tanks brilliantly in the field. I feel compelled, therefore, to compare him with Generalfeldmarschall Rommel, who likewise had mastered the art of tank warfare. Both of them had a kind of second sight in regard to this type of warfare.[279]

Referring to the escape of the Afrika Korps after the Battle of El Alamein, Fritz Bayerlein opined that "I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily."[279] In an interview conducted for Stars and Stripes just after his capture, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt stated simply of Patton, "He is your best."[282]

Major assignments

  • Director of Instruction, Cavalry School (August 1937 – July 1938)
  • Commander, 5th Cavalry (July–December, 1938)
  • Commander, 3rd Cavalry (December 1938 – July 1940)
  • Commander, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division (July 16, 1940 – January 14, 1942)
  • Commanding General, I Armored Corps (January 15 – August 5, 1942)
  • Commanding General, London Base Command (August 6 – November 7, 1942)
  • Commanding General, Western Task Force – (November 8, 1942 – January 8, 1943)
  • Commanding General, I Armored Corps (January 9 – March 3, 1943)
  • Commanding General, II Corps (March 4 – April 14, 1943)
  • Commanding General, I Armored Corps (April 15 – July 9, 1943)
  • Commanding General, 7th Army (July 10, 1943 – January 25, 1944)
  • Commanding General, 3rd Army (January 26, 1944 – October 6, 1945)
  • Commanding General, 15th Army (October 7 – December 21, 1945) [283]

Orders, decorations and medals


Patton's decorations included:[284][285]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Cross
with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
with two oak leaf clusters
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Silver Star
with one oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal Purple Heart
3rd Row Silver Lifesaving Medal[286] Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal
with four bronze campaign stars
American Defense Service Medal
4th Row European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
with one silver and two bronze campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal
with "Germany" clasp (posthumous)
Grand Cross of Ouissam Alaouite
5th Row Grand Cross
Military Order of the White Lion
Grand Cross
Order of Adolphe of Nassau
Honorary Knight Commander
Order of the British Empire (KBE)
(United Kingdom)
Grand Officer
Legion of Honor
6th Row Grand Officer
Order of Leopold
with palm
Order of Kutuzov
(1st class)
(Soviet Union)
Honorary Companion
Order of the Bath (CB)
(United Kingdom)
Croix de Guerre
with bronze star
7th Row Croix de Guerre
with palm
Croix de Guerre
Croix de Guerre
with palm
Czechoslovak War Cross
  • Note: The rows 1–4 are American medals unless otherwise noted. Rows 5–7 are foreign medals and noted where required.

Dates of rank


Patton's dates of rank were:[287]

Insignia Rank Component Date
No pin insignia for Second Lieutenants in 1909 Second Lieutenant Regular Army June 11, 1909
 First Lieutenant Regular Army May 23, 1916
 Captain Regular Army May 15, 1917
 Major National Army January 26, 1918
 Lieutenant Colonel National Army March 30, 1918
 Colonel National Army October 17, 1918
 Reverted to permanent rank of Captain Regular Army June 30, 1920
 Major Regular Army July 1, 1920
 Lieutenant Colonel Regular Army March 1, 1934
 Colonel Regular Army July 1, 1938
 Brigadier General Army of the United States October 2, 1940
 Major General Army of the United States April 4, 1941
 Lieutenant General Army of the United States March 12, 1943
 Brigadier General Regular Army August 16, 1944[e]
 Major General Regular Army August 16, 1944[f]
 Lieutenant General Regular Army December 4, 1944
 General Army of the United States April 14, 1945

See also




Explanatory footnotes

  1. ^ Historians Carlo D'Este and Alan Axelrod note in their biographies of Patton that these difficulties were likely the result of undiagnosed dyslexia.[5]
  2. ^ Drum's capture was the inspiration for a scene in the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen.[123]
  3. ^ Patton's friend Gilbert R. Cook was his deputy commander, whom Patton later had to relieve due to illness, a decision which "shook him to the core."[175]
  4. ^ Among the opinions of Patton's abilities, Oberstleutnant Horst Freiherr von Wangenheim, operations officer of the 277th Volksgrenadier Division, stated that "General Patton is the most feared general on all fronts. [His] tactics are daring and unpredictable .... He is the most modern general and the best commander of [combined] armored and infantry forces."[280] General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel, who had fought both Soviet and Anglo-American tank commanders, agreed: "Patton! No doubt about this. He was a brilliant Panzer army commander."[204]
  5. ^ Official date of rank of September 1, 1943.
  6. ^ Official date of rank of September 2, 1943.


  1. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 29.
  2. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 17.
  3. ^ Loomis, Jan (2012). Westside Chronicles: Historic Stories of West Los Angeles. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 22. ISBN 9781609496234.
  4. ^ Manchester, William (1974). The glory and the dream: a narrative history of America; 1932 - 1972 (2. print ed.). Boston: Little, Brown. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-316-54496-2.
  5. ^ a b c d Axelrod 2006, pp. 11–12.
  6. ^ "Classical School for Boys". calisphere. 1891. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 7, 2022. Classical School for Boys, 59 So Euclid Ave opened in 1889. New building erected in 1891. Steven Cutter Clark, principal
  7. ^ "Lot Detail – George Patton's 1899 School Report Card and Signed Envelope Dated 1906". goldinauctions.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2022. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c Axelrod 2006, p. 13.
  9. ^ "Patton Family at VMI". Virginia Military Institute. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 14–15.
  11. ^ Blumenson 1972, p. 92.
  12. ^ "distinguished-achievement-award/george-s-patton-jr". kappaalphaorder.org. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Zaloga 2010, p. 7.
  14. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 20–23.
  15. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 19.
  16. ^ "v1909 15". digital-library.usma.edu. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 24.
  18. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 58, 131.
  19. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 28, 35, 65–66.
  20. ^ Totten, Ruth Ellen Patton (March 27, 2005). The Button Box: A Daughter's Loving Memoir of Mrs. George S. Patton. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 9780826264657 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ "Key West Times". Archived from the original on June 14, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  22. ^ Army Times (1967). Warrior; the story of General George S. Patton. Putnam. p. 15.
  23. ^ Michael Keane (2014). George S. Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer. Regnery. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-62157-298-5. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  24. ^ Willard Sterne Randall; Nancy Nahra (2014). Great Leaders: George Patton. New Word City. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-1-61230-622-3. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Rice 2004, p. 32.
  26. ^ "Family relationship of General George S. Patton and George Washington via Lawrence Washington". famouskin.com. Retrieved July 3, 2024.
  27. ^ 21st Century Patton: Strategic Insights for the Modern Era edited by J. Furman Daniel III, p. 61.
  28. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 9.
  29. ^ a b "Patton family". Social Networks and Archival Context. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  30. ^ Essame (November 10, 2008). Patton. Da Capo. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7867-4305-6.
  31. ^ Zaloga 2010, p. 6.
  32. ^ Bennett, Abram Elting. Huguenots migration: descendants' contributions to America. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1984. p. 109.[ISBN missing]
  33. ^ Patton, Robert H. The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family. 1994, pp. 3–5.[ISBN missing]
  34. ^ PATTON | Kirkus Reviews.
  35. ^ Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Arkowitz, Hal (January 2013). "A Dose of Narcissism Can Be Useful". Scientific American. doi:10.1038/scientificamericanmind0113-64. S2CID 263465007. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  36. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 20.
  37. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 26–27.
  38. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 28–29.
  39. ^ "Patton: Loved, Hated, Appreciated", Richard Sassaman, www.americainwwii.com, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2022
  40. ^ Zaloga 2010, p. 8.
  41. ^ Thierry Terret; J. A. Mangan, eds. (2013). Sport, Militarism and the Great War: Martial Manliness and Armageddon. Routledge. p. 104. ISBN 9781135760885. Archived from the original on June 26, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  42. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 30.
  43. ^ a b Blumenson 1972, pp. 231–234.
  44. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 132–133.
  45. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 134.
  46. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 140–142.
  47. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 31–32.
  48. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 145.
  49. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 21.
  50. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 33–34.
  51. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 153.
  52. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 35.
  53. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 148.
  54. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 36.
  55. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 158–159.
  56. ^ a b Zaloga 2010, p. 9.
  57. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 162–163.
  58. ^ a b c d e Zaloga 2010, p. 10.
  59. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 165.
  60. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 31.
  61. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 38–39.
  62. ^ Jowett & de Quesada 2006, p. 25.
  63. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 40.
  64. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 41–42.
  65. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 172–175.
  66. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 32.
  67. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 43.
  68. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 46.
  69. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 47.
  70. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 47–48.
  71. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 49.
  72. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 204–208.
  73. ^ Blumenson 1972, pp. 480–483.
  74. ^ Blumenson 1972, pp. 552–553.
  75. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 50–52.
  76. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 53.
  77. ^ Blumenson 1972, pp. 661–670.
  78. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 38.
  79. ^ a b Blumenson 1972, pp. 706–708.
  80. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 54–55.
  81. ^ Zabecki & Mastriano 2020, p. 286.
  82. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 56–57.
  83. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 40.
  84. ^ Blumenson 1972, pp. 764–766.
  85. ^ Hart, Peter (2018). The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918. London: Profile Books. pp. 67. ISBN 978-1781254820.
  86. ^ Hallas, James H. (2009). Doughboy War: The American Expeditionary Force in WWI. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. pp. 245–246.
  87. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 616.
  88. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 58–59.
  89. ^ a b "George Smith Patton". Military Times.
  90. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 62.
  91. ^ Zabecki & Mastriano 2020, pp. 287–288.
  92. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 63–64.
  93. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 46.
  94. ^ a b c d Axelrod 2006, pp. 65–66.
  95. ^ Steele 2005, p. 18.
  96. ^ "Veterans of Great War". The Evening Star. July 17, 1921. p. 20. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016 – via Chronicling America.
  97. ^ Ambrose, Kevin (January 27, 2022). "How the Knickerbocker snowstorm became D.C.'s deadliest disaster 100 years ago". Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 28, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  98. ^ Gormly, Kellie B. (January 26, 2022). "When a Winter Storm Triggered One of the Deadliest Disasters in D.C. History". Smithsonian Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  99. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 57.
  100. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 335.
  101. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 67–68.
  102. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 69–70.
  103. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 58–59.
  104. ^ Allen & Dickson 2006, p. 194.
  105. ^ Carlo D'Este, Patton: A Genius for War, 1995, page 360
  106. ^ Alan Axelrod, Patton's Drive: The Making of America's Greatest General, 2010, page 257
  107. ^ a b c d e Holt, Thaddeus (December 1, 1992). "Relax—It's Only a Maneuver". HistoryNet. Leesburg, VA: World History Group.
  108. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 361.
  109. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 71–72.
  110. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 379–380.
  111. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 73–74.
  112. ^ a b c Frye, William (2005). Marshall: Citizen Soldier. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. pp. 341–343. ISBN 978-1-4179-9503-5.
  113. ^ "Storied Schooner Once Owned by General Patton to be Sold". The Vineyard Gazette – Martha's Vineyard News. Archived from the original on January 10, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  114. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 75–76.
  115. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 82–83.
  116. ^ a b c d Axelrod 2006, pp. 77–79.
  117. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 85.
  118. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 106.
  119. ^ a b c Axelrod 2006, pp. 80–82.
  120. ^ Keane, Michael (2012). Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer. Washington, DC: Regnery History. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-59698-326-7.
  121. ^ Morton, Matthew Darlington (2009). Men on Iron Ponies: The Death and Rebirth of the Modern U.S. Cavalry. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8758-0397-5 – via Google Books.
  122. ^ a b Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer, p. 111.
  123. ^ Hanson, Victor Davis (February 11, 2020). "George S. Patton: American Ajax". YouTube. Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College. 15:35. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2020. 1940 in war games in Louisiana, he captured the senior general Hugh Drum. You may have seen The Dirty Dozen, that old movie about how they played dirty. That was based on Patton's war maneuvers, about how he went on a 400-mile goose chase, they thought, and ended up capturing the red general. He was on the blue team.
  124. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 83.
  125. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 84–85.
  126. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 542.
  127. ^ a b Lovelace 2014, p. 110.
  128. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 2.
  129. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 117–119.
  130. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 88–90.
  131. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 91–93.
  132. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 165–166.
  133. ^ Edey 1968, p. 60.
  134. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 94.
  135. ^ Blumenson 1985, p. 182.
  136. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 96–97.
  137. ^ Hunt 1990, p. 169.
  138. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 98–99.
  139. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 188.
  140. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 101–104.
  141. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 201–202.
  142. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 105–107.
  143. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 108–109.
  144. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 110–111.
  145. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 215.
  146. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 466.
  147. ^ a b Atkinson 2007, p. 119.
  148. ^ Weingartner, James J. (1989). "Massacre at Biscari: Patton and an American War Crime". The Historian. 52 (1): 28–29. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1989.tb00772.x. ISSN 0018-2370. JSTOR 24447601.
  149. ^ Weingartner, James J. (1989). "Massacre at Biscari: Patton and an American War Crime". The Historian. 52 (1): 36. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1989.tb00772.x. ISSN 0018-2370. JSTOR 24447601.
  150. ^ Weingartner, James J. (1989). "Massacre at Biscari: Patton and an American War Crime". The Historian. 52 (1): 37. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1989.tb00772.x. ISSN 0018-2370. JSTOR 24447601.
  151. ^ Robbins, Christopher (2000). Test of Courage: The Michel Thomas Story. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-0263-3.
  152. ^ a b Blumenson 1974, p. 331.
  153. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 118.
  154. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 117.
  155. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 329.
  156. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 336.
  157. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 338.
  158. ^ a b c d D'Este 1995, pp. 535–536.
  159. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 120.
  160. ^ Edey 1968, pp. 160–166.
  161. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 379.
  162. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 377.
  163. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 543.
  164. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 122.
  165. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 345.
  166. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 121.
  167. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 348.
  168. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 407.
  169. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 124.
  170. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 423.
  171. ^ a b c Axelrod 2006, p. 127.
  172. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 409.
  173. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 128.
  174. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 132.
  175. ^ Essame 1974, p. 178.
  176. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 135–136.
  177. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 139–140.
  178. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 137.
  179. ^ a b Jarymowycz 2001, pp. 215–216.
  180. ^ Jarymowycz 2001, pp. 212.
  181. ^ Gooderson 1998, p. 44.
  182. ^ Gooderson 1998, p. 85.
  183. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 138.
  184. ^ Jarymowycz 2001, p. 217.
  185. ^ The Lorraine Campaign: An Overview, September-December 1944, page 3, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel, February, 1985, Combat Studies Institute.
  186. ^ Ambrose 2007, pp. 162–164.
  188. ^ Zaloga 2008, pp. 184–193.
  189. ^ Hugh Cole, The Lorraine Campaign page 52
  190. ^ The Lorraine Campaign: An Overview, September-December 1944, page 22, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel, February, 1985, Combat Studies Institute.
  191. ^ The Liberation Line by Christian Wolmar
  192. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 141.
  193. ^ von Mellenthin 2006, pp. 381–382.
  194. ^ An Overview, September-December 1944, page 29, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel, 1985, Combat Studies Institute.
  195. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 142.
  196. ^ Hirshson 2003, p. 546.
  197. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 669.
  198. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 143–144.
  199. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 675–678.
  200. ^ a b c McNeese 2003, p. 77.
  201. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 599.
  202. ^ a b McNeese 2003, p. 75.
  203. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 148–149.
  204. ^ a b McNeese 2003, p. 78.
  205. ^ a b McNeese 2003, p. 79.
  206. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 152–153.
  207. ^ Le Tissier 2007, pp. 147–155.
  208. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 156.
  209. ^ Rickard 2004, p. 85.
  210. ^ Regan 1992, p. 53.
  211. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 157.
  212. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 322.
  213. ^ a b Farago 1964, p. 790.
  214. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 158–159.
  215. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 655.
  216. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, pp. 160–162.
  217. ^ a b Wallace 1946, pp. 194–195.
  218. ^ Fuller 2004, p. 254.
  219. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 721.
  220. ^ Associated Press, "Patton Fails To Get Task in Orient", The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Friday June 15, 1945, Volume 51, page 2.
  221. ^ a b c d e Axelrod 2006, pp. 163–164.
  222. ^ Hirshson 2003, p. 535.
  223. ^ Showalter 2006, pp. 412–13.
  224. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 743.
  225. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 744.
  226. ^ Martin Blumenson, Patton: The Man Behind The Legend, 1885-1945, 1985, William Morrison, New York, p. 281
  227. ^ Dinnerstein, Leonard (November 2, 1995). Antisemitism in America. Oxford University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-19-531354-3.
  228. ^ Cohen, Richard (September 29, 2014). "What Bill O'Reilly ignored about George Patton". The Washington Post.
  229. ^ Hayes, Peter; Roth, John K. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 515. ISBN 978-0-19-165078-9.
  230. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (February 7, 2015). "Surviving the Nazis, Only to Be Jailed by America (Published 2015)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  231. ^ Blumenthal, Patton, pp. 281-287
  232. ^ a b c Axelrod 2006, pp. 165–166.
  233. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 16.
  234. ^ Brown, Anthony Cave (1975). Bodyguard of Lies. Vol. 2. Harper and Row. p. 898.
  235. ^ a b Axelrod 2006, p. 167.
  236. ^ a b Farago 1964, pp. 826–827.
  237. ^ a b "H. L. Woodring Dies at 77; Was Driver in Patton Crash". The New York Times. November 9, 2003. Archived from the original on March 26, 2022. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  238. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 168–169.
  239. ^ Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, American Battle Monuments Commission, archived from the original on April 26, 2014, retrieved January 6, 2013
  240. ^ Martin Blumenson, "Patton, George Smith" in John Garraty, ed., Encyclopedia of American Biography (1974) p 839.
  241. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. ix.
  242. ^ Brighton 2009, p. xv.
  243. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. viii.
  244. ^ The Last Days of Patton Archived September 30, 2022, at the Wayback Machine Amazon Prime Video, retrieved 9/30/2021.
  245. ^ George S. Patton, IMDb, archived from the original on December 12, 2012, retrieved January 6, 2013
  246. ^ Brighton 2009, p. xvi.
  247. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 478.
  248. ^ "George Patton". Britanica Encyclopedia.
  249. ^ a b c Axelrod 2006, p. 4.
  250. ^ Brighton 2009, pp. 36–37.
  251. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 578.
  252. ^ Axelrod 2006, pp. 130–131.
  253. ^ a b c Evans 2001, pp. 151–168.
  254. ^ Lovelace 2014, p. 111.
  255. ^ Lovelace 2014, p. 113.
  256. ^ Lovelace 2014, p. 114.
  257. ^ Lovelace 2014, p. 117.
  258. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 467–468.
  259. ^ Atkinson 2007, p. 147.
  260. ^ Wallace 1946, p. 97.
  261. ^ Brighton 2009, p. 18.
  262. ^ Patton 1947, p. 60.
  263. ^ Hirshson 2003, p. 864.
  264. ^ a b D'Este 1995, p. 726.
  265. ^ Hanson, Victor Davis (Spring 2004). "Footnotes to Greatness: A review of Patton: A Soldier's Life, by Stanley P. Hirshson". Claremont Review of Books. Vol. IV, no. 2. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  266. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 734.
  267. ^ D'Este 2002, p. 801.
  268. ^ a b c D'Este 1995, p. 818.
  269. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 536.
  270. ^ D'Este 2002, p. 442.
  271. ^ D'Este 1995, pp. 466–467.
  272. ^ D'Este 2002, pp. 403–404.
  273. ^ DeFelice 2011, p. 402.
  274. ^ a b D'Este 1995, p. 755.
  275. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 451.
  276. ^ D'Este 1995, p. 549.
  277. ^ Blumenson 1974, p. 801.
  278. ^ Hirshson 2003, p. 562.
  279. ^ a b c d D'Este 1995, p. 815.
  280. ^ Blumenson 1974, pp. 480–483.
  281. ^ Brighton 2009, p. xvii.
  282. ^ Axelrod 2006, p. 1.
  283. ^ "George S. Patton, Jr. • Cullum's Register • 4795".
  284. ^ "General Patton's Decorations Ribbons Medals and Awards". www.pattonhq.com. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  285. ^ "Official Military Personnel File for George S. Patton Jr. – National Archives NextGen Catalog". catalog.archives.gov. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  286. ^ "United States Coast Guard". Uscg.mil. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  287. ^ The Adjutant General's Office 1944, p. 719.

General and cited references

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Cover of Time magazine
April 12, 1943
July 26, 1943
April 9, 1945
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Commanding General 2nd Armored Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commanding General I Armored Corps
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commanding General II Corps
March–April 1943
Succeeded by
New command Commanding General Seventh Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commanding General Third Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commanding General Fifteenth Army
October–December 1945
Succeeded by