For World War II historians, it’s not clear who America’s greatest WW II General is, but many are divided between Gen. George Patton and Gen. Douglas McArthur. There are others however like Gen. Omar Bradley, Gen. George Marshall of the Marshal plan, Mark Clark, and Admiral Nimitz. My focus today however is General George Patton. A legend who waged war like he was up to some fun game. His philosophy was to never wait to defend but to attack.
He once said “Attack, attack, attack and when in doubt attack”.Patton like McArthur was some problematic lot. In fact, that is why some then go for Gen. Dwight Eisenhower the man who was able to Superintend all those hot heads alongside other British figures like Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. You don’t need to dig deep into Patton’s history to know the kind of person he was, you can just go for those quotes attributed to him to know the kind of warrior figure he deemed himself. His speeches were at times profane and one time after addressing new recruits of the Seventh Army, they dubbed the grey-haired fella they had just listened to as “Old Blood and Guts”.There was the Siegfried line which was a defensive line running close to 400 miles on the French-German border. It was composed of concrete pillboxes and lots of other barriers. Patton breached it and raced into Germany thus terming it “A monument to the Stupidity of Man”.Prior to that while his new 3rd Army swept across France….he said he was simply on a tour of France with an army. If there is a person who had no time for Political Correctness then you have Patton. One time in the Italian campaign and two mules were blocking a bridge…causing a jam of military trucks to pile up behind. Patton asked what was going on……went to the bridge himself…..shot the two mules in the head and ordered they be pushed off the bridge. Then came one of his lowest moments when he slapped a soldier who was recuperating from “combat fatigue”. To Patton, only the physically wounded had to be in hospital and not the mentally wounded. Eisenhower was forced due to public pressure to ground him. He was given command of the 1st Army which was a dummy Army meant to hoodwink the Germans. This Army’s tanks were also dummies that were actually inflated balloons. Patton thus played a scarecrow role in the invasion of Normandy. Patton died only four months after the war’s end in a motor accident in American-occupied Germany which sparked conspiracy theories.
However, prior to that, he had been given heroic welcomes in Newyork and Los Angels and one man once remarked that America lost nothing in having a General so bold that he was dangerous. Patton always wanted to operate contrary to established military doctrine and so was McArthur, a man who perhaps if he had had his way would have changed the story of either America or China.