George S. Patton

A polarizing figure in his time and now, an American folk hero, George S. Patton is perhaps one of the most famous American military commanders of all time.  While his style, his words and his actions were, and still are controversial, Patton has been etched into American history.  Let’s look at a few facts that make him a core figure of the American military.

  • Born in 1885.  Attended both the Virginia Military Institute as well as West Point.
  • Patton was a prolific fencer.  He developed the M193 Calvary Saber.
  • Participated in 1912 Summer Olympic Games.
  • Participated in WWI leading US tank school in France and led troops into battle.
  • Kept his firearm in his belt instead of in a holster.  This has become a known look for him as he carried 2, ivory handled pistols.
  • Was wounded in WWI but first stopped to give a report before moving to the hospital.
  • Entered WWII via taking over Casablanca and then taking control of African troops in 1943
  • German High Command had more respect for Patton than any other Allied commander
  • An entire operation, Fortitude was built around convincing the Axis forces that Patton was leading the US troops and would invade Europe via England.  This was to distract them from the real landing at Normandy.  Due to the Axis fear and respect of Patton, they continued to follow the false operation even after the real landing at Normandy.
  • Patton was able to reorganize and mobilize 6 full divisions on the front lines, during winter to relive the city of Bastogne.  This was considered one of the biggest accomplishments of his career.
  • Between 8/1/44 and 5/9/45 , Patton’s Third Army has been recorded as being in combat for 281 straight days, killed, wounded or captured 1.8M German soldiers and covered 81,500 square miles.
  • He was well known for his speeches that were laced with profanity but also highly motivating to those under his command.
  • Several movies were made after Patton including the most famous, 1970 “Patton” starring George. C. Scott.

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