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George S. Patton

Discussion in 'Leaders of World War 2' started by Stonewall phpbb3, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. mr.bluenote

    mr.bluenote New Member

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    Oh, where to start!? :) Let's see Patton knew France very well. He was one, along with Alanbrooke, of the few who actually had a good working relationship with the French, had served there and spoke the language fluently. The hedgerows and terrain in general wouldn't have suprised Patton or his staff - they planned ahead and planned well. He was also very adapt at amphibious operations. He most likely would have appriciated the Funnies and certainly argued against landing in front of the strong defences ect ect. Again, don't give in to the charges-blindly-ahead hype. Patton knew what he was doing (look at his pre-war career) - therefore my respect and belief in a different handling of the matter.

    The fighting along the Rhine and Westwall could have been avoided - I'll contribute the entire thing to Monty's and Ike's general lack of vision and battlefield understanding -, but that said Patton did better than Hodges, who literally burnt out entire divisons, and as good, and propably better, as could be expected. Bad weather, few supplies, heavy fortifications and a heavily mechanized army is not the best of combinations. You do realise that Patton is generally praised for his campaign, right? Rickard might think otherwise, but Patton did do well. Russel Wiegly, whom I usually dislike because of his Ike-obsession, has a failry balanced view on this campaign. Or a more popular historian might be Stephen Ambrose - I believe it's the D-Day book that has a good acount on the storm of Fort Driant and the whole mess around Metz!

    Best regards!

    - B.
     
  2. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Even if he didn't usually charge blindly (this is the image he built for himself though, I'm not sure in what measure it is true to his character), he was not a remarkable planning general, and even with all the knowledge he had of Normandy terrain this type of landscape simply does not allow offensive operations at any scale until the enemy is practically beaten to a pulp by attrition. This was not Patton's doctrine, and I doubt he would have realized the fact that his attacks simply did not and could not yield the desired results in this terrain. In Lorraine we see the cost of this stubborn mindset.

    I'm not sure if you can blame Hodges for being ordered to force his way through the Hürtgen forest. Obviously this operation was very poorly carried out, though, I concur.
     
  3. mr.bluenote

    mr.bluenote New Member

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    I suppose, and this in no way meant to be impolite, you fall into the usual Patton-trap, so to say, Roel! :)

    Patton was in many ways a planner. He helped Ike plan Torch, along with Clark, he helped plan the invasion of Sicily. Apparently he also made the arrangements for the Casablanca meeting. Patton had plans waiting for the Arnennes counter-attack he and his 3rd Army launched, because his G-3, I think, had smelled the proverbial rat on the 9th of December, 1944, and forewarned Patton, who himself felt the Jerries were up to something. Furthermore he ran the desert training center and did remarkably well in the great pre-war Luisianna manoeuvers.

    That said, Patton did have a speed saves lives doctrine - he fought more or less as the Germans did early in the war and they're praised for it - and did much to generate a certain image among the enlisted men and media. Most sources states very firmly that Patton was two men, so to say, one man among this men, and he really thought of them as his, and the media and a second extremely charming and intelligent man among ladies, fellow officers and civilians. You don't go through West Point without learning etiquette! :)

    Regarding Lorraine or the fighting around Metz more accurately, Patton is aften applauded for showing flexibility. Read Weigley - the man might have been an, ehm, idiot in many ways, but he had a fairly good and accurate, I'd say, perception of Patton - or Ambrose! Or again Blumenson's brilliant bio!

    Wiggy has a curious remark, I seem to remember it's him at least, that the the 3rd Army paid for their hubris at Metz. I take it as an indication that the entire 3rd Army was fired up and saw no obstacle to large to hammer through, and they might have been right had Patton had his way...

    Sitting here years later, it is easy to see when an attack should have been called off, but on the spot it's a way tougher call to make. The American and British mess further north is an exellent example. Pattona nd his 3rd Army broke the Wall the hard way, what else could they do?! In that regard, I'm pretty confident that they suffered fewer casualties doing so than Hodges and co.

    Again, with an under strength (lacking at least 9,000 combat troops) mechanized army with few supplies - they were down to 7 rounds for the howitzers pr day at one time - little fuel, extremely bad weather and heavy enemy fortications, it's a wonder the 3rd Army did as well as they did.

    Best regards!

    - B.
     
  4. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    "Sie nennen sich Generale, weil Sie Jahren auf eine Akademie waren, wo man nur lernt, wie man mit Messer un Gabel isst!" :lol:
    ("You call yourself generals because you spent years at an academy, where all you learn is how to eat with knife and fork!")

    I'm not sure if Hitler actually said this, but it was rather tragicomically used in the movie "Der Untergang", in the climactic scene of Hitler's rant to the general staff...

    I'm afraid you really do know more about Patton than I do. My usual anti-Patton rant is aimed against the same stereotype you describe as the "Patton-trap", the dashing personality so many people admire even though in a general it is not an admirable thing. However when it comes to the actual practice of command as Patton exercised it, I can't claim to be an expert. There is still much to say against his famed Ardennes counteroffensive though, about which I may have a modest claim to knowledgeability... :wink:

    Have you read this article about the Lorraine campaign?
    http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources ... gabel3.asp
     
  5. mr.bluenote

    mr.bluenote New Member

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    Hehe, good quote! Quite funny! And in regards to officers in general at times more accurate than I'd care to admit! :)

    Thanks for the kind words, Roel! Regarding 3rd Army's counter-attack into the Ardennes. It might not have been perfect, but it was an impressive feat of staff and practical military craftmanship!

    As I said, Patton's staff had considered it might come to something like that, but still, to change the axis of advance for so many men and in such a short time is nothing less than absolutely spetacular!

    And a good example of Patton as a General: he had good men around him - most of them he picked before commanding 7th Army in Italy and brought most of them along with him to 3rd Army -, he did plan ahead, he thought anything was possible if one threw oneself behind it and he had complete faith in his men (and the American soldier in general)!

    I'm printing the linked article as I write this, Roel. Thanks for the tip!

    Best regards!

    - B
     
  6. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    patton was a bold and colorful us general ,prolly the most famous tank leader in the allied armys...his self serving attempt to free his son in law from a german pow camp in 45 was a fiasco and would have lead to criminal charges had it been done by anyone other than patton.sending a few tank and rifle companys 60 miles behind german lines seems insane and doomed to failure ,which of course it was....read up on task force BAUM for more info.
     
  7. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    As I understand it Patton stated that he wasn't aware that his son in law was being held at Hammelburg where about 1500 American officers were being held.
    I don't agree that had anyone else ordered the mission that they would have been charged with a crime. Patton stated that his mistake was in not sending a full combat command instead of a task force. With perfect hindsight I agree.
     
  8. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    read THE RAID by maj abe baum and richard baron...patton sent the force without bradlys or ikes permission by going arround channels..he knew his son was there ...ike told him personaly ,before the raid..patton sent his aid de camp a col. to ride along with capt.baum...very strange,as an observer...the one guy in third army besides patton who could i.d. the son in law....the 60 miles to hammelburg wasent so bad..5 or six tanks lost and mebby 20 soldiers...it was the return 60 mile trip in broad daylight that was the end of task force baum,thats SIXTEY miles back to us. lines...inside germany ,no less...
     
  9. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Could you imagine General George Patton as YOUR father-in-law?
    (I'm thinking the guy surrendered to keep from going to the Patton-family Christmas dinner!) Captivity might have sounded like a viable option at the time.
    I also wonder what Pattons' daughter looked like? A bull terrier with a studded-collar? Or was she a real 'looker?' Eh?
    hehe.

    Tim
     
  10. sovietsniper

    sovietsniper New Member

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    Some thing i find interesting about patton is that he belivied he was a re-incarnathion of hannibal.
     
  11. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    yup..patton was gonna eat hitlers liver withe some fava beans and a fine chianti..
     
  12. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Like Hannibal did with Varro? :-?

    I don't get it, I think. Patton was no superhuman being, he was a good general who got overhyped after the war, that's all. Hannibal was a much greater strategist and leader of men.
     
  13. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    hannibal lector aka antony hopkins ....jk
     
  14. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    I don't think a valid and meaningful comparison can be made between Patton and Hannibal. There is too much distance separating them. In time but also in culture and convention. Hannibal led men during a time when leaders had near absolute power over their men whereas Patton couldn't slap a malingerer without being castigated and nearly losing his command.
    Patton commanded an army with far more power and destructive capibility than Hannibal could imagine and faced a similarly powerful enemy. Any judgement of their respective strategic abilities must be judged in light of the vastly different different situations they faced.
    I doubt that Patton was any more overhyped than say Rommel or Yamamoto.
     
  15. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    btw iirc ,,, when they discovered that the plan was for them to ride on the shermans 60 miles back ...DOWN THE SAME ROADS THEY CAME UP OF COURSE ...about half the pows at hammelberg opted to stay in the camp ...guessing correctly that task force baum had almost no chance of making it back to us lines...also there was iirc a german anti tank school that was passed in darkness the night before which of course was planning a major live fire exercise for the cadets on the hammelberg turnpike ...capt baum (a jewish boy , like many 3rd army tank comanders) knew he was pretty much feked when he got his original mission orders...but being a good soldier also knew it was not for him to question why......baum ,unlike most of his command did get to survive the war. at least..
     
  16. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    You won't hear me denying that Rommel was overhyped. In fact I believe that the prevailing image people have of both Rommel and Patton would benefit from correction according to the facts of history.

    Regarding the comparison with Hannibal, generals tend to get compared despite their backgrounds. I run along with it only because it strengthens my point :wink:
     
  17. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    Yes I agree, very overhyped; ultimately Rommel lost two vital campaings... North Africa and Normandy, although granted both times the odds were stacked against him...
    The decision to withold the panzer divions on D-Day was questionable...

    Does anyone know the total casualties of the Africa campaign? Never could pinpoint an exact answer to that one, and an agreed-upon number seems quite elusive
     
  18. Miller phpbb3

    Miller phpbb3 New Member

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    its kinda wierd how patton died, surving two world wars and then getting killed by a drunk driver
     
  19. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Actually, it was Ambrose's book "Citizen Soldiers" that told the Fort Driant story.
     
  20. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    I think it's interesting to note that Patton was one of the few American generals who had actually seen combat in WW1. And he was severely wounded, as well.
     

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