P – Patton

General George Smith Patton, Jr., was born on 11 November 1885.  General Patton was one of the most successful military leaders in US history, and is often credited for much of the Allied success in Europe during World War II.

Early Years

George Patton’s childhood memories were filled with stories of relatives fighting for America in the great wars of the past.  He knew he wanted to be a hero too.  Not surprisingly, Patton pursued his heroic desires and went to the US Military Academy at West Point.  Patton graduated in June 1909.  His first military post was Second Lieutenant in the 15th cavalry Regiment.

Patton started catching people’s attention when he served under General John J. Pershing.  While commanded by Pershing, Patton headed cavalry patrols along the US-Mexican boarder.  Patton’s first experience on the live battle ground was in 1916, when he accompanied General Pershing to fight against Francisco “Pancho” Villa, a Mexican revolutionary.

World War I and Later

General Patton became the leader of the US Tank Corps in 1917, and put tanks to use during World War I.  Patton was a vehement proponent of using tanks, as apposed to trench warfare.  Patton knew tanks were the future of fighting on the ground.

General Patton continued his military education during the 1920s and 30s.  Patton served several posts in Washington, DC, and Hawaii during the interim between the wars.

Patton knew the rise of Nazism during the 1930s posed a potential threat to the United States.  He urged congress to begin investing more in the military, adding more tanks in particular.

World War II

General Patton During World War II

The Pearl Harbor Attacks on 7 December 1941 gave Congress a dose of reality, prompting Congress to declare war on Japan a day later.  Congress and the public knew war in Europe was inevitable.  Several days later Congress declared war on Germany too.   Patton saw it coming.

General Patton went west.  His first job oversees was to command the Seventh American  Army, which attacked and seized Northern Africa.  Patton’s next stop was Sicily, which he also liberated from fascist rule.

In 1944, Patton was given command of the Third Army.  The Third Army started in France and quickly made its rounds eastward.  Patton slowed his army’s speed when he began liberating concentration camps.  General Patton began a policy to make sure German townspeople toured their local concentration camps,  other army commanders followed suit.  The Third Army is credited with being one of the most successful American forces, capturing over 81,000 miles of territory from the Germans.

After the Allied Victory,  Patton was given the command of the Fifteenth Army in occupied-Germany.  In December 1945, Patton got into a car accident.  The accident would have appeared minor to the observer, but Patton’s head hit the seat in front of him.  Patton died from his head injuries two weeks later.

America probably didn’t benefit from Patton’s death.  Patton loved his job and was known for making executive decisions, before Congress even had a clue of what he was doing, which attributed to his success.  Many people believe that had Patton lived, he would have lead an attack to capture Eastern Europe from the Soviets.  The Soviets faced heavy losses fighting the Germans.  The period after World War II was the only auspicious time for the Americans to attack the iron curtain during the Cold War.  General Patton could have saved us billions of dollars.