General George S. Patton Essay, Research Paper
GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON JR.
Living in a country that is obsessed with war and violence, it is obvious why Americans look for heroes. All actors from John Wayne to Arnold Schwarzenegger have captured the love of this country for their portrayal of heroics and bravery in movies. However, before there were Wayne and Schwarzenegger, there was Patton, a real life American hero. Without George S. Patton Jr., it is questionable weather we would have our freedom today. General George S. Patton showed all the characteristics of a great military leader.
“George S. Patton was born in San Gabriel California on November 11, 1885″ (Ayer 3 and Blumenson 5). George Patton was a hard-nosed man who offended many but won the hearts of the American people. From an early age Patton knew he wanted to be in the military. When Patton’s father had his friends from the army come over, Patton would beg them to tell him war stories. “Patton especially looked up to John Singleton “Ranger” Mosby” (George 1). Mr. Singleton would tell stories of his fighting in the civil war and young Patton would love it. “George was so involved in the military that by age seven he could read military topographical maps” (George 1). This type of activity basically was inflicted by his father who was also very militarily involved. However, George’s military studies greatly took him away from his formal education. “This was obvious when George still couldn’t read at the age of twelve, due partly to his dyslexia” (George 1). Finally noticing that George was falling behind in normal education his parents enrolled him in a private school. “At the age of twelve George was sent to Stephen Cutter Clarks classical school” (George 1). At Clarks Classical School, George began to show his athletic side. “George was so aggressive at football that he broke his nose three times and broke both of his arms” (George 1). After high school George wanted to attend West Point Military Academy. “However there were no open appointments to West Point from his home state of California” (museum 1). At this point in his life George was very confused. “So instead of West Point George attended his fathers Alma matter, The Virginia Military Institute” (George 2). George did quite well at The Virginia Military Institute except for English and grammar. “George kept wanting to go to West Point, so the following year when a spot opened, he applied and received the appointment” (museum 1). So it was after a year at The Virginia Military Institute that George made the big move from Richmond to West Point, New York. “It was 1904 and George was put in what was known as the beast barracks” (George 2). George was a great athlete and an average student. “However due to his problems with mathematics George was forced to spend an extra year their” (George 2). George’s athletic abilities were then shown to be purely graceful. “George became a expert fencer and a master swordsman” (museum 2). Since George was a child he was a lover of animals, so it was no wonder that the other sport he loved was polo. “George became an expert polo player while he was attending West Point” (George 2) “George chose cavalry as his major at West Point, and he later became a cavalry officer” (museum 2). “In 1909, George graduated 46th out of a class of 103 cadets” (George 3). In the 1912 Olympics young George made his name known to the world for the first time. “George competed in the pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm” (Blumenson 25). The pentathlon consisted of five events, shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding, and running. These were all skills that George had toned and practiced at while at West Point. “He ended up placing 5th for the United States, losing several points in the shooting event”(Blumenson 26). Choosing a .38 caliber pistol over the smaller more commonly used .22 caliber lost his points. One of George’s shots passed through another shot’s hole, and the judges counted it as a miss. After the Olympics, Patton traveled around Europe. “His most famous visits was to The French Cavalry School” (George 3). Patton learned the French style of saber fighting and fell in love with the French saber. “He latter designed the model M1913 sword after the French saber” (George 3).
Patton was still a young officer in 1916 when he got his first taste of battle. “George joined General John J. Pershing in his fight to overthrow Poncho Villa of Mexico” (museum 3). The fighting in Mexico was light but it gave George a good feel for live fighting. Once again though George made national headlines when he shot and killed General Cardenas, Poncho Villa’s head bodyguard” (museum 3).
“When World War I broke out in 1914 George asked to serve under the French Cavalry, but his request was denied” (George 3). However shortly after the Pancho Villa escapades ended, General Pershing was sent to Europe to command in World War I. “When General Pershing left for World War 1, He was promoted Patton to captain and took him with him” (George 3).
“In Europe Patton joined the British Tank Corps and led the British tankers to victory at Cabri” (George 3). Captain Patton learned much of his knowledge of mechanized fighting while working with the British tank corps. “Then shortly after Cabri George joined the newly formed U.S. tank corps” (George 3). Commanding in the tank corps, George captured the city of Metz for the first time in modern history” (George 3) Since the cavalry was mostly abolished by this time, George made tanks and mechanical fighting his unit. ” Then George was shot and wounded during the battle of Meuse-Argonne while trying to free some tanks that were stuck in the mud” (George 3). Luckily George survived his injuries long enough to be taken to a hospital. “By the time George recovered from his injuries, the war was over” (George 3).
“After World War I, George worked at Ft. Meade Maryland” (museum 3). Working with the tank corps, George tried to convince everyone that the tank was the weapon of modern warfare. “He served in the tank corps until 1920 when it was abolished” (George 3). This was a major blow that frustrated George. “However after the tank corps was abolished Patton was promoted to Major, and he was sent back to the cavalry where he played polo most of the time” (museum 4). George was still not through with his drive to promote tanks and armored infantry. “George tested the entire concept of mechanized fighting in the army” (Ayer 56).
During the time prior to World War II, George worked at several bases in the south. “George served as a control officer for mechanized maneuvers in Georgia and Louisiana” (museum 4). Then, George was given a grant to organize the American Tank School. “George set up the American Tank school in Langres, France, where he ended up training 500 American tankers” (George 4). However despite this excitement, the 1920’s were a very boring time for Patton, mainly because of the absence of war. “In his free time Patton learned to operate the other modern war machine, the airplane” (George 4). He also spent much of his time hamming things up to the press, and letting his presence be known in the military. “George also made national headlines again when he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for rescuing three drowning boys from a capsized boat in Salem harbor” (George 5). George became quite the showman by brandishing his matching ivory handled revolvers wherever he went.
“When the late 1930’s arrived though, Patton knew that another war was about to grip the world” (George 5). However George’s superiors refused to believe his premonitions. “Finally the German Blitzkrieg broke out and Patton got his grant for an
Armored division and his first Generals star” (George 5). George began training soldiers how to run and operate tanks once again. ” On April 11, 1941 he was named commanding general of the second armored division at Ft. Benning Georgia” (Ayer 71). This was all in preparation for opening a second front in Europe to help the French and Russians.
“On November 8, 1942 George was given command of the western task force” (museum 5). General Patton was set to join British forces in North Africa. “The western task force was the only all American task force landing in North Africa” (Blumenson 68). The American forces in North Africa were not performing up to par though. “So After the U.S. seventh army lost at Kasserine Pass, Patton was named commander of all American forces in the Tunisia combat area” (Blumenson 69). George was able to push through North Africa and defeat Rommel. The invasion of Europe was set. “George commanded the seventh army during the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943″ (George 5). Patton’s aggressive style and fearlessness worked very well in Italy however, one of his biggest faults occurred in Italy. “While visiting an army hospital, he slapped a soldier with battle fatigue whom Patton thought was a coward” (George 5). The incident resulted in the seventh army being taken out of his command. After much litigation, he was finally given another chance. “In 1944 he was given control of the third army which became operational in France August of 1944″ (Museum 5). Even through the harsh winter of 1944 Patton continued to roll his men on their march to Berlin. “Pattons third army dashed across Europe and exploited German weaknesses with remarkable success.” (George 6). Controversy was soon to tarnish Patton’s shiny record. “The story broke that after the invasion of Bavaria, General Patton used ex-nazis in administrative positions” (George 6). General Patton also became a strong political problem to the United States military. “General Patton seemed to tell everyone his views on rearming the nazis and commanding a joint fight against the Russians” (George 6). This statement cost him control of the third army. At this point in his life George once again had plenty of time on his hands. “In October 1945, George was given his final commanding position as commander of the fifteenth army in American occupied Germany” (Time 112).
Little did anyone know that General Pattons colorful life was coming to an end. “On December 9 1945 General Patton was returning from a hunting trip in Germany when his staff car was struck by a supply truck, he later died on December 21 from injuries sustained from the wreck” (George 7). “General Patton was buried with his soldiers that died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm Luxembourg” (Young 80).
General Patton was a major player in the allied victory in Europe without a doubt. “All in all Patton’s third army consisted of little over half a million men, liberated 81,522 square miles of territory and, inflicted 1,433,888 casualties on the enemy” (Young 77). Many people didn’t like Patton’s views and ways, but the young soldier from San Gabriel California changed the face of the world. His unexpected death made many wonder what a man like George S. Patton could have done in Korea or even Vietnam. This is how General George S. Patton showed all the characteristics of a great military leader. Books were definitely not the Generals cup of tea, but he possessed qualities that on could never learn from reading literature. General Patton had the raw natural abilities to calculate and execute the most technical military maneuvers.