OLD BLOOD AND GUTS
General Patton was a devoted student of history, a poet, a humble man who was very unsure of his own abilities, a man who could bust into tears at any given moment, and could be charming or quite insulting all in the same hour. His reckless, outspoken manner gained him friends and enemies of equal determination. General Patton was not only extrovert of public perception but he also had an intensely private side. He was a man who trained himself for greatness with a determination matched by no other Allied General of World War Two. During the war, Patton led U.S. troops in Morocco, Tunisia, and Sicily, then took command of the Third Army, leading the troops through the German lines at Normandy to traverse France and eventually into the heart of Germany. His toughness on enemies as well as his own forces earned him the name “Old Blood and Guts.” General George Smith Patton’s leadership and tactics were the best of any Allied general of World War Two.
Old Blood and Guts was born in 1885 in San Gabriel, California. He was a man who from a very early age knew he was destine for a life in the military as one can read in his journal “ When I was a little boy at home I used to wear a wooden sword and say to myself: ‘George S. Patton, Jr., Lieutenant General’.”1 He followed his dreams and gained an educated at Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy. On his graduation in 1909 Patton was commissioned a second lieutenant; he advanced in rank to full General by 1945.
George Patton served as aide-de-camp to the American General John Joseph Pershing on Pershing’s expedition to Mexico in 1917. As a young lieutenant Patton was asked by General Pershing why he should be chosen to go on a dangerous mission The young, cocky Patton replied, “I want to go more than anyone else.”2 After making a name for himself early in his career, Patton earned a promotion; beginning the practice of many promotions to come. His experiences in Mexico prepared him for the soon to come war in Europe.
In France during World War One Patton was offered a position as a tank core commander. In his journals, he wrote, “I will have to grow and grow a lot. But I will. Here is my chance.”3 soldier’s testimonies added to his reputation of being a tough commander.
After a battle, he was quoted by some soldiers as saying “You are not beaten until you admit it. Hence don’t!”4 By the end of World War One Patton had proved himself to be one of leading American officers and one of the future’s strongest military leaders. In this, he made a well-known name for himself. Between the two World Wars, Patton feared he would not be used for what he thought God had put him on Earth to do.
Such fear is evident in the following passage taken from a letter he wrote in the 1930’s:“As I approach 41 and there is no war...I fear that I shall live to retire a useless soldier.”
Patton knew in 1939 that the war in Europe was his...