George S. Patton, Jr. born on November 11, 1885 in San Gabriel, California, U.S.A. is considered to have been one of the best and most successful combat generals in the history of the United States. In World War Two, Patton was a major contributor to the Allied victory during the invasion of Sicily as well the liberation of Germany from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government. He died in Heidelberg, Germany on December 21, 1945.
The Early Beginnings of Patton’s Life
From early on George Patton knew that he wanted to be a part of the military. As a young boy he was inspired by the many stories of his ancestors and their victories in the American Revolution and the Civil War. Wishing to continue the tradition in 1904 he enrolled in Virginia Military Institute. The next year he went to the West Point Military Academy and graduated in
1909. A year later he married childhood friend Beatrice Ayer.
In 1913 he was assigned the post of Master of the Sword at the Mounted Service School, there he taught swordsmanship and attended as a student. Despite being a capable fencer he was known to be accident prone, some attribute his later trademark temper and cursing to a skull injury he received in his 20s.
George S. Patton, The Military Man
George S. Patton Jr. got his first battle experience while leading cavalry patrols in 1915 near the Mexican border. The next year he was chosen to help the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, John J. Pershing with his duties in Mexico. On that assignment Patton shot the Mexican leader Julio Cardenas at the Battle of Columbus. Impressed, Pershing promoted Patton to the rank of captain.
During WWI, Patton was the first officer of the U.S. Tank Corps. During the Battle of Cambrai in France, Patton proved to be one of the foremost experts in tank warfare. For his heroism and strategy skills he earned the Distinguished Service Cross. During that battle he was in charge of maneuvering around 350 tanks at the front lines and also received a bullet in his leg.
General Patton Speech
George S. Patton’s Military Commands
Machinegun Platoon/3/15th Cavalry Regiment
K/3/15th Cavalry Regiment
A/1/7th Cavalry Regiment
HQs Troop/American Expeditionary Force
302nd Tank Center
1st Light Tank Battalion
1st Light Tank Regiment
1st Tank Brigade
304th Tank Brigade
3/3rd Cavalry Regiment
5th Cavalry Regiment
3rd Cavalry Regiment
2/2nd Armored Division
2nd Armored Division
US 1st Armored Corps
Desert Training Center
US 1st Armored Corps
U.S. II Corps
US 1st Armored Corps
U.S. Seventh Army
U.S. Third Army
U.S. Fifteenth Army
Wars and Battles that George S. Patton, Jr. Participated
Battle of San Miguelito
World War I
Saint Mihiel Campaign
World War II
North Africa Campaign
General George S. Patton, Jr’s Military Awards
Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Legion of Honor (Fr)
Order of the White Lion (Cz)
Patton in World War II
While George S. Patton Jr. had a distinguished career up to this point, WWII would be remembered as the high point of his career. In 1943 his defense and attack strategies allowed the 7th U.S. army to come out of the invasion of Sicily victorious. In 1944, during D-Day, the Allied Invasion of Normandy, Patton received the command of the 3rd U.S. Army from President Eisenhower. During his time in France his forces swept from town to time, winning battle after battle with a ruthless drive.
In 1945, Patton lead his army to cross the Rhine and went straight for the heart of Germany. They managed to capture a total of 10,000 miles of territory in 10 days. While doing so they liberated Germany from Nazi rule.
Patton’s Death and Aftermath
George S. Patton Jr. died as a result of a car crash in which he broke his neck in 1945, near Mannheim, Germany. He spent the next 12 days after the crash in a hospital in Heidelberg. He died on December 21, 1945. Two years later his memoir, War as I Knew It, was published. General Patton’s grave can be found today at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg beside many of his former soldiers who passed away during the Battle of the Bulge.