Gen. George S. Patton

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Gen. George Smith Patton, Jr.

Also Known As: "Bandito", "Old Blood and Guts", "The Old Man"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Death: December 21, 1945 (60)
Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany (pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure as a complication of motor vehicle accident injuries)
Place of Burial: 50 Val du Scheid, Luxembourg, District de Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Immediate Family:

Son of George Smith Patton, II and Ruth Patton
Husband of Beatrice Banning Patton
Father of Beatrice "Bee" Patton; Ruth Ellen "Nell" Patton and Maj. Gen. George Smith Patton, IV
Brother of Anne Wilson Patton

Occupation: US Army 4 Star General
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gen. George S. Patton

Biography

Gen. George Smith Patton Jr. was a general in the United States Army who commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the Third United States Army in France and Germany after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Born in 1885, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the "Patton Saber," and competed in modern pentathlon in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.

Patton first saw combat during 1916's Pancho Villa Expedition, America's first military action using motor vehicles. He saw action in World War I as part of the new United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces: he commanded the U.S. tank school in France, then led tanks into combat and was wounded near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton became a central figure in the development of the army's armored warfare doctrine, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. At the American entry into World War II, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division.

Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, and soon established himself as an effective commander by rapidly rehabilitating the demoralized II United States Corps. He commanded the U.S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command. He then was assigned a key role in Operation Fortitude, the Allies' military deception campaign for Operation Overlord. At the start of the Western Allied invasion of France, Patton was given command of the Third Army, which conducted a highly successful rapid armored drive across France. Under his decisive leadership, the Third Army took the lead in relieving beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces drove deep into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.

During the Allied occupation of Germany, Patton was named military governor of Bavaria, but was relieved for making aggressive statements towards the Soviet Union and trivializing denazification. He commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for slightly more than two months. Severely injured in an auto accident, he died in Germany twelve days later, on December 21, 1945.

Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front, and his ability to inspire troops with attention-getting, vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as his famous address to the Third Army, was met favorably by his troops, but much less so by a sharply divided Allied high command. His sending the doomed Task Force Baum to liberate his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters from a prisoner of war camp further damaged his standing with his superiors. His emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action nonetheless proved effective, and he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. An award-winning biographical film released in 1970, Patton, helped popularize his image. (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA)

Family info

George Smith Patton is the third of that name, grandfather to father, father to son, but was always referred to as "Junior." That is the way the military did it, and that is the way it is. Both he and his father used "Junior." The last George Smith Patton is referred to as the 4th (IV).

The general of WWII fame was born on 11 November 1885 in San Gabriel, California, to George William Patton and Ruth Patton (nee Wilson). Patton had one sibling; a younger sister, Anne. The family was of Scots-Irish and English descent.

Patton's family had an extensive military background. His paternal grandfather was George Smith Patton who commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry in the American Civil War and was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester, while his great uncle Waller Tazewell Patton was killed in Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. Patton also descended from Hugh Weedon Mercer, who had been killed in the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution. Patton's father graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), but did not pursue a military career, instead becoming a lawyer and later the district attorney of Los Angeles County. Patton's maternal family included Benjamin Davis Wilson, who had been Mayor of Los Angeles and a successful merchant. The Patton family was prosperous, and Patton lived a privileged childhood on the family's 2,000-acre (810 ha) estate.

Citations

  1. D'Este 1995, p. 29.
  2. Brighton 2009, p. 17.
  3. Axelrod 2006, pp. 9–10.
  4. Axelrod 2006, pp. 13.
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Gen. George S. Patton's Timeline

1885
November 11, 1885
San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, California, United States
1911
March 19, 1911
Massachusetts, United States
1915
February 28, 1915
Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States
1924
December 24, 1924
Los Angeles County California
1945
December 21, 1945
Age 60
Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
December 24, 1945
Age 60
Luxembourg, District de Luxembourg, Luxembourg