Differences in Patton biographies

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
I've just finished "Patton: Ordeal and Triumph" by Farago, 1963 (on which much of the movie was based), and last year I read "Patton: A Soldier's Life" by Hirshson, 2003.

Both bios are extensive and thoroughly documented, and both excellent reading.

I slightly prefer the Hirshson book, because it's a bit more explicit. Patton's rousing speeches are not edited here, all the strong language included. And the book also described Patton's many ventures away from his marriage, including large quantities of field army nurses and aides, a Parisian countess, the 20ish gorgeous USO entertainer Dinah Shore, and Patton's wife's niece. Eeek. The Hirshson book is a lot newer and draws on new info that's been found in the military archives of the US, Britain, and Germany.

Both books tell in great detail however his other problems, the two slapping incidents, the flub about the Russians at his British speech (way overblown), and worst of all, his postwar cuddling up to former and unrepentant Nazis. Not just German military, but authentic card-carrying Nazis. This was inexplicable to everyone, even his closest pals, and got him relieved of command permanently. His fatal car crash followed soon thereafter, more of a relief than tragedy.

Anyway, I'd recommend either biography, long and detailed but very readable.

Have you got a fave Patton bio?

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
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Replies

  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    Yes, the book that I find amazing is "The Patton Papers" by Martin Blumenson. It's basically a collection of his diary entries, letters home and letters to fellow commanders.

    I have also read Rick Atkinson's first two books of the WWII Trilogy and they are also very insightful into the relationship of Patton and the other power players of that time period. I'm anxiously awaiting the third and final volume of that work that's due out this Spring. The first two, "An Army at Dawn" and "The Day of Battle", document the war in North Africa and then Sicily and Italy. The second book ends when Gen. Mark Clark marches into Rome victoriously in early June or 1944. It was actually just before D-Day and the Normandy invasion. The third installment of the trilogy is due for publication in May, 2013 and my pre-order has already been entered at Amazon.
    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    I was a student of the Armor Center at Ft. Knox......there's a love/hate relationship with George. One one hand he was a pushy genius.....on the other he was an high-brow horse's petutte. A man of God yet a philanderer.....cared down to the lowliest private, yet threw their lives away to make his point. I'm deeply conflicted about the man, but the reverance wins out.....those of the armor community know of the original St George.

    I see the two of the tankers here jumped on this already....there should be a couple more in the next few days.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    I found it interesting to learn that Gen. Patton came up with a nickname for his 2nd Armor Division before any of the others. Appropriately it was called "Hell on Wheels" and that slogan is on their insignia. General Magruder, commander of the 1st AD wanted to come up with a nickname for his division and solicited suggestions from the entire division. The story says that he was sitting in his study and looking over all the best suggestions from his division personnel and just could not find anything that struck him as a nickname for his 1st Armor Division. But he kept glancing up at a painting in his study of the Battleship, the "U.S.S. Constitution" a.k.a."Old Ironsides", and thought that it would be an appropriate nickname for his 1st A.D.

    Apparently, the nickname was found to be very popular with his command and met with their approval. The rest is history. The 1st Armor Division has been known as "Old Ironsides" ever since and you can see it on my Avatar.

    eta....General Magruder is also responsible for the Division's famous nickname. He was CO before Ward.... sorry about that.
    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Without google......name the third AD....that's pretty easy.....we'll move on to the ACRs next.....:jester: I'm gonna getcha with the only SAB.....
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    When you guys start talking about real units...let me know...Like I have said before there is a reason only certain Units were invited to the invasion and there is a reason why units from the 18th ABN get mentioned more than any other....

    From the things I get, Patton was the General that was not a Gentleman. He didn't care for the politics or the pomp. He was a Soldier's General and would fight for them as hard as they fought for him. He had brilliant Armor tactics and could read the enemy. But that is all I know....To us Guys from the Light Fight World...well, he is just a guy that might have done some things here and there...but most of it is exaggerated.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    You know what makes the 101st hot stuff? Hot sauce on those wings...:tooth: Not a lot know of the Sky Dragons....obviously you do. I'm of 10th cav, 37th Armor 3 ID and 1st ID....had to get steeped in the unit histories for the boards. Gary Owen.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,842 Senior Member
    My opinion ends with the Bonus Army attack.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    3ID is a part of the Barney Corp....Did you ever get to do a Purple Dragon exercise? When the Corp would pit two of its divisions against each other...Those were great times...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Ha....ha....too bad Tropic Lightning means a lava lamp in your quarters....in ALASKA!!!...."the fuzzy TV/7 steps to hell" is not my doing. And don't get me going on the Big Red One......that's not forum friendly! Ok, I'll give you Barney Corp cause what I said. Fair's fair....I'm a good sport. cluck cluck.....:tooth:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    I actually not in 25th up here...I m in a straight REMF job....I gotta get back to the line. There is a CSM in 25th in Hawaii that is trying to pcs to his BN to be his HHC 1SG...me and him go back to days of just me and him rolling around Kabal in an NTV working on afghan initiatives and a crap load of ammo. It all depends on what PACOM says about more than one PCS in two years.

    Before the units were taken away from the corps...101st, 82nd, 10th mtn, and 3 ID belonged to the 18th ABN corp...aka purple dragon aka Barney corp.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    You realize there are only a few people on this board that actually understood all that alphabet soup right Short!? I know the Barney Corp, I was part of the Armored leg....unit's change like underroos.....it was 194th back before PG I, and we were high-speed with 101st....jump, assault, rigger.....then everything went Division level I got out b-4 PG II....it's funny cause everything went back to BCTs took the DAs a few years to learn.

    What do you mean it all got taken away!!?? They didn't kill the Barney did they!!??? Say it ain't so! What happened to 101, 82nd and 10th!?? 1,2 and 3rd ID get passed around like 1,2, 3rd AD.


    It's midnight here, sounds like a firefight outside....your turn in a couple of hours.....happy new year man!
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    Happy news years to you too....yeah the corps lost their units...18th, 3 corp in hood, I corp in Lewis, even 5th in Germany....the became HQ units only...part of the BCT concept. Now the units belong directly to FORSCOM. It makes inter division transfers a pain! Back in the day on Campbell all it took was memorandum of release and memorandums of acceptance to move between brigades...now it is a 4187 to FORSCOM. The corps now just run the battle space. My last tour in Iraq, 5th corp had the Lad My last tour in afghan, I corp had the reigns as we were leaving. Sometimes it sucks. Like when a light fight division has to work for an armored corp commander that doesn't understand we fight differently than heavy guys do....
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Getting on 2 AM my time MST.....should be around Midnight for you.....crack a beer for the Corps, may the chutes open and the skids touch down, may our rounds be on target, and our boys come home alive.....happy new year brother.....try to survive this one. Sempre Fidelis
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Without google......name the third AD....that's pretty easy.....we'll move on to the ACRs next.....:jester: I'm gonna getcha with the only SAB.....

    Spearhead, I got a patch someplace.

    BTW: Patton is buried in Luxembourg, not Belgium as some believe. He is buried next to some of his men. They did move him a few feet away from rows because of all the traffic from folks visiting his graveside. We stopped there on our way to Bastogne.

    Patton was a kick-butt general and got the job done, but we also needed generals like Omar Bradley, the "Soldier's General" or "Soldier's Soldier" who showed a lot more concern for men lost on the battlefield than Ole Blood n Guts.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    I'm not disputing your guys' knowledge of the combat records, I only have what I've read 2ndhand, but from what I know, ASSUMING the sort of battle the troops were in, Patton's and MacArthur's tool fewer KIA and wounded that other, comparable troops in the same degree of conflicts.

    This comes from books I've read on Patton and MacArthur and not from impartial stats. So I may be wrong and totally admit it if so. Patton would have been a difficult man to serve under but I get the impression he cared a lot about his troops and records indicate he tried best to give them supplies, ammo, weapons much as he was able. As I say, I'm not arguing with you, if you have better statistics to draw from. I'm only stating what I've read.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    Yes Sam, but you have to look at the commands they had also...both were armor commanders. We have always had superior armor on the battlefield. This will allow for fewer casualties than what light infantry or airborne infantry commanders will take. So while the conflict was the same, the method of fighting was not.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    Also, heavy infantry or armor battalion has more support than a light fight or airborne infantry unit. So....you will have greater access to beans and bullets. In the light fight and airborne world, your support is largely what you can fit in your ruck...not a supply train of trucks that follows the armor column.

    You will find that officers that come up in the armor or heavy infantry world do not like to go the airborne/light infantry world. And the reverse is true also.

    Funny thing, if you look at the top American Generals of history..most of them will be armor or Cavalry...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Congrats Chief.....it's the Spearhead Division.....I've been to Patton's gravesite....you're right, it stands apart and there was a line.....I asked about the civilians my parent's age..... I was informed buy a French woman my age.......Her name is Cadille.....Patton freed them from the Nazis and drove the Werhrmacht out........each Soldier and Marine took their turn, gave their salute, knelt and drew the cross, it's a moving experience......It's a point of every Armor NCO and Officer to go visit it when stationed in Europe. I've also been to Doc Holiday's grave over Glenwood Springs CO....We have to remember our heroes.......I remember Bradley's passing......last of the 5 stars.....end of an era.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    I need you and you need me...we work together cause we need each other....I can't keep the back-scratchers off my tank unless you're there on the ground......you can't keep the tanks from annihilating you unless I'm there to blow their butts to kingdom come.....You provide guard, we dry your sleeping bags......and we have a better stove for your MREs and Pogey bait.....:rotflmao:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Yes Sam, but you have to look at the commands they had also...both were armor commanders. We have always had superior armor on the battlefield. This will allow for fewer casualties than what light infantry or airborne infantry commanders will take. So while the conflict was the same, the method of fighting was not.

    Not always, recently yes. We had huge numbers of tanks in WWII and eventually won through attrition the enemy couldn't keep up with. In WWII our Sherman's were a medium tank with a woefully inadequate main gun and thin armor that had to attack in packs to knock out heavier German armor, much less get close enough to the 88's to be effective. Later they upgraded the main gun to a high velocity one. And I was just watching about Tank Battles in Korea on the military Ch, same thing when up against the Soviet made T-34 until we got some heavier stuff and air strikes on the commies. Task Force Smith they sent over from Japan was a disaster.

    I think they used light tanks like the M-24 Chaffee and at first in Korea then the medium/heavy M-26 Pershing and M-46 Patton were brought in as the conflict continued and kicked butt. Upgraded Sherman's were used too. They say the upgraded Sherman and T-34 were a good match, if either hit the other, it would knock them out.

    Today our M-1 Abrams MBT is arguably the best and most lethal tank in the world with it's advanced electronics, speed, 120 mm high velocity main gun and reactive armor.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Funny thing, if you look at the top American Generals of history..most of them will be armor or Cavalry...

    You know, as a senior Infantry NCO.....you may want to look into that....and you're gonna find the same thing you and I preach....MOVE NOW!! That's what they did.....that's what we scream now....Cavalry means attack, Armor means bigger forces, but attack....defense to the last man standing....we will die defending....that takes a special kind of man to die holding to the last.....but we don't really want to die if we can take a few with us.....call us fatalist or fanatics.....but that's how we are....no retreat, no surrender, no option.

    Out of commission, become a pillbox....out of ammo, become a bunker....out of time....become heroes.....I've never heard of a Tanker abandoning his post recently.....they been killed immdediatley by IED. I have a fancy piece of silver for doing my job to rescue my men...PM me if you want but I wont's share it here in the open.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Today our M-1 Abrams MBT is arguably the best and most lethal tank in the world with it's advanced electronics, speed, 120 mm high velocity main gun and reactive armor.
    \

    Task Force Smith is a lesson that has been studied and learned.....it will never be repeated again.

    The M1 is the best tank in the world now.....The ONLY one I would put it up against is the Leopard A2 mark 5.....but they still use an autoloader.....a motivated private will still beat the standard and shove that round in the tube in under 3 seconds.......my personal best is 2.55, and that's waiting for the door to open. During Tank Table 10 we got accused of locking the blast door open, until they listened to the audio and heard it moving.....I shoved ten rounds in half a minute that night.....and have the ARCOM to prove it.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    \

    "Task Force Smith is a lesson that has been studied and learned.....it will never be repeated again."


    Lord, I hope not, but we got some half-commies in DC who want to weaken our military. They don't understand in order to speak softly and carry a big stick, you gotta be able to back it up with some whip-butt. They also (and many others) don't understand if not for our military deterrence effect and capability, many countries would like nothing better than for us to become a third world nation and they would get their throats cut for voicing their opinions.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    \

    "Task Force Smith is a lesson that has been studied and learned.....it will never be repeated again."


    Lord, I hope not, but we got some half-commies in DC who want to weaken our military. They don't understand in order to speak softly and carry a big stick, you gotta be able to back it up with some whip-butt. They also (and many others) don't understand if not for our military deterrence effect and capability, many countries would like nothing better than for us to become a third world nation and they would get their throats cut for voicing their opinions.


    Lord, I hope not, but we got some crazy commies in DC who have ham strung and considerably weakened our Military leadership and our Military defenses and strategies.

    They don't understand that in order to speak softly and carry a big stick, you gotta be able to back it up with pre-emptive strikes and some whip-butt. They also (and many others) don't understand that because of our Military deterrence effect and capability, many countries that can't beat us on the battlefield, would like nothing better than for us to become a Third World Nation.

    and they would get their throats cut for voicing their opinions.

    Fixed it somewhat :jester:

    the underlined part needs disambiguation.... and they would get their throats cut for voicing their opinions.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Lord, I hope not, but we got some half-commies in DC who want to weaken our military. T

    I say again...Task Force Smith will never be repeated again......it was the Battle of Little Bighorn of the 20th century. It's why we dominated Vietnam when allowed.....it's why we brought a sledgehammer to Iraq both times....we pulled back in Kosovo, and Afghanistan....we needed to flatten both situations.....you've spent time in Affie....you know what needs to happen there.....that country needs the hammer of God brought down upon it.....Cruel words..... but I see no way around it.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    The World is filled with turds that need to be flushed down the toilet of life, however, no one has the stomach to do what needs doing.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,099 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Both books tell in great detail however his other problems, the two slapping incidents, the flub about the Russians at his British speech (way overblown), and worst of all, his postwar cuddling up to former and unrepentant Nazis. Not just German military, but authentic card-carrying Nazis. This was inexplicable to everyone, even his closest pals, and got him relieved of command permanently. His fatal car crash followed soon thereafter, more of a relief than tragedy.

    I've not read any biography specifically on Patton - just a number of texts on the war overall. A few years ago, I ran across a movie - titled The Last Days of Patton as I recall - in which George C. Scott reprises the role. I cannot say how factually that movie captured Patton's true motivations, but what was portrayed was that Patton sensed that Soviet communism was AT LEAST as great an evil as Hitler's brand of fascism, and it needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

    In the movie at least, Patton was exhibiting a great deal of prescience about the oncoming Cold War. The attitude was "that we are going to fight the Russians anyway, so we might as well do it while we have a massive trained army in the field, have our industry tooled up to support it, and have the remnants of the excellent German military who already know how to fight them, WHILE the Soviets are already weakened and BEFORE THEY GET ATOMIC WEAPONS OF THEIR OWN." Looking at the 40 years that followed with 20/20 hindsight, one might agree with that viewpoint, although EVERYONE was so tired of fighting by 1945 that it would have been a very hard play to sell.

    I get the impression that Patton was one of those folks who looked at the whole German picture and decided that, minus the Hitler-spawned genocidal racism, there was a lot to admire and emulate. Patton WAS all about discipline, and who would be more rigidly disciplined than the Germans? Seeing that kind of discipline in a civilian population was probably his wildest dream come true. Little wonder he embraced it.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Bigslug, that film was made with sort of the leftovers of the Patton film, and spent some time about his anti Soviet feelings vs his rapid reconciliation with the Nazis. Both books cover this carefully and frankly I fault Patton for glossing over some pretty nasty people in order to get them on his staff. Yes they were efficient and helpful in the early days of reconstruction prior to the Marshall Plan, but Patton provided sanctuary to many who didn't deserve it. There were plenty of German professional staff to draw upon, those who maintained distance from the Nazi influence even during the last days of the Reich. He could have picked plenty of professional Germans who'd kept their noses clean, but was swayed by the Nazi organizational fervor.

    Patton has greatness and great flaws, as we all know. For example his slapping incidents were well meant but ill advised. In a battle zone it could be excused. His pro-US & Brit statements were way too overblown, and his Montgomery comments were justified. The Nazi coddling was not. He was warned several times to eliminate some of these staffers and then it cost him his command.

    We here in the US try to glorify the military accomplishments of the person without glorifying the individual himself. I think it's part of our lack of hero worship, lost to us when we dumped kings and nobility into the trash heap. We don't always succeed, but we try to separate the accomplishments of the person and praise them without praising the whole individual. Sometimes we still have hero worship and on very rare occasions it's warranted. But not for Patton.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Meh, more boring insight and armchair wisdom.

    Patton was a mere mortal like the rest of us, he was brilliant on the battlefield, but he had feet of clay and athletes foot fungus too.

    Why create a legend ? he was what he was, in battle, there are objectives, and to take them, you follow orders, and Washington has always like to treat soldiers like ammo, throw them at the teeth of the enemy and if you lose some, so be it, you can't blame that on Patton.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • drwalker47drwalker47 Member Posts: 192 Member
    I never met the man (before my time) but what I read made me proud and looked up to also.
    Celebrate life, moment by moment. I plan to enjoy what time I have left, and that means MORE GUNS!
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