Sunday, August 12, 2012

Patton Quotes

Carlo D'Este's Masterpiece
George S. Patton was a man of many contradictions.  He was a dyslexic who became an accomplished poet.  He was a cavalry officer and a traditionalist who was on the cutting edge of armored warfare technology.  He was a devout Episcopalian (Reporter: "General, do you read the bible?" Patton: "Every God-damned day!") who also had a keen belief in his personal reincarnation.  He was an Olympic athlete who was extremely accident prone.  He had a squeaky falsetto speaking voice, but managed to give the most inspirational speeches ever given by an American military commander.  He slapped two soldiers who were suffering "battle fatigue" while in Sicily and visited countless military hospitals where he comforted the sick and wounded.  He was deeply religious and utterly profane.  He longed for a glorious death on the battlefield yet he was killed in a stupid car accident that broke his neck.  He was a lover of war and battle who was extremely solicitous for the men under his command and whose rapid armored advances saved many allied lives.

Patton could see around the next corner better than any American military commander.  In 1937, for example, "he wrote a paper entitled "Surprise," a chillingly accurate prediction of a Japanese attack on Hawaii."  (Patton: A Genius for War, Carlo D'Este, 1995,  He was better prepared to launch a counteroffensive after the German attack during the Battle of the Bulge than any allied commander.  In 1945, seven years before Eisenhower's Presidential bid, Patton remarked, "Before long, Ike will be running for President.  You think I'm joking?  I'm not.  Just wait and see."  Just before his death, Patton foresaw the onset of the cold war when most, including Ike, did not.

Patton had made a detailed lifelong study of the history of warfare before the start of World War II.  He was intimately familiar with the campaigns of Caesar and Napoleon.  His eponymous-named grandfather had been killed in action in the American Civil War of which he made frequent study.

Patton -- Olympic Pentathlete
Patton was born and grew up in Pasadena California in comfortable circumstances.  He attended West Point graduating 46th in his class of 103 in 1909.  Patton was an Olympian who competed in the pentathlon in the 1912 games in Stockholm.  He fought and was wounded in World War I when he headed up America's first tank corps.

In World War II, he headed up the helped the US Army in North Africa to recover from the disaster at the Kasserine pass.  He had overall command of all American ground forces in the invasion of Sicily.  He was successfully used as a decoy heading up the imaginary FUSAG army before D-Day (see earlier post, Double Cross: the D-Day Spies, 7/1/12).   As commander of the US 3rd Army after
D-Day he led an army that advanced farther and faster than any army in military history, crossing 24 major rivers and capturing 81,500 square miles of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. In what was, perhaps, his finest hour, he relieved the German siege of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge on December 26, 1944.

Best Picture 1970
There is the historic Patton and then there is Patton the movie.  Francis Ford Coppola won an academy award for writing the screenplay of Patton.  When you read the material below you will see that Coppola did an excellent job he did in terms of researching and quoting -- but shouldn't George S. Patton have gotten a posthumous screen credit or award too?  Patton is one of the best war film's of all time--in spite of its over-reliance upon the memoirs of Omar Bradley who detested Patton.


World War I
"If you are left alone in the midst of the enemy keep shooting.  If your gun is disabled use your pistols and squash the enemy with your tracks...remember that you are the first American tanks.  You must establish the fact that AMERICAN TANKS DO NOT SURRENDER...As long as one tank is able to move it must go forward.  Its presence will save the live of hundreds of infantry and kill many Germans."

Between the Wars
"You must be: a horse master; a high minded gentleman; a cold blooded hero; a hot blooded savage."

In 1937 - four year before Pearl Harbor
"The unheralded arrival during a period of profound peace of a Japanese expeditionary force within 200 miles of Oahu during darkness; this force to be preceded by submarines who will be in the immediate vicinity of Pearl Harbor...An air attack by navy fighters and carrier borne bombers on air stations and the submarine base using either gas or incendiary bombs."

George S. Patton 1885 - 1945

During World War II
"War is very simple, direct, and ruthless.  It takes a simple, direct and ruthless man to wage war."

"If I win I can't be stopped!  If I lose I shall be dead."

"Remember Frederick the Great: l'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!"  (Used in the movie Patton though this is really a misquotation the the phrase was first said by Danton.)

"Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."

"I have been given command of Third Army...I am here because of the confidence of two men: the President of the United States and the Theater Commander...It is inevitable for men to be killed and wounded in battle.  But there is no reason why such losses should be increased because of incompetence and carelessness of some stupid son-of-a-bitch.  I don't tolerate such men on my staff."

"Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

"Men, this stuff we hear about America wanting to stay out of the war--not wanting to fight--is a lot of bull-shit.  Americans love to fight--traditionally!  All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.  when you were kids, you all admired the champion marble players, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers.  Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.  Americans play to win all the time.  I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughs.  that's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, for the very thought of losing is hateful to an American."

"There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because ONE MAN went to sleep on his job.  But they are GERMAN graves, for we caught the bastard asleep before they did.  We have the best food, the finest equipment, the best spirit and the best men in the world.  Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we are going up against.  This individual heroic stuff is a lot of crap.  The bilious bastards who wrote that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post didn't know any more about real battle than he did about fucking."

P - 47 Patton's Favorite Plane, FHC, Everett,WA 

"Every single man in the Army plays a vital part.  Every little job is essential to the whole scheme.  What if every truck-driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of the shells and turned yellow and jumped headlong into a ditch?  He could say to himself, 'They won't miss me--just one guy in thousands.'  What if every man said that?  Where in hell would we be now?  No, thank God, Americans don't say that.  Every man does is job.  Every man serves the whole.  Every department, every unit, is important t the vast scheme of things."

"Sure we all want to go home.  We want this thing over with.  But you can't win a war lying down.  the quickest way to get it over with its to get the bastards.  The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we go home.  The shortest way is through Berlin!...Keep moving!  We will win this war, but we will win it only by fighting and by showing guts."

"There is one great thing you men will be able to say when you go home.  You may all thank God for it.  Thank God that, at least thirty years from now, when you are sitting around the fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks what  your did in the great World War II, you won't have to say, 'I shoveled shit in Louisiana.'"

"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.  It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who lead that gains victory."

"If Ike gives me the supplies I'll go through the Siegfried line like shit through a goose."

Patton's Prayer (written by James H. O'Neil)
"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend.  Grant us fair weather for Battle.  Graciously harken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations.  Amen."

Back to Patton
"Chaplain, I am a strong believer in prayer.  There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working and by praying.  Any great military operation takes careful planning or thinking.  then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working.  But between he plan and the operation there is always an unknown.  That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure.  It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes.  Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God."

"I know a lot of--soft-headed armchair generals accuse me of killing off my men.  They don't know their fat behinds from a tommy gun.  I don't waste men.  I believe in saving my men's lives.  And, by God!  I've done it...again and again.  More often than not the best way to save men's lives is to risk take chances and make your men fight better."

Addressing the 761st Tank Battalion, a black tank unit
"Men, you are the first Negro tankers ever to fight in the American Army.  I would never have asked for you if you weren't good.  I have nothing but the best in my army.  I don't care what color you are, so long as you go up their and kill those Kraut sonsabitches!  Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you.  Most of all, your race is looking forward to you.  Don't let them down and, damn you, don't let me down!"

VE Day Daily Mail
On V/E Day May 8, 1945
"They have allowed us to kick hell out of one bastard and at the same time forced us to help establish a second one as evil or more evil than the first.  We have won a series of battles, not a war for peace.  We're headed down another long road to losing another peace.  This day we have missed another date with our destiny, and this time we'll need Almighty God's constant help if we're to live in the same world with Stalin and his murdering cutthroats."

Patton's dog, 'Willie"
After World War II
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

"You cannot lay down with a diseased jackal.  Neither can we ever do business with the Russians."

"Churchill was the only man in a position of power who knew what we were walking into.  He wanted to get into the Balkans and Central Europe to keep the Russians at bay.  He wanted to get into Berlin and Prague and get to the Baltic coast on the North.  Churchill had a sense of history.  Unfortunately, some of our leaders were just damn fools who had no idea of Russian history.  Hell, I doubt if they even knew Russia just less than 100 years ago, owned Finland, sucked the blood out of Poland, and were using Siberia as a prison for their own people.  How Stalin must have sneered when he got through with them at all those phony conferences."

All above quotes are taken from...Patton: A Genius for War, Carol D'Este, 1995

No comments: