Origins / Personal background of General Patton
George Smith Patton Junior was born on the 11th of November 1885 in San Marino, California. Patton’s family were wealthy and lived on a 2000 acre property. His family background was of Scottish-Irish and English descent, and nearly all of his late ancestors had served in the military from the American Revolution to the American Civil War. During his early childhood, Patton struggled to read and write, however after some time, he was able to overcome these difficulties. His parents enrolled him in school at age 11 where he excelled in most subjects, especially history, where he read countless books on famous military generals, including Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte. At 25, Patton married Beatrice Banning Ayer and had three children, Beatrice Smith, Ruth Ellen and George Patton IV. As a result of Patton’s military heritage, he enrolled in the United States Military Academy in 1902. From 1903 to 1904 he attended the Virginia Military Institute and was later recommended to West Point. Patton performed poorly academically, and was forced to repeat the first year of his studies. However, he was proficient at military drills earning the respect of many of his fellow cadets and commanding officers. Later, after injuring his arm in football, he adopted fencing and became the best swordsmen at the military academy. He graduated 46th of 103 from West point and received the commission of a second lieutenant in the cavalry on June the 11th 1909. Early Military Career
The Border War on the Mexican – American border had raged since 1910, with frequent skirmishes between Mexican Rebels and the United States Army. To combat this, units of the American Army were sent to the Southern States to protect civilians and prevent further attacks from occurring. In 1915 Patton was assigned to the 8th Cavalry in Sierra Blanca. During his time in the detachment, he equipped himself with an ivory handled Colt Single Action Army Revolver, which later became famous as his signature weapon, moulding Patton into a cowboy image. In March 1916, Mexican forces invaded New Mexico and attacked the town of Columbus, resulting in the deaths of several Americans. The United States Military responded by launching an expedition into Mexico with the objective of destroying these enemy forces. Patton, enthusiastic about his first chance to experience combat requested that he be made part of this American force. On May the 14th 1916, Patton led a force of ten soldiers and two civilians in three Dodge cars, and ambushed a group of Mexican rebels loyal to Villa, killing Julio Cardenas, second in command, and two of his soldiers. In recognition of Patton’s efforts, he was promoted to first lieutenant and remained stationed on the border until the end of the year. On the 15th of May 1917 Patton was promoted to Captain and was sent to Europe to fight the Central Powers. After six months of training American troops in Paris he was assigned to organise the AEF Light Tank School. Throughout the remainder of the month, he was briefed on the new tactics of tank warfare and told of the results of Britain’s largest tank offensive which ended on the 1st of December. Then, on the 26th January 1918, Patton received his first ten tanks and trained them on how to support the infantry. Three months later he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. During August 1918, Patton was assigned to command the U.S. 1st provisional Tank Brigade. He was placed in charge at the battle of Saint-Mihiel, ordering that no American tank surrender. He led the force through much of the attack, beginning on September 12th and courageously walked in front of the motorized vehicles into the German occupied village of Essey. Later, the Lieutenant Colonel participated in another operation, this time the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which was held fourteen days later. Bravely leading his outfit eight kilometres into German lines, he was wounded in the...
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