General Eisenhower and General Patton:
From a fiercely brave General, who strictly enforces customs, bravery, formalities, and success; to a General with a lighthearted-mood, down to earth attitude, a steadfast courage, and a integrity and decency to lead the nations of the world into battle; while both these legendary Generals fought on the same side, both General S. Patton and General D. Eisenhower were distinctly different Generals. This paper seeks to outline the differences and similarities between the two Generals by taking a close look at their lives, and the impacts they had on WWII. George S. Patton was born on November 11th, 1885, in San Gabriel California. As Patton grew older, he developed a huge interest in military and strategy. When he was only seven years old, his father used to read to him from the Iliad, “and he performed his first military maneuver by dragging a dead chicken around the house, as Achilles dragged the body of Hector around the walls of Troy. Patton’s childhood, was a childhood that was full an imagination that thrived off of the old stories and poetries of war. This interest and imagination drove him to want to succeed within the military. When WWI came in 1914, Patton was already enlisted in the military. He was a successful officer in the 15th cavalry division, and when the first tank divisions emerged Patton would become infatuated with it. He said, “The first appearance of a new weapon is the highest point of its effectiveness and the lowest point of its efficiency,” and Patton was determined to understand its effectiveness in war, and its inefficiency in war as well. It was due to his understanding of this weapon that he would be put in charge of a Light Tank School in 1917. Not only was Patton also familiar with the tank, but he also learned how to fly himself; and later in his career Patton would use air cover as a means to cover his flanks – something that would become a new method of movement in WWII. When WWII finally came, Patton rose very quickly in the American military. He became a major general and was put in command of the 2nd Armored Division, and shortly after he was put in command of the armored corps; and the troops at his disposal were the same troops that he had trained in using the tank in India, California. He knew that he had hardened and experienced troops to work with. In one scenario later on in the war, Eisenhower and Patton were discussing how they were planning to launch a counter-attack on Bastogne; and to Eisenhower’s surprise Patton assured him that his army could handle it. Immediately following the meeting, Patton reaches for the phone and calls his headquarters and issues them one of the three anticipated outcomes of his and Eisenhower’s meeting that morning. Patton, prior to the meeting had already determined what choices he would have, and figured them out ahead of time in order to move as fast as possible. This was the tactician, General S. Patton at his best. Upon arriving on the WWII stage, Patton arrived in Morocco on November 8, 1942, and the Afrika campaign had begun. Patton won many great battles in Afrika, but he also lost some as well, such as the Kasserine Pass. However, after this defeat, Patton forced his way forward to Tunisia in which he ambushed Rommel’s tank division in March 1943 and destroyed 30 of the 60 tanks Rommel had destroyed. Rommel gave up and hope of counter attacking thereafter and Patton began to focus on Sicily. In the late days of the Sicily campaign, Patton made the decision to finish the campaign by developing tanks and infantry amphibiously behind the German lines instead of moving forward through the hilly terrain. The amphibious approach won them the Sicily campaign, and probably saved the lives of thousands of Americans. Ironically, Patton had stated before this campaign that, “People are unduly scared of amphibious operations. No large-scale amphibious operation I can remember...
Bibliography: Bowery, Charles R. Review of General Patton: A Soldier’s Life, by Stanley P. Hirshon. Armed Forces and Society, Spring, 2004.
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[ 6 ]. John D. Eisenhower, “Ike’s Son Remembers George S. Patton Jr.,” American Heritage 62 (2012): 26.
[ 13 ]. Charles R. Bowery, review of General Patton: A Soldier’s Life, by Stanley P. Hirshon, Armed Forces and Society, Spring, 2004, 501.
[ 18 ]. Harry Yeide, “The German View of Patton,” World War II 26 (2012): 27.
[ 27 ]. Gerald Parshall, “Dwight Eisenhower,” U.S. News & World Report 124 (1998): 60.
[ 28 ]. “Eisenhower on War,” Time 45 (1945): 19.
[ 30 ]. “Eisenhower: A Factual Sketch,” Time 59 (1952): 26.
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