George S. Patton
U.S. General George S. Patton served in the Mexican-American war, then in the new U.S. Army Tank Corps in World War I. In his role in the Tank Corps, he developed a strong understanding of tank warfare. He is most clearly remembered for his involvement in the Third Army in World War II, particularly the Battle of the Bulge.
Patton’s military strategy is easily summed up in a quote from the man himself before landing on the coast of Morocco in 1942 in command of the U.S. forces in North Africa, “We shall attack and attack until we are exhausted, and then we shall attack again”. His troops called him “Old Blood and Guts” and he was known for his offensive, rather than defensive tactics.
These offensive tactics were essential to the U.S. victory in the Battle of the Bulge, also called the Ardennes Offensive. This is the largest battle the U.S. Army has ever been involved in.
During D-Day, Patton led a fictitious army division as part of the overall distraction strategy employed by the U.S. and allies; however, after D-Day, Patton, in command of the 3rd Army, entered northern France. Over the course of ten months his tanks and infantry moved rapidly through six countries under Nazi control–France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The 3rd Army captured more than 750,000 Nazis, and killed or disabled 500,000 others during the ten-month offensive.
Patton’s success was, in part, based on the speed with which he could move his troops; he moved the 3rd Army into position ahead of German expectations, providing an advantage, even in the harsh winter weather of 1944. The arrival of the 3rd Army at Bastogne proved a decisive blow for the Germans, and one they could not recover from.
Patton had always been a bit of a loudmouth, and something of a disaster when it came to publicity. He was relieved of his command after the war, as he found the de-Nazification of Germany excessive and said so publicly. Patton died of injuries sustained in a car accident not long after the war and before returning to the United States.