Patton provided the Allies with a command that was both aggressive and decisive. Was this worth the disregard the man had for the rules of war?

After all, a lot of pop history was coloured by the memoirs of Wehrmacht Generals who, in the context of their own military careers, may not have found the more abhorrent actions and orders of Patton to be detractors to the man’s military prowess. They may have seen them as the advantages that set him apart.

I know ‘worth’ is hard to talk about but I cannot personally find a way to justify any of his criminal orders, even in the context of his greatest victories.

Patton was a contradiction in terms

He was both loved and hated by his men as he was a tough commander who had no time for shirkers but respected fighting abilities of those who proved themselves.

He also turned a blind eye to many war crimes his men committed as he wanted results and often didn’t care how they were achieved as long as it got done.

American high command wasn’t quite sure what to do with Patton as while he got results it was often by questionable means. He was regarded as a hero at home and removing him from command might of created problems at home.

If he hadn’t been killed it is very likely he would of after the war been shunted out of the limelight while making him an American hero it is very unlikely he would of faced a war crimes tribunal due to his popularity both at home and amongst his men.

He was egotistical, self centred, had low opinions of anyone who wasn’t American and a bully but at the time he was what was needed until he wasn’t then the question became what to do with him.


I think it is important to see the whole picture. Just read about the battle of Midway and how could it be legal to send 100mph torpedo bombers against 35 mpg Carriers and Buffaloes against Zeroes? To me is was just a early taste of Kamikaze tactics.

Patton was the master of the execution of the break out from Normandy and for the relieve of Bastogne. And nobody was more suited for that job than he was, and he begged for permission to close the gab at Falaise. So the answer is yes. In wartime nothing or nobody is perfect and we just have to live with that.


You have made assumption that he was decisive etc. It appears in fact he was more like MacArthur better at self promotion than military matters.

I think he seems to be a real military man, and did not hate the enemy, but respected them as fellow soldiers that was sent by some politicians to to the job. He saw the Russians as the real enemy, and I guess he was right with what happened after WW2? I just to a look at the laws of war, and depending of the perspective you can argue for or against almost everything.

In this forum we have had heated discussions about the bombing of Hamburg, Tokyo, Dresden and Hiroshima. But, in the end, war are when ten of thousands of young men go and lay down their life’s on a distant beach or battlefield because elderly men could not solve a political issue. That’s the real tragedy, and that story seems to go on forever.

And sure, afterwards the blame game starts. We can analyze every action taken, and reflect over what should have been done in the unbearable clear light of hindsight.


On a secondary note, historians would discover after the end of the war that Patton was infected with Malaria during the Sicilian Campaign. No one knows to the present day when Patton was infected with Malaria. The physical symptoms of Malaria only appears when the parasite is actively reproducing in the blood stream. A person could manifest the physical symptoms of Malaria from 48 hours to 8 months after they are infected with the parasite. Patton could have been infected in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, or Italy. You are going in any history book on the Sicily campaign or in the week-to-week episodes that Patton will be become more erratic in his actions as he succumbs to Malaria.
For the main note, you have the mistaken assumption that Patton suffered no consequences for his actions in Sicily. He did pay the price for his actions. General Marshal (Army Chief of Staff), General McNair (Commander, Army Ground Forces), and General Eisenhower (Mediterranean Theatre Commander) immediately concurred that Patton would never be offered a higher command or a promotion in rank.

Right now, Major General Geoffrey Keyes (Deputy Commander), Major General Omar Bradley (II Corps Commander), Major General Lucien Truscott (3rd Infantry Division), Major General Troy Middleton (45th Infantry Division), and Major General Matthew Ridgeway (82nd Airborne Division). By the end of the war, Bradley will be Patton’s superior. Keyes, Truscott, Middleton, and Ridgeway will be equal to Patton in rank.

Within months of the end of the Sicilian Campaign, over 99% of the soldiers in 7th Army would be transferred away to 1st Army in Southern England or 5th Army in Italy. He will be left as 7th Army Commander with only 4000 Civil Affair Personnel, Military Police, and General Engineer Personnel left in his command. Only in December 1943 would Eisenhower relent and request that Patton be appointed to command the newly forming 3rd Army in Great Britain. But Patton’s appointment to active command would only last for the duration of the war in Europe. Patton was slated to be transferred to China to report to General Albert Wedemeyer and then take the position of political and military advisor to Mao Zedong and the People’s Liberation Army but the war ended before he could be transferred. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Patton was placed in charge of 15th Army (another paper command) to gather the documentation for the creation of the historical record of the US Army in Northwestern Europe.

If Patton had lived, he would have suffered the same fate as the vast majority of the American Generals and Admirals in World War 2. There are two defining aspects of the Truman administration. The first is Truman’s desire to eliminate the fiscal dept occurred during the Second World War. This would last until December 1950 when President Truman finally realized that the United States had to mobilize to confront the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The second was that Harry S. Truman had an obsessive and visceral hatred of the active US military that would last until his death. This combination lead to the vast majority of American Generals and Admirals being forcibly retired in the aftermath of the war when the US military was decimated to balance the budget.

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