George Patton Biography

(One of the Most Successful Combat Generals in United States History)

Birthday: November 11, 1885 (Scorpio)

Born In: San Gabriel, California, United States

General George Patton was a famous US military commander who was best known for his bold and decisive actions during World War I and World War II. He belonged to an affluent family with a military background and was an avid reader of military history. He also had a flair for horse riding and sword fencing. During World War I, he commanded the ‘US 1st Provisional Tank Brigade’ against the Germans in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse–Argonne Offensive. He was wounded during an attack near the town of Cheppy but continued to command his troops till he was evacuated. When World War II broke out, he commanded the ‘Western Task Force’ that landed in Casablanca and defeated the Vichy French forces. Under his dynamic leadership, the German and the Italian forces under Rommel were pushed back in the Battle of El Guettar and in Gabès. He was made the commander of ‘Operation Husky,’ or the invasion of Sicily. Later, he commanded the ‘US Third Army’ that routed the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and crossed the Rhine to maintain their momentum against the Germans till the end of the war in Europe.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: Old Blood and Guts

Also Known As: George Smith Patton Jr.

Died At Age: 60


Spouse/Ex-: Beatrice Banning Ayer (m. 1910–1945)

father: George S. Patton

mother: Ruth Wilson

children: Beatrice Smith, George Patton IV, Ruth Ellen

Born Country: United States

Military Leaders American Men

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

Died on: December 21, 1945

place of death: Heidelberg, Germany

Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Notable Alumni: US Army War College, United States Army Command And General Staff College

Diseases & Disabilities: Paralysis

Ancestry: British American

: Pulmonary Edema

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: United States Military Academy, US Army War College, United States Army Command And General Staff College

  • 1

    What were George Patton's military accomplishments during World War II?

    George Patton is best known for his leadership as a general in the United States Army during World War II. He played a key role in the Allied victory in North Africa, Sicily, and the European Theater.
  • 2

    How did George Patton's leadership style impact his soldiers?

    Patton was known for his aggressive and demanding leadership style. While some soldiers found him harsh, many respected his ability to inspire and motivate them to achieve success on the battlefield.
  • 3

    What was George Patton's role in the Battle of the Bulge?

    During the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, Patton played a crucial role in relieving the besieged town of Bastogne. His rapid deployment of troops and aggressive tactics helped turn the tide of the battle in favor of the Allies.
  • 4

    What were some of George Patton's famous quotes?

    Patton was known for his colorful and often controversial statements. Some of his famous quotes include "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way" and "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
  • 5

    How did George Patton die?

    George Patton died on December 21, 1945, from injuries sustained in a car accident in Germany. He was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial.
Childhood & Early Life
George Smith Patton Jr. was born on November 11, 1885, in San Gabriel, California, US, to George Smith Patton Sr. and Ruth Wilson. He had a younger sister named Anne. His family was of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English descent, with a military background dating back to the ‘Confederate States Army.’ His father graduated from the ‘Virginia Military Institute’ and became a lawyer who rose to be the district attorney of Los Angeles County.
Patton was initially a slow learner but later got over his shortcomings to become an avid reader. He was home-tutored till the age of 11, after which he joined ‘Stephen Clark’s School for Boys’ and excelled in his studies.
He developed a passion for military history during his youth and also picked up horse riding. His mind was set on joining the army. Soon, he joined the ‘Virginia Military Institute,’ from where he was selected for the ‘US Military Academy’ at West Point in 1904.
His academic performance at West Point was below average, due to which he had to repeat his first year. However, he excelled in military subjects and became an ace sword fencer. He was the cadet adjutant in his senior year and got commissioned as a second lieutenant in the cavalry branch.
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On his first assignment with the ‘15th Cavalry’ at ‘Fort Sheridan’ in Illinois, he established himself as a dedicated and dashing junior leader. In 1911, he moved to ‘Fort Myer’ in Virginia, where he served as an aide to Secretary of War Henry L Stimson.
He served a short tenure at the office of the ‘Army Chief of Staff’ (CSA) in 1913 and later joined the ‘Mounted Service School’ at ‘Fort Riley,’ where he was a student and a fencing instructor. He was the first army officer to be designated with the title “Master of the Sword” for his swordsmanship.
During the Pancho Villa Expedition launched in Mexico in 1916, Patton was initially an aide to John J Pershing. Patton imbibed Pershing’s qualities of being bold and decisive and of leading from the front. He was assigned a troop of the ‘13th Cavalry,’ with which he successfully killed the infamous Mexican bandit Julio Cárdenas.
When World War I broke out, Patton initially went to Europe as an aide to Pershing. He trained on tanks and was promoted to the rank of captain in May 1917. He became a major in January 1918 and was given the command of the first ten tanks at the ‘Tank School’ in Bourg, where he was instrumental in improving the tactics of the infantry operating with tanks.
He became a lieutenant colonel in April 1918 and attended the ‘Command and General Staff College’ in Langres. After the course, he was put in charge of the ‘US 1st Provisional Tank Brigade,’ which he led from the front against the Germans in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse–Argonne Offensive. He was wounded during an attack near the town of Cheppy but continued to command his troops for an hour before being evacuated.
In October 1918, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and returned to the front. However, the hostilities ended in November that year. Patton was assigned to Camp Meade, Maryland, in March 1919. He reverted to the rank of captain on June 30, 1920, but was promoted to the rank of major the following day.
During the period between the two World Wars, he served in various command and staff appointments, where he wrote manuals on tank warfare and design. He believed that tanks should not be used as a support to the infantry but should be used as independent arms in mechanised warfare. By December 1940, he rose to the helm of the prestigious ‘1 Armored Corps’ and conducted large-scale exercises to prove his point.
During the North African Campaign of World War II, Patton commanded the ‘Western Task Force’ that landed in Casablanca and defeated the Vichy French forces in November 1942. In March 1943, after the defeat of the US forces by the ‘German Afrika Korps’ under Rommel, Patton took over command of the ‘US II Corps’ and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. Under his dynamic leadership, the German and the Italian forces were pushed back in the Battle of El Guettar and in Gabès.
Patton was made commander of the ‘Seventh United States Army’ for ‘Operation Husky,’ or the invasion of Sicily. His forces successfully landed at Gela, Scoglitti, and Licata, in support of the ‘British Eighth Army’ led by Bernard Montgomery, in July 1943.
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In August 1944, Patton’s ‘Third Army’ attacked Brittany and Seine, trapping thousands of German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket. His operations had his trademark of speed and aggression and took the Germans by surprise. He could have made faster progress, but there was shortage of fuel, as Eisenhower favored a “broad front” style of attack to a narrow penetration that could be cut off.
In December 1944, his ‘Third Army’ disengaged from Saarbrucken in record time and redeployed for the Battle of the Bulge. His forces routed the Germans in Bastogne and drove them back to Germany.
By February 1945, the German army was on the run and Patton’s ‘Third Army’ maintained their momentum by crossing the Rhine. He was ordered to turn his offensive toward Czechoslovakia, anticipating a last stand by the Germans. The war in Europe ended in May that year, after which he served as part of the occupation forces.
His final assignment was to be in charge of the ‘Fifteenth US Army’ in Bad Nauheim. His car met with an accident while on a hunting trip. This left him paralysed from the neck down. He passed away 12 days later, on December 21, 1945.
Awards & Achievements
General Patton received the ‘Distinguished Service Cross’ twice, the ‘Distinguished Service Medal’ thrice, the ‘Silver Star’ twice, the ‘Legion of Merit,’ the ‘Bronze Star,’ and the ‘Purple Heart,’ besides various other campaign medals.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Beatrice Banning Ayer in May 1910, in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. They had two daughters named Beatrice Smith and Ruth Ellen and a son named Patton IV.
There was a time between World War I and World War II, when he suffered from depression and took to drinking. It is said that he even had an affair with his niece, which almost ruined his marriage. It is believed that after World War II, he went into a second bout of depression and erratic behavior.
He was fond of polo and sailing. He was once kicked by a horse and developed phlebitis, which almost forced him out of the army.
Facts About George Patton
George Patton believed in reincarnation and claimed to have experienced past lives as a soldier in various historical battles.
Patton had a pet bull terrier named Willie, whom he considered a loyal and valuable companion during his military campaigns.
Patton had a passion for poetry and often wrote his own poems, showcasing a more sensitive and artistic side to his personality.
Patton had a strict daily routine that included rigorous physical exercise and a focus on maintaining his physical fitness, which he believed was crucial for success in the military.
Patton was known for his colorful language and use of unique idioms and expressions, adding a touch of humor and character to his leadership style.

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