General Patton and The Third Army Stephanie B. Lawson American History II Professor Clark Abstract General George S. Patton Jr. lived from November 11, 1885 until December 21, 1945. Even today, Patton is considered to be one of the world’s greatest generals. When he was called upon to perform, he always meant business, even in emergencies. He led The Third Army into combat with the Nazi Germans. In little to no time, America recognized The Third Army’s great success and bravery. They swept through battles and conquered with admirable confidence, persistence, and excellence.
From 1941 until 1943, the Third Army was led by Lieutenant General Walter Kreuger (Province). General Kreuger strived to make the Third Army the best army in the United States. In Kreuger’s army, there were two men who would later become very well known. Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of these men. The second was none other than George S. Patton. As Kreuger approached age 65, he became too old to be in command of the army and changed positions. Lieutenant General Courtney H. Hodges commanded the Third Army after Kreuger’s leave.
Hodges had been in WWI and had also fought under the leadership of Kreuger. Hodges was not half the leader that Kreuger was, unfortunately. He mostly left his duties to those in position under him (Province). Hodges was eventually removed from his position because of his lack of leadership. However, while Hodges was leading the Third Army, they officially changed from a training army to a combat army on December 31, 1943 (Province). In 1943 on New Year’s Eve, the Third Army boarded ships for England to undergo training for possible invasions in the future.
When they arrived in Scotland, the Third Army met their new commander – General George S. Patton Jr. The day after they had arrived, the Third Army was gathered together. General Patton then proceeded to give a tremendous but short speech on their future endeavors. He discussed the German Nazis and what they had done, “We’re here because some crazy Germans decided they were supermen and that they had a right to rule the world. They’ve been pushing people around all over the world, looting, killing, and abusing millions of innocent men, women, and children.
They were getting ready to do the same thing to us. We have to fight to protect ourselves. ” Patton went on to discuss further low opinion of the Nazis and concluded his speech with, “That’s all. Good luck” (Province). The same year that Patton began his commandment over the Third Army, they started making records. The Third Army shocked the world with its accomplishments. They had only had one general order from Patton; “Seek out the enemy, trap him, and destroy him”(Province). German soldiers were always wondering what Patton’s next move was going to be.
Patton’s methods were unlike the conventional methods of America, The Third Army mainly trapped German soldiers, most of which surrender or were killed. The Third Army and General Patton were constantly undergoing attack – they persisted through the roughest of weather and terrain (Province). Perhaps one of the biggest helps for the Third Army was America’s constant invention of new war methods to overcome their obstacles. The Third Army also greatly succeeded because of their excellent teamwork abilities; everyone had a specific job and each performed his job to the best of his ability.
Front liners were often the ones killed, and “back liners” supplied the front with items such as food, weaponry, and clothing. Patton is quoted as saying, “No matter how small your job might seem, it’s important in the vast scheme of things. Every job is important” (Province). Patton understood the need for every man in his army. It was this mindset of teamwork and perseverance that pushed this army across France. In 1944, Patton and his Third Army were slowed due to lack of supplies that were needed.
Eisenhower had focused his support on another mission, causing The Third Army to lose much needed items. Many even today feel that if this decision had not been made, the war would have ended much sooner because of The Third Army. The Germans took this chance to reestablish their front lines. However, The Third Army still pushed forward in whatever ways possible to keep their minds sharp for battle. They built up many supplies during their forced wait (Province). Once November came, The Third Army finally received approval to continue on with their mission. They went straight for Metz, a German city.
They lost some soldiers due to harsh weather conditions, but shocked the world by overcoming without losing many more soldiers. The Germans were forced to pull back and the city was overtaken (Province). The Battle of The Bulge showed the world just how incredible Patton and his army were – time after time, Patton had the utmost faith in his staff. Time after time, they astonished American leaders with their success. The Germans had been beaten down, but weren’t ready to give in. Neither were Patton and his army. Despite the cold, frigid conditions, they kept fighting.
Patton, in seeing his army’s diligence remarked, “By God, I’m proud of them” (Province). On January 28th, the Germans were forced back. The Battle of the Bulge was over. This marked the beginning of the end. Patton and his Third Army were the main reason The Allies overcame. Patton’s great leadership guided them through each battle and brought out the greatness in each solider. Patton displayed constant care and concern for his army, and even once issued a Christmas greeting prayer card to each soldier. It read, “To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas.
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessing rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day” (Province). Patton played a very significant role in the Allie’s great success. Without him, we may have still conquered, but he definitely kept many soldiers alive along with America’s passionate hope. Reference The Patton Society Research Library The Third Army in WWII | Metal Letters. Patton Society Homepage. Retrieved April 9, 2013, from http://www. pattonhq. com/textfiles/thirdhst. html