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Patton: The US Army's toughest and most feared WWII general?

Manwon Lender

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Inside History of War magazine issue 103, on sale now, read about the complex character of George Smith Patton Jr — simultaneously the most celebrated and controversial Allied generals who served during the Second World War. A dashing cavalryman, fencer and Olympic pentathlete, Patton's early study of armoured warfare during the First World War made him one of the US Army’s foremost experts on the use of tanks on the battlefield!. For this cover feature, History of War spoke with Kevin Hymel, historian for the U.S. Army, and author and WWII expert Steve Zaloga. They discuss Patton's tactical prowess on the battlefield, as well as how he earned a fearful reputation among some of his men — even if, as Eisenhower would later say, he "struck terror at the hearts of the enemy.

At times German troops mounted stiff resistance, and on March 1 the Third Army commander, General George S. Patton, Jr., received an order to bypass the city of Trier. It was too stoutly defended, the communication read, and would require four divisions to capture. A swift reply, more of a riposte, went out immediately: "Have taken Trier with two divisions. Do you want me to give it back. The witty barb was vintage George Patton. Since activating Third Army on August 1, 1944, the general had conducted a lightning sweep across France, plunging into Germany, capturing hundreds of thousands of prisoners, and inflicting a like number of killed and wounded on the enemy. Ten days after receiving the directive regarding Trier, Third Army had cleared the area north of the River Moselle and linked up with Seventh Army to the south in a rapid sweep through the Palatinate and the Saarland, bagging another 100,000 prisoners.




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