Weird History
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Facts About General George S. Patton We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Really?'

October 2, 2020 6.2k votes 903 voters 33.0k views12 items

List RulesVote up the facts about General Patton you're glad you finally know.

American generals (fictional or otherwise) are often depicted in movies as essentially screaming machines who do nothing but degrade their subordinates. How much of that stereotype is accurate varies depending on the historical general we're discussing. For U.S. Army General George S. Patton, the claims are almost entirely true. He was known to give impassioned speeches filled with "colorful" language, he had little sympathy for for soldiers affected by PTSD, and witty rejoinders delighted him. 

Whether you love or hate his attitude, these General George Patton facts bring to life a general who left an indelible mark on the history of WWII. Vote up the Patton facts you're most glad to have finally learned.

  • 1

    He Had Witty Responses To Commands

    From a former Redditor:

    TIL Gen.George S.Patton received orders to bypass the German city of Trier as it was estimated that 4 divisions would be needed for a successful assault, but had already taken Trier by the time the message arrived. He responded, ' Have taken Trier with 2 divisions, do you want me to give it back?'

    Context: General Patton advanced his Third Army to the German frontier, where they seized the city of Trier. Afterwards, Patton received a message advising him to bypass the city so as not to waste the time or manpower. His response was indeed, "Do you want me to give it back?"

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  • 2

    One Of Patton's Speeches Was So Well-Known It Was Simply Called 'The Speech'

    From Redditor u/NEEDZMOAR_:

    TIL George S. Patton held a speech, so popular that it became known as "The Speech" where he justified his "chicken-sh*t drilling" by claiming "A man must be alert at all times. If not some German son-of-a-b*tch will sneak up behind him and beat him to death with a sock full of sh*t."

    Context: General Patton did give a crude speech that has become somewhat known generically as "The Speech" because of its hard-to-forget message. In an attempt to hype up the soldiers for going into war, Patton used visceral language and metaphors of graphic beatings to cajole and shame soldiers into doing their duty. Some of the language was vulgar, but his message was this: Americans don't lose, so don't lose.

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  • 3

    He Led A Fake Batallion Of Inflatable Tanks

    From Redditor u/DonDraperDickWhitman:

    TIL General Patton was removed from his post in Italy during WW2 for slapping shell-shocked soldiers in the face. He was transferred to England to lead a fake regiment of inflatable tanks, which served as a distraction to convince the Germans that Normandy would not be the spot of Allied invasion.

    Context: After engaging in misconduct of soldiers struggling mentally with wartime, Patton was put in charge of leading a fake army, commonly known as the Ghost Army. Part of a massive counterintelligence operation preceding D-Day, the army full of inflatable tanks, rubber airplanes, and fake radio signals was meant to trick the German army - which it successfully did.

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  • 4

    He Prayed For Better Weather By Distributing Cards To Soldiers

    From Redditor u/thefuzzyfox:

    TIL During The Battle of The Bulge, General Patton ordered a chaplain to compose a prayer for good weather that was desperately needed for an advance. The chaplain complied, the weather cleared, and Patton awarded the chaplain a bronze star on the spot.

    Context: General Patton did ask for better weather just before the Battle of the Bulge. But rather than relying on a chaplain for the prayer, he distributed cards to each member of his Third Army that had a prayer to stop the rains. The card also wished the soldiers a Merry Christmas.

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