George Smith Patton was a General of the US Army. He was born in the year 1885 in California in a military family and was given the command of the US 7th Army during World War II. Patton studied at West Point’s US Military Academy and Virginia Military Institute. This General also commanded the Second Armored Division of the US Army during the Second World War. He was nicknamed as Old Blood and Guts and Bandito during various US military operations.
We have gathered 10 surprising and interesting facts about this US General for our readers.
George S. Patton: 10 surprising facts about this Bandito
1. The General participated as an athlete in the 1912 Summer Olympics
General Patton participated as an athlete in the 1912 Summer Olympics, which took place in Stockholm. At the time of this mega sports event, he was 26 years old and was a US military cavalry officer. Patton stood fifth among other athletes. He was also selected as an athlete for the 1916 Olympic Games, but the event was postponed due to First World War, an interesting fact about George Patton.
2. Patton believed in the rebirth after death
General Patton held a strong belief that once he is dead, he will return and will lead the army in different battles and conflicts. He claimed that when he wasn’t born, he saw various battles, including those fought by the army of John the blind of Bohemia in the 14th century and Roman legionnaire.
3. The general had to repeat the first year at the military academy
He used to struggle a lot at study while he was inducted in the US Army. During his early years, he failed in mathematics, and due to this failure, he was forced to repeat his first year at the academy so that he can improve and get good grades. A tutor was provided to him. So, he can spend some extra time to overcome his weaknesses. As a result of collective efforts, the General stood 46th among 103 cadets.
4. He was part of the combat against Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa launched a deadly raid in New Mexico and Columbus way back in the year 1916. The then US President, Woodrow Wilson, ordered the US troops to launch counter-attack across the border. An interesting fact about George Patton is that this general took prompt action and launched attack on May 14, 1916, under the command of General John J. Pershing. Pancho Villa and two of his security guards were killed in the assault. Patton made headlines for this attack.
5. A pistol with ivory handles became his hallmark
During the Mexico shootout, Patton used Colt .45 pistol with ivory handles. After the assault, he started to keep a second gun with him for his security. The handles of the pistols were made of ivory and had initials of the General. This ivory-handled pistols became the General’s hallmark.
6. He won a Purple Heart in the First World War
George Patton lead an attack during the Meuse-Argonne Assault on September 26, 1918, on positions where German machine guns were installed. He was hit into his left thigh with a round that wounded him severely with excessive bleeding. Without taking his injury into account, he continued to lead the battle for 1 hour and tried to file a report about his injury at division headquarters. After the report was filed, he was taken to the evacuation hospital. In the year 1932, the Purple Heart was reinstituted, and this general was awarded with it for his battle wounds, an interesting George Patton fact.
7. Patton helped in the eviction of Bonus Marchers
US Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur ordered George Patton to disperse the crowd, comprising veterans of the First World War, who wanted to get the payments for their bonus certificates. On July 28, 1932, Patton led a force of 600 troops and fired tear gas on the demonstrators, blocking Pennsylvania Avenue. Among the Bonus Marchers, Connecticut Senator, Hiram Bingham, was also present and the soldiers trampled the marchers and hit them with their swords.
8. He was deployed as a decoy for D-Day invasion
General Eisenhower believed that this General was too undisciplined to command the invasion of Normandy through leading the Allied forces. During those days, Eisenhower developed these feelings because General Patton slapped few soldiers, under his command, in a field hospital in Italy in August 1943. Contrary to this, the Nazi military generals considered him as the best commander, and they were expecting him to launch a full-scale invasion.
He was deployed as leader of the phantom army. The army was equipped with rubber inflatable tanks and plywood aircraft in Southern England. The arrangement was made to make him look as he was to attack at Pas de Calais in France. The disinformation was so elaborate that after the passage of D-Day, the Germans did not stop gathering the troops at that point because they believed General Patton would come and invade.
9. Patton’s grandfather was the mayor of Los Angeles
According to historians, Benjamin Davis Wilson was his maternal grandfather, and he was a powerful landlord. In the year 1851, Benjamin was elected mayor of Los Angeles, an interesting George Patton fact. Before this, he also served the US government in various positions, including county clerk, state senator, and county supervisor. The US government honored this Senator by associating Mount Wilson in San Gabriel Mountains to his name.
10. General Patton himself designed his own sword
Patton studied fencing and was skilled in several other sports as well. In Westpoint, he was considered as the best swordsman. He was the one to design the M1913 Cavalry Saber, which later became famous as Patton Saber.
So, these were some surprising vital facts about this US General. The US postal department issued commemorative postal stamps to honor him. According to the historian, Terry Brighton, General Patton was very arrogant, flawed but among the best generals of the battlefield.
After the death of this general, the US military strategists adopted Patton’s strategies and warfare tactics in its training programs for military cadets. He met an accident, which paralyzed him. He died on December 21, 1945.
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