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DADDY WARBUCKS
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The Famous Patton Speech

Background - General Patton's Address to the Troops - Part I
Anyone who has ever viewed the motion picture PATTON will never forget the opening. George Campbell Scott, portraying Patton, standing in front of an immensely huge American flag, delivers his version of Patton's "Speech to the Third Army" on June 5th, 1944, the eve of the Allied invasion of France, code named "Overlord". Scott's rendition of the speech was highly sanitized so as not to offend too many fainthearted Americans. Luckily, the soldiers of the American Army who fought World War II were not so fainthearted.

Patton had a unique ability regarding profanity. During a normal conversation, he could liberally sprinkle four letter words into what he was saying and the listeners would hardly take notice of it. He spoke so easily and used those words in such a way that it just seemed natural for him to talk that way. He could, when necessary, open up with both barrels and let forth such blue flamed phrases that they seemed almost eloquent in their delivery.

When asked by his nephew about his profanity, Patton remarked, "When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can't run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight it's way out of a piss-soaked paper bag." "As for the types of comments I make", he continued with a wry smile, "Sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence."

As a general rule of thumb, it is safe to say that Patton usually told his men some of his basic thoughts and concepts regarding his ideas of war and tactics. Instead of the empty, generalized rhetoric of no substance often used by Eisenhower, Patton spoke to his men in simple, down to earth language that they understood. He told them truthful lessons he had learned that would keep them alive.

As he traveled throughout battle areas, he always took the time to speak to individual soldiers, squads, platoons, companies, regiments, divisions or whatever size group could be collected. About the only difference in the context of these talks was that the smaller the unit, the more "tactical" the talk would be. Often he would just give his men some sound, common sense advice that they could follow in order to keep from being killed or maimed.


Part II
The Speech
Somewhere in England
June 5th, 1944

"Be seated. Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American. You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He-Men and they ARE He-Men.

Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen. All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call "chicken shit drilling". That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sock full of shit! There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did. An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horseshit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking!"

"We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we're going up against. By God, I do." "My men don't surrender, and I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bull shit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man! All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either.

Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, 'Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.' But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would he be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like? No, Goddamnit, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the 'G.I. Shits'. Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious firefight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, 'Fixing the wire, Sir.' I asked, 'Isn't that a little unhealthy right about now?' He answered, 'Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.' I asked, 'Don't those planes strafing the road bother you?' And he answered, 'No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!' Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have seen those trucks on the road to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable. Don't forget, you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, 'Jesus Christ, it's the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton'.

We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit. Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!

When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do! I don't want to get any messages saying, 'I am holding my position.' We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn! From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard.

I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.

There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, 'Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.' No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, 'Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!'

That is all.
 

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Thank you Custer, I am a big big George Smith Patton admirer. Even back then he flew in the face of political correctness. I can only imagin where his words would have taken him today. Well I do know, we would be having no problem in Iraq, Osma would be maggot food, and we would have taken the terrorist to the war on terrorism. The sad part, he would have been silenced. He lamented about being born to late, I think there are many of us with him.

Custer, thanks for being the official "Gad Fly" of this forum. I wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!!! Jack :thumbup1:
 

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Unfortunately, Patton's rhetoric was an incitement to war crimes in Sicily:

"More importantly... evidence that Patton's army committed various massacres during the invasion of Sicily in 1943, including the shooting of prisoners of war, as well as civilians who were looting soap from a local factory. Patton didn't issue the orders, but he did give invective-filled speeches before the battle urging his troops to, as one officer remembered, "kill and to continue to kill." Another officer recalled that Patton "said something about if enemy civilians remained in the area of a battle, we were to ruthlessly kill them and get them out of the way."

Full text at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_9_34/ai_91752281


"During the campaign seventy-three Italian prisoners were murdered by soldiers in the 45th Division. General Omar Bradley ordered two men to face a general court-martial for premeditated murder. The men's main defence was that they were obeying orders issued by Patton in a speech he made to his soldiers on 27th June. Several soldiers said they were willing to give evidence that Patton had told then to take no prisoners. One officer claimed that Patton had said: "The more prisoners we took, the more we'd have to feed, and not to fool with prisoners." In order to protect Patton from the charge of war crimes, Bradley decided to drop the investigation into the murder of the Italian soldiers."

Full text at: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWpatton.htm

A lot of people continue to believe the myth perpetrated by the (excellent) Patton movie that he was canned because he wanted the American Army to continue East to vanquish the Russian communists. In fact he was canned because he disobeyed orders by Eisenhower to denazify the area occupied by the Third Army, Patton instead continuing to allow Nazis to be in positions of power.

Helluva battlefield commander, though. Great tactically, at dealing with the immediate situation, but kinda given to strategic shortsightedness as indicated by failure to consider the consequences of his actions noted above.
 

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Cephus, some have criticized Patton for precisely the opposite - for not protecting his men enough. Amazingly enough, that's a separate issue upon which I really have no opinion. War's pretty risky business, and you can end up taking more casualties in the end by playing it safe and not being prepared to take casualties.

Note the tactical v. strategic split I make in my post in my attempt to figure him out: With a GI's tactical view, I probably would have been glad I served under him; with Eisenhower's strategic view, I probably would have wanted to murder him in his sleep.
 

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DZ, of course you are entitled to your perceptions, beliefs, etc., in my humble opinion its all in how you spin the story. Sure terrible things happen in war, that's why its called war. The facts are undisputed, the Third Army took ground, killed more ememy and in all likelyhood, was one key to winning the war. (Don't forget how Patton was instrumental in turning the tide of the Battle of the Bulge.) Never the less, your point would make more sense if we had lost the war, but remember, we won, so to the victors go the bragging rights. Just my humble two cents. Jack

Cephus, right on buddy!
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
A lot of people continue to believe the myth perpetrated by the (excellent) Patton movie that he was canned because he wanted the American Army to continue East to vanquish the Russian communists. In fact he was canned because he disobeyed orders by Eisenhower to denazify the area occupied by the Third Army, Patton instead continuing to allow Nazis to be in positions of power.

Helluva battlefield commander, though. Great tactically, at dealing with the immediate situation, but kinda given to strategic shortsightedness as indicated by failure to consider the consequences of his actions noted above.
I remember the movie dealt with all that. In the movie they showed where he said that being a nazi in Germany was just like being a republican in the USA. He argued that the majority of the people joined the party late, after the nazis had come to power, and were not political fanatics. In many cases it was the only way for them to get certain civil service jobs. Patton complained that he needed some of these people to keep things running and so he was very slow to implement the de-nazification program. It is funny that Army intelligence felt the same way and they never denazified their German operatives.
 

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scubadvr said:
DZ, of course you are entitled to your perceptions, beliefs, etc., in my humble opinion its all in how you spin the story....
subadvr, I think I didn't express myself well: I don't disagree with Cephus when it comes to Patton having protected his men. That falls into the vanishingly small category of things that I really don't know enough about to really have an opinion. I was just saying that I can see how the perspectives of a GI and of a Supreme Commandant could result in differing views of the man.
 

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Grendeljaeger said:
... He argued that the majority of the people joined the party late, after the nazis had come to power, and were not political fanatics. In many cases it was the only way for them to get certain civil service jobs. Patton complained that he needed some of these people to keep things running...
Right you are. The Bush Administration has faced the same quandary in eliminating Baathists from positions of power and influence in Iraq. But any general who had not complied with the Bush Administration's directives would have found himself being handed his walking papers, as did Patton.
 

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Patton IMO was one of the greatest if not the greatest military mind in US history. With out Patton Normandy would have been a blood bath, not only was he a phenominal battle field commander but he was so feared by the Germans that they insisted he would lead the invasion. As we all now if D-Day had failed the war would have dragged on for no telling how much longer. His value to the Allied effort in WWII is iimmeasurable, not only for the casualties he inflicted but for the psycological effect he had on the Germans. As far as war crimes...in times of war things happen, sometimes terrible things...those things stay in the field. JMHO :)
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have read, but don' have a citation that Patton and MacArthur had the best (lowest) casualty rates among the most active, longserving battlefield commanders.

I don't think I would have like either man but I do admire what they did.
 

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magnus392 said:
... With out Patton Normandy would have been a blood bath, not only was he a phenominal battle field commander but he was so feared by the Germans that they insisted he would lead the invasion...
Well, sorta.

Patton indeed was commander of FUSAG, First US Army Group, on D-Day, and the Germans greatly feared having to defend France from invasion by FUSAG.

But FUSAG didn't exist. It was a deception ploy, and Patton didn't take part in D-Day.

But Patton indeed reduced the casualties in Normandy because the Germans held back troops to face what they thought would be the real invasion, a landing of FUSAG at Pas de Calais, that Normandy was but a diversionary tactic.
 
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