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General George S. Patton Leadership Traits.

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George Smith Patton III was born on Nov 11, 1885 in San Gabriel, California, USA. He was known as “Old Blood and Guts “and “Georgie “. In 1909, he graduated from the U. S Military Academy at West Point and descendant of a Virginia family with a long military tradition. Patton became a keen student of the American Civil War (1861-1865), especially its great cavalry leaders , an interest that likely contributed to the strategy of bold , highly mobile operations associated with his name.

He began his army career as a cavalry lieutenant (1913) and was aide-de-camp to General John J.

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Pershing in Mexico (1916-1917) and in England (1917). After serving with the U. S Tank Corps in World War 1, Patton became a vigorous proponent of tank warfare. Later on, he was made a tank brigade commander in July 1940. On April 4, 1941, he was promoted to major general, and two weeks later he was made commander of the 2nd Armoured Division. Then, he was made corps commander in charge of both the 1st and 2nd armoured divisions and organized the desert training centre at Indio, California.

Patton was commanding general of the western task force during the U. S operations in North Africa in November 1942. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in March 1943 and led the U. S Seventh Army in Sicily, employing his armour in a rapid drive that captured Palermo in July. The apogee of his of his career came with the dramatic sweep of his Third Army across Northern France in the summer of 1944 in a campaign. Shortly after, Patton returned to the USA on Jun 8. The end of the war he entered on his duties as military governor of Bavaria.

His outspoken criticisms of denazification policies led to an outcry in the United States, followed in October 1945 by his relief as Third Army commander and assignment to the Fifteenth Army, then a small headquarters engaged in studying military operations in north western Europe.

Leadership Traits and Characteristics

Bold, Strict and Emphatic Emphatic can be defined as same meaning of strict and bold. Patton was not a hot-tempered neither cruel. As a leader especially military leader the character like this is really important in order to influence the troops.

The incident of slapping patients at the military hospital was the evident that show his emphatic and bold character. . The incident occurs during the Sicily Campaign (Operation Husky 1943) on August 3, 1943 where General Patton was visiting patients at a military hospital in Sicily, “all the soldiers jumped to attention except me. I was suffering from battle fatigue and just didn’t know what to do. ” When Patton asked Kuhl where he was hurt, Kuhl shrugged and replied that he was “nervous” rather than wounded, adding “I guess I can’t take it. ”

In response, Patton slapped Kuhl across the chin with his gloves, then grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the tent entrance, shoving him out of the tent with a final kick to Kuhl’s backside. Yelling “Don’t admit this son-of-a-bitch”, Patton demanded that Kuhl be sent back to the front at once, adding, “You hear me, you gutless bastard? After that, Patton went to other patients, then returned and berated the soldier again. Discipline As a leader, to make sure all subordinate are in shape, he must make sure their discipline level are on top first.

Patton was really strict about discipline of his troops. He believes that, when he troops are in high discipline, they can win the battle and survive. During the North African Campaign (Operation Torch 1942-1943), Patton was given a command of 7th Army to prepare them for the invasion of Sicily. It is said that his troops preferred to serve with him rather than his predecessor since they thought their chances of survival were higher under Patton. At this time, Patton planned to rise up his troop’s discipline. For instance, Gen.

Patton required all personnel to wear steel helmets (even physicians in the operating wards) and required his troops to wear the unpopular lace-up canvas leggings and neckties since the leggings prevented injury from scorpions, spiders and rats which would climb up under soldiers’ trousers. A system of fines and punishment was introduced to ensure all personnel shaved daily and observed other uniform requirements. While these measures may not have made Patton popular, they did tend to restore a sense of discipline and unit pride that may have been missing when General .

Fredendall was still in command. In a play on his nickname, “Old Blood and Guts,” troops joked that it was “our blood and his guts. ” Evolutionary Evolutionary, is one of the traits that can be found in Patton. Refer to the oxford dictionary; evolutionary is a people that develop a certain thing into a different form and the development are originating from the earlier form. When he was a lieutenant, he had made the Army’s youngest-ever “Master of the Sword” at the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas.

While being a Master of the Sword, Patton became an instructor at Fort Riley and improved and modernized the Army’s cavalry saber fencing techniques. Earlier in the year, he assisted in the design of the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber. It had a large, basket-shaped hilt mounting a straight, double-edged, thrusting blade designed for use by light cavalry. Patton’s 1914 manual “Saber Exercise” outlined a system of training for both mounted and on foot use of the saber. The weapon came to be known as the “Patton Saber. ” There is no one sword that this saber was modelled after.

The weapon was never used as intended. At the beginning of U. S. involvement in World War I, several American cavalry units armed with sabers were sent to the front but they were held back because the nature of war had changed, making horse-mounted troops easy to become a prey for enemy troops equipped with Gewehr 98 rifles and MG08 machine guns. However, George Patton took his style of move forward and attack technique to his use of the tank in battle. This became his trademark combat style. Innovative Patton was really innovative soldier. He show his innovativeness during the inter wars year.

While he was on duty in Washington, D. C. in 1919, Captain (he reverted from his wartime temporary rank of colonel) George Patton met Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would play an enormous role in Patton’s future career. During their assignment at Fort Riley, Kansas, Patton and Eisenhower developed the armoured doctrine which would be used by the US Army in World War II. Then in the early 1920s, Patton petitioned the U. S. Congress to appropriate funding for an armoured force, but had little luck. Patton also wrote professional articles on tank and armoured car tactics, suggesting new methods for their use.

He also continued working on improvements to the tanks. He came up with innovations in radio communication and tank mounts. However, the lack of interest in armour created a poor atmosphere for promotion and career advancement, so George Patton transferred back to the horse cavalry. Social Welfare In military, training is part of welfare. It’s a responsibility for a leader to look after the troop’s welfare. A good training for the troops will help them in facing the enemy in the battles. It same like Patton, he firmly believed in hard training for soldiers.

He felt that hard training would save lives in combat. A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood. ” was one of the many quotes attributed to him. His way of treating troops are really great and appreciated by his troops. They knew Patton do that was not to harm neither to torture them. It is part of their welfare. Here the moment, when Patton was ordered by Secretary of War Stimson to pick a place to train soldiers in preparation of an invasion of North Africa. He had planned no farewell to his brigade, as he knew they hated him for the hard life they had during their training, so he planned to slip quietly away at noontime, while the men were at mess.

But, as his car was riding through Ft. Benning during his departure, his men poured out of the barracks and mess halls and lined the streets, shouting, cheering, and removing their shirts to swing them in the air, to say farewell to their commander. The car passed by so quickly, that no one noticed the general was openly weeping. This is clearly showed that Patton is really like by his men and all of his men appreciated all he has done. Planning and Improvising Patton is highly concern and care about making planning and improvising techniques and tactics.

He exercises are blend of experiences that he gains at all of the war and campaign he had run through and also the war before his era. His initiative to improve his soldier during the battle and out the battlefield was a major succeed in his career life as a military leader. As example is during the buildup of U. S Army prior to its entry into World War 2, Patton was ordered to the newly establish Desert Training centre in Indio, California. At that time, he appointed to the newly activated 1st Armored Corps that was assigned to Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

The best thing he done was, he had planned and created his own Desert Training Centre, some 162,000 square miles, to begin training the army he would carry to North Africa. A part from that, Patton also kept looking to the officers that he would want in commanding his army. Patton trained his officer harder than he trained the man. He would make the officers as core commanders of his future army. He did this not because he was sadist, but his tries to improvise his people from his own experience. He knew the shock the men would face when they came to grips with Hitler’s well trained, tough and fanatical army.

It was the best way he could reproduce the horrors of war without the killing. And after many month training, Patton felt that he had produce a well trained, highly disciplined army that he could proudly take to war and win the battle. Patton at certain point tolerate with uncertainties in making decision on how do they will make the planning and improvising part. This are generally show his leadership traits in the military precision world Ever ready and look forward Every ready and look forward are another traits that emerged from Patton. These traits are list among the important traits that leader must have.

It will help in facing any circumstances that exist depend on the situational. Looking forward will bring an advantage especially to the military leader who will make himself ever ready in any battle he was assigned. In this case, while Patton was assigned to take charge of 1st armoured corps. He did a preparation upon to the Operation Torch (The Invasion of North Africa) which is, he trained his troops in the Imperial Valley, the Mohave Desert near Indio, California. This desert was known for its blistering temperatures, sandy arroyos and absolute desolation.

It was a close match for the terrain Patton and his men would encounter during the campaigns in North Africa. Patton trained his men all day every day, marching, manoeuvring, handling weapon in the hot desert sun. 120 degrees was the temperature in the summer there, no civilians to worry about in practising the live ammunition. His men were learned how to sleep with their vehicles, how to treat heat exhaustion, how to go without sleep for up to 36 hours, how to navigate by the sun and stars. He commenced these exercises in late 1941 and continued them well into the summer of 1942.

As a result for a many month training, Patton and his 1st armoured corps successfully win the battle at Casablanca and the sultan of morocco so impressed of Patton. Later on, he presented Patton with the special order of Ouissan Alaouite, with the citation:”Les Lions dans leurs tanieres tremblent en le voyant approcher” (The lions in their dens tremble at his approach). This clearly shows the advantage of being a leader who always looks forward and ever ready. Motivational and Great Catalyst In order to make sure troops are always in the pitch.

A leader must act as a motivator that can be a great catalyst for his troops in order to maintain their moral and spirit in the battle. Leader must assure the mentality of his men always positive and they spirit of killing enemy always there otherwise the battle will ends with a serious destruction. These traits are clearly showed by Patton during Operation Torch. He motivates his troops when they are ordered to sail to Morocco to capture Casablanca. At that time, all of his troops were in confusion and they didn’t know what to do, where they were bound and what they were going to do, for security reasons.

But then, he motivates his troops with this word, “We may be opposed by a limited number of Germans. It is not known whether the French Army will contest our landing. When the great day of battle comes, remember your training and remember that speed and vigor of attack are the sure roads to success. The eyes of the world are watching us… God is with us… We will surely win. ” Another evident is shown when he was ordered to command 2nd Armoured Corps. Before this, 2nd Armoured Corps was commanded by Major General Lloyd Fredendall.

During his command, 2nd Armoured Corps suffered a horrible defeat by German Afrika Korps led by Field Marshall Erwin Rommell’s German forces at Battle of Sidi Bou Zid and again at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. After the defeat, 2nd Armoured Corps men’s were demoralized and beaten, and Patton as their new commander “whipped them into shape”. One month later, they soundly defeated Gen. Rommel’s army in battle after battle moving across Tunisia. Though, by that time, Gen. Patton had been given command of Seventh Army, to prepare them for the invasion of Sicily.

Committed and Courage Courage is the mental quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables a man to proceed in the face of it with calmness and firmness, while committed is willing to work hard and give your time and energy to something. When a leader has these traits, surely his men will show their full respect and willing to do anything for him. Look at this example, Patton show his full commitment and courage during the landing at Coast of Vichy French-held Morocco. During the landing, there always have confusion.

Patton found it necessary to personally direct troops to get of the beaches, to make sure the movement onshore will not bogged down. Once he walked along the beach, he forces himself to appear calm even though he had a greatest fear of being strafed by an airplane. Another example for his commitment is when he knew that his son-in-law Col Johnny waters were listed among the missing in Tunisia during the Operation Husky (The Invasion of Sicily). Patton himself searched in the hills of Sidi-Bou-Sid for a grave, and since he found none, he hoped his son-in-law was among the men that had escaped the Germans.

During that moment, he show his responsibility and his commitment as a father to take part in the search party. Respect, Honour and Empathy Although Patton is a little bit cruel and show no mercy towards his enemy. He have his own action toward his troops. He shows the respect and honour and also empathy to them. He appreciates his troops. They willing to do something for him and as a leader he respects the willingness and gives an honour to them. For instance, Patton constantly could be found touring the field hospital during the Sicily campaign, which he considered as place of honour.

He visited nearly every one of the units in his army, and every field hospital. These hospital visits were the greatest strain that he had to bear. He would walk through the aisles, tears in his eyes, hardly able to speak in his emotion. He also would speak and encourage his men, personally hand out a medal usually with tears in his eyes. As a leader, these kinds of traits are compulsory. By having it, the people around him including his troops will never regret to fight for him because they know his leader are very appreciate of what they have done for him and the country.

Enthusiasm Enthusiasms can be defined as the display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty. In other word, are the spirit and the eagerness of somebody in doing something. To relate with Patton, he had shows eagerness in facing the enemy. During his speech in the Sicily Campaign, he had says this “When we land against the enemy, don’t forget to hit him and hit him hard. When we meet the enemy we will kill him. We will show him no mercy. He has killed thousands of your comrades and he must die. Another best word that shows his eager and enthusiasms is “may god show a mercy upon my enemy, because I’m not. ”

Value and Cares Patton love his soldier he himself will personally mourned the loss of every one killed in the battle. Patton really believes that success involves the expenditure of the lives of one’s fellow man. As example of this trait, is during the Sicily Campaign. It was a greater blow toward him when he knows his personal aide, Dick Jensen was death. Jensen was a person that he himself had recently promoted to Captain. Jensen loved by Patton as his own son.

At the time he heard about Jensen’s death, he stood immobile in his tent, with tears streaming down his face. Tact and intelligent The ability to deal with certain issues without creating offense that is meaning of tact. As a leader especial military leader, it is great if a leader is very tactical and intelligent. This will help in solving a problem that need quick response in decision and delivering order in battle. As example, was during the Battle of the Bulge when Patton was ordered to turn the 3rd army abruptly north. He must to avoid the front line that was surrounded and besiege by U.S troops that holding the Belgian crossroads town of Batsgone.

Turning an army in right angle direction is completely difficult. There had to be plans for road nets, supply depots, and above all, communications which had to be changed. Although it is difficult, Patton uses his intelligent and had these matters done straight in use his own mind and yet, this probably his greatest military achievement, unsurpassed at the time, was the logistic repositioning, within twenty-four hours, of a whole army corps at the Battle of the Bulge Judgment and Initiative

Judgement is the ability to weigh facts and possible solution on which to base sound decision. While, initiative is meaning by; taking action in the absence of order or use the own way that will bring a better achievement. Patton has these in his self. It can be seen in the Battle of The Bulge. It occurs when he was ordered to stay in defensive. He argued it and reply with this words,” Nobody ever successfully defended anything… It’s ignominious for the Americans to be on the defensive when the war ends. ” He believe in his own way that he could continue probing attacks while on the defensive.

By this attack, he resembling his army in the offense movement and name this mobilization as a “creeping defensive,” then Patton and his troops continue to move right up to Rhine River and successfully cross it till they arrived in Germany. Bearing and Optimist Bearing and optimist are other traits a leader especially military leader must have. Creating favourable impression in carriage, appearance and personal conduct at all time is the meaning of bearing. Optimist can be defined as a way of looking something one step ahead.

These two particular traits are obviously can be seen in Patton. His bear and optimist can be show when he had been asked turn his Third Army (located in northeastern France) north to counterattack. He said he could attack with two divisions within 48 hours, to the disbelief of the other generals present. Before he had gone to the meeting, however, Patton had ordered his staff to prepare three contingency plans for a northward turn in at least corps strength. By the time Eisenhower asked him how long it would take, the movement was already underway

This clearly show that Patton is more optimistic than other commanders. Patton successfully settled on a three division attack to be executed in three days from Arlon toward the beleaguered town of Bastgone.

Tactics in Battle

Patton was a smart military leader. No doubt if he had won many battle that he involve. Here we have extracted a several tactics that he implemented during the battle: Shock and Surprise. Shock and surprise are tactics which use to give a sudden impact toward enemy, either major or minor destructive.

Its aim to make enemy messed up and as initial attack before commanded the real attack. Patton have use this tactics during the build up and training of the 3rd Army deception plan which known as FUSAG ( first U. S Army Group) in the operation fortitude ( The Invasion of Normandy) The deception operation was intended to deceive the Germans into thinking that the initial invasion would take place at southern Norway, and the main invasion would be at Pas de Calais, where the English Channel is most narrow, instead of Normandy.

As a result Hitler was still not convinced that the actual invasion had taken place. And that pretty much was all that was keeping the operation from turning into a disaster. The American forces were bogged down in the bocage, the massive hedgerows that continued for miles inland Ruses and Stratagems Practically, all ruses and stratagems in war are variations or developments of few simple tricks that have been practised. Once again in the Invasion of Normandy FUSAG would eventually consist of 50 divisions and the Third Army would be the initial 12.

He implement this tactics by Decoy bases, vehicles, troops, etc were eventually placed all around the area. He did it because he wants to mislead and mystify the German Force by giving them impression that the allied army was much larger than it was. High Mobility and Aggressiveness Patton’s units generally took positions by frontal assault with his armour used in the infantry support role, the armour was used for exploitation in the manner of Civil War Cavalry advancing unopposed over vast distances. Patton’s forces were part of the Allied forces that freed northern France, bypassing Paris.

The city itself was liberated by the French 2nd Armoured Division under French General Leclerc, and insurgents who were fighting in the city, and forces of the US 4th Infantry Division. The French 2nd Armoured Division had recently been transferred from the 3rd Army, and many of the unit’s soldiers thought they were still part of 3rd Army. These early 3rd Army offensives showed the characteristic high mobility and aggressiveness of Gen. Patton’s units, which however was only possible because of the absence of German heavy armour XiX Tactical Air Command

During the offensive movement of Patton’s 3rd Army toward the Seine in the Operation Cobra (The Invasion of Normandy), had demonstrated an understanding of the use of combined arms by using the XIX Tactical Air Command of the Ninth Air Force to protect his right (southern) flank during his advance to the Seine. This tactic was implemented as an air support to the tank assault. Creeping Defensive It was another tactic implemented by Patton. This tactic was used during the battle of the Bulge as the movement of the 3rd Army toward the Rhine River.

Creeping defensive is originally create by Patton. It a movement of continuing probing attacks while on the defensive. These probing attacks much resembled his army in the offensive Close Air Support Patton implements this tactic during the battle of Lorraine. Probably the key to Patton’s success compared to all of the other U. S. and British forces, which had similar advantages, was his intensive use of close air support; the Third Army had by far more G-2 officers at headquarters specifically designated to coordinate air strikes than any other army.

Third Army’s attached close air support group was XIX Tactical Air Command, commanded by Gen. Otto P. Weyland. Developed originally by Gen. Elwood Quesada of IX TAC for the First Army at Operation Cobra the technique of “armored column cover” whereby close air support was directed by an air traffic controller in one of the attacking tanks was used extensively by the Third Armythe Third Army had by far more G-2 officers at headquarters. Intensive Aerial Armed Reconnaissance Weyland and Patton developed the concept of using intensive aerial armed reconnaissance to protect the flanks of this salient.

This tactic was used because of the rapid drive of Patton troops resulted in a salient that was vulnerable to flanking attacks and getting trapped by the Germans. Microwave Early Warning (MEW) radar, another technique pioneered by Quesada, was also used by XIX TAC to both cover against Luftwaffe attacks and to vector flights already in the air to new sites as an air traffic control radar. As a result of the close cooperation between Patton and Weyland, XIX TAC would end up providing far more air sorties for ground support for the Third Army than the other attached Tactical Air Commands would for the First and Ninth Armies


Throughout the war, Patton and his warriors had given a magnificent performance. Third Army had gone farther, faster, conquered more territory, killed, wounded, and captured more enemy soldiers than any other Army in the recorded history of war. Patton died at the age of 60 in December, 1945 as a result of an automobile accident near Mannheim, Germany. The term “age of 60” is expressly used instead of “60 years old”. Patton was never old. Men half his age were hard pressed to keep up with him. Profane, impetuous, and flamboyant, Patton was easily the most colorful of he U. S Army’s commanders in the west, and its leading genius in tank warfare.

Behind his showmanship and audacity lay the imaginative planning and shrewd judgment that made him one of the great combat commanders of World War 2. On top of that, He was always been the most modern of warriors, always looking for a new; better way to do his job. It has often been voiced by those who knew well him that perhaps it was a good thing for him to die when he did. He died at the peak of his success, known for the many great things he had accomplished.

He would have been disgusted at the way the American politicians wasted and perverted the great victory American fighting men had won. The United States had destroyed the German Nazis only to replace them with what Patton called, “… the Mongolian savages known as Russians. ” Lastly, we conclude this writing with Patton words, “In order for a man to become a great soldier, it is necessary for him to be so thoroughly conversant with all sorts of military possibilities that whenever an occasion arises, he has at hand, without effort on his part, a parallel.

To attain this end, it is necessary for a man to begin to read military history in its earliest and hence crudest form, and to follow it down in natural sequence, permitting his mind to grow with his subject until he can grasp without effort the most abstruse question of the science of war because he is already permeated with all of its elements. ”

References Books

  1. Patton, George S. , Jr. War as I Knew It. New York: Bantam. 1980
  2. Blumenson, Martin (1972). Patton: The Man Behind the Legend. New York: Morrow.
  3. Randy Holderfield and Micheal . D-Day the Invasion of Normandy, Valhalla, 2000, 1st Edition, June 6, 1994
  4. Connelly, Owen. On War And Leadership. The Words of Combat Commander from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarkopf. USA,4th Princeton University Press. 1929 Websites
  5. http://clydemcdonnell. blogspot. com
  6. http://generalpatton. com
  7. http://militaryhistory. about. com/od/1900s/p/patton. htm
  8. http://www. historic-fortmyer. com/tag/george-s-patton-jr
  9. http://www. pattonhq. com/sword. html
  10. http://www. defence. pk/forums/military-history/103381-general-george-s-patton-american-hero-ww2. html

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