“In the summer of 1918, a group of soldiers of the 301st Tank Brigade, which I commanded, was having 37 mm. gun practice which I was observing. One defective round exploded in the muzzle, wounding two or three men. The next round exploded in the breech, blowing the head off the gunner. The men were reluctant to fire the next round, so it was incumbent on me, as the senior officer present, to do so-in fact, I fired three rounds without incident. This restored the confidence of the men in the weapon. I must admit that I have never in my life been more reluctant to pull a trigger.”
George S. Patton Jr (1885 to 1945)
George Smith Patton Junior was a US Army officer. He was an outstanding practitioner of mobile tank warfare in the European and Mediterranean theatres during World War II.
His strict discipline, toughness, and self-sacrifice elicited exceptional pride within his ranks, and the general was colourfully referred to as “Old Blood-and-Guts” by his men. However, his brash actions and mercurial temper led to numerous controversies during his career.
Historians generally agree that Patton was not only one of the greatest military leaders that the US has ever produced but also one of the most complex and contradictory. He died on 21 December 1945 after breaking his neck in a car crash near Mannheim, Germany, 12 days earlier.