“Shrewd critics have assigned military success to all manner of things – tactics, shape of frontiers, speed, happily placed rivers, mountains or woods, intellectual ability, or the use of artillery. All in a measure true, but none vital. The secret lies in the inspiring spirit which lifted weary, footsore men out of themselves with an army it is the result of external impetus – leadership.”
George S. Patton Jr (1885 to 1945) (as a Major in 1931)
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.