The ward team must determine which of the risk factors arising from the assessment may be modiﬁed using available resources. Individual practitioners must also be aware of their attitudes and beliefs and consider how these might impact upon how they engage with the service user in managing identiﬁed risks (Royal College of Psychiatrists 2008). General Patton was a formidable and strategic leader. “Patton is now considered one of the greatest military figures in history’ (General Patton, n. Unfortunately, his blunt and intolerant personality and his authoritarian leadership style, at one point, was the primary force In his fall from grace. Military Transition As General Patton pushed his Divisions across North Africa and Europe, he demanded results oriented activity. Not just any activity, but valuable activity, demanding his leaders fight as a team to accomplish extraordinary tasks, utilizing ingenuity, flexibility, audacity and achieving rapid results.
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George Patton, in full George Smith Patton, Jr., (born November 11, 1885, San Gabriel, California, U.S.—died December 21, 1945, Heidelberg, Germany), U.S. Army officer who 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.
George Patton was born into a life of privilege. His father was a successful lawyer who served as the Los Angeles County district attorney, and his mother was the daughter of Benjamin D. Wilson, the first elected mayor of Los Angeles and a wealthy landowner.
Although George Patton’s formal education did not begin until after his 11th birthday, he was an eager student of history. He entered the Virginia Military Institute in 1903 but transferred to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point after just one year. Patton struggled academically, possibly because of undiagnosed dyslexia, but he graduated in 1909.
George Patton was a brilliant but hot-tempered U.S. Army general who was arguably the Allies’ most gifted tank commander. He led a series of wildly successful offensive operations in Europe during World War II, but his controversial and erratic behaviour off the battlefield damaged his reputation and hampered his own career advancement.
During the U.S. occupation of Germany, George Patton was commanding the U.S. Fifteenth Army, a “paper” army gathering historical information about the war. Wholly ill-suited for the administrative position, Patton was on a hunting trip when he was critically injured in a low-speed car accident. He died from his injuries on December 21, 1945.
Patton was born to a wealthy California family and enjoyed a privileged childhood. His early years were marred, however, by difficulties in spelling and reading, which has led some historians to speculate that he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia. His formal education did not begin until age 11, but, in time, he became a voracious reader and later in life published numerous articles on military subjects. Patton enjoyed military history in particular, especially books about the American Civil War, a conflict in which his grandfather and great-uncle had been killed while fighting for the Confederacy. Patton spent a year at the Virginia Military Institute and then transferred to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he was forced to repeat his plebe (freshman) year because of poor grades. His academic performance improved, and, after graduating in June 1909, Patton was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the cavalry. On May 26, 1910, he married Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrial tycoon Frederick Ayer.
In 1912 Patton was selected to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. There he competed against military officers from around the world in the modern pentathlon, an event that included swimming, pistol shooting, running, fencing, and riding. Patton made a respectable showing, coming in fifth out of 42 contestants. He had learned fencing at West Point and continued his study of swordsmanship while in Europe. Later—while attending the Mounted Service School in Fort Riley, Kansas—Patton was designated an instructor of swordsmanship and received the title Master of the Sword. In that role he designed the U.S. Model 1913 Enlisted Cavalry Saber, known as the “Patton Sword.” Patton also loved polo, and he played it, like he pursued so many things, with a violent, reckless abandon, frequently injuring himself in the process. Biographer Martin Blumenson has suggested that his frequent head injuries may have contributed to the erratic behaviour attributed to him in his later years.
Patton saw his first combat soon after leaving Fort Riley. When Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa led an attack on the border town of Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916, Patton joined the staff of Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing and accompanied him on a punitive expedition into Mexico. Though the mission failed to apprehend Villa, Patton was responsible for leading a raid that killed three of Villa’s men. The attack garnered much publicity and was notable for being the first time that automobiles had been used in combat by the U.S. Army.
When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Pershing was made the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), and Patton, promoted to captain, joined him in France. In November 1917, Patton, now a major, left Pershing’s headquarters staff and became the first officer to be appointed to the new U.S. Army Tank Corps. Over the next months he organized, trained, and even designed the uniforms for the new tank units; he was also promoted to lieutenant colonel. On September 12, 1918, Patton, ignoring orders to stay in radio contact, personally led the first U.S. tank units into battle during the Saint-Mihiel offensive. In the Meuse-Argonne offensive a few weeks later, Patton was badly wounded by a machine-gunbullet. He lay in a shell hole for hours before it was safe to evacuate him, but he refused to be taken to the hospital until he had reported to his commander. He was promoted to the temporary rank of colonel and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery under fire.
During the demobilization that followed World War I, Patton reverted to the permanent rank of captain. He graduated with distinction from the Army War College in 1932, and he remained a vigorous proponent of tank warfare throughout the interwar years. He was promoted to colonel in 1938 and temporary brigadier general in 1940. On April 4, 1941, he was promoted to temporary major general, and a week later he was made commander of the 2nd Armored Division. Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), Patton organized the Desert Training Center near Indio, California, to simulate combat and maneuvers in the harsh North African climate. Patton was commanding general of the western task force during the successful U.S. landings at Casablanca in November 1942. He was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant general in March 1943 and led the U.S. Seventh Army into Sicily, employing his armour in a rapid drive that captured Palermo in July and Messina in August.
The apogee of Patton’s career came with the dramatic sweep of his Third Army across northern France in the summer of 1944 in a campaign marked by great initiative, ruthless drive, and disregard of classic military rules. Prior to the Normandy Invasion, he was publicly placed in command of the First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG), a fictitious army whose supposed marshaling in eastern England helped to deceive German commanders into thinking that the invasion would take place in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. Patton’s armoured units were not operational until August 1, almost two months after D-Day, but by the end of the month, they had captured Mayenne, Laval, Le Mans, Reims, and Châlons.
As German resistance in Normandy began to collapse, a pocket formed between advancing British and American forces that threatened to trap two German armies at Falaise. Patton desperately wanted to complete an encirclement of the Germans, but his commander, Gen. Omar Bradley, feared that such an attack would leave Patton’s flanks weak and exposed to counterattack. By the time the gap between Falaise and Argentan was closed on August 20, some 20,000–40,000 Germans had escaped. As the Third Army approached the German border, the advance was slowed because of supply shortages, but it was not stopped until it met the strong German defenses at Nancy and Metz in November.
In December 1944 the Germans launched a massive surprise counterattack in the Ardennes Forest, encircling the U.S. 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, Belgium. Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the Third Army to relieve Bastogne, and Patton repositioned his force with astonishing speed. Such a feat was made possible in large part by Patton’s intelligence officer, Col. Oscar Koch, who had predicted the German offensive on the basis of a shrewd analysis of enemy troop strength and disposition. Advance elements of the Third Army reached Bastogne’s tenacious defenders on December 26, and additional reinforcements followed over subsequent days. Patton’s forces continued to push the Germans back, and by the end of January 1945, the Third Army had reached the German frontier. On March 1 those forces took Trier, precipitating one of the most famous exchanges of the war. When Patton received a message instructing him to bypass the city because it would take four divisions to capture it, Patton replied, “Have taken Trier with two divisions. Do you want me to give it back?” Over the next 10 days, they cleared the entire region north of the Moselle River, trapping thousands of Germans. They then joined the Seventh Army in sweeping the Saar and the Palatinate, where they took 100,000 prisoners.
Patton had wanted to push on to Berlin, but Eisenhower rejected the idea, deeming the cost too high for a city already allotted to the Soviets by the terms of the Yalta agreement. Patton’s supporters claim that the Cold War may have unfolded differently had the West taken the capital, but this largely ignores the military situation on the ground in eastern Europe. By V-E Day (May 8, 1945), Patton’s Third Army had fought for nine months since becoming operational, capturing more than 80,000 square miles (more than 200,000 square km) of territory. During that time the Third Army suffered roughly 137,000 casualties, but it had inflicted more than 10 times that on the enemy.
After the German surrender, Patton campaigned vigorously for a command in the Pacific theatre in the ongoing war against Japan. This failed to materialize, and he was instead made the military governor of Bavaria, a political position for which he was ill-suited by training and temperament. His public criticisms of the Allied postwar denazification policy in Germany, coupled with ill-advised comments to the press, led to his removal from the command of the Third Army in October 1945. Patton’s final command was to head the Fifteenth U.S. Army in Bad Nauheim, Germany, where he oversaw the writing of a history of the war in Europe, a role Patton described as serving as an “undertaker at my own funeral.” On December 9, 1945, Patton sustained serious injuries to his head and spine in a low-speed car accident; after 12 days of terrible pain, he died. A number of books and films have advanced conspiracy theories suggesting that the outspoken Patton was actually assassinated on orders from either Washington or Moscow. However, such accusations tend to rely on circumstantial evidence, and no definitive proof of any conspiracy has emerged.
Patton’s memoirs, War as I Knew It, appeared posthumously in 1947. Patton (1970), a film biography directed by Franklin Schaffner and starring George C. Scott in the title role, won seven Academy Awards, including one for best picture.
[ November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945 ]
General George Smith Patton Jr. was a senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
Born in 1885 to a family with an extensive military background (with members having served in the United States Army and Confederate States Army), Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing, and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the “Patton Sword.”
Possessing excellent fencing and horsemanship skills, Patton was selected for the 1912 U.S. Olympic team for the first ever Olympic modern pentathlon event, held in Stockholm, Sweden. The new event was created to test military men in five sports challenges: fencing, swimming, shooting, equestrian jumping and running. Patton finished a respectable fifth place overall, but a disappointing shooting performance cost him a chance at a medal.
THE ROAD TO FOUR STARS
Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, taking part in America’s first military action using motor vehicles.
He later joined the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces and saw action in World War I, commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of armored warfare doctrine in the U.S. Army, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. Rising through the ranks, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division at the time of the American entry into World War II.
Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, where he later established himself as an effective commander through his rapid rehabilitation of the demoralized U.S. II Corps. He commanded the U.S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers under his command, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command for other duties such as participating in Operation Fortitude’s disinformation campaign for Operation Overlord.
Patton returned to command the Third Army following the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, where he led a highly successful rapid armored drive across France. He led the relief of beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and advanced his Third Army into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.
After the war, Patton became the military governor of Bavaria, but he was relieved of this post because of his statements trivializing denazification. He commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for slightly more than two months. Patton died in Germany on December 21, 1945, as a result of injuries from an automobile accident twelve days earlier.
Patton’s colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front and his ability to inspire troops with vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as a famous address to the Third Army, attracted favorable attention. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved effective. While Allied leaders held sharply differing opinions on Patton, he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. A popular, award-winning biographical film released in 1970 helped transform Patton into an American folk hero.