US MILITARY USED TO BE STRONG LIKE GEORGE PATTON, NOT ANYMORE THANKS TO BIDEN
CLIFFORD F. THIES POSTS:
Patton won the Academy Award for Best Movie in 1970; and, George C. Scott in the title role won Best Actor. It won several other Bests, but was (somehow!) beat out for Best Original Score.
Where it deviates from what we now know, has become part of the folklore of the man and the war.
I'll begin with a trivial item. Patton the man wasn't the imposing figure portrayed by George C. Scott. The real world Patton was on the small side and had a squeaky not a groveling voice.
I'll proceed to an item of middling importance. The movie script is heavily influenced by Omar Bradley's memoir, A Soldier's Story. Bradley disliked Patton. This is pointed out in the movie. In a scene where Patton is placed in command of the Third Army. Patton thanks Bradley, by then Patton's immediate superior. Bradley replies, he recommended against it, but Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, insisted.
In keeping with the above, is the scene where Patton has a premonition that the Germans will attack through the Ardennes in the winter. Patton orders his staff to prepare a contingency plan to swing his army from attacking east to attacking north.
No. It wasn't a premonition. At the time, the Allies had become overly-impressed with their ability to decript German communications. Patton continued to collect intelligence through patrols, by interrogating POWs, and by scout plane. Plus, he had a sense of the battle. Sometimes, when you don't hear the usual amount of background chatter, you're hearing a communication blackout preparatory to a major offensive.
So, Patton acted on good, old-fashioned intelligence, and not an epiphany from one of his prior lives.
But all of these criticisms are nothing compared to the real story of the Battle of the Bulge. The Battle of the Bulge wasn't about Patton swinging his Third Army to hit the Germans from the side, and relieve the valiant 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. That was a sideshow.
I'll tell the real story starting tomorrow. (PART TWO TO FOLLOW SOON)
Eldon R. Lindsey Chair of Free Enterprise
Professor of Economics and Finance