Friday, May 22, 2009

GI Joe General George S Patton

GI Joe Historical Commanders Edition, second in a series was none other than General George S Patton (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945). General Patton made his mark in World War II, commanding both corps and armies as a general in North Africa, Sicily and the European Theater of Operations.

General Patton's battlefield exploits - including the formation of America's first Tank Corps and the capture of 1,250,000 German prisoners - earned him the formidable nickname "Old Blood and Guts". Major General Patton replaced Major General Lloyd Fredendall as commander of the II Corps on March 6, 1943 following the defeat of the U.S. II Corps (then part of British 1st Army) by the German Afrika Korps, first at the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid and again at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Patton was also promoted to lieutenant general. He instilled discipline and unit pride into his troops and molded them into a fighting machine. By mid-March 1943, the counter-offensive of the U.S. II Corps, along with the rest of the British 1st Army, pushed the Germans and Italians eastwards.

GI Joe's 1/6 scale 12-inch General Patton came with standard helmet, 3rd Army helmet, dog tags, shirt, tie, sheepskin jacket, scarf, binoculars, pants, boots, belt with holsters, two revolvers, riding crop, US flag and US Army flag, 1/1 scale First Armored Division patch and his pet Bull Terrier "Willie"

The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed “Old Ironsides”— was the first armored division of the US Army to see battle in World War II. The unit's first contact with an enemy was as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa, Operation Torch, on November 8, 1942.

Patton's hard-nosed discipline and flamboyance succeeded in "waking up'' his men and won him their respect. He always wore his ivory-handled revolvers and medals, partly because he was a great showman, but primarily because having his men see all the trappings of rank let them know they were commanded by a fighting general.

General Patton also seems to have his riding crop with him at all times

3 stars General helmet and binoculars

Patton's oft-quoted dictum, "Grab 'em by the nose and kick 'em in the ass" was in full play in Germany after Normandy. On 28 July 1944, Eisenhower turned Patton loose and the 3rd Army swept across Northern France, spearheaded by the 4th Armoured Division. Patton and his 3rd Army were turning the German's famed Blitzkrieg tactics against them, covering 600 miles in two weeks. During the first four weeks of the breakout, Patton was all over the front as his 3rd Army advanced so fast that entire German divisions were often bypassed to be mopped up by following elements.

His tactic was to hit the Germans in the front lines and then drive into their flanks and rear with his armoured units. In so doing, his troops succeeded in cutting off entire German divisions during this advance. Hundreds of thousands of German troops were taken prisoner.

During the early days of WWII, when the news media was discovering that Patton was good copy, Patton was often referred to as "two-gun" Patton, alluding to the suggestion that Patton wore two ivory handled Colt .45's all the time. These reports are not wholly correct on two counts. First, Patton neither owned nor wore two "matching" Colt .45's. The pistol commonly thought to be a Colt was actually a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum. It was never worn as often as the Colt. Secondly, the "two-gun" image of Patton is largely a creation of some inventive reporter. There exists only one photograph of Patton wearing two ivory-handled revolvers at one time.

Being a General when he entered the action of WWII, Patton had the prerogative of "designing" his own uniform. This privilege allowed him to wear the pistols and any accoutrements as he desired.

As a captain at the outbreak of WWI, Patton was required to wear a regulation uniform. Accordingly he sailed to France aboard the liner Baltic with the Army issue Model 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol. The pistol was "regulation" with one exception. Patton had managed to replace the issued grips with ivory grips in which his initials were deeply engraved.

Hasbro included two "matching" Colt .45 Revolvers which was actually inaccurate. General Patton wore the Colt .45 in the right holster and the Smith & Wesson .357 in the left holster, both with ivory handles.

Old Blood and Guts

1st Armored Division patch worn on his left sleeve of his sheepskin jacket, along with his 3 stars.

The most famous bull terrier owned by General Patton was purchased on 4 March 1944. He was named Willie, short for "William the Conqueror." He supposedly had his own set of "dog tags" too. Willie was devoted to General Patton and followed him everywhere.

When General Patton bought Willie, he wrote in his diary, "My bull pup...took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin [sic] on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper..."

George C Scott won an Oscar for portraying General Patton in the film "Patton (UK: Patton: Lust for Glory)", a 1970 biographical war film about General George S Patton during World War II. The opening monologue, delivered by Scott with an enormous American flag behind him, remains an iconic and often quoted image in films. Despite the rise of the Vietnam protest movement and a decline in interest in World War II movies, the film became a success and an American classic. Although Scott's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1971, he famously refused to accept it.

Compare this with Dragon's version of General George S Patton (next post)


parrow1978 said...

Thanks for the great info, this website is fantastic. I spend way to much time here. Just wanted to say THANKS!

alex teo said...

Thank you for visiting and the kind words :)

Unknown said...

Hate tell you all that he was never in the the 1st armored division, "Hell on wheels" 2nd armored division is the one he was in. This was a big mess up by Kenner, Hasbro, and GiJoe. Don't believe me then look it up I teach history

alex teo said...

Thank you for the correction Earnest :)