American Legends: George S. Patton
The legend poses for a promotional picture to be distributed to single women in the WACs.
Many of America's greatest heroes were forged in the crucible of battle. From the heroes of the American Revolution like George Washington to the great president Abraham Lincoln who personally fought in the battles of the Civil War, our leaders show their true self when at the front lines. One frequently misunderstood hero is the great World War II General George S. Patton, considered by many to be the best military leader America has ever produced. But what do we really know about Patton now?
I would like to answer that question by making George S. Patton Jr. the subject of this installment of American Legends. Together we will explore what Patton was like growing up in California, his service during the First World War, and the specifics of his legendary storm across France and Germany during World War II.
The Early Years
A young Patton failed to impress recruiters his first time around.
George S. Patton Jr. was born in California in 1885, the son of a Civil War Veteran who fought for the Confederacy. Patton's father and mother home schooled Patton and his sister by reading to them profusely but discipline was harsh in the Patton household. Patton's father was originally a beekeeper by trade but had discovered citrus fruit shortly after the end of the civil war and had single handedly brought the citrus industry to California. Patton spent many hours tending the beehives or working in the orange groves and he grew to hate both bees and oranges with equal measure. One oft-quoted remark in his memoirs states that "El Diablo gave this earth the sting of bees and the burn of citrus to test man and no man has been more thoroughly tested than myself."
Patton snuck away from his parent's home and enrolled at a military academy around the turn of the century. While he was large for a boy his age he was unable to mask his feminine voice nor his effete mannerisms and was discharged for lack of dignity. The next two years of Patton's life were devoted to becoming a man so that he might carry on the Patton family's proud tradition of military excellence. He adventured across most of the United States and faced danger and evil wherever he could just to laugh in its face. Many of Patton's exploits during this period are lost to the pages of history, but several survived in his memoirs.
Patton Eats a Bear - One of the first challenges Patton faced was a black bear that had been terrorizing farm animals near his home town. Taking the old expression "fight fire with fire" quite literally, Patton went into the woods and did not return until he had found the bear and bit it to death. After he had torn the life from the bear he ate it raw and then fashioned a ring from one of its eyes that he wore the rest of his life.
Patton Jumps Off a Mountain - Patton knew that the only way to achieve the stamina and constitution he felt he lacked was to perform great feats of physical endurance. Soon after recovering from the injuries sustained in killing the bear, Patton scaled a mountain. From the top he is said to have seen all of America with his incredible vision and, not much caring for the state of things at the time, leapt a thousand feet straight down into a canyon. Even though he landed on nothing but jagged rocks Patton suffered nothing worse than a few bruises and a fractured rib.
Patton Defeats the Cherokee Indians - In 1895 the Western tribes of the Cherokee Indians were forced to consolidate onto a reservation granted them by the federal government. Having read stories of the many battles of Cherokee braves, Patton traveled to the reservation and attacked the seven combined tribes with nothing but a pocket knife tied to a tree branch. In the first few days he managed to kill most of the women and children on the reservation and for over a month he whittled away the surviving men by executing expert guerilla raids on their encampments. In the end he is said to have faced the Chief and his remaining guards completely unarmed, although little remains to prove this because Patton himself admits to having eaten all of them including their skeletons.
These and other adventures served to toughen Patton and by 1903 he successfully enrolled in West Point. Patton struggled with general academia, particularly mathematics and foreign studies, but he excelled at military theory and athletics. In fact Patton's favorite class was Fine Arts, where he created a thirty foot high statue of what he called "The Iron Man" from bronze. The sculpture mystified his fellow students for decades but by 1940 it was realized just how prophetic Patton's work had been as Nazi War Droids stormed across Poland and France. Patton graduated West Point after five years and immediately entered service with the US Cavalry in Illinois.
Young Patton Goes to War
Patton was already a hero before he even went off to fight the Hun.
Patton was a widely respected cavalry officer and he took great pride in his expertise with a cavalry saber. He eventually designed a new and far superior saber made from mithral mined from the Dwarven caverns below George Washington's tomb on Mount Wyvern. Patton forged the sabers with his bare hands, crushing and bending the metal of the blades like it was taffy and quenching each in the blood of a great warrior. Patton went on to even greater peace time notoriety when he entered himself in a number of events at the military Olympics held in Sweden in 1912. Patton placed second in the breaststroke, decapitated a French fencing master to take the gold metal, and competed in pistol shooting so well that he actually struck his own bullets mid-flight and caused them to explode into brilliant flares of light. Patton even raced a steam shovel in digging a train tunnel through the Andes to prove that man was stronger and better than any device he could build.
Patton's peacetime exploits were brought to an end by the outbreak of war in Europe in 1927. German necromancer Bismarck had raised an army of the undead to fight against the French and British and Patton was quick to volunteer for an unofficial expeditionary force to fight the Hun's skeletal legions. Patton distinguished himself in a number of battles but it wasn't until 1929, when Bismarck's dread sorcery caused the American stock market to crash, that Patton truly unleashed the warrior beast inside himself.
Patton saw things that are difficult to believe. Entire armies of Frenchmen choking and vomiting up blood in poison gas attacks. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate All those moments are lost in time, like tears in rain, but Patton's service record survives him. He received numerous awards and single-handedly defeated a regiment strength attack of the 104th Light Zombie Ogres being led by the notorious German warlord Baron Skullblood. After that battle Patton's chest was not only pinned with the Extremely Awesome Service Medal but also the ears of Skullblood which Patton tore from the sorcerer's head.
Patton returned to the United States following the war as a hero and received a number of visits from various Hollywood starlets. He eventually settled on one of these beautiful women, a young actress named Shirley Temple whose hair reminded him of "all of the blood [his hands] had seen in that wonderful war". They were married in 1933 and in the following year she gave birth to three sons and two daughters, all of whom were named George S. Patton with a roman numeral depending on the order they were born in.
Not everything was well in Patton's life. The brutal fighting in the First World War had left him a changed man, with a strange self-loathing for his bloodlust and an almost soul-deep hatred of the German people. He was often known to retire to his study at the top of his basalt tower next to the White House and pen lengthy treatises on why the Germans should be exterminated. He organized rallies at which he promised to see "every last Hun in his grave". Many ignored these rallies as the madness wrought by the horrors of war and saw Patton as a powerful but ultimately harmless old kook. One man in the audience at these rallies instead saw inspiration in Patton's vitriolic speeches, and in 1936 Adolph Hitler boarded the trans-Atlantic hovercraft back to Germany and began to plan his conquest.
Patton's Glory Days
Patton caught here just before launching into another anti-French speech accusing them of being "Commie loving baby rapers".
Hitler took Patton's theories of exterminating the Germans and replaced the word "Germans" with "Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Communists, etc." to great effect. The war ravaged and poverty stricken Germans loved the idea of hating and exterminating an all new people. Even though their powerful Warlock leader Bismarck had been imprisoned inside a gem for 1000 years by General Pershing the Germans had faith that their technology could lead them to victory where the dark art of necromancy had failed. Hitler created a new organization called the Robot SS and his sidekick Heinrich Himmler, with the help of mad scientist Albert Speer, created an ever larger army of massive War Droids.
Patton knew Hitler had to be stopped and as the hostility brewing in Europe boiled into open war Patton swore revenge on Hitler for killing non-Germans. He returned to West Point where he climbed into the secret chest panel on his statue and ascended a ladder to the control chamber located in the head. The Iron Warrior was no mere statue, it was an engine of war more powerful than any mankind had ever devised. With German ornithopters terrorizing the sea lanes Patton simply walked across the Atlantic ocean along the bottom. The journey took him many months and he encountered dozens of strange creatures. The most notable of these encounters was with the oracle of Atlantis; a spectral creature that helped Patton unlock the powers of his mind and harness his incredible psychic potential.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Hitler's War Droids had subjugated all of France, Poland, and some other Scandinavian countries that people care a lot less about. His mechanical storm troops marched on into Russia where they cut a swath of destruction through the unprepared hordes of Soviet barbarians. The fighting was brutal and millions of Russians perished but when Patton finally emerged from the Atlantic in 1944 he began his campaign to liberate the world from the tyranny of evil. There are so many amazing and epic struggles won by Patton during the war that it would be impossible to list them all here.
Some of the most epic and amazing include:
Patton defeated the Nazi Lightning Cannon mounted on the top of the Eiffel Tower. Patton scaled the tower in his Iron Warrior and no matter how much electricity the Nazis discharged into him he absorbed it and reflected it back at them with his psychic shield.
During the fall of 1944 Patton fought off the advances of Helga the Succubus, a beautiful and beguiling temptress who had lured many brave warriors to their doom. Moments before engaging in intercourse with her Patton came to his senses and kicked off her head with a karate attack he learned from the Cherokee braves that he ate.
Just before the Nazi counterattack in winter of 1944, Patton raised eyebrows in the press by referring to the French as "commie faggos" and stating "when I'm done with the Hun and Uncle Joe I'm going to knock your blocks off". Patton was threatened by FDR to tone it down or General Pershing would be forced to imprison him in a gem like he had with Bismarck. Patton's legendary reply was "Nuts to you too Sit and Spin, go home to mama".
Patton restrained himself while standing next to General Ivanov to take a publicity photo before butchering the Soviet general with a pair of garden sheers he had secreted in his jacket.
Over a period of weeks Patton and the 101st Airborne held Bastogne despite brutal counterattacks by the Nazi War Droids. Low on Ruthenium crystals the Nazi offensive broke on Bastogne and with clear skies American and British bombers nearly wiped out exposed German droid factories.
When Patton learned that he would not be allowed to capture Berlin he is rumored to have eaten his entire staff of adjutants and security personnel in a murderous rampage of mutilation and cannibalism. He was found weeks later washed ashore in Sicily, his fingers still caked with dried blood.
Only days after the war had ended and Hitler had been cast into the volcano by General Zhukov, Patton was grievously injured in an automobile accident. He joked that the car had walked away the loser but medical personnel just shook their heads sadly realizing he was delirious because cars can't walk. Patton died 12 days later and was interred inside the Iron Warrior next to his men that had fallen fighting in France. His sudden and tragic end was a shock to a nation that immediately went into mourning.
Patton's sudden death was perhaps a benefit to Germans who would have surely been exterminated entirely by the vengeful General. Soon after Shirley Temple committed suicide by stinging herself with an asp's venom and her sadness was mirrored by thousands across the world. To this day Patton's influence can be felt at West Point where his doctrines of random adventuring and artifact robot construction are still taught in classrooms. Even in the recent war on Iraq robotic airplanes dropped bombs onto unsuspecting Iraqi magicians and assassins, all thanks to the genius of George S. Patton.
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