General Pattons Third Army in World War II

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The 3rd Army captured in battle , of the enemy and killed or wounded over , others. There were from time to time under the 3rd Army 6 corps and 42 divisions. Your courage and valor will always be remembered. Almost complete List of Corps and Division under 3rd Army at one time or another from to end of war. There are many other units not quit division size and some omissions at the moment till other sources are documented. The Germans threw everything they had into the attack against Bastogne.

Patton's Third Army in World War II: A Photographic History

It was their last chance against the Allies. They made every attempt to smash and close the corridor the 4th Armored Division had opened to Bastogne. When failure was certain they began to withdraw their armor behind the Siegfried line for the second and final time. Badly hurt by the beating they had taken, the Germans used what was left of their infantry to screen their movements.

Although they were handicapped by bitterly cold weather, ice, and snow, the Third Army continued it's pressure on the south flank of the enemy penetration. By the end of December, the enemy had succeeded in saving what armor had not been destroyed. The bulge slowly became a wedge and the wedge finally disappeared.

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Finally, another bulge appeared except this time it was on the German side of the front lines. Officially, on the 28th of January, the Battle of the Bulge was over and Von Rundstedt's Ardennes Offensive as the Germans called it had lost all of the ground that it had originally won. The enemy was now completely pushed back into German territory.

The soldiers of the First Army had fought gallantly and bravely throughout the entire Battle of the Bulge. Although they were to be commended for their courage and fighting ability, the truth is that they would have lost the battle without the help of the Third Army. Without their quick and decisive maneuver and attack, the Battle of the Bulge would have been a massive disaster for the Allies. It was also partly due to their lack of discipline among their soldiers that the Germans were able to get so far in their attack.

Yet, General Patton, whose Third Army was mostly responsible for saving they day, was never even thanked by Eisenhower. Patton, however, didn't have time to worry about such small things. He was getting ready for another drive into Germany. It was during this advance that the Third Army captured the German city of Trier. There's a funny story about the capture of Trier that shows the differences between General Patton and General Bradley and their ability to judge a military situation.

After the battle was already won and the Third Army had taken the city, General Patton received a message from General Bradley. The message said, "Bypass Trier. It would take too many divisions to capture it. By this time, Germany's manpower problem was becoming very evident to the Allies. All units of the Third Army was meeting great numbers of rear echelon German troops. Among these were many Volkssturm German militia troops.

After their defeat at Bastogne, the Germans were now totally incapable of stopping the Third Army in it's sweep across the Rhine River. Parts of eleven German divisions were trapped between the Third Army in the south and the First Army in the north. They were being chopped to pieces with only a very few of them managing to escape. The enemy was all but whipped and they knew it. They were becoming more demoralized as each day passed. By driving quickly to the Rhine River, the Third Army exposed the enemy's right flank.

This created the opportunity for Patton's men to reopen a devastating war of movement for the first time since the fighting they had done in France. This was Patton's favorite kind of war. He liked to hit hard and fast. He never stopped to regroup his forces the way General Montgomery did with his British 2nd Army. There was no safe place for the Germans and there was no place for them to hide. By now, the Germans were panic-stricken. They tried, but failed, to hold a line of defense against the Third Army's unstoppable armor west of Mainz and Mannheim.

Third Army's 4th Armored Division penetrated deeply into Germany territory and into the Seventh Army's zone of operations. Major General W. Allen's 12th Armored Division pushed the enemy eastward toward the Rhine. The German withdrawal was completely disorganized and confused.

It was quickly becoming a complete rout. The enemy was making a mad dash for the city of Speyer. It was the only city they could get to that still had an open crossing to the Rhine River. During this period, the enemy lost the greater part of two entire armies.

They were chopped to pieces by the powerful armor rushing on him from three different directions. Opie Weyland, attacked the Germans relentlessly with their P and P fighter-bombers. On the ground, they were pursued closely by Third Army infantry. In addition to losing a large part of two armies, more than 81, German soldiers were captured as prisoners of war during this campaign. To the north, at Remagen, General Montgomery was planning a major assault.

First combat experience

Montgomery never believed in attacking unless he had such overwhelming odds in his favor that he was assured of victory simply by the weight of his attack. His massive preparations for crossing the Rhine River included landing craft, air support, artillery, and large numbers of troops. All of the materials, supplies, and manpower he planned on using was almost equal to that used by the Allies during their landings in Normandy on D-Day. Montgomery's crossing of the Rhine was supposed to be a spectacular invasion of Germany.

It was meant to be an earth-shaking event that would be broadcast throughout England over the BBC radio network. Churchill, to be present at the crossing. Meanwhile, very quietly, and without any great fanfare or massive preparations, Patton's Third Army was already crossing the Rhine and driving toward the heart of Nazi Germany. Patton's men were just following his basic order to, "Kill the enemy before they kill you. Third Army quickly moved two bridgeheads over the Rhine River within five days.

General George S. Patton - Commander of the US Third Army - Biography Documentary

Patton had often warned his men that, "Many battles have been lost because of an army stopping on the wrong side of a river. Leroy Irwin, made a perfectly executed assault crossing of the Rhine early on the morning of March 23rd. They had received no artillery or air support and the Germans offered little or no resistance at all. The Third Army's bridgeheads were expanded rapidly. The enemy's high losses and his concern over First Army's bridgehead at Remagen left him with totally inadequate forces to contain the Third Army.

Advancing to the Main River, the Third Army seized bridgeheads over that river in the vicinity of Hanau and Aschaffenburg on the 25th of March. The enemy's attempt to contain the Main River bridgeheads ended in utter failure. The Third Army broke through and by March 28th, the 4th Armored Division had swiftly driven thirty miles northward to join forces with the First Army.

Their movement had again trapped thousands of German troops in the Wiesbaden and Bingen area. When General Patton was ready to cross the Rhine, he did it on foot. He got out of his jeep and walked across the river on a pontoon bridge built by his Third Army Engineers. When he reached the half-way point he stopped and urinated into the German river. He then continued his walk to the other side of the bridge and got back into his jeep.

Patton always enjoyed being dramatic. Advancing as quickly as their tracks could carry them, the Third Army again gave the enemy no time to build defense lines. Armor and troops drove swiftly down both sides of the Werra River, across the Fulda River, and twenty miles beyond, ruining any hope the enemy had of making a strong stand.

They met strong enemy resistance only at the town of Kassel. By the 10th of April, the Third Army was pushing toward the Mulde River in a five day drive that gained them eighty miles. This campaign ended on the 21st of March. While the Third Army was getting ready to advance east of the Mulde River, they once again were ordered by Eisenhower to halt. After four days of preparation and regrouping which Patton called the curse of warfare the Third Army was given a new mission. Patton protested this order claiming that the National Redoubt existed only in General Eisenhower's imagination.

As it turned out, Patton was right again. Patton had wanted to turn his Third Army north and head for Berlin before the Russians got there. Eisenhower, however, failed to understand the importance of the German Capital and he refused permission. It was later discovered that Eisenhower had sent unauthorized messages to some Russian generals.

He had taken upon himself the authority to make strategic decisions which were not his to make. By now, enemy resistance appeared to be on the point of total collapse. Final victory was in the air. It became very clear that the Germans had no desire at all to defend the so-called Redoubt area. Germans were surrendering in ever increasing numbers. Third Army's final campaign across the Danube River, into Czechoslovakia and Austria, was halted with the official end of the war in Europe at hours one minute after midnight on May 9th, The Germans had officially surrendered all of Germany on May 8th, , a date which would become known as V.

Day or Victory In Europe Day.

About American Heritage

Reduced to cold, statistical figures, the feats of the Third Army were astonishing. The Army liberated or captured 81, square miles of territory. An estimated 12, cities, towns, and communities were liberated or captured, including 27 cities of more than 50, in population. Third Army captured , prisoners of war.

The enemy lost an estimated 1,, captured, , killed, and , wounded, adding up to 1,, By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16, killed, 96, wounded, and 26, missing in action for a total of , casualties. Third Army's losses were only That is only about 13 American soldiers for every German soldiers. Third Army aircraft and artillery dropped or dispersed by shell 31,, psychological warfare leaflets to enemy troops.

XIX Tactical Air Command completed 1, tactical reconnaissance missions and 77 photo reconnaissance missions which resulted in 3,, aerial photographic prints being distributed. Third Army's air support dropped 17, tons of bombs, 3, napalm tanks, and launched 4, rockets. The Air Command destroyed 1, enemy planes and only lost of it's own from all causes. Third Army artillery fired 5,, rounds of ammunition during the fighting.

Tank destroyers with the Third Army knocked out enemy tanks and self propelled guns. At the Maginot Line and the Siegfried Line, they eliminated pillboxes. They fired a total of , rounds of ammunition on direct fire missions and , rounds on indirect fire missions.

Within the Army area, 2,, tons of supplies were transported a total of ,, miles by trucks in the transportation pool. A total of 2, miles of railway track was reconstructed and placed into operation. The Army repaired 99, general purpose vehicles, 21, combat vehicles, 11, artillery pieces, , small arms, and 32, instruments. Third Army Engineers constructed 2, bridges with a total footage of , feet, almost 48 and one half miles of bridging. They built or maintained an average of 2, miles of road.

Third Army's nine chemical mortar companies expended , rounds of 4. Chemical warfare supplies included 32, gallons of flame thrower fuel and , grenades. Third Army Signal Corps personnel laid 3, miles of telephone wire. The Third Army message center handled a total of 7,, code groups and switchboard operators handled an average of 13, telephone calls daily. The forward echelon of the Third Army code named Lucky Forward by General Patton traveled 1, miles while making 19 complete moves during combat.

Normal promotions numbered 6,; battlefield promotions totaled 1,; and combat appointments totaled The correspondents of the Third Army and soldier correspondents wrote 30, stories totaling 7,, words. They submitted 7, photographs about the Third Army's combat fighting. A total of 11,, soldiers attended motion picture shows at the Third Army.

The General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series on World War II

The USO shows played to , soldiers, and the soldier talent shows played to a total of , soldiers. General Patton was right when he said, "It sure takes a lot to kill a German. In this way, the Third Army played it's proud part in helping to crush the Nazi war machine.

Army and of it's commander will awaken a special thrill of courage and adventure. Perhaps more than any other group of soldiers in the European Theater, the soldiers of the Third Army deserved the praise of the Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower when he said, "Working and fighting together in a single indestructible partnership you have achieved perfection in unification of air, ground, and naval power that will stand as a model in our time.

On December 17th, General Patton gave the order to swing the Third Army from an eastward attack to a northward attack. At the time his order was issued, a blizzard was raging in the Ardennes. Because of the added difficulty faced by this bad weather, Patton called for his Chaplain, Colonel James H.

Biography for Kids: George Patton

When O'Neill arrived, he was ordered by the General to write a prayer asking for good weather to fight the Germans. O'Neill was concerned about this, saying, "Sir, surely you don't want me to ask for divine assistance in killing people. General Patton had both the prayer and a special Christmas greeting printed on thousands of wallet-sized card that were given to every soldier in the Third Army.

After they were seated, a young officer came through the door. Instantly, the cadets stopped eating and sat stiffly at attention, faces straight forward. Rather than waiting for others to decide his fate, he made use of anyone who could advance his interests. He would gladly accept a lesser position if it involved action. Ike, who knew him well, was pleased but not surprised. John J. Pershing, commanding the 8th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, had recently lost his wife and three of his four children in a tragic fire.

Thirty-year-old Lieutenant Patton managed to build an acquaintance with the general. An enraged public demanded that Villa be punished. President Woodrow Wilson ordered Pershing to track Villa down and bring him back, dead or alive. Determined not to miss the battle, Patton was able to get an audience with Pershing and asked the general to take him along. Why should I favor you? Pershing was on the line. He performed his missions, some of them hazardous, so boldly and well that Pershing once told a protesting major that whatever Patton ordered were his orders.

On one occasion Patton took five men to ambush Villista General Cardenas, a man he knew Pershing wanted.


Pershing was both surprised and pleased. Within a few months Pershing was headed to France as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force. Patton was at his side, but not for long. Patton joined the fledgling Tank Corps, and he was in his element. Samuel Rockenbach. In late September , the brigade was assigned the most important tank mission in the Meuse-Argonne, that of supporting Gen. Two weeks earlier, in the two-day Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Rockenbach had reprimanded Patton for taking too many chances. Now he exacted a promise from Patton to stay close to headquarters.

Patton was soon up at the front of the column, helping move a tank that got stuck crossing a stream and was under enemy machine-gun fire. Patton motivated his men by threats and personal example. The column began advancing again, with Patton on foot. They soon met more heavy fire, and Patton experienced what he later termed a vision:.

I was trembling with fear when suddenly I thought of my progenitors and seemed to see them on a cloud above the German lines looking at me. Six men went with me. Five were killed and I was wounded, so I was not much in error. Before allowing himself to be carried to the aid station for treatment of his serious leg wound, Patton demanded to be taken to Division Headquarters to report the situation. He had, he announced, placed the brigade under the command of his trusted subordinate Maj. Sereno Brett.

He spent his time in the hospital planning the use of tanks in the next war. Patton in person was a likable man. He was the only officer in the Army that the austere George Marshall referred to by any other than his last name. Except in times of emergency, he joined his staff every night for a cocktail and dinner at Army headquarters. There he played the genial host, often answering incoming telephone calls himself. He was fond of his ugly white bull terrier, Willie. Patton beamed with pride.

He was allowed, for example, to maintain a string of polo ponies wherever he was stationed. When he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, he was excused from the required equitation course.

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General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II
General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II
General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II
General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II
General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II
General Pattons Third Army in World War II General Pattons Third Army in World War II

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