Patton’s Leadership Demanded Discipline

April 15, 2013

General George Patton

On 6 March 1943 Patton was assigned as Commanding General II Corps and he hit them like “Moses descending from Mount Ararat.” But instead of the Ten Commandments he brought his own personal text of severe, unrelenting discipline. He motored around all the units, down to the battalion level, escorted by siren-screeching scout cars and half-tracks, all bristling with weapons and covered in the largest stars his aides could produce. No unit was spared from his blistering speeches, and such regulations as wearing ties, leggings, helmets, and sidearms, and shaving every day were rigorously enforced.

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“At this point [according to one Patton biographer, Alden Hatch] Patton was probably the most unpopular commander in American history. But something happened to II Corps. It became, in spite of itself, a Patton army—the first one—tough and bitter and proud; capable of doing the impossible, and then going out the next day and doing it again.”

Lt. Col. Lyle Bernard, CO, 30th Inf. Regt., discusses military strategy with Lt. Gen. George S. Patton. Near Brolo, 1943.

George Forty, The Armies of George S. Patton, quoted in Alan Axelrod, Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare (Paramus, N.J.: Prentice Hall Press, 1999), 176.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 273

 

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