65 years ago on Aug 3rd, Gen Patton was involved in a little incident

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Slapping incident and removal from command

    Even worse for him was the "slapping incident", which occurred on August 3, 1943 that nearly ended Patton's career. The matter became known after newspaper columnist Drew Pearson revealed it on his November 21 radio program, reporting that General Patton had been "severely reprimanded" as a result. Allied Headquarters denied that Patton had been reprimanded, but confirmed that Patton had slapped a soldier.

    According to witnesses, General Patton was visiting patients at a military hospital in Sicily, and came upon a 24-year old soldier who was weeping. Patton asked "What's the matter with you?" and the soldier replied, "It's my nerves, I guess. I can't stand shelling." Patton "thereupon burst into a rage" and "employing much profanity, he called the soldier a 'coward'" and ordered him back to the front. As a crowd gathered, including the hospital's commanding officer, the doctor who had admitted the soldier, and a nurse, Patton then "struck the youth in the rear of the head with the back of his hand". Reportedly, the nurse "made a dive toward Patton, but was pulled back by a doctor" and the commander intervened. Patton went to other patients, then returned and berated the soldier again.

    When General Eisenhower learned of the incident, he ordered Patton to make amends, after which, it was reported, "Patton's conduct then became as generous as it had been furious," and he apologized to the soldier "and to all those present at the time," After the film Patton was released in 1970, Charles H. Kuhl recounted the story and said that Patton had slapped him across the face and then kicked him as he walked away. "After he left, they took me in and admitted me in the hospital, and found out I had malaria," Kuhl noted, adding that when Patton apologized personally (at Patton's headquarters) "He said he didn't know that I was as sick as I was." Kuhl, who later worked as a sweeper for Bendix Corporation in Mishawaka, Indiana, added that Patton was "a great general" and added that "I think at the time it happened, he was pretty well worn out himself." Kuhl died on January 24, 1971.

    As it turned out, Patton had slapped another soldier ten days earlier, though Kuhl's story was the one that received publicity. Other reporters had decided to keep the incident quiet, and Kuhl's parents had avoided mention of the matter "because they did not wish to make trouble for General Patton." Eisenhower thought of sending Patton home in disgrace, as many newspapers demanded. But after consulting with George Marshall, Eisenhower decided to keep Patton in the European theater, but without a major command. Eisenhower used Patton's "furlough" as a trick to mislead the Germans as to where the next attack would be, since they assumed Patton would lead the attack and he was the general they feared the most. During the 10 months Patton was relieved of duty, his prolonged stay in Sicily was interpreted by the Germans to be indicative of an upcoming invasion of southern France. Later, a stay in Cairo was interpreted as heralding an invasion through the Balkans. German intelligence misinterpreted what happened and made faulty plans as a result.
     
  2. m kenny

    m kenny Banned

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    I have often heard this claim that the Germans 'feared' Patton but oddly enough have never seen it substantiated. Perhaps someone has a concrete example where this 'fear' was committed to print-by a German.
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I too have never actually seen this substantiated. It is like the Forked Devil thing about the P-38. I am sure they respected Patton very much though.

    Good post though syscom.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Yes, respected him. I believe they thought of him as a highly proficient practitioner of armoured warfare. Thus "dangerous".
     
  5. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    that's a funny incident (to outsiders)
    but the behavior of the soldier is totally acceptable
    "the wars are fought with kids in the field of battle and old men in the politics"
    a statement done by someone...
    still: not even all the persons are ment to fight
     
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