General Patton's alleged remark about British/Cdn troops

Discussion in 'US Units' started by MaisyeTheLanc, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. MaisyeTheLanc

    MaisyeTheLanc Press On Regardless

    I am reading Neillands' book The Battle in Normandy 1944, and in it there are the recollections of a Canadian soldier talking about the battle around Caen. The soldier mentions, in passing, that George Patton had made an "idiotic comment" about "driving us back to the sea for another Dunkirk", basically disparaging their fighting skills.
    Can anyone confirm the full quote, or its source or even if it is true?
    Many thanks in advance,
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It rings a bell faintly. I think the context was Patton's swing north to close the Falaise Gap when he was advancing towards our troops.
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    He pleaded with General Bradley:
    The source was Patton himself. He is quoted in Masters of Battle (Brighton). He was disparaging about the Canadians and Monty’s leadership. But there gain, Patton was disparaging about everyone, except himself.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
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  4. MaisyeTheLanc

    MaisyeTheLanc Press On Regardless

    Thank you Steve!
  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member

    From the book WAR DIARIES 1939-1945- Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke:
    page 360
    My meeting with Patton had been of great interest. I had already heard of him, but must confess that his swash buckling personality exceeded my expectation. I did not form any high opinion of him, nor had I any reason to alter this view at a later date. A dashing, courageous, wild and unbalanced leader, good for operations requiring thrust and push but at a loss in any operation requiring skill and judgement.
  6. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I wouldn't put too much emphasis on what Patton said. He was well known even in the US Army for speaking before he thought. Eisenhower was his best friend before the war and even he often found George hard to take. Loose tongue aside, Patton also suffered from latent Anglophobia, an all too common affliction in the US high command. Mark Clark, Fredendall, Orlando Ward, and Stillwell are other examples. There were historical pre-war reasons for this going back to our war of independence. Our army, don't forget, had long been aligned with and inspired by the French, our first allies against Britain. This American attitude collided with a certain amount of superior feeling on the part of some British officers and politicians (Alex, Kenneth Anderson, MacMillan, all in Tunisia) and as a result both sides got their backs up. Brooke's comments above reflect this. Patton's boastful manner could offend people so much that they found it difficult to see just how able he was. Montgomery, of course, had the same problem. Reading about such incidents and attitudes makes me profoundly grateful that Eisenhower was in supreme command. He, at least, did not suffer from Anglophobia and he labored day and night to combat it and forge a harmonious team.
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  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Amen to that!
  8. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Though there is much to criticise Patton for this was nothing more a 'witty' remark which can be compared to Monty's own line (during The Bulge) that this time there could be no Allied retreat via Dunkirk as it was still held by The Germans. This was considered too much for Churchill to see and it was left out of the version he received.
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Eisenhower was actually a bit of an Anglophile. He often used words like petrol and lorry in meetings, much to Patton's annoyance.

    The American who really hated the British was Admiral King. One of the high command I least admire for many reasons.

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