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Was Patton Right?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 12:27
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By Richard Jack Rail  /  American Thinker

This being D-Day, it’s inevitable that thoughts turn to WWII.  The slaughter.  The sacrifices.  The magnificent courage of going forward into the teeth of machine gun fire and artillery barrages onto open beaches.  In perhaps its only redeeming virtue, war brings out the heroism inherent in the human breast.

You can get into some interesting discussions online, and WWII always comes up.  Specifically, the ending of WWII.  Patton wanted to take out the Russians while we were already there, and today, a lot of people think he was right.  But he wasn’t right.  At least, not in the sense he meant.

We had the military and economic might to take out Russia but not the political will.  Ike knew it, and so did Roosevelt.  It would have been a hugely costly continuation of WWII, in both lives and treasure, that Americans would not have supported.  The outcome might well not have been the sort of victory Patton sought.

The Russians had learned to fight against the very best German formations led by the very best higher-level German commanders.  These formations had the superb lower-level leadership (sergeants and company-grade officers) for which Germany was famous.  Most of this lower-level leadership died in the fight with Russia.

In the West, we fought Volksstrum units of teenagers and old men with nothing like the lower-level leadership that the German outfits in the East had had.  You rise or stoop to the level of your opposition, such that by 8 May 1945, the Russians were simply better at war than we were, and their supply lines were much closer to the action than ours.

The main thing going for us was that we hadn’t lost nearly as many men as Russia had, and our people were better fed and healthier.  The main thing on their side was that they had all their best formations and leaders right there.  Our guys were good, and they were courageous, and so were our allies, but in general, they were not as good as the Russians they faced.  That owed to training, leadership, and lessons learned from combat.

It does not degrade our side to look the facts in the face.  We had one outstanding leader on the ground (Patton) along with a bunch of mediocre commanders and formations.  That much is a matter of historical record.  Who would have won a continued war is speculation, but it would not have turned out with Patton triumphantly entering Moscow. 
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  • Slimey

    When you are winning you shouldn’t STOP. You should go on and ANNIHILATE them. But you never do. Now they rise up and threaten your existence, a thorn on your side, a knife in your back.

    In every instance politicians ran your wars instead of your generals. Politics are the bane of mankind. Men who always want a BOOT on your neck and need slaves.

    Generals want your enemies killed. Politicians learn to keep them alive so they can remain in power. :cool:

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