Skip to comments.A Chat w/WW II Vet
Posted on 09/15/2008 6:13:36 AM PDT by 7thson
My wife and I went to a Republican fund-raiser this weekend - a wine-tasting party. At our table an eldery couple sat down - both in their late 80's. The man was a WW II vet. Joked that he joined the army in 1940 only for one year and ended up getting out in 1946. Was in the Normandy invasion all the way to Germany. Was part of the group that liberated Dachau. Swore up and down that Patton was the greatest general ever. Had some good conversation with both he and his wife.
There are fewer and fewer...
I was fortunate to be raised around that generation and I, even as a young knucklehead spud, always appreciated having the opportunity to share their stories and presence.
Its a treasure of life.
Awesome. A few of my pop’s Korean War veteran buddies are also WWII vets. Great stories. To call this the Greatest Generation is truly an understatement. I had the chance to talk with a fella who was also at Normandy. Fascinating.
The vet/hero said that there are more than we think. He’s probably right. There is a man who works for the County - one of those who man one of the county dump sites - who’s also a WW II vet. He’s in his 80’s. The vet/hero I met last Saturday night said you’ve got to keep moving. He said we need men like Patton today but agreed that men like Patton would not be allowed to exist in today’s military. He grudgingly agreed that Petraus is a good general. He and his wife like Powell but I told them a little about Powell and how he is not a true/good Republican. Told them that Powell is just a ticket-puncher and good not shine the shoes of generals such as Ike, Patton, MacArthur or Admrials like Nimitz, Halsey, or Burke.
In 1985 I had the great fortune to sit down and talk with Jimmy Doolittle for about an hour at his home in Carmel, CA.
Before talking to me and a friend (we were currently attending the Defense Language Institute at Monterey) he showed us around his home. I’ll never forget he had a picture on the wall of Ronald Reagan giving General Doolittle his fourth star.
It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Just as an aside, without trying to stir up controversy, my grandfather fought in the Third Army and thought Patton was a moron. He claims the movie representation of him is Hollywood BS. Just a different view from another Vet.
My personal view of Patton - from what I have read and seen over the years - was that he was a great general but like all great men, he had his faults. I watched the movie back when I was a kid and I didn’t get it then the uproar over the slapping incident. However, looking at it now - with what I know and connecting other information to Patton - the Communists hated him. And the press back then was just as liberal as they are today, only back then Soviet Russia was our ally. The press did what it could to tarnish his stars and he helped them to a certain degree. I consider him one of our greatest generals and put him up there with MacArthur, Black Jack, Sherman, Lee, Jackson, Halsey, Nimitz.
Hey, we’re not THAT bad...
It wasn’t the slapping incident and such that concerned my grandfather, but rather that he led from the rear and rode around in staff cars and ate fancy dinners. He thinks as a strategist he was effective, but the heroic vision of him was completely overblown. Just an opinion from a man who fought under him.
Just a thought from someone who doesn’t really have a right to an opinion:
A lot of people think that Patton was a shameless self promoter - something like Custer (without being as stupid as Custer was...) and that he had some issues with impulse control. My father’s opinion is that Omar Bradley was every bit the soldier Patton was, learned all his tricks, etc., without ever developing his problems.
Also, Patton had some stupid ideas. He liked the Sherman tank and thought its only fault was that it needed a second coaxial MG in the gun mantlet. He thought that tanks should be used against infantry and that AT guns and Tank Destroyers were for use against enemy tanks. It could be argued that he got a lot of tankers killed with those beliefs. At good reference would be the book “Death Traps” by Belton Y. Cooper.
Any chance of getting together with him again for an interview to put up n Youtube for all to see?
That was not just Gen. Patton's 'belief', that was US Army Doctrine. Tanks supported infantry & (light tanks) scouted. Tank Destroyers dealt with enemy tanks. A 'belief' can be changed, but Doctrine is what you train to & is much harder switch since it influences the design of the weapons.
It should be noted that only the TD's had guns heavy enough to deal with the frontal armor on some German Tanks, and even then it was iffy.
Rommell used to use his 88MM anti-aircraft guns as "PAK Screens" in the Desert. Draw the enemies' tanks onto the long-range high-velocity guns, then whip around the flanks with your own tanks.
My dad is a WW2 Navy vet. He served in the Pacific on board the USS White Plains.
Didn’t the Germans have the same philosophy?
Tanks against infantry.
Infantry against tanks.
Patton believed that the main weapon an any tank was the machinegun.
Combined arms operations bears out a lot of this approach, especially in urban environments.
...yes, and Heinz Guderian said that the ENGINE was a weapon (if you think about it operationally, he's right).
The Sherman Tank's twin virtues were its relative simplicity & it's ruggedness. It didn't break down as frequently as its German counterparts. When it did it was rapidly put back into action either by its own crew or by support troops. The attrition rate due to malfunctions can be as significant as combat losses when you are trying to maintain the momemtum of an advance.
What type of questions would you like to ask? In fact, anyone reading this, send me questions you would like to ask a WW II vet?
Southerners don't have the equipment to handle snow, or the experience. Granted 1/4 inche is not that much. I am a Southerner who lived in Massachusetts for 20 years, so I know of what I talk about.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.