Skip to comments.A 1944 Christmas miracle for Gen. Patton
Posted on 12/26/2010 6:31:05 AM PST by Saije
In early December 1944, Gen. George S. Patton Jr., commander of the United States' 3rd Army, stood with his troops at Germany's doorstep. He'd pushed his men across France toward Germany with furious speed during summer and early fall, but in the last months, as he drove through France's Lorraine region toward the Saar River, progress stalled. Fuel and supplies were running short, and perhaps even more deviling, the weather wouldn't cooperate. Driving rains had mired his troops and grounded the fighter planes and bombers needed for air support.
On Dec. 8, Patton turned to a higher power to clear the skies. He asked Chaplain James H. O'Neill if he knew of a "good prayer for the weather," according to military historian and Patton expert Kevin M. Hymel. "We must do something about these rains," Patton said, "if we are to win the war."
After some thought and research, O'Neill came up with the following:
"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen."
...Throughout history, soldiers have called upon their gods for protection and victory over their enemies. But Patton's now legendary prayer was extraordinary in its presumption and audacity, said Hymel. "There were four other American commanders in the European Theater during that time, and none of them were asking God to fix the weather."
The prayer also makes one question what led Patton to his conviction that he could control the weather?
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Patton was a great General and man of God. The Holy Spirit worked well through him. May we always find open hearts and faithful people willing to serve and obey God.
Amen to that.
But the clearing skies and Patton’s progress were both answers to the 101st Airborne’s prayers, hayna? Or no?
We could use a few more Pattons in the new year...
Didn’t Eisenhower pray for the weather to cooperate on D-Day?
Amen, what a jerk for a reporter! We need a lot more Pattons and a lot fewer Al Gores today!
............and a californian.
Well, Gore’s prayer to Gaia for a warmer climate didn’t work - costing him a few billion dollars. :)
Another reason to be thankful during this Christmas season!
In both the govt and military.
I agree. She certainly is not a Patton fan. She probably also hates God and homeschooling, another twofer for a liberal.
A lefty’s take on it,Patton asked GOD for fair weather,True American Warrior RIP Sir.
Earth to reporter: Patton knew he couldn't control the weather which is why he asked for God's help.
"They have us surrounded, the poor bastards!"
"Sir, we're surrounded."..."We're paratroopers, son. We're supposed to be."
In today’s military the US needs a lot more leaders like Patton. Instead the US has a bunch of pansiified military leaders that are ballless wonders and have no backbone to so to the president and Congress go to h - e- double hockey sticks and start knocking some doors down to deal with the problems in the world. A pansified military like the gay Thebes military and the gay Spartan military were all wiped out. Military leaders whom are strong pray to God. It is the weak military leader whom relys on himself to think he knows what God thinks that is the problem.
Patton prayed to God and asked if was in his will for the 3rd US Army to be able to have a battle against the forces of evil that Germany represented. Patton also wanted to keep going eastward and wipe out the SOBs in Russia, but Patton died shortly after the war was over in a military vehicle and horse drawn carriage accident (what an irony)
“The prayer also makes one question what led Patton to his conviction that he could control the weather?”
I think the writer doesn’t understand the whole prayer thing. Patton control the weather? No, he couldn’t, so he asked for divine help.
No men were any braver than the 101st, but they were relieved just the same by other brave Americans.
Some believe that "irony" was an assassination.
Let's be honest here. Fuel and supplies weren't "running short" as if it were some sort of supply problem. Eisenhower put the brakes on Patton's devastating thrust towards Germany in favor of Montgomery's ridiculous Market Garden fiasco. If Patton had gotten all the logistical support he needed, I really believe he might have ended the war by Christmas.
What a snarky article that was - basically saying “Patton believed in God because he was a privileged brat when growing up”
Its clear Patton was taught about HONOR and FIDELITY as great virtues when he was young. Something of which LA Times reporters have no concept.
I do too.
Montgomery was an ass that cost the Allies a lot of good men.
“Wars aren’t won by dying for your country. ‘’Wars are won by making the other dumb son of a bitch die for his’’.— General George Patton. Lord, do we need soldiers like this.
Hey Allison, until you grow a pair and have actually experienced battle, STFU, especially about a man who saw his duty to fight evil at every turn.
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While D-Day was obviously aided in a miraculous break in the weather, Eisenhower was known to pray before battles, and the website below did quote Eisenhower many years afterwards saying something like “that break in the weather proved there is a God.” I recalled a “National Day of Prayer” for some WWII event, it looks like I might be remembering the one about Dunkirk. From a website talking about the weather, the hand of God, and wars throughout history:
During two short weeks in May 1940, the Germans launched a blitzkrieg offensive that broke through French lines, defeated the Belgians and pinned a reeling British army against the ocean at Dunkirk. Several British generals said that “only a miracle” could save their beleaguered forces.
Yet with certain victory within their grasp, Hitler suddenly halted German tanks just 20 miles from Dunkirk, fearing that they were dangerously exposed and had outrun their supply lines. During this lull, a severe thunderstorm grounded German planes, allowing Allied troops to move toward Dunkirk and set up a defense perimeter.
Following a National Day of Prayer led by King George VI for the hopelessly trapped army, the British began an evacuation effort that lasted for nine days, during which the normally rough and unpredictable English Channel remained as smooth as a “mill pond.” Yet, the day after the evacuation ended, “the wind moved to the north, and giant breakers came rolling over the empty beaches” (The Miracle of Dunkirk, Lord, p. 272).
A British general recorded that “the evacuation of Dunkirk was surely a miracle” and Churchill called the evacuation of more than 330,000 soldiers (almost the entire British army) a “miracle of deliverance.” The Daily Telegraph described the thankfulness of “officers and men who have seen the hand of God delivering them from the hand of a mighty foe” (June 8, 1940). The British people knew that God had unmistakably intervened!
Thanks for the ping proud parent of a son named Ryan Patton **.
I wonder would the world be a different place if they had let him go all the way to Moscow??
If, after the war in Europe and Japan were over, and the US had built a nuclear arsenal and told Stalin “get out of eastern Europe or else”, it would have been a different world, a different Europe, even a different Asia and Middle East. Didn’t, wasn’t. ;’(
Actually i was thinking more along the lines of not stopping Patton and the 3rd army and let them run all the way to Moscow before the war ended.
Every time we quit a war it comes back to bite us..
As a kid I thought it odd that he would have known that the Soviets were our enemies back then. But even though they may be an allie (sp?) at the time, they were still against the very ideals of America - and most folks saw that perhaps.
That said, I wonder how we would have fared going up against the Soviets at the time? I know Hitler sure got beat up bad by them - and their weather! And public opinion may not have held for that extended campaign that we had started against an “allie”. I imagine books have been written on the subject.
Pattons army fought all the way through Germany in winter .
Russia’s weather ,it defeated Napoleon and the Nazis,so yes who knows what have happened..
Oh, I know, but his plan included changing alliances and joining up with the (shattered) Wehrmacht and Waffen SS. It had to; the Red Army had a staggering level of men under arms and firepower at the close of the war, far more than the US and UK had, and they didn’t demobilize for real until the Warsaw Pact disintegrated in the 1980s (thank you and bless you, Poland!).
Politically Patton’s plan was unachievable, and probably wasn’t within military feasibility either (and I’m a big, huge fan of Patton and his abilities). After the nukes went off and Japan surrendered, Truman should have told Stalin to stfu, forget about anything in the Far East (because the USSR never fired a shot against Japan until Germany was ground into dust), and btw, get out of eastern Europe. It was a major failure not to use that advantage while we had it.
I agree with you ,now that we look back on history it is nice to think what could have been.
Patton was not a politician it probably added to his demise..
I agree with you, too. Patton should have been given the resources to blast right across the Rhine and drive on Berlin, it would have caused a major consternation in what was left of the German war planning; Hitler’s Antwerp plan (the Battle of the Bulge) would have been born dead, and also it would have settled once and for all which of the generals really did have it going on — Patton, or that handful of military geniuses among German field commanders.
Afterthought regarding my earlier what-if — for that matter, the Korean War probably would not have happened, either.
For one thing you probably would have had something resembling a mutiny among tens of thousands of GIs who were very tired of war by that time. The idea of initiating a major new war against our erstwhile Russian ‘ally’ on the heels of defeating Germany is a thought peculiar to Americans far removed those times. Patton was given to hyperbole and short of the Soviets invading the western sectors nothing was going to happen. The Soviets had a massive battle hardened army with internal lines of supply. It’s not hard to figure out how long and bloody that fight would have been.
Devers and Patch already had a Rhine bridgehead secured near Strasbourg in late November 1944. Eisenhower wouldn’t let them exploit it because he wanted the American push to be farther north. If Patton had been allowed to drive across the Rhine as early and fast as he wanted he would have been enveloped by the forces that in fact launched the Bulge. Eisenhower had suspected that the Germans still were concealing a lot of strength, which the Bulge offensive proved. Ike’s strategy was one of pressure across a wide front, forcing the Germans to defend a large area rather than concentrate their forces.
And that's not even the half of it.
What did you think, a war is a walk in the park?
That armies can just ramble around, wandering hither & yon, like Hitler in Russia, and expect to win anything?
Do you imagine that America had an infinite supply of not only war materials, but also endless enthusiasm to go sacrificing millions of our own boys deep in the heart of Eur-Asia?
And for what?
When had "Uncle Joe" ever attacked us?
For that matter, if you believed the "mainstream media" of the day, wasn't Russia some sort of socialist democracy, sort of like heaven on earth?
Why would we want to fight those people?
The simple fact is that, short of some kind of direct attack on us, there was no way the American people were going to support yet another war, and against the very folks who had just sacrificed so much to help us win The Big One.
So Patton, God bless him, could bluster all he wanted to, but Americans were not going to kill one Russian who did not shoot at us first.
That's a simple fact.
Man of God? Holy Spirit? By my lights, Patton was more of a self-enamored Deist, along the lines of Jefferson or McClellan, giving lip service to God and Country but primarily a driven achiever and acquirer.
Yep, just like a whole lot of us sinners.
Except that (with God’s help) Patton got a whole lot more done than the rest of us.
God bless and keep Gen. Patton.
Aside from diverting supplies to Monty there was a real supply problem for the armies as a whole. Monty did not grasp the importance of Antwerp until after his Market Garden failure. Most allied supplies were still being brought in from Normandy by the Red Ball Express, a constantly moving column of 2 1/2 ton trucks. By the time the armies reached the German border their size and distance from Normandy made if very difficult for the efficiently run Express to keep up. Monty finally opened the Scheldt to shipping at the end of November 1944, greatly shortening the supply lines and using a much bigger port. Of course, one of the objective of the German Bulge offensive was to take Antwerp back.
One would think that the previous offensives by the Germans (both WWs) would have tipped off the western allies that just maybe another one was coming. Patton had to pick up the broken pieces, had to fend off Monty’s efforts to strip him of supplies, and for that matter, Monty’s insistence on having part of the US army put under his command, then grandstanding in a press conference about the transfer.
As I’ve said a number of times, Monty should have been assassinated not long after D-Day, and the assassination pinned on the Germans. The war of liberation would have gone much smoother.
The British approach during the war was to let the USSR take the brunt for as long as possible, and to let the Germans wear themselves out fighting on that front. Churchill’s other annoying crap, such as his “soft underbelly of Europe” BS, all grew out of that strategy. The Italian campaign was some of the hardest fighting of the war, strictly because of the highly defensible terrain. Thanks, Winston.
Operation Market Garden was a fiasco, and probably couldn’t have been otherwise with Monty running it — and it was intended to succeed, but was launched in the first place to let the Germans keep busy fighting the Red Army advance. Stalin was continuously furious in those wartime conferences because he wanted a second front, and wasn’t getting it. North Africa wasn’t it, Italy wasn’t it, and D-Day came a full year after the Battle of Kursk.
“The British approach during the war was to let the USSR take the brunt for as long as possible,”
And that proved wise. The Dieppe Raid of August 1942 took over 50% casualties. Grabbing a beachhead on continental Europe wasn’t going to be easy.
For one thing we needed thousands of Higgins Boats and they weren’t ready until 1944. And as fruitless as the hard fighting in Italy might appear, it taught the American army a great deal about fighting the Germans while tying German divisions down away from the French coast. The Normandy Invasion took place one day after the liberation of Rome.