Skip to comments.General Patton s Speech Somewhere in England June 5th, 1944
Posted on 06/30/2002 8:57:02 AM PDT by Lockbox
Herein follows a copy of General Patton's (unabridged) speech to 3rd Army on the eve of D-Day. Although not Politically Correct by contemporary standards, in the context of the pending invasion of Europe and the human losses anticipated, it communicated an important message to his target audience.
Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.
You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, every one of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.
Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they ARE He Men. Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.
All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call "chicken shit drilling." That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of shit! There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we're going up against. By God, I do.
My men don't surrender, and I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bull shit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, 'Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.' But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like? No, Goddamnit, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the 'G.I. Shits.'
Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, 'Fixing the wire, Sir.' I asked, 'Isn't that a little unhealthy right about now?' He answered, 'Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.' I asked, 'Don't those planes strafing the road bother you?' And he answered, 'No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!' Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.
And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts.
Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.
Don't forget, you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Someday I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, 'Jesus Christ, it's the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton.' We want to get the hell over there." The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket.
War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do!
I don't want to get any messages saying, 'I am holding my position.' We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!
From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, 'Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.' No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, 'Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a- Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!'
"Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle." ..... "Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge."
To set the record straight as a guy from an infantry unit that was attached briefly to Patton's 3rd Army in December 1944 (Bulge time), guys fought because it was the right thing to do not because they "loved it".
But I think these lines fit a lot of the 'let's get in war' crowd in Washington and the assorted war pundits.
"This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking!"
To apply Patton's test on the writer's qualification, would someone please post the names of those among the Washington war advocates who themselves or have sons or daughters in 'real fighting' units?
Maybe I misunderstood you but here's three! Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and George H Bush. I think they were in "real fighting units."
Easily said out of its soul.
About Patton's talk, There is no poltiical correctness in foxholes.
And so they were but their like is not around. I was addressing the present pundits and leaders in the policial area who are leading the current charge for war and wonder how many of them, or their children, were in 'real fighting units'. Aside from Powell, I am tapped out. Gore was a REMF. I don't know Sen Kerry's position on bombing the world. McCain is still brain-washed so I can't count him.
Kinda like the Pledge of Allegiance, or God Bless America, huh?
Next time it's posted, don't read it.
I wonder what Patton would have thought of George C. Scott's portrayal of his delivery of it. [MP.3 file]
I wonder what Patton would have thought of George C. Scott's portrayal of his delivery of it. [MP.3 file]
See the following. General Patton read from notes, to which he added his own particular emphasis, but a typed transcript was made, and a congressman, among others, thankfully kept a copy, and of course many of those who heard it that day could remember it nearly word for word- Patton meant for it to be remembered by those who heard it, and they did.
There is at least one other Patton speech that was wire recorded [in Los Angeles, 12 June 1945] if you care to hear him at work for yourself. But the address to his troops on the eve of the D-Day invasion is the one that really matters.
Most interestingly, George Scott's version was NOT the first artistic recreation of Patton's effort that day, but the second. Again, see the article here, and put yourself in the GI shoes of a 20-year old former civilian, recently drafted and with about a year's experience before you go on to what you know is coming...but with an outcome noone can predict. You're in Patton's Third Army, for good or for bad, and you're with a lot of guys a lot like you. You're marched off to hear the Old Man tell you what to expect, and you hear that speech.
A little more than a year later, their war was won and they were going home. In the war against the Japs, we had the atomic bomb, and used it well. In the European war they had Patton, and his Third Army...after they heard that speech. And Patton used them well. Like a sword.
And he's buried with them. He too was one of the ones who didn't make it back. No parades, no thanks from a grateful nation, no homecoming, just a GI box with a flag over it, and the company of those who soldiered with him, forever.
That'll do as a fitting end and memorial for General Patton.
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace.
"Moral courage is the most valuable and
usually the most absent characteristic in men."
Live for something rather than die for nothing.
Its the unconquerable soul of man, not the nature of the weapon he uses, that insures victory.
Youre never beaten until you admit it.
Often I have encountered in life that great disappointments have proved to be the road to future successes.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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