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General Patton

Old Blood and Guts

by Rod Martin, Jr.

Space: General PattonGeneral Patton and Lt. Col. Bernard
Patton speaking with Lt. Col. Lyle Bernard, at Brolo, circa 1943.
Picture courtesy

George Smith Patton III was a controversial war hero, gaining fame during World War II with the nickname given to him by his men, "Old Blood and Guts." Sometimes flambouyant, sometimes foul-mouthed, he was nonetheless considered a genius on the battlefield. Some of that genius he no doubt attributed to centuries of personal experience. His poem from 1918 (below), "Through a Glass, Darkly," tells of some of that experience.

Patton Timeline

1885:1111 — born George Smith Patton, Jr. (though his father and grandfather were also George Smith Patton, making him third with that name), San Gabriel Township, California.
1909 — graduated West Point.
1912 — Patton participated in the Summer Olympics.
1916–17 — Pancho Villa Expedition.
1917 — Promoted to Captain at start of war.
1917–18 — WWI as first officer assigned to US Tank Corps, seeing action in France.
1918 — At end of war, he had been promoted to full colonel (wartime rank), and awarded Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, and Purple Heart.
1919 — Reverted from wartime rank back to captain.
1931 — Wrote a defense plan anticipating an air raid against Pearl Harbor.
1932 — As a major, served under Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur.
1940 — Colonel Patton given command of 2nd Armored Brigade; later promoted to brigadier general.
1941 — Promoted to major general and made commanding general of 2nd Armored Division. Later, Patton trained his troops in the desert of Imperial Valley, California.
1942:11 — Major General Patton commanded the Western Task Force in Operation Torch for the North African Campaign.
1943:03 — Patton became new commander of the U.S. II Corps, and promoted to lieutenant general. After victory at the Battle of El Guettar, he helped push the Germans and Italians out of North Africa altogether.
1943:07 — Patton commands Seventh Army to protect western flank of British Eighth Army as both advanced towards Messina.
1943:08 — Patton slaps a soldier hospitalized for emotional distress. This nearly ended Patton's career. Relieved of duty for ten months. During this period, because German command viewed Patton with high regard, thinking he would lead the assault on Germany, Patton was given the role of commander of the fictional First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG). As a result of Patton's role, Germans misallocated their forces.
Space: General PattonGeneral Patton with Generals Bradley and Eisenhower
L to R: Generals Bradley, Eisenhowser, and Patton.
Picture courtesy

1944:08 — Patton given command of the U.S. Third Army in Northern France. Superior use of tanks and air support allowed Patton's Third Army to move quickly to the East.
1944:09 — Patton ordered to halt his advance to allow other forces to catch up.
1944:12 — Patton's logistic and tactical genius at the Battle of the Bulge left German forces reeling and retreating.
1945:02 — Patton had pushed his units into the Saarland.
1945:03 — Elements of Patton's Third Army cross the Rhine at Oppenheim.
1945:06 — Patton honored along with Army Air Forces Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle in Los Angeles (parade, Memorial Coliseum reception, metro-area tour, and multiple speaking engagements).
1945:1209 — Patton severely injured in road accident.
1945:1221 — Patton died.

Patton: The Movie

If you have not seen the movie, you are in for a real treat. Even if war movies are not your thing, Patton is inspirational by its larger-than-life portrayal of a real American hero. For your convenience, the link below allows you to find out more about the movie and to purchase the movie on-line.

Click here for more information: Patton: The Movie

Patton Remembers:

Patton Remembers

Select from the list, above

Through a Glass, Darkly

a poem by
George S. Patton, Jr. (1918)

Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.
In the form of many people
In all panoplies of time
Have I seen the luring vision
Of the Victory Maid, sublime.
I have battled for fresh mammoth,
I have warred for pastures new,
I have listed to the whispers
When the race trek instinct grew.
I have known the call to battle
In each changeless changing shape
From the high souled voice of conscience
To the beastly lust for rape.
I have sinned and I have suffered,
Played the hero and the knave;
Fought for belly, shame, or country,
And for each have found a grave.
I cannot name my battles
For the visions are not clear,
Yet, I see the twisted faces
And I feel the rending spear.
Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
In His sacred helpless side.
Yet, I've called His name in blessing
When after times I died.
In the dimness of the shadows
Where we hairy heathens warred,
I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
We used teeth before the sword.
While in later clearer vision
I can sense the coppery sweat,
Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery
When our Phalanx, Cyrus met.
Hear the rattle of the harness
Where the Persian darts bounced clear,
See their chariots wheel in panic
From the Hoplite's leveled spear.
See the goal grow monthly longer,
Reaching for the walls of Tyre.
Hear the crash of tons of granite,
Smell the quenchless eastern fire.
Still more clearly as a Roman,
Can I see the Legion close,
As our third rank moved in forward
And the short sword found our foes.
Once again I feel the anguish
Of that blistering treeless plain
When the Parthian showered death bolts,
And our discipline was in vain.
I remember all the suffering
Of those arrows in my neck.
Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage
As I died upon my back.
Once again I smell the heat sparks
When my Flemish plate gave way
And the lance ripped through my entrails
As on Crecy's field I lay.
In the windless, blinding stillness
Of the glittering tropic sea
I can see the bubbles rising
Where we set the captives free.
Midst the spume of half a tempest
I have heard the bulwarks go
When the crashing, point blank round shot
Sent destruction to our foe.
I have fought with gun and cutlass
On the red and slippery deck
With all Hell aflame within me
And a rope around my neck.
And still later as a General
Have I galloped with Murat
When we laughed at death and numbers
Trusting in the Emperor's Star.
Till at last our star faded,
And we shouted to our doom
Where the sunken road of Ohein
Closed us in it's quivering gloom.
So but now with Tanks a'clatter
Have I waddled on the foe
Belching death at twenty paces,
By the star shell's ghastly glow.
So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, but always me.
And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o'er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.
So forever in the future,
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter,
But to die again, once more.

Space: General Patton

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Buy the Movie, Today!
Academy Award® winning
motion picture about General Patton
during World War II.

General Patton Past Life: hoplite against might of Cyrus the Great
Was Patton part of a hoplite phalanx arrayed against
the might of Cyrus the Great?
Picture courtesy

General Patton Past Life: Hannibal of Carthage
Was Patton Hannibal of Carthage?
Picture courtesy

General Patton Past Life: George C. Scott as Patton at Carthage
George C. Scott as General Patton at Carthage reliving the destruction of his city by the Roman invaders.
Picture courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

General Patton Past Life: Surrender of Vercingetorix to Julius Caesar
Painting of the surrender of Vercingetorix to Julius Caesar. Was Patton one of the Roman soldiers in the Gallic Wars?
Picture courtesy

General Patton Past Life: Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Was Patton the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus?
Picture courtesy

General Patton Past Life: The Battle of Crécy
Was Patton a Flemish soldier at the Battle of Crécy?
Picture courtesy

General Patton Past Life: Marshal of France Michel Ney
Was Patton Marshal of France Michel Ney?
Picture courtesy


Highly Speculative

Patton's Possible Past Lives

559 – 529 BC (?) — Patton's poem suggests that he was part of a hoplite phalanx fighting against Cyrus (the Great?).
248 – 182 BC — the website,, offers the idea that Patton may have been Hannibal. The coincidences upon which this idea is based are interesting, but largely weak. For example, "Both cut their teeth in battle in a Spanish speaking country. Patton in Mexico and Hannibal in Spain." Though the reasoning may be shaky, the idea remains an interesting possibility. In the movie, Patton, the general claims to have been Carthaginian defender. This seems to have been at the Battle of Zama (October 19, 202 BC) which Hannibal lost.
58 – 51 BC — an incident at Langres, France, implies that Patton may have been a Roman legionnaire during the campaigns of Julius Caesar (100 - 44 BC) in Gaul during the Gallic Wars. Apparently, when Patton was stationed there in December, 1917, during World War I, he refused a tour of the town, telling his host that he knew the place well. Instead, he pointed out to his host the various Roman sites.
30 AD — Patton's poem speculates that he may have been the Roman soldier who pierced Christ's side.
1346:0826 — Patton's poem implies that he was a Flemish soldier at the Battle of Crécy.
1769:0110 – 1815:1207 — the website,, makes the seemingly outlandish suggestion that Patton may have been Michel Ney, a Marshal of France under Napoleon I. In the motion picture, Patton, the general claims to have been one of the marshals under Napoleon. Later, he tells his aide of memories of the retreat from Moscow during the War of 1812. In support of the Ney thesis, Patton's poem tells us,
And still later as a General
Have I galloped with Murat
When we laughed at death and numbers
Trusting in the Emperor's Star.
Till at last our star faded,
And we shouted to our doom
Where the sunken road of Ohein
Closed us in it's quivering gloom.

"Murat" might refer to one of Napoleon's marshals — Joachim Murat. Both Michel Ney and Joachim Murat were instrumental in Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia, though the campaign ended in failure. One scene late in the movie, Patton, shows the general remembering the long retreat from Moscow.

Because of his brave support in the retreat from Russia, Michel Ney was given the title of Prince of the Moskowa. (Could Patton's enmity toward the Russians in World War II stem in part from his failure in 1812?) And both Ney and Murat, after the failure of Napoleon, apparently each died from firing squads. These details seem to match those found in the poem.

It seems Patton read the Bible and was a devout Christian. This did not stop him from believing in reincarnation. How do we reconcile such a belief with the contents of the Bible? More information on this may be found at reincarnation in the Bible.

Reality check: Now, none of this proves anything except that Patton had what appears to have been an internally-consistent belief in his prior lives. Any history buff can form such a belief, and Patton was clearly an ardent student of history. Was Patton the reincarnation of so many past warriors? How could we ever know? I choose to believe that he was, but proof in the matter is a different thing.

Click for more reincarnation stories

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