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Prevented From Conquering Europe: General George S. Patton, Jr. by John Wear

American historian Rick Atkinson writes that George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945) is widely regarded as the best field commander in the American army during World War II. Patton was certainly the one most feared by the Germans, who complimented him before the Normandy invasion by massing defenses against a nonexistent Army Group Patton. By V-E Day in 1945, Patton commanded 18 divisions and 540,000 soldiers, a force comparable in size to the entire American military at its peak in Vietnam.[1]
This article discusses whether Gen. George Patton was held back by Allied military leaders from conquering Europe, his activities in Europe after the war, and whether he was murdered by Allied forces after the war.
On July 28, 1944, Gen. Patton was given control of the troops of the Third Army in Europe. The Third Army made rapid advances in Western Europe under Patton’s leadership.[2]
The Allied military leaders, however, intentionally prevented Gen. Patton from quickly defeating Germany in Western Europe. In August 1944, Patton’s Third Army was presented with an opportunity to encircle the Germans at Falaise, France. However, Gens. Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower ordered Patton to stop at Argentan and not complete the encirclement of the Germans, which most historians agree Patton could have done. As a result, probably 100,000 or more German soldiers escaped to later fight U.S. troops in December 1944 in Germany’s last-ditch counterattack known as the Battle of the Bulge.[3]
Patton wrote in his diary concerning the halt that prevented the encirclement of Germans at Falaise: “This halt [was] a great mistake. [Bradley’s] motto seems to be, ‘In case of doubt, halt.’ I wish I were supreme commander.”[4]

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