Top 10 Military Field Tacticians

George S. Patton

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He is now famous for using the Nazis’ own patented tactic against them: blitzkrieg. A “lightning war” is generally thought of as one which concentrates all available men and material into the enemy lines, breaking them, then pressing forward without first defending one’s flanks. To defend one’s flanks gives the enemy valuable time to bring up reserves or prepare its own defenses.

Germany most infamously used this tactic to great effect in France and Russia. The idea was proposed by the next entry, who can be considered the author of the Battle of France. Patton understood blitzkrieg warfare, the fast mobilization of armor to overwhelm the enemy to be successful in almost all cases. It relied on air supremacy but, after 1940, the Allies permanently had this in Europe. Patton first rose to prominence in North Africa, outmaneuvering the German tanks at El Guettar, and winning a fine victory over #5, though #5 was not present.

After North Africa fell to the Allies, Patton was transferred to Sicily and always pressed forward with every available man, using the very same style of fighting against the Germans for which the latter had become legendary. After the Allied conquest of Italy, Patton was given command of the U. S. Third Army, and bashed right through the German lines in France. He was the only Allied general whose army was referred to by the Germans by name, rather than number. When he was on the move, the Wehrmacht did not report that the Third Army was coming, but, “Patton’s Army is coming.”

He only stopped once, near Metz, France, when his entire army ran out of gas. He had intended to conquer Germany on his own. Once resupplied, he relieved the Americans in Bastogne and joined in the Battle of the Bulge. This logistical achievement is particularly impressive and well studied in military schools today. Patton was not in position to relieve Bastogne, but when asked, he immediately accepted the task. His men did not particularly like the freezing cold march, but Bastogne’s defenders were saved.

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