Patton's World War I experience

Washington Post:
WWII made Patton a hero, but the ‘Great War’ made him a commander

A World War I exhibit at the Library of Congress shows how the young George S. Patton saw the “white-hot joy” of battle.
Before World War I, Patton was involved in the "punitive" strike against the Mexican bandits who were invading and killing Americans.  It was in the very early days of the automobile and he a group of soldiers took cars into Mexico to chase down one of the bandit leaders.  They found him at a hacienda, and successfully attacked him and his supporters.

As a cavalry officer, he was interested in the relatively new invention of tanks and convinced Gen. Pershing that his experience in Mexico qualified him to lead a mechanized assault.  After the war, he worked with Eisenhower on improving tank operations before the government decided to do away them between the wars.

BTW, the tanks got their name from the British who were trying to keep this new secret weapon under wraps from the Germans.  It was called a tank to make the enemy think it was a vessel for carrying water to the troops.

The machinery of warfare, beginning with the US Civil War had made the horse cavalry irrelevant.  Tanks became the equivalent of heavy cavalry, and planes were similar to light cavalry.  Together they returned combined arms operations to the battlefield.


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