In any job, there can be personality conflicts, and Lieutenant General George S Patton was not liked by every other officer he served with. Nevertheless, like him or not, Lieutenant General George S Patton’s 3rd Army was successful is battle. On March 22, 1945, soldiers of the United States’ Third Army, under the command of Lieutenant General George S Patton, crossed the Rhine River at Oppenheim, south of Mainz. Patton’s arrival was weeks ahead of his rival, British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery. When Patton went to battle, he was known to fight his own higher command structure nearly as hard as he did the Germans. His comments were often harsh and probably ruffled some feathers, but he was known to get the job done. He was also known for moving farther and more aggressively than ordered, and even having his troops pose as First Army soldiers in order to steal fuel from that unit’s stores in order to maintain their own advance to the east. By March 29, Patton had captured Frankfurt. Then Patton, commonly called “Old Blood and Guts” continued his march east.

Frankfurt am Main, which means “On the Main” River, in western Germany, was the mid-19th century capital of Germany, until it was annexed by Prussia in 1866, in a move that ended its status as a free city, and thereby ending its reign as capital. When Germany was integrated into a united German nation, Frankfurt developed into a significant industrial city, making it a prime target for Allied bombing during the war. Bombing began in July of 1941, during a series of British air raids against the Nazis. By March of 1944, Frankfurt suffered major damage during a raid in which 27,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the nation in a single month. As a result, Frankfurt’s medieval Old Town was virtually destroyed.

Like him or not, Patton was a capable warrior. During the Battle of the Bulge, in December of 1944, General Patton broke through the German lines of the besieged Belgian city of Bastogne. The brave defenders of that city were so thankful for the assistance. Patton continued to push the Germans to the east, heading for his goal…to cross the Rhine. He was so determined that he didn’t care if he had to take down every single bridge along the route, in order to achieve his objective. Upon his arrival, Patton found one bridge…the Ludendorff Bridge, located in the little town of Remagen had not been destroyed. The American troops had already made a crossing on March 7, 1945, in a single great moment in the war and in history. Historically, no enemy army had crossed the Rhine since Napoleon accomplished the feat in 1805. Now there were two. The March 7th crossing and Patton’s grand crossing on March 22nd, and from the bridgehead created there, “Old Blood and Guts” and h is 3rd Army headed east and captured Frankfurt on March 29, 1945.

Still, Patton didn’t stop there. He crossed through southern Germany and into Czechoslovakia, at which point, he was given an order not to take Prague, the capital. It was to be saved for the Soviets to take. After all that, you might expect Patton to be furious, but uncharacteristically, he was not. Nevertheless, Patton desperately wanted to liberate Prague, probably for political, as well as personal reasons. Patton was a great warrior, but he was not above wanting the headlines.

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