Monday, December 21, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1804


Heidelberg, Germany (JFK+50) Seventy years ago today, December 21, 1945, U.S. Army General George S. Patton, known as "Old Blood and Guts," died in a military hospital here in Heidelberg.

The cause of death was given as pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure that followed a severe injury to his head sustained in an automobile accident on December 9, 1945.

The General had been sitting in the rear seat of a car that was struck by a 2.5 ton truck.  Patton was on his way to a hunting trip at the time of the accident.

Although the car crash at first glance seemed minor, General Patton's head had struck a metal part of a partition that separated the front and rear seats causing a severe cervical spinal cord injury.

When he arrived at the hospital, Patton said: "Jesus Christ, what a way to start a leave."

George S. Patton was born into a military family in San Gabriel, California in 1885.  He attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909.

Patton served in World World I and organized the American Tank School in France.  He won the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Medal.

General Patton won fame in World War II and was Commander of the U.S. Third Army which...

 "advanced further, captured more prisoners & liberated more territory in less time than any other army in history."

On December 22, 1945, 7th Army General Orders 635 read...

"With deep regret, announcement is made of the death of General George S. Patton, Jr. Probably no soldier has had a greater compliment paid to him than that given (Patton) by his most powerful & skilled opponents.  He was termed the ablest American field commander by the German army on any front."


General George Patton Museum of Leadership at Fort Knox,

"Patton and His Third Army," Brenton G. Wallace (1946)

Grave of General George S. Patton
 Hamm, Luxemburg (2006)
Photo by Michel Dieleman