After Action Report, Third U.S. Army

WORLD WAR II   |   George S. PATTON

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“WHAT IS CALIFORNIA GOING TO DO ABOUT JAPAN? I HOPE THEY CAUSE A WAR”: PATTON’S VOLUMINOUS OFFICIAL REPORT ON THE OPERATIONS OF THE THIRD ARMY, ONE OF ONLY 289 RICHLY ILLUSTRATED COPIES, WITH AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY PATTON LAID IN

(WORLD WAR II) PATTON, George S. After Action Report, Third U.S. Army, 1 August 1944 - 9 May 1945. [Washington: U.S. Army, 1945]. Two volumes. Thick oblong folio (18 by 13 inches), original three-quarter navy leatherette, later stitching, pictorial boards, cartographic endpapers. Housed in matching custom clamshell boxes.

First edition of this classified official report of the daily activities of Patton’s Third Army, with details of the famous operation “Overlord,” illustrated with hundreds of photographs, charts and maps, marked “Secret” on every page. With a fine 1913 autograph letter to his mother signed by Patton laid in.

Under the command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., the Third Army participated in eight major European operations throughout their 281 days of “constant battle during which we have engaged in every type of combat except defensive.” They “gave new meaning to ‘hard charging, hard hitting, mobile warfare.’ The Third Army’s swift and tenacious drive into and through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria contributed immeasurably to the destruction of the Nazi war machine” (BACM Research). When the staff of the Third Army docked at Glasgow, Scotland, and had settled into their billets, Patton, dressed in full military regalia, gave them this greeting: “I don’t fight for fun and I won’t tolerate anyone on my staff who does. You’re here to fight. Ahead of you lies battle. That means one thing. You can’t afford to be a fool, because in battle fools mean dead men. It’s inevitable for men to be killed and wounded in battle. But, there’s no reason why such losses should be increased because of the incompetence and carelessness of some stupid S.O.B. We‘re here because some crazy Germans decided they were supermen and that they had a right to rule the world. They’ve been pushing people around all over the world, looting, killing, and abusing millions of innocent men, women, and children. They were getting ready to do the same thing to us. We have to fight to protect ourselves. If you don’t like to fight, I don’t want you around. You had better get out before I kick you out. There’s one thing you have to remember. In war, it takes more than the desire to fight to win. You’ve got to have more than guts to lick the enemy. You also must have brains. It takes brains and guts to win wars. A man with guts but no brains is only half a soldier. We whipped the Germans in Africa and Sicily because we had brains as well as guts. We’re going to lick them in Europe for that same reason. That’s all. Good luck.” Laid into this copy is a three-page autograph letter (one leaf of 7-3/4 by 11-1/2 inch green paper, folded once) signed by Patton, that reads in full: “Dear Mama: Nothing of particular merit has happened this week. Beatrice went up to Wilmington N.J. to the marriage of some cousin of hers and brought K. [Beatrice’s sister, Kay] back with her. K. just left here today. K has quite a serious suitor named Merril who seems a nice fellow [Kay married Merrill in 1917]. Smith went to the polo game yesterday and when she came home told about it as if she had done the whole thing. And how she had worked the ball.

“Mr. Gordon Johnston got made a captain and went away so that we have no team much left only three good men. To add to this it rained for five days straight and that made things so muddie that we could not practice. You must have had a fine trip in the machine. If we go to the races at Boston in June I think I shall drive up it could be done in two days with good weather.

“After the War Department duty on a post is not as exciting as it might be but it is a good thing. My hand is quite well now and I think the cuts are making the hair grow. What is California going to do about Japan? I hope they cause a war. With lots of love, George S. Patton Jr.”

Near-fine condition. Scarce, desirable with an autograph letter signed by Patton.

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