“I HOPE THAT NONE OF THE SOLDIERS WILL GET DRUNK BUT AS MOST OF THEM ARE BROKE I GUESS THEY WON’T”: PATTON’S VOLUMINOUS OFFICIAL REPORT ON THE OPERATIONS OF THE THIRD ARMY, ONE OF ONLY 289 COPIES, WITH AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY PATTON LAID IN
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 post-bound gray-brown paper covers. With two-page autograph letter laid in, each leaf measuring 6-1/2 by 10-1/2 inches. Each volume housed in a custom clamshell box. $13,500.
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 1915 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." "In the midst of the sweep through France, the preparation of Third Army's operational history was laid in [Col. Oscar] Koch's lap. Koch organized this job so competently that the final chapters were in the hands of the printers shortly after V-E Day. Other Headquarters did not finish their histories until months later… Weighing 46 pounds, Third Army's two 13-by-18 inch volumes are the most complete and elaborately illustrated post-action reports published by any Headquarters" (Robert Allen, Lucky Forward: The History of Patton's Third U.S. Army, 50). This official report of the daily activities of Patton's Third Army is organized in two sections: "Operations," combining narratives of specific operations with data on movements, casualties, and loss of materiel; and "Staff Section Reports," which contains monthly directives, instructions, action reports, and lessons learned. As the Report contains far too much sensitive information, it remained classified until February 1947. There were only 289 copies of this edition produced in 1945 and at that time, in order to obtain a copy one had to have top security clearance. Markings of the Army War College Library, with manuscript notations of declassification on the covers. Laid into this copy is a two-page autograph letter signed by Patton. The letter reads in full: "S.B. Dec 23, '15. Dear Mama: Merry Christmas. I am very sorry not be home but it can't be helped so we will have to make the best of it. I know that lady B will have a fine time as for R.E she probably doesn't know enough to tell what Xmass is. We have the house decorated with the wreathes you sent and the picture supliments. The Major has not come back yet so we have the house all to ourselves and are going to have all the officers left here to dinner. B and I went to a Cow Boy dance last night and it was very interesting we are going again tonight. There is to be goat-roping this afternoon and some pony races. I hope that none of the soldiers will get drunk but as most of them are broke I guess they won't. I hope you all have a fine Christmas and a happy New Year. With lots of love to all, your devoted son, George S. Patton Jr." Patton was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas in 1915 to serve under General Pershing, who would shortly command American forces against Pancho Villa in Mexico. "Lady B" would be Patton's wife Beatrice; "R.E" refers to his daughter Ruth Ellen, then only 10 months old.
First and last few leaves of each volume with expert paper repairs, letter with just a bit of embrowning. Handsomely boxed.