They Did it to Ol’ Blood and Guts, They’ll Do it to Us Too


by Luke Hamilton

In the late summer of 1944, the Allied armies liberated Northern France and began to push deeper into Europe. No one was more effective in his advance than General George S. Patton and the Third Army. After serving his “time-out” for slapping a couple of soldiers who were taking it easy in a med tent, Patton hit the ground running in France and seemed ready to cut his way through to Berlin, rusty bayonet clenched in his teeth. Unfortunately, that never happened. On August 31st, Patton and the Third Army ran out of fuel near Metz, France. He had burned through his supply, keeping the German forces on their heels, and replenishment was not coming.

There are a number of theories as to why Patton’s army was left high and dry, languishing without the fuel to continue. The official rationale was that Eisenhower wanted to present a unified, measured front and was wary of any units which might overextend themselves and compromise the front line. It is clear he prioritized Montgomery’s Market Garden operation over Patton’s demands. Providentially for Ike, the Zone of Communications happened to pick that time to move their HQ back to Paris, tucked safely behind the Allied lines, and that required a lot of trucks; trucks which could have been refueling the Third Army.

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