I seem to recall a Bill Mauldin cartoon featuring the iconic GIs Willie and Joe making comments as General George Patton passes by.
Willie says, “there goes old blood and guts” and Joe says, “yeah, our blood and his guts.”
George Patton is certainly a legend but there was a time when he was relatively unknown-a time well before he became “old blood and guts.”
I found the above issue of Life Magazine featuring Patton on the cover at the 100 Mile Rummage Sale along the Mississippi river boundary between MN and WI.
The gal wanted $10.00 but she took $8.00.
Finding Life Magazines from the WW2 years at $10.00 a copy is indeed something rare and this example is in excellent condition.
It’s dated July 7th, 1941 exactly five months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the US into WW2.
The issue is titled “Defense Issue” and “U.S. Arms” clearly indicating that sooner or later the US would be in the war. The feature article is written in such a way to convey the message and to reassure Americans we were prepared.
The cover features Patton in the turret of a light tank (misidentified in the article as a medium tank). The tank appears to be a M3 or M2A2 Stuart named for Jeb Stuart the legendary Confederate cavalry commander (would not be pc today to name a tank after a Confederate).
At the time Patton was the commander of the 2nd Armored Division which according to the article featured 385 tanks and 1900 other vehicles. Patton is quoted in the article titled “Armored Force” as saying the 2nd Armored Division is “the strongest force ever devised by man.”
The article goes on to say that the point of the US armored forces (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Armored Divisions) is to be a match for the German Panzer Divisions which at the time had just invaded Soviet Russia.
The creation of the armored divisions was only about a year old; no doubt spurred on by the German successes in Poland, the Low Countries, France and the Balkans where blitzkrieg warfare led by the panzers paved the way for victory after victory.
The article goes on to detail a mock war-game between the US 1st Armored and 2nd Armored Division modeled after the German crossing of the Meuse River the previous year.
The article is a 18 page spread of the war-game featuring the tanks, scout cars, armored cars, infantry, airplanes, and artillery; all designed to impress the reader with American power.
The article isn’t so much about Patton as it is bragging about the tank component of the newly formed armored divisions. Below is a YouTube video featuring a war-game with Stuart M2A2 tanks from 1938.