August 1, 1944 ~ Patton’s Third Army Begins Normandy Breakout
August 1, 1944 – Seven weeks after D-Day, George S. Patton’s Third U.S. Army is unleashed from its holding pen in Normandy and simultaneously attacks the North, South, East, and West beginning its 281 days of operations against the Nazi menace.
At noon on 1 August, the U.S. Third Army was activated under the command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton.
Positioned on the right flank of the US 12th Army Group commander Omar Bradley, the 3rd Army was tasked with clearing Brittany and securing Atlantic ports.
The static warfare of the previous two-month was immediately transformed into Patton’s style of Mobile operations.
Patton drove is forces with outright abandon and seeming recklessness west into Brittany, south, east toward the Seine, and north, assisting in trapping several hundred thousand German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.
The Third Army took off in a type of American blitzkrieg not seen since Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s rapid marches through Georgia and the Carolinas during the U.S. Civil War.
Patton wrote a poem commemorating the occasion:
Absolute War ~ by Gen. George S. Patton
Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange.
If we accept them we will never win.
Since by being realistic, as in mundane combats fistic,
We will get a bloody nose and that’s a sin.
To avoid such fell disaster, the result of fighting faster,
We resort to fighting carefully and slow.
We fill up terrestrial spaces with secure expensive bases
To keep our tax rate high and death rate low.
But with sadness and with sorrow we discover to our horror
That while we build, the enemy gets set.
So despite our fine intentions to produce extensive pensions
We haven’t licked the dirty bastard yet.
For in war just as in loving, you must always keep on shoving
Or you’ll never get your just reward.
For if you are dilatory in the search for lust and glory
You are up shit creek and that’s the truth, Oh! Lord.
So let us do real fighting, boring in and gouging, biting.
Let’s take a chance now that we have the ball.
Let’s forget those fine firm bases in the dreary shell raked spaces.
Let’s shoot the works and win! Yes, win it all!