GENERAL GEORGE S . PATTON , PUT THE SPIRITUAL BACK IN WARFARE
Something else I watched concerning George S .Patton, the most successful military general ever in US history , liberating more troops and prisoners and covering more ground and inflicting more casualties on the enemy than any other general in history ! He spoke of and firmly believed that he was destined by Almighty God to be a great warrior , as he was , and even though he was a course individual his faith and belief in Almighty God was unshakable .
In fact one time there was a key military offensive in Europe , The Battle at Bastogne France , that was being held up due to the weather .
This was a crucial battle that would prove to be a linchpin offensive leading to our ultimate victory over the evil of Hitler’s forces .
The weather continued to not offer favorable conditions so Patton went to the army chaplain and asked him to compose a prayer for favorable conditions to come about so we could proceed with our battle plans.
The following facts are excerpts from James H. O’Neill’s website .
On December 8th 1944 Patton called the Head Chaplin of the Third Army
, Msgr . James H. O’Neal , and said , “ this is General Patton ; do you
have a good prayer for weather ? We must do something about those rains
if we are to win the war “ .
After he hung up the phone he looked out on the steadily falling rain that had plagued Patton’s army throughout the Moselle and Saar campaigns , from September until now , December 8th , and decided the appropriate description of them would be , “ immoderate “ .
The prayer read , “ Almighty and most merciful Father ,we humbly beseech Thee , of Thy great goodness , to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend . Grant US fair weather for Battle .
Graciously hearken to US as soldiers who call upon Thee that ,
armed with Thy power , we may advance from victory to victory and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations “ . After handing this prayer to Patton for his inspection , Patton handed it back to him and said , “ Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one “.
Patton continued , “ Chaplin sit down for a moment , I want to talk to you about this business of prayer “ as he rubbed his face in his hands and was silent for a moment then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As Usual, he was dressed stunningly , and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window.
The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility .
Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line , to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance came.
What was coming now ?
“ Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army ? “ was his question. I parried: “ Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men ? “ “By everybody “ , he replied. To this I countered: “ I am afraid to admit it , but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting , everyone prays , but now with this constant rain — when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen . Prayer out here is difficult . Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done .”
The General left the window, and again seated himself at his desk , leaned back in his swivel chair , toying with a long lead pencil between his index fingers .
“Chaplain , I am a strong believer in Prayer . There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by Praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that’s working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory , success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it Almighty God. Almighty God has His part, or margin in everything, That’s where prayer comes in. Up to now, in the Third Army, Almighty God has been very good to US.
have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no
epidemics. This is Because a lot of people back home are praying for
US. We were lucky in Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy. Simply Because
people prayed. But we have to pray for ourselves, too. A good soldier is
not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in
every soldier that goes deeper than thinking or working–it’s his “guts.”
It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and
power that is higher than himself. Great living is not all output of
thought and work. A man has to have intake as well. I don’t know what
you it, but I call it Religion, Prayer, or Almighty God.
He talked about Gideon in the Bible, said that men should pray no matter where they were, in church or out of it, that if they did not pray, sooner or later they would “ crack up . “ To all this I commented agreement, that one of the major training objectives of my office was to help soldiers recover and make their lives effective in this third realm, prayer.
It would do no harm to re-impress this training on chaplains.
We had about 486 chaplains in the Third Army at that time, representing 32 denominations. Once the Third Army had become operational, my mode of contact with the chaplains had been chiefly through Training Letters issued from time to time to the Chaplains in the four corps and the 22 to 26 divisions comprising the Third Army. Each treated of a variety of subjects of corrective or training value to a chaplain working with troops in the field. Patton continued , “ I wish you would put out a Training Letter on this subject of Prayer to all the chaplains; write about nothing else, just the importance of prayer. Let me see it before you send it. We’ve got to get not only the chaplains but every man in the Third Army to pray. We must ask Almighty God to stop these rains. These rains are that margin that hold defeat or victory.
If we all pray, it will be like what Dr. Carrel said
[the allusion was to a press quote some days previously when Dr. Alexis
Carrel, one of the foremost scientists, described prayer , “ as one of
the most powerful forms of energy man can generate “ ] it will be like
plugging in on a current whose source is in Heaven . I believe that
prayer completes that circuit. It is power .” ( indeed)
With that the General arose from his chair, a sign that the interview was ended. I returned to my field desk, typed Training Letter No. 5 while the
“ copy “ was “ hot “ , touching on some or all of the General’s reverie on Prayer, and after staff processing, presented it to General Patton on the next day. The General read it and without change directed that it be circulated not only to the 486 chaplains, but to every organization commander down to and including the regimental level. Three thousand two hundred copies were distributed to every unit in the Third Army over my signature as Third Army Chaplain. Strictly speaking, it was the Army Commander’s letter, not mine.
Due to the fact that the order came directly from General Patton,
distribution was completed on December 11 and 12 in advance of its date
line, December 14, 1944. Titled “Training Letter No. 5,” with the
salutary “Chaplains of the Third Army,” the letter continued: “At this
stage of the operations I would call upon the chaplains and the men of
the Third United States Army to focus their attention on the importance
“Our glorious march from the Normandy Beach across France to where we stand, before and beyond the Siegfried Line, with the wreckage of the German Army behind US should convince the most skeptical soldier that Almighty God has ridden with our banner. Pestilence and famine have not touched US. We have continued in unity of purpose. We have had no quitters; and our leadership has been masterful. The Third Army has no roster of Retreats. None of Defeats.
We have no memory of a lost battle to hand on to our children from this great campaign.
“But we are not stopping at the Siegfried Line. Tough days may be ahead of us before we eat our rations in the Chancellery of the Deutsches Reich.
As chaplains it is our business to pray. We preach its importance. We urge its practice. But the time is now to intensify our faith in prayer, not alone with ourselves, but with every believing man, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Christian in the ranks of the Third United States Army “ .
“Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight; and if the world goes from bad to worse, it is Because there are more battles than prayers. ‘ Hands lifted up,’ said Bosuet, ‘smash more battalions than hands that strike.’
Gideon of Bible fame was least in his father’s House. He came from Israel’s smallest tribe. But he was a mighty man of valor. His strength lay not in his military might, but in his recognition of Almighty God’s proper claims upon his life.
He reduced his Army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men
lest the people of Israel would think that their valor had saved them.
We have no intention to reduce our vast striking force. But we must
urge, instruct, and indoctrinate every fighting man to pray as well as
fight. In Gideon’s day, and in our own, spiritually alert minorities
carry the burdens and bring the victories.
“Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.”
“We must march together, all out for Almighty God. The soldier who ‘cracks up’ does not need sympathy or comfort as much as he needs strength. We are not trying to make the best of these days. It is our job to make the most of them. Now is not the time to follow Almighty God from ‘afar off.’ This Army needs the assurance and the faith that Almighty God is with US. With prayer, we cannot fail.
Well , what do you know ? Weather conditions became perfect !
They were ideal, sunny skies and no wind enabling the forces to move forward with this key offensive which was successful, and helped to turn the tide of the war . Do you think any military personnel , let alone a General ,would acknowledge Almighty God to this degree today ? I highly doubt it. Does anybody think it coincidence that he thought this way and was the most successful Combat General in U.S. history . If more Generals thought like him perhaps we would have success in battle since !
This clearly shows Almighty God’s favor upon us. There is no mother nature, as the popular Babylonian myths goes, Almighty God is in control of the weather.
Actually , this one of many enduring myths tied to the whole Babylonian Queen of Heaven, fertility goddess relationship .