General George S. Patton, Jr. and Tank in Action Stamp

General George S. Patton, Jr. and Tank in Action

The Stamp

This stamp commemorates George S. Patton and the armored forces of the U. S. Army. The George Patton stamp has a 3-cent value, color blue violet in various shades, printed on white un-watermarked paper using the engraved process, perforated 11 x 10½. The stamp in design measures 36 mm x 21 mm and was issued on November 11, 1953 The Scott catalog number is 1026 with a never hinged value of $0.20 in the catalog issue 2010. The value is within the budget of all collectors. If your topical is “Tank, Army, and Generals”, mint or used, this stamp is a must have for your US collection.

Patton the Boy, the Man, and his Saber

As a boy, Patton read widely in the classics and military history. Patton's father would often talk about John S. Mosby, the glorious cavalry leader of the Confederate Army in the American Civil War and his ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War, the Mexican War and the Civil War. The young Patton grew up hearing these stories of military glory, and from an early age, he sought to become a general and hero in his own right.

In 1909, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his first commission as a Second Lieutenant in the 15th cavalry Regiment.

In the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Patton participated in several sports. He finished fifth overall in the pentathlon, placed seventh in the 300 meter freestyle swimming, placed fourth in fencing, placed sixth in the equestrian cross-country steeplechase, and placed third in the four kilometer cross-country foot race. In pistol shooting, Patton had problems. He used a .38 caliber pistol, while most of the other competitors chose .22 caliber firearms. He claimed that the holes in the paper from earlier shots were so large that some of his bullets passed through them, but the judges decided he missed the target completely.

Following the 1912 Olympics, Patton traveled to Dresden, Berlin, and Nuremberg, seeking the greatest swordsman in Europe. Patton selected Adjutant M. Clèry, a French “master of arms” and instructor of fencing at the Cavalry School at Saumur. Patton went to Saumur for intense study with the master. In 1913, Patton assisted in the design of the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber. It had a large, basket-shaped hilt with a double-edged blade, designed for use by the cavalry. The weapon came to be known as the ‘Patton Saber’ Patton used his Saber style “Move forward and Attack technique” as the tactic for the tank in battle. This became his trademark of combat style.

World War I

In 1918, at the beginning of the U.S. entry into World War I, Major General Pershing promoted Patton to the rank of Captain. While in France, Patton commanded the newly formed United States Tank Corps and led the U.S. tanks at the 1917 Battle of Cambrai. Later, Patton received the command of his first ten tanks in 1918 and was promoted to major, lieutenant colonel and then colonel, in the U.S. National Army. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Patton was wounded in the left leg. The only survivors were the tank crew, Patton and his orderly Private First Class Joe Angelo, who saved Patton and received the Distinguished Service Cross.

World War II

Patton was appointed commander of the newly activated Armored Tank Corps in preparation for the Operation Torch, ‘The invasion of North Africa’. Patton trained his troops in the Imperial Valley, a 10,000-acre of unforgiving desert, known for its blistering temperatures, sandy gullies and absolute desolation. It was a close match for the terrain that Patton and his men would encounter during the campaigns in North Africa. Patton was later given command of the U.S. Third Army and ably led it in Normandy and France. A surprise German offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, resulted in American units being surrounded at Bastogne, but Patton rapidly disengaged his army from fighting in Belgium and moved the tank division over 100 miles in 48 hours to help relieve the siege.

Old Blood and Guts

Patton deliberately displayed a distinctive image in the belief that this would motivate his troops. He was usually seen wearing a highly polished helmet, riding pants, and high cavalry boots. He carried an ivory handled, nickel plated revolver, a “Colt Single Action Army, Peacemaker", as his sidearm. His vehicles carried oversized rank insignia and loud sirens and he preferred to ride standing up in his vehicle. His manner of speech was full of profanities. The toughness of his image and character appeared well suited to the conditions of battle. It is said that his troops preferred to serve with him rather than other commanders since they thought their chances of survival were higher under Patton. Patton required all personnel to wear steel helmets as well as physicians in the operating wards. All his troops were required to wear the unpopular lace-up canvas leggings and neckties. The leggings prevented injury from scorpions, spiders and rats, which would climb up under soldiers' trousers. It was difficult enough to keep his troops alive and not having to worry about the insect and rodent world randomly disabling or killing his troops. At the North Africa campaign, Patton received the nickname, "Old Blood and Guts," and troops joked that it was "Our Blood and his Guts."