The Shame Curse - a Conversation
This historical prayer for weather was requested by General George Smith Patton Jr and distributed to the U. S. Third Army in France, 1944.
Notes from article http://pattonhq.com/prayer.html by Colonel James O'Neil
General Patton saw action in both First and Second World Wars and commanded the U. S. Third Army in North Africa, Sicily and the European Theater. Under his leadership the S. S. Third Army captured more enemy prisoners and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in history.
In fact, General Patton was highly effective with the U. S. Third by the effective combination of light aircraft reconnaissance, rapid moving motorized units that overran the enemy and did not allow regrouping supported by ground directed air support - tactical fighter bombers. He had the vision for coordinating a no holds barred rapid overrun attack that kept the enemy off balance.
In France the Third Army was plagued for several months with steadily falling rain and thick fogs. General Patton on December 8, 1944 contacted the Chaplain "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."
The Chaplain - James O'Neill - typed this up: "Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of They 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."
This along with a training letter on prayer was sent out to every man in the Third Army by December 12-14, 2012. Two days later the Germans attacked forces to the north of General Patton's Third Army and began 'The Battle of the Bulge." Uunder cover of heavy rain, thick fogs and swirling ground mists which allowed them great success until December 20th when bright clear skies allowed air support just as General Patton joined in the battle. This turned the battle and allowed General Patton to exclaim, "Well, padre, our prayers worked. I knew they would."
The Germans amassed 29 Divisions and 250,000 men for this attack. Before getting to a joint planning meeting with Eisenhower, Parron and already asked his staff to prepare contingency plans for detaching some forces and counterattacking the Germans. He prepared for three division to engage in this battle by December 21st.
His readiness to take the initiative, planning it in advance, allowed General Patton to have 133,000 vehicles and 62,000 tons of supplies in place and ready to engage the enemy within days. The good weather - which has orderred earlier with his request to his chaplain - arrived just in time for this battle as well. Evidently Patton awarded O'Neil a Bronze Star for his part in the weather prayers.
During the advance, Patton led his divisions from the front, frequently leapfrogging ahead in his command car, then stopping to urge the men on. As one tank destroyer sergeant related: "On the way to Bastogne, we would see Patton along the side of the road waving us on. I don't know how he got ahead of us all the time, but he did. Patton was right there breaking it up and getting things moving again. He was a relentless man...and a great general. Patton had a theory that the Germans didn't shoot as well on the run. That's why he never wanted to stop. The only time he stopped in the field was when he ran out of gas."
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Patton
On December 26, 1944, the first spearhead units of the Third Army's U.S. 4th Armored Division reached Bastogne, opening a corridor for relief and resupply of the besieged forces. Patton's ability to disengage six divisions from frontline combat during the middle of winter, then wheel north to relieve besieged Bastogne was one of his most remarkable achievements during the war. Author John MacDonald cites it as one of the greatest extant examples of the mastery of military logistics, stating, "probably his greatest military achievement, unsurpassed at the time, was the logistic repositioning, within twenty-four hours, of a whole army corps at the Battle of the Bulge." Patton certainly thought so, claiming that the relief of Bastogne was "the most brilliant operation we have thus far performed, and it is in my opinion the outstanding achievement of the war. This is my biggest battle."[
See also: Prayer for Weather
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