Ladislas Farago Quotes
“With proper and prudent recognition of their limited war potential, the British hoped to avoid a frontal attack on the Continent. They preferred a roundabout way to victory, having convinced themselves that German power could be worn down by attrition to the point of collapse, whereupon “the Anglo-American forces in the United Kingdom could perform a triumphal march from the Channel to Berlin with no more than a few snipers’ bullets to annoy them.”
“Eisenhower’s tragedy was that he permitted himself to be pushed into what turned out to be a trap. He had succumbed to General George C. Marshall’s suggestion that he take over the ground command in Europe and involve himself in the tactical conduct of the war, for which he was not actually suited. He took upon himself this enormous operational responsibility in addition to his strategic job, which alone was beginning to overtax his resources. Consequently, both strategy and tactics suffered, leading inevitably to a drifting beyond the Seine and eventually to the prolongation of the conflict.”
“One of his mechanics who despaired when he could not get spare parts for the tanks once announced casually that most of them were ordinary parts he used to order from Sears, Roebuck. Patton seized upon the remark. When it proved impossible to obtain the parts through regular channels—partly because of the red tape and partly because the Army simply did not have any at that stage—he ordered them from Sears, Roebuck and paid the bill out of his own pocket.”
“He was, in the eyes of his men, a strange mixture of man and superman. “Like God.” Staff Sergeant Aeuhl E. Pullen said of Patton while they were still at Benning, “he has the damndest way of showing up when things go wrong. Unlike God, he dashes leg-long into a creek, gets a stalled tank and its wretched crew out of the water and back into the line of march practically by the power of his curses. You are all right as long as you're doing exactly what you're supposed to do and you don't have to be too brilliant in doing it. But you better don't lay an egg before the Old Man. He doesn't like it.”
“The trouble was that most of the time Patton was playing the role of Lazarus at the big feast of the Allied war effort, receiving, like the Biblical beggar, merely the crumbs of the sumptuous meal. This is an important feature of his story in World War II and a puzzling sidelight of its conduct by Eisenhower. From the beginning to the end of the “crusade in Europe” there always was a gaping discrepancy between what Patton wanted to do and what the Supreme Commander was willing to let him do.”
“When the Battle of the Bulge ended the war in the west had only about 100 days left. But what a One Hundred Days they became in Patton’s career! During that period he mounted four full-scale campaigns and wound up, somewhat baffled by the end when it came, inside Czechoslovakia with something resembling the military version of an unfinished symphony.”
“Ike’s strategic plan might have been appropriate had not the outcome of the Normandy battle rendered it outdated. Hitler had committed every possible mistake the Allies needed to secure the lodgment area. He had decided to fight for every bit of bocage and whittled down his forces in the tedious process. Then he counterattacked at Mortain, and sacrificed the only divisions he had to hold the front together. By staying too long at Falaise, he had made an organized withdrawal to the Seine line impossible.”
“At that moment Bastogne was under siege by two of Hitler’s most dashing generals, Fritz Bayerlein of Afrika Korps fame, and Patton’s old adversary at Argentan, the famed cavalryman, General von Liittwitz, who were charged with reducing this obstacle without delay. Assuming that McAuliffe’s fate was sealed inside the ring, Bayerlein decided on a dramatic gesture. He sent a four-man delegation with a white flag of truce into the fortress, demanding that the defenders surrender. When their spiel was translated to McAuliffe, he answered with a single word that was to electrify the Allied armies in the whole of the Bulge. “Nuts!” he said and had the puzzled Germans (who did not know what the idiom meant) escorted back to their line.”
“In the hospital, there also was a man trying to look as if he had been wounded. I asked him what was the matter, and he said he just couldn’t take it. I gave him the devil, slapped his face with my gloves and kicked him out of the hospital. Companies should deal with such men, and if they shirk their duty they should be tried for cowardice and shot. I will issue an order on this subject tomorrow.”
“It was the most moving experience of my life,” he wrote, “and the knowledge of what the ambulances contained made it still more poignant.” It was with that episode in mind that he concluded his post mortem: “The results attained were made possible only by the superlative quality of American officers, American men and American equipment. No country can stand against such an army.”
“Also on June 27th, Patton drafted a message to his new army for delivery to the troops at sea. It was a message of enduring quality, for it revealed several facets of Patton—including some his critics and detractors refused to recognize and appreciate. “Many of you have in your veins German and Italian blood,” he said, “but remember that these ancestors of yours so loved freedom that they gave up home and country to cross the ocean in search of liberty. The ancestors of the people we shall kill lacked the courage to make such a sacrifice and remained slaves.”
“While in the final analysis each of his campaigns was properly authorized in general terms (for not even Patton could free-lance in a world war), the sweep and success of each was triggered by some sly trickery Patton had to employ in certain psychological moments to gain permission, first to mount campaigns instead of conducting what were supposed to be merely supporting drives, and then to broaden his invariably limited missions into triumphal marches. To gain his victories (in which the results usually justified his means and the fact that he had exceeded his orders), he had to play a lot of backstage politics and apply ingenious subterfuges.”
“The Battle of the Bulge is sometimes characterized as Hitler’s final desperate gamble, the last straw at which he grabbed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Ardennes offensive was a major and carefully conceived maneuver, not merely to avert the defeat of the Third Reich, but also to administer a decisive blow to the Allies. It was developed long in advance and prepared with exceptional care, respectable ingenuity and considerable investment in human and material resources.”
“Bradley gave several reasons for putting Third Army on “A” ration when Patton’s projected moves required more than the unlimited “C.” Vast quantities of gas were needed to supply liberated Paris, and not only to keep the wheels of the big city turning. Most of the diverted gasoline was consumed by the endless columns of trucks that carried an enormous variety of relief supplies into the city—from food and drugs to freshly printed Free French franc bills and contraceptives.”
- Date of birth: January 01, 1906
- Died: January 01, 1980
- Born: in Csurgo, Hungary.
- Description: Ladislas Farago was a military historian and journalist who published a number of best-selling books on history and espionage, especially concerning the World War II era.
He was the author of Patton: Ordeal and Triumph, the biography of General George Patton that formed the basis for the film "Patton" and wrote The Broken Seal, one of the books that formed the basis for the movie ''Tora! Tora! Tora!''.
One of his more controversial books was Aftermath: Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich .