Now what does an Angloswiss have to say about an American General. Actually quite a lot.
It all began when MGM visited our local town of Solothurn to film some scenes of the movie Brass Target. A story around the strange accident that caused General Patton's demise. I wrote a blog about it on my WordPress site The Day MGM Came to Solothurn. Mr. Swiss and I have the film on DVD at home (naturally - not every day you can watch your own town) and then I got interested in the man behind General Patton. There are many books written about "Blood and Guts" which seem to be a nickname for Patton, especially on how and why he died so strangely. I chose to read the book Target Patton. Many have been written and I do not know whether this is the best.
Basically he died in a normal transport accident. He was on his way in Germany to a hunting trip in a Cadillac accompanied by two colleagues and the driver. He made a stop on the way to have a look at a historical building and continued. Suddenly from the right a lorry drove into their path. Patton's driver braked, but there was a collision. The passengers in the car were shaken but General Patton had broken his neck and had a very nasty facial cut. He was taken immediately to a hospital. He was the only person in the Cadillac to be injured. It is assumed that he was jolted by the collision and hit his head on an object behind the driver's cabin, but no-one saw what happened.
It was strange that the driver of the lorry causing the crash was immediately removed from the scene by the authorities and was not held very long for questioning. He was actually not entitled to be driving the lorry, it was his day off. He was also not allowed to be carrying his two passengers in the lorry.
General Patton was not a popular person, but a super General apparently. He took the town of Trier in Germany towards the end of the war, which he had been told not to do. His answer to the commanding authorities was "What shall I do, give back?" which just about sums up his attitude to the powers. He actually did not mind the Germans so much, but he hated the Russians. He did not want the war to end after the conquest of German, but continue and stop the Russians. Eisenhower and the others were not in agreement. The Russians did not like him, Eisenhower did not like him, he had few admirers. After he arrived in hospital for treatment of the broken neck, he was cared for and his wife was bought from America to see him. It was decided that he was now stable enough for a journey back to the states. A couple days later he died with a sudden complication of a blood clot, surprising all after beginning to make progress. The irony was that the accident happened a day before he would have returned to America. He had already been demoted and his responsibilities in Germany were reduced to being in charge of a smaller company.
The cadillac was exhibited in a museum in the States and the author of the book paid a visit and discovered, with assistance, that it could no way be the original car. It was a newer model and also the "VIN" number had been partially filed away, so recognition of it origin was not possible.
Many stories circulate about whether it was an assassination or just an accident. Just one of those mysteries I suppose. It was tough going in the book, remembering all the names of the persons involved. The author of the book leaves the decision open, but tends to believe in murder - and so do I. Probably many here on this site know more about General Patton than I do, especially in my generation. There are also many videos of Patton in YouTube which I am now ploughing through.