General George S. Patton's personal 3rd Army guidon, medal ribbons and insignia, 1944-1945 guidon: 26 x 17 in 66 x 43 cm) (3 frames)

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Lot 225
General George S. Patton's personal 3rd Army guidon, medal ribbons and insignia, 1944-1945
guidon: 26 x 17 in 66 x 43 cm) (3 frames)

Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium

World War II

5 Jun 2014, 10:00 EDT

New York

General George S. Patton's personal 3rd Army guidon, medal ribbons and insignia, 1944-1945
Sewn red and white cloth guidon, with applied 3rd US Army symbols, three sides fringed in yellow; framed with Patton's medal ribbons and four other items of insignia, and a photograph copy of a portrait of Patton; with two framed associated typed letters signed confirming the provenance of both the guidon and the insignia.

Provenance: General Patton (1885-December 1945); the guidon was then collected by Army Driver C.E. Hadfield (see framed TLS, dated June 1977); the medal ribbons and insignia were removed from Patton's uniform by his wife (then by descent to); Robert H. Patton (Patton's grandson, see framed TLS, dated February 1998).

General George S. Patton, Jr (1885-1945) has been described as "amongst the greatest generals of the war" and the tactics he employed in tank warfare have been widely studied and emulated. He believed in inspiring his men by example: to this end his bearing, uniform, and his official vehicles were all designed to be conspicuous. The present group, particularly the spectacular personal guidon, form a vivid reminder of both the man and the legend. As Hadfield's letter notes, the guidon would "have been flown on any vehicle that general Patton was using when he was Commander of the Third Army."

On January 26, 1944 Patton was formally given command of the Third United States Army in England and was assigned to prepare its inexperienced soldiers for combat in Europe. Patton's Third Army became operational at noon on August 1, 1944 under General Bradley's Twelfth U.S. Army Group. Patton's aggressive tactics generally paid dividends and by the end of hostilities on May 9, 1945, the Third Army had been in continuous combat for 281 days. In that time, it crossed 24 major rivers and captured 81,500 square miles (211,000 km2) of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. The Third Army claimed to have killed, wounded, or captured 1,811,388 German soldiers, six times its strength in personnel. Robert P. Fuller's review of Third Army records differs only in the number of enemy killed and wounded, stating that between August 1, 1944 and May 9, 1945, 47,500 of the enemy were killed, 115,700 wounded, and 1,280,688 captured, for a total of 1,443,888. Famously short-tempered, Patton argued with General Eisenhower and was relieved of his command of the Third Army on 7th October 1945, and in a somber change of command ceremony, Patton concluded his farewell remarks, "All good things must come to an end. The best thing that has ever happened to me thus far is the honor and privilege of having commanded the Third Army." Patton was assigned command of the 15th US Army, but was badly injured in a car crash on the 9th December and died in hospital on 21st December 1945.
guidon: 26 x 17 in 66 x 43 cm) (3 frames)
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