Patton's Prayer - Battle of the Bulge - Printable Version

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Patton's Prayer - Battle of the Bulge - Walt's Daughter - 02-22-2005

"Lord, this is Patton speaking to you. The last fourteen days have been awful. Rain, snow, more rain, more snow... and I have begun to ask myself why not go to your headquarters. Which side are you on?


For three years, my chaplains have explained that this is a religious war. They have told me that this is a crusade, the only difference being that we move on tanks instead of horses. They have insisted that we destroy the German army and this atheist Hitler, so that freedom of religion can return to Europe.


Until now I followed them, the more so as you helped us without reserve. Blue sky and calm sea in Africa helped to make our unloading easy to eliminate Rommel. The capture of Sicily was relatively easy, and you gave us a perfect time for our armored push through France, the greatest victory military that you have granted me. You often gave me excellent counsel in my difficult decisions of command, and you dropped German units into my traps, which made their elimination relatively easy.


But now you seem to have changed horses. You seem to me to have given to Von Rundstedt the green light. My army is neither trained nor equipped for war in winter. And as you know, this weather is more appropriate for Eskimos than for Southern riders.


In fact, Lord, I have begun to think that I have offended you in some way. That suddenly you have lost your sympathy to our cause. That you are in complicity with this Von Rundstedt and his puppet.


You know, without my saying so, that our situation is desperate.


Obviously, I tell my staff that everything is going as planned, but do I need to add that the 101st Airborne is opposing terrible forces in Bastogne, and that these continual storms make air supplies impossible? I sent good Hugh Gaffey, one of my able generals, with his 4th Armored Division, to this important Noeud road to help the encircled garrison, but he has more trouble with your rotten weather than with the Boches!


I do not like to complain unnecessarily, but my soldiers really suffered martyrdom from the Meuse to Echternach. Today I visited several hospitals, all full of cold people, while the wounded remain strewn across the fields, because we cannot bring them back to give them care. But that is not the worst of the situation. The poor visibility and the continual rains have completely paralyzed my air forces on the ground. My battle plan requires help from the fighter-bombers, and if my planes cannot fly, tell me how I can use them as air artillery?


This is not the only deplorable situation, but worse still, my reconnaissance aircraft have not taken to the air in fourteen days, and I do not have the slightest idea what is happening behind the German lines. Jesus, Lord, I fight a shadow! Without your cooperation on the weather, how can I lead effective attacks? All this probably appears irrational to you, but I have lost patience with your ministers who try to persuade me that this is one typical winter in the Ardennes, and that I must have confidence.


The devil with confidence and patience! You have to only choose which side you are on. You must come to my aid, so that I can liquidate the entire German army, and offer it like birthday gift to the Baby Jesus. Lord, I have never been unreasonable. I do not ask the impossible of you. I do not even ask for a miracle, only four little days of beautiful weather.


Give me four clear days so my planes can fly, so my fighter-bombers can bomb the Germans (and punish them well), so my observation planes can pinpoint the targets for my splendid artillery. Give me four sunny days to dry this rotten mud, so my tanks can roll, so the ammunition and the rations can reach my starving and badly equipped infantrymen. I need these four days to send Von Rundstedt and his army of infidels to their valhalla.


I am sick of this useless butchery of young Americans, and in exchange of these four days of weather favorable to combat, I will provide you enough Boches to keep your accountants occupied with months of work.


So it is."



Translation of text's original prayer of the General George Patton Jr published during the battle of the Bulge. This prayer was written by Patton in the vault of "the Pescatore Foundation" in Luxembourg, a few days before Christmas 1944.



The shorter version of Patton's prayer:


General Patton's prayer, prepared by Msgr. James H. O'Neill, Chief Chaplain of the Third Army


"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy 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."