on June 4, 2009
I am very familiar with the life of General Patton, owning a library of over 30 volumes. It was with this background that I skeptically purchased and read this book. There were questions that I believed could not be answered, the most important being the unplanned hunting trip on that fateful day. The author has convinced me of the possibility that our greatest combat Commander was, indeed, the target of assassination. From European operative reports of a Stalinist hit list, the clandestine operations of the OSS, the leftist concerns in the US Government about Patton's post-war outspokenness against our 'ally,' Russia, to all the missing significant documents (investigation reports), I finished this book angry. We will never know as all those who could have shed light on this troubling assertion are now dead. I am not a conspiracy adherent by nature ... but this one gave me pause. A worthwhile book written thirty years too late.
on December 18, 2008
BOOK REVIEW: 'Target: Patton' Explores the Suspicious Car Crash That Led to Controversial General's Death
By David M. Kinchen
On Sunday, Dec. 9, 1945, a day before he was to return to the U.S., Gen. George S. Patton Jr., the highest ranking American general in occupied Germany, went on his last hunting trip. On the way to hunt birds with another American general, Patton's 1938 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine plowed into an army truck that had suddenly turned in front of them.
Robert K. Wilcox explores the accident and the widely held theory that the controversial general was assassinated in "Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton" (Regnery, 444 pages, $27.95).
It's a thoroughly researched book that raises many questions about a general that many people are familiar with through the 1970 multiple Oscar-winning movie "Patton" starring George C. Scott as "Old Blood and Guts."
"Patton" the film was based in part by a book by Ladislas Farago, Wilcox tells us, one of the many writers who delved into the accident which left Patton with a broken neck and partial paralysis, although no one else in the big Caddy received more than a few scratches and bruises.
What was the driver of the 2 1/2-ton GMC Army truck, Specialist Robert L. Thompson, doing out on a Sunday morning and what happened to the two men who were in the truck's cab with him -- in violation of a regulation that limited the cab to a driver and a passenger?
Among the issues Wilcox raises are:
* What happened to the five known accident reports on the Dec. 9, 1945 crash involving a four-star general? The reports are nowhere to be found.
* Patton was making a remarkable recovery in a German hospital when he suddenly had a relapse and died on Dec. 21, 1945. The death certificate lists "pulmonary edema & congestive heart failure" as the cause of death. Why was there no autopsy?
* Patton's life had been threatened earlier in several odd incidents, including a fender bender and a road incident with a farmer's cart. Patton had been warned that he was on a hit list and he told his family that he didn't expect to leave Europe alive.
* What happened to the Cadillac that Patton was riding in? The car in the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky, is a 1939 export model that is made to look like the '38 Caddy that Patton used, according to a Cadillac expert Wilcox employed to examine the museum car. The museum car has a "Body by Fisher" emblem -- but the Series 75 car Patton used was built by Fleetwood.
* Why was Patton the only one injured in the crash? The driver of the Cadillac, Horace L. "Woody" Woodring, wasn't injured in those pre-seat belt, air bag days, nor was Gen. Hobart Gay, Patton's hunting companion.
* Why was truck driver Thompson spirited out of Germany?
Patton was 60 when he died, five years older than the Supreme Commander in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and -- in Wilcox's opinion, a far more experienced and talented leader. Unlike Eisenhower, he had been in combat in World War I and was the logical leader in the European theater since he was far and away the best general and the one most feared by the Germans, Wilcox writes.
But, as any viewer of the excellent film knows, Patton was a controversial leader, a loose cannon who pretty much said what he was thinking. He hated the Russians, the allies of the Americans, British, Canadians, Australians and free French armies, calling them the "degenerate spawn of Genghis Khan." He even suggested using SS troops to fight the Russians and was widely believed to be an anti-Semite, despite the fact that his intelligence chief, Col. Oscar Koch, was Jewish, as was his authorized biographer, Martin Blumenson.
Wilcox explores the relationship of Patton with his commanding officers, Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, Gen. George C. Marshall, the commanding general of the U.S. Army and William "Wild Bill" Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.
One of the theories Wilcox examines is singles out Donovan, a friend of FDR and an advocate of friendship with the Russians, as the one who ordered an assassination of Patton before he left Germany.
Patton had telegraphed his plans to resign from the Army, rather than retire -- he was independently wealthy -- allowing him to speak freely about the war and the mistakes he believed Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and other generals had made, Wilcox writes.
Despite the controversial soldier slapping incidents that many writers -- including Wilcox -- have said were blown out of proportion by reporters, Patton was extremely popular back in the States. His brilliant moves with the Third Army to resolve the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944--January 1945 had been well publicized and his drive across Germany had also been praised by many.
Wilcox is a harsh critic of Eisenhower, blaming him for allowing the Germans to put the Ardennes Offensive -- the Battle of the Bulge -- into play. He also faults Eisenhower's reliance on British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, not a friend of Patton's, and the man whose failure to secure the port of Antwerp, Belgium is cited by Wilcox as one of the reasons for the failure of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne effort in military history, which was dramatized in the 1977 film "A Bridge Too Far."
A central figure in the book is Douglas Bazata, an OSS operative who specialized in "wet work", who said he had been asked by Donovan to assassinate Patton. Bazata said he didn't do the deed, saying the "accident" in Bad Nauheim near Germany's Black Forest had been staged by an acquaintance whom he did not or would not name. Since Patton didn't die in the crash, Bazata said the death of the general was caused by a "refined form of cyanide that can cause embolisms, heart failure and things like that."
Bazata himself is worthy of a movie with his background of decorated war hero, artist, and mercenary who said he was ordered by U.S. intelligence to assassinate Patton.
Wilcox says that Patton could have been killed by the Soviet equivalent of the OSS, the NKVD (later renamed KGB and now known as the FSB in post-Soviet Russia), an organization that specialized in both deadly car crashes and poisonings. Wilcox cites several Ukrainian operatives and others who said the Soviets had Patton on their hit list.
Investigative and military reporter Wilcox, author of "Black Aces High: and "Wings of Fury," has spent more than ten years investigating these mysteries, and in his new book he draws on the famous declassified Venona documents to probe the death of Patton.
"Target: Patton" is a book that anyone who is interested in World War II history should put on his or her must-read list. It reads like a spy thriller.
on December 21, 2008
Like most people of my generation (post WW2), I had a cliched and inadequate understanding of the complicated and brilliant Gen. George S. Patton. Most of what we know derives from the film "Patton" (1970), an admirable achievement, but not history. We know (vaguely) that Patton was a brilliant field commander, that he slapped a soldier whom he considered cowardly, that he was envied by other Allied commanders, and that he was considered a talented problem child by Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Bedell Smith. We understood that he died after the war in an automotive accident (usually decribed, incorrectly, as a jeep accident).
Robert Wilcox's book "Target: Patton" is valuable for two reasons: (1) he does not outrun the evidence that he offers and declare that he has solved the case, and (2) he has uncovered a wealth of information which raises troubling questions about Patton's demise. He demonstrates that official accounts of the accident were lacking -- or that they had disappeared. He shows that the "death car" (a Cadillac limo, not a jeep) in the Patton Museum is in fact not the car in which Patton was riding. And finally, he brings forth the witness Douglas Bazata, who claimed that Wild Bill Donovan himself commissioned the hit on Patton.
Bazata's confessions, if such they were, are both the strength and weakness of the case which Wilcox offers. Bazata, a fascinating figure in the "black ops" of WW2, was certainly in a position to know whereof he spoke, but at the same time he seemed unable to decide whether he had actually participated in Patton's murder or simply was aware of who did. As the author himself admits, the evidence could perhaps bring an indictment, but not a conviction in a court of law.
Nonetheless, Wilcox's work is a very provocative and valuable addition to the Patton literature. It is difficult to read the book and not draw the conclusion that Patton was a uniquely talented warrior-general who was constantly thwarted by desk generals such as Ike. Certainly his views concerning the Soviet threat were prescient.
on December 16, 2008
My uncle, PFC William Paul Kennedy was killed on October 8, 1944 at a small crossroads outside Metz. As a soldier in Patton's Third Army, he, along with the rest of the army were halted outside this city.Instead of giving the gasoline and supplies to Patton so he could wrap up the war by Christmas,it all went to Montogomery for his reckless and dangerous airborne invasion of Holland. This halt gave the Germans time to pull back to the east bank of the Rhine and dig in. It also allowed them to gather the forces that they would use in the Ardennes two months later. Patton, who could not sit on his hands and do nothing went against his own good military judgement and attacked the fortresses around Metz. The attack on Fort Driant especially was tough and it ended up being the only battle that Patton lost. Was he outspoken? Yes. Was he wrong? No. Patton had made many enemies after the Sicily Campaign inside and outside of Washington. Patton was the fly in the ointment. He was the squeaky wheel. He was the only one that stood in the way of Roosevelt and Truman realizing their postwar plans. Did he have his eyes on the presidency? Probably not. But, Eisenhower did. They were all feathering their nests so Patton had to go. There were rumblings about this back in the 70s. Was Patton murdered? Yes, because he knew too much. Remember, everyone thought that the Germans murdered 15,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest until the Russians finally admitted that they did it after the fall of the Communists.This is an important and excellent book whos time has come. Highly recommended.
on April 10, 2009
I recently read, with a great deal of interest, Robert K. Wilcox's Target Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton. The book was meticulously well researched and documented, and leaves the reader with many questions regarding the actual possibility that it was no "accident" that took the life of one of America's greatest generals. I believe, based on the evidence put forth in this book, that Gen. Patton was assassinated. I won't spoil the book by saying by whom, but am not surprised at the author's premise. It makes perfect sense. (I know whereof I speak, as I am currently writing my own father's posthumous memoirs. He was Gen. Patton's chaplain during World War II.)
on December 14, 2008
The rumors started in the hours after the death from natural causes of General George S. Patton, Jr., and have not gone away in the more than 60 years; there were forces that wanted him silenced and he was murdered.
Investigative reporter Robert K. Wilcox peels back the thick volumes of the official narrative to uncover a murky world of spycraft, hired assassins and chronicling the evil forces who wanted the controversial general removed as the world entered the Cold War.
Through interviews, material from recently declassified government documents and tirelessly pursuing a number of historical angles, Wilcox credibly questions the results of the U.S. Army investigation that stated the December 9, 1945, car crash in occupied Germany that left Patton severely injured - with paralysis from the neck down - was an accident and there was no foul play in his death at age 60 - from an embolism - on December 21 at a military hospital in Heidelberg.
Wilcox emerges from the mists where history is chronicled with a powerful investigative work that ultimately calls for a spotlight to be directed on the crevices where the truth may have been stuffed for so many years.
on May 3, 2013
This excellent nonfiction book is definitive proof that legendary four-star General George S. Patton was assassinated to put an end to his potentially explosive evidence about American, Soviet leadership during and/or shortly after WWII. Target Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton is a complete masterpiece, a great nonfiction history book, by Robert K. Wilcox (author). Very well researched, documentation, factual evidence, this book delivered a great outline of George Patton as he liberated Europe from the Nazis, Italians during WWII, and/or his plans to expose the whole context to the world media about what really took place during WWII and/or what would follow post WWII for U.S.A, with a potential war, cold war with the Soviet Union.
Action-packed story! General George Patton's death path started out on the morning of December 9, 1945 in Mannheim Germany, as he started out in his Cadillac, toward a hunting field with two other companions (Chief of Staff to Patton: Major General Hobart Gay & driver: Private First Class Horace Woodring), it is one the great mysteries of the past century. Robert Wilcox (author) has all but solved the motive, opportunity, means of the killer(s), he has solved the mystery! Having spent over a decade of his life documenting all the facts, documents, interviews; Robert Wilcox (author) completely proved in this book that General George Patton was murdered to stop his future exposure to the world media about Dwight Eisenhower's failed policies during the war and/or because of his potentially future exposure to the world media about America's collusion with the Russians that would cost many American lives (Eastern Europe occupation, POWs in Soviet hands' post WWII, plus a possible new war, cold-war with the Soviet Union-Stalin lead empire).
Wonderful, world-class nonfiction book! The genesis of the content; explained General Patton's exceptional leadership in WWII! Germany's highest commanders including the Fuhrer - Adolf Hitler were in complete fear of General Patton! Illustrated, General Patton could have ended the war on three separate occasions with his exceptional tenacity on the battlefields of Europe (but was not allowed to by high command under General Dwight Eisenhower). The most important opportunity: August 1, 1944 or the Falaise Gap encirclement formed by Patton's 3rd Army. The Falaise Gap: trapped several-several hundred thousand Germany soldiers behind enemy lines after the first influx of the Normandy, France (D-Day, advancement) invasion (Patton's 3rd Army under command of General Omar Bradley's 12th USA Army Group). Not allowed to execute or take prisoner all of the German soldiers, a 25 mile gape was left open, allowing for their escape, and prolonging of WWII by over a year. General Patton could have forced the Germans to surrender a full year(s) before they actually did surrender on 7 May 1945, with his outstanding leadership, wisdom, fearless tactics by closing this Falaise Gap, plus he had several other opportunities. However, General Eisenhower (Supreme-Allied Commander of Europe, along with many other high brass Allied-Commanders above General Patton; ceased these actions). General Patton wanted to expose these facts upon his return to the states to the United States electorate. Plus, George Patton completely hated the fact that the American POWs in the hands of the Soviet bloc (conquered in Eastern Europe) were being forgotten by current USA leaders. General Patton wanted to warn the USA citizens of how the Slavs (Soviet Union) would rape, plunder, strangle the Eastern European countries they had conquered for a generation (as shown on their way to march to Berlin)! Moreover, that the USA may face a new war, cold war with the Soviet Union. Thrilling content, read like a great mystery book! Good story, information, documentation, very fun to read.
Astonishingly, General Patton wanted to reveal details that would shake up his superiors' image(s), thus shaking up the post WWII political and.or geopolitical world. The nonfiction book then cites the documentation unearthed on Doulgas Bazata, an Officer of Strategic Affairs (forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency) agent. He was a very entertaining character in the book, he was a worldwide killer for the U.S.A. government (he traveled the world with the title of wealthy celebrated artist). A real life: James Bond, character, much of his life information is a great bonus; relevant to the book's central thesis. Doulgas Bazata statement that he killed General Patton with a homemade gun, as Patton drove to the field is further proven with many more facts, documents, interviews. This book is a puzzle, mosaic, well-placed tale that provides the reader with the logical conclusion that Patton was indeed murdered as he was forced to a hospital after a car-accident in which he was shot, left paralyzed! Then General Patton was eventually killed and/or died in an American hospital by poison inflicted by the Russians as he recuperated! Each step of General Patton's murder is explained with detailed facts, uncovered documentation, sworn interviews (not some wild conspiracy theory) in a fun, easy to read format. Read a lot like most high quality mystery novels. A real page-turner, exciting story, structure!
Very entertaining, insightful, an excellent nonfiction history book. Well-documented, Patton was going to resign from the Army after WWII (he was independently wealthy, decorated leader), he would have gone on to expose massive facts, truth, figures that would have ruined the careers of almost all of his superiors - army high command legacies, futures (also: Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradly, Joseph Stalin, Harry Truman, etc.). The U.S.A in collusion with Soviet leadership tried on two previous occasions to murder Patton (proven in book), they finally succeeded with the last attempt. General Bill Donavan paid Douglas Bazata to murder General Patton. Mr. Bazata who died in 1999, helps solved one of the greatest mysteries, he staged the car crash by getting a troop truck to plow into General Patton's Cadillac! A 2.5 ton, GMC - gigantic - Army truck driven by Technical Sergeant Robert Thompson turned directly into the path of General Patton's oncoming 1938 Cadillac Model 75 as he drove out to do some pheasant hunting! Then, Douglas Bazata shot Patton with a LOW VELOCITY PROJECTILE gun (the two other passengers in the car had zero injury), the shot broke General Patton's neck (dislocating his 3rd & 4th vertebrae), inflicting a permanent cervical spinal cord injury and/or a paralyzed body from the neck down. Instantaneously, General Patton (the most fearless, robust hero of WWII), was paralyzed for life!
General Patton was immediately moved to recover from this paralyzing injury in the most pristine, efficient hospital in Heidelburg, Germany! It was the closest USA Army hospital (available), then the USA officials turned their back with lax-security on General Patton; who had virtually guaranteed them their victory on the battlefield in WWII Europe. The NKVD (forerunner to Soviet KGB) poisoned Patton, as he slept, recuperated! His official listed cause of death was a car accident, followed by pulmonary edema, or congestive heart failure (while sleeping in a hospital bed). Thus, twelve days after the initial automobile accident in Mannheim, Germany - General George S. Patton died in a Heidelburg, Germany - hospital bed on December 21, 1945. The incredible amount of evidence, documentation, unearthed information by Robert Wilcox (author) in this nonfiction book (flowed like a great mystery movie) is superlative. Proved the car accident was staged, and his official cause of death was poison by Soviet Union poison. World-class story, information, the content cries for a full autopsy to be performed in 2014! !
Exceptional, absolute proof of the plot and/or murdering of General George Patton. Numerous high commanders, politicians (USA, Soviet), would have been seen their legacy, careers end in turmoil by the USA electorate, had General Patton not been murdered. General Patton would have definitely stopped Eisenhower's Presidential bid and/or election in November 1950! Furthermore, General Patton would have exposed the Soviet Empire's murderous - illegal occupation of Eastern Europe (actions already shown in their march into Eastern Europe, till WWII close)! Plus, General Patton probably would have been elected President; had he lived to tell the American people the truth! This would have stopped the Cold War before it started by pushing the Soviets out of Eastern Europe as President. He then would have saved numerous USA POWs that had been left behind to die in Russian hands! Plus, Patton would have pushed, allowed most of Eastern Europe to become liberated (versus decades later) from the Russian occupation of their country land. Seen as how the Soviets occupied the land they had conquered against the NAZIs toward their mach to Berlin, Germany. I definitely learned a great deal of useful history from this book! I now have a tremendous amount of respect for General Patton. He was truly a once in a century type military leader (genius IQ, unparalleled battle skills, unrivaled tenacity). Action-packed story! Witness a great world mystery unfold behind your eyes in an easy-to-read, fun, page turning mystery novel format! The facts, information, interviews, unearthed information are all tied into a great nonfiction mystery story, a huge mystery that is definitively solved. Exceptional book, a complete masterpiece. Excellent, superb, fantastic nonfiction book!
on December 14, 2008
I count myself among the legion of admirers of the outspoken General Patton. It is hard to imagine the 1944/5 campaign without this brilliant tactician. Not for nothing did the Germans consider him to be "your best." It should be remembered that Patton fell victim to an ideological struggle. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an an ardent admirer (believe it or not) of the Soviet Union in general, and Josef Stalin in particular. He believed that Communism represented the future and saw no problem in leaving much of the Balkans and Eastern Europe to the tender mercies of the Red Army. Patton was of course vehemently opposed to such an absurd and destructive policy and said so openly. For this he was duly punished by being relieved of command of his beloved Third Army, and, possibly, murdered. Donovan, a passionate and devoted follower of Roosevelt was perfectly capable of carrying out such a deed. If Patton was murdered, it could only be at the behest of Roosevelt. I recommend the book highly.
on November 25, 2008
I'm no hero-worshipper....! But I have had read several accounts of the life and times of General George Patton and also viewed the classic movie: PATTON and the TV miniseries: THE LAST DAYS OF PATTON. By these exposures, I come to admire this man, a great soldier and one who had been so dedicated to fighting battles, great and small, to bring down the tyrannies in the then Nazi Germany. Even the Germans admired him for his fighting tactics which were second to none...!!! Invariably, as the Chinese saying goes: "When a tree grows big and luxuriant, it will invite the attention of the prevailing evil wind...!" Hence, Gen. Patton became an object of envy and even evoked jealousies among his colleagues, particularly the British commanders of his seemingly fighting courage which eluded them. I think the Allied Commanders in occupied Europe could not beat Gen. Patton, his fighting tactics, his firm leadership and exception command and thus from "admiration" was transformed to extreme jealousies!
In particularly, Field Marshal Montgomery hated Gen. Patton, so much that he called him the "mad man" in front of Eisenhower and his team, when the Patton beat him to a punch by taken Palemo in the Sicily campaign. Eisenhower unfairly ordered Patton to stop at Palemo and the latter angrily replied whether to return them back to the Fascists regime! When Patton slapped the young soldier for battle fatigue, he was duly punished and humiliated by having to apologize to all the ranks and files by Eisenhower. Patton humorously said: "To see whether he was the bigger son of a bitch..." which illicited much laughter among his troops. In the TV movie: The Last Days of Patton, Gen. Patton was ordered to lay off all Germans in his employ and which were even remotely related to the Nazi regime. Even if to turn Bavaria, in which he was the enlightened governor, into shambles if necessary to shake of all connection of the Nazis. A seemingly mild "accident" at the railway crossing couldn't have killed the tough and courageous Patton. I am inclined to believe as to many others that Patton was definitely murdered by rougue elements of the U.S. military under Eisenhower to get rid of him. In the eyes of Eisenhower, the future president of U.S., Patton could be the main stumbling block and the revealer of truth of what was then happening in occupied Germany. I BELIEVE NOW AND I AM TOTALLY CONVINCED THAT GEN. PATTON WAS MURDERED...! Hence, the reason for me wanting to read this enlightening book. I also invite you, dear readers to order this book too. Cheers.
on December 29, 2008
The most compelling case to be made that General Patton was to be murdered was him telling his own family in the United States that they would not see him again. This during a visit in June 1945. He was also warned about a Russian plot to kill him by a Special Agent of the Counter-Intelligence Corps, Stephen J. Skubik. Mr. Skubik had privately published a book in 1993 titled The Murder of General Patton. Aside from other suspicious details, the author clearly shows Patton's disgust over the Russians being allowed to take over Eastern Europe after the war. In fact, though not mentioned in the book, Winston Churchill had a study drawn up titled Operation Unthinkable, in which a scenario involving the Rusian Army sweeping across Western Europe was contemplated. There was a working relationship between the still functioning but renamed OSS and the Russian NKVD. They had, after all, fought the Germans as our Allies, and Patton was talking about going to war with the Russians. The author suggests that an OSS-NKVD agreement was reached to eliminate the General.
In the midst of tying up loose ends in the immediate Post-War Period, it would have been a pragmatic solution. As any seasoned World War II historian knows, however, the Russians were merely Allies of convenience and tensions between the Americans and the Russians were in existence before the last bullets were fired in World War II, especially over the technological spoils of a defeated Germany. General Patton was indeed in the way of certain interests, and stability in Europe.
The author jumps around a bit in presenting his material but the writing is adequate. I think any reasonable person would be inclined to think there are enough unanswered questions to accept the possibility of an assassination. For example, he is able to prove that the General's car on display at the Patton Museum is not the genuine article. As to possible methods used to actually kill Patton, it appears that even exhuming the body might not give a definitive answer.