8
Birth of an Army

Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any Unproportioned thought his act

Hamlet

In the blackout of 27 January 1944 the special train provided by the British for Lieutenant-General John C. H. Lee, the commander of the us Communications Zone, had rumbled northwards. On board, although few so far knew it, was Patton en route to meet the advanced party of the Third Army, which under his leadership would soon take its place in company with the great armies of history : Hannibal's, Cromwell's Ironsides, the armies of Marlborough and Wellington, Napoleon's Grande Armée, the Armies of Italy, of Egypt and the Rhine, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, the British Eighth Army of the Western Desert and the rest. In the sickly half-light of the dawn of 28 January the train rolled into the shabby railway station of Greenock. Outside a bitter wind swept the dirty waters of the Clyde, the drab assembly of ships lying at anchor and the ugly muddle of dockland buildings black with age-old industrial grime. The Queen Mary, delayed by rough weather, was late. All day Patton had to kill time inspecting depots and a hospital and registering charm to the impressive party of British admirals, generals and air marshals who had come to welcome him. Not until nightfall was he able to greet, amongst the confusion of a transit shed and all the bustle of disembarkation of the thousands of other soldiers also destined for 'Overlord', Colonel Edward T. Williams, 12 officers and 23 enlisted men of the Advanced Echelon of his new army. This was neither the time nor the setting for an oration or the staging of an historic event. All Patton could do was bid

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Patton: As Military Commander
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