Legend has it that Gen. George S. Patton earned his "Old Blood and Guts" nickname for having a lust for battle without regard for the lives of his troops.
But the reality of Patton's genius is quite the opposite; he produced more results in less time with fewer casualties than any other general in any army during World War II, according to Patton biographer Alan Axelrod in the American Heroes Channel video below.
"He wanted his officers who he trained to know what they were going to expect in battle," said Axelrod. "He [Patton] said to them, 'you're going to be up to your neck in blood and guts.' This made quite an impression, and it stuck and from that point on, he was known as 'Old Blood and Guts.'"
Still, high operational tempo and strict adherence to the rules pushed his men to the breaking point and hurt morale in the ranks. A common GI saying about Patton was, "our blood, his guts."
The general's low point came in August 1943 when he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers under his command for crying. For this, Gen. Eisenhower deemed him too undisciplined to lead the Normandy invasion, so he placed Patton in charge of a "ghost army" at Pas de Calais, France.
George C. Scott as General Patton reenacting the infamous slapping of a shell-shocked soldier in Patton, 1970.
He was a decoy, and the Nazis took the bait; after all, they considered Patton the Allies' best commander. Even weeks after D-Day, the Germans continued to wait for Patton's crossing at Pas de Calais amassing troops for the fight.
This American Heroes Channel video demystifies Patton's "Old Blood and Guts" nickname and shows the genius behind his relentless war tactics.