Morningstar addresses the contradiction between the historiographical criticism of Patton’s methods and popular appreciation for his successes. The author identifies several schools of thought offering explanations yet, he notes, they all fail to fully comprehend the real Patton.
The secret to Patton’s success was a radical and purposely-crafted doctrine developed over several decades. The author identifies four core principles in Patton’s creed: targeting the enemy’s morale through shock; utilizing highly practiced combined arms mechanized columns; relying on mission tactics and flexible command and control; and employing multi-layered and synthesized intelligence systems to identify enemy capabilities and weak spots. These precepts directly contradicted official U.S. Army doctrine and created misunderstandings that led commanders to truncate Patton’s operations in Tunisia, Sicily, and France.
Morningstar details how Patton developed and applied each principle and uses the breakout from Normandy as a case study to illustrate Patton’s Way in application. This book discusses the “death and resurrection” of Patton’s ideas in the U.S. Army directly following World War II to the present and comments on the status of Patton’ ideas in the Army today.