War-dated ALS signed “G. S. Patton, Jr.,” one page, 8 x 10, Headquarters, Third United States Army letterhead, January 20, 1945. Letter to Mary Jane Krieger. In full: “I owe you a lot of letters but have been so busy in this battle that I have not had no time to write. I hope you got on all right at the hospital. If you like snow this is the place to live—I hate it and besides it slows up our attacks and so helps the Germans. We got quite a few of them in this current show but not as many as I should like when the snow melts there is going to be an awful smell around here—a German smell.” In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in Patton’s hand, with a couple of letters of Patton’s censor signature remaining along the top edge.
As German troops launched their last-ditch offensive across Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeastern France in late December of 1944, unleashing 250,000 men on a weak point in the Allied lines during one of the worst winters in European history, Patton quickly and decisively marched his troops to the besieged city of Bastogne. Successfully disengaging six divisions from front-line combat and relieving the city, he pulled off one of his most remarkable achievements of the war. Taking time out from the crucial Battle of the Bulge to write to his young pen pal, Patton discusses his distaste for the winter weather in gory relation to the war at hand, “I hate it and besides it slows up our attacks and so helps the Germans.” He continues with the dramatic understatement, “we got quite a few of them in this current show;” by the close of the battle, five days after this letter was written, Germany had suffered roughly 85,000 casualties (and America suffered around the same, with 19,000 of those being deaths). With the disturbingly vivid description of the “awful smell” that would surface in the spring, this letter goes straight to the snow-covered fields of America’s bloodiest battle of World War II. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
For more information on the remarkable correspondence between Patton and Krieger, click here. Please be advised the seven images at the bottom of the page are for reference purposes only and not included with the item.
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