George S. Patton's grandfather was a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War. Patton was educated at the Virginia Military Institute and at the West Point Military Academy.
He began his military career during the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916. During World War I, Patton, then a lieutenant colonel, was placed in charge of the US Tank Corps, and he took part in the St. Michel offensive of September 1918, and was seriously wounded.
During the build-up of the American Army prior to its entry into World War II, Patton established the Desert Training Centre in Indio, California.
In 1942, Major General Patton commanded the Western Task Force of the U.S. Army, which landed on the coast of Morocco in Operation Torch. Following the defeat of the U.S. Army by the German Afrika Korps at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in 1943, Patton was made lieutenant general and placed in command of II Corps. Patton led the Seventh Army in the 1943 Sicilian campaign, but relinquished command of the Army prior to its operations in Italy.
During this period, while visiting a hospital, he slapped a soldier who he thought was showing cowardly behaviour. Because of this action, Patton was kept out of public view for some time.
Following the Normandy invasion, Patton was placed in command of the Third US Army, he led this army during Operation Cobra, the breakout from earlier slow fighting, besieged Cherbourg, and then assisted in trapping several hundred thousand German soldiers in Falaise.
The Third Army was stopped because of a lack of fuel in September, and resumed offensive operations in the late fall of 1944. When the German army counter-attacked during the Battle of the Bulge, Patton was able to disengage his army fighting eastward and turn it ninety degrees north, a considerable tactical and logistical achievement.
In October 1945, General Patton assumed control of the Fifteenth Army in American-occupied Germany. He died from injuries suffered in an auto accident and was buried in the American War Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg.