- After the breakoutfrom the Normandy hedgerows in late July 1944, Allied groundforces advanced so swiftly across France and Belgium that they soon were outrunning their supply lines. Materiel ofall kinds grew scarce, but no commodity was more coveted than gasoline. At the end ofAugust, George Patton's Third Army, the fastest of all the Allied ou~fits, had to pull up and waitfive days after a requisitionfor four hundred thousand gallons was answered with a shipment of 31,975. "My men can eat their belts, " Patton complained, " but my tanks gotta have gas. " "There was plenty ofgas in liberated France, but Allied supplies were still being unloaded way back where the campaign had begun, in Normandy, three hundred miles behind Third Army's spearhead. In between the French railway system lay in shambles, i . ust as Allied bombing commanders had intended. Some gasoline wasflown to Pattonby pilots like Bill Perkins-but most of it had to be moved by truck. One convoy after another plied French roads, but the truckers could deliver to Third Army and the rest of the A lliedforces only a smallfraction of the million gallons a day they needed to keep moving.
"Patton wasn't the only Allied commander clamoringfor more gasoline. At the direction ofSupreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower, the attacking armies were arrayed along a broadfront. To the north and west were the British and Canadianforces of the Twenty-first Army Group, led by Bernard Montgomery. To the south and east was the American Twet(th Army Group, led by Omar Bradley and made up of First Army, commanded by Courtney Hodges, on its leftflank and Patton'sforce on its right. Ike's strategy had as much to do with holding together an alliance as with seizing territory, but the Anglo-American partnership was put to the test by Montgomery and Patton, both of whom repeatedly petitioned Eisenhower to be the anointed leader of a concentrated, fatal stab to Germany's heart, and to be granted the resources to deliver it. Gasoline may have been hard to come by as Eisenhower sought to manage the war, but hefaced no shortage of ego among his talented but vexing subordinates.
"No one can know what would have happened had Patton, instead of Montgomery, been armed with the knife to stab Germany's heart But it is known that Montgomery was given the opportunity to end the war in 1944, that he squandered it, and that the war lasted another seven grueling months. "
Buy Gasoline to Patton book by ALBIN IRZYK from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Elderberry Press
Country of Publication: