Chapter

General George S. Patton and the War-Winning Sherman Tank Myth

Nicholas D. Molnar

in The United States and the Second World War

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231201
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240791 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823231201.003.0006

Series: World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension

General George S. Patton and             the War-Winning Sherman Tank Myth

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This chapter analyzes Patton's defense of the Sherman in the face of scathing criticism following the Battle of the Bulge. It argues that the general's advocacy on behalf of the tank salvaged its reputation both at the time and for generations to come. It shatters Patton's defense of the Sherman, and unhesitatingly demonstrates that all too often the men assigned to America's premier tank “were slaughtered because of the use of such an inferior” weapon. Patton, who understood all too well the Sherman's myriad flaws, rushed to defend the tank because he knew that it would remain the armored division's workhorse and that public criticism would only hurt the morale of his tankers and in turn the war effort. The chapter concludes that Patton's defense of the Sherman inadvertently contributed to a host of postwar studies that championed the tragically flawed weapon and played a role in fostering contemporary popular culture's depictions of the Sherman as a war-winning weapon.

Keywords: Sherman tank; Battle of the Bulge; tankers; war effort; weapons

Chapter.  8779 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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