Notebook

Patton was becoming infuriated with the one element he could not control, the relentless rain. On 8 December, he rang the Third Army chaplain,  James O’Neill. “This is General Patton. Do you have a good prayer for weather?” The chaplain asked if he could call back. He could not find anything in the prayer books, so he wrote out his own. “Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.” Patton read and firmly approved. “Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one.” […] When O’Neill encountered Patton again, the general was in bullish form.. “Well, Padre,” said Patton, “our prayers worked. I knew they would.” And he cracked him across the helmet with his riding crop to emphasize the point.

Antony Beevor, “Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble”.

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