George Catlett Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on
December 31, 1880. Nicknamed Flick, Marshall graduated from the Virginia
Military Institute in 1901, as he was not nominated by his Congressmen
to the Military Academy at West Point. When first assigned to the Philippines,
he developed his characteristic self-discipline and study habits. Marshall
was Chief of Operations of the First Army during World Way I and received
prestige for his excellent participation. Following World War I he was
Assistant Commandant for Instruction of the Infantry School at Fort
Benning, Georgia, While here his method of giving power to his subordinates
yet intervening only when they failed affected not only the instruction
methods of the school but also many of World War II's generals.
After serving as Chief of the War Department's War Plans Division(1938),
Marshall became Army Chief of Staff on September 1, 1939. In this position
Marshall brought the preparation for World War II into full gear. Four
years after assuming control, the army of 200,000 men had grown into
an army of 8.3 million prepared men. Marshall was also a strong advocate
of the Allied invasion through the English Channel, the Normandy Invasion.
Among his plans for the invasion was the use of air power. The importance
of air power was something that Marshall advocated throughout the war,
Marshall was named general of the Army in 1944.
The B17 Flying Fortress, one of the lynchpins of
Marshall's plans in the Normandy Invasion.
After retiring as Army Chief of Staff in 1945, Marshall became Secretary
of State on January 8, 1947. Among his accomplishments was the Marshall
Plan. This plan for European economic aid was key in the recovery of
Europe's former position. Marshall resigned from the State Department
in 1949 due to ill health. Yet in 1950 he was placed in command of the
Department of Defense, during which time he helped develop the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization, Following this Marshall became the first
soldier to win the nobel Peace Prize in 1953. General George C, Marshall
died on October 16, 1959 in Washington D.C..
Omar N. Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was born in a log cabin in Clark, Missouri. Born
February 12 1893, he was the only child of John Smith Bradley and Sara
Elizabeth Bradley. Despite an impoverished youth, he entered the Military
Academy at West Point in 1911. He found that he enjoyed the rigorous
structured life, but focused more on sports than on academics. He graduated
on June 12, 1915 as a second lieutenant of infantry. His fellow graduates
would one day join him in battle in World War II. While at Fort George
Wright as a member of the 14th infantry Regiment, Bradley met Edwin
Forrest Harding. Harding had a large impact on Bradley:s life.
Much to Bradley's exasperation, the 14th Regiment spent World War I
in the United States, first policing the copper mines in Montana and
later on organizing Camp Dodge near Des Moines, Iowa. Following World
War I, Bradley continued to study and teach at West Point, the Infantry
School at Fort Benning, Georgia, the prestigious Command and general
Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Army War College. During
this time he met George C. Marshall, probably his most influential colleague.
Marshall believed in not interfering with the jobs he gave men as long
as they were done well. Omar Bradley took this philosophy to heart when
he achieved power. After a highly acclaimed period in charge of the
Infantry School, Bradley took command of the 82nd Infantry two months
after Pearl Harbor. While in charge of the mainly drafted 82nd Infantry,
Bradley instilled rigorous physical and military training to prepare
them for war.
General Marshall then assigned Bradley 28th Infantry, Coast Guard,
in order to train them as he had done with to the 82nd Infantry. In
1943 he was sent to North Africa to aid Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was
then placed in charge of the 2nd Corps in the North African campaign
under General Patton.
In 1944 Bradley was given the command of the U.S. 1st Army. Under British
Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery he aided in the creation of Operation
Overload. During this time he was among few Allied senior commanders
that felt that airborne landings were crucial in order to limit enemy
access to the coast and to confuse the enemy. The attack was to be led
by the 29th Infantry Division and on Omaha and Utah Beach, the 1st and
4th Infantry Division respectively. The landing at Utah Beach went relatively
well in stark contrast to that on Omaha. The disastrous Omaha landing
and the failed aerial landing brought Bradley to almost order the evacuation
of troops. But American commanders managed to establish a foothold on
Bradley moved the first army headquarters on shore on June 9. He proceeded
to order troops to Cherbourg as part of the Breakout plan. When these
attempts failed Bradley designed a one corps attack on St. Lo with aerial
aid. Although difficult, this plan eventually allowed Allied troops
to advance to the German fronter. In August of 1944 Bradley was placed
in charge of the 12th Army Group, the largest force ever placed under
one American Group Commander. His leadership was like that of Sir Harold
R. L. G. Alexander, as he exercised close control of his armies This
was done by assigning broad missions ond then monitoring operations,
and only interfering when needed. When German forces reinforced their
units, Bradley reinforced the VII corps and brought in strong air assistance.
He went further as he planned to encircle the bulk of the German forces
near the Rhine. This battle marked the end of fighting in Germany. After
sending Hedges and Patton after the retreating enemy, Bradley focused
on supplying troops that were leaving the beaches to travel further
inland. Bradley's success continued as he managed to cross the Rhine
and break through to the Ruhr Valley. He continued until the end of
the war, as highly valued asset to Eisenhower. Eisenhower saw him as
the "master tactician of our forces.
Following the war, in 1945 he was appointed s head of the Veteran's
Administration. In 1948 he became the Army's Chief of Staff, following
Eisenhower's path. Bradley was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and then on September 22, 1950 was given five stars as General
of the Army. General Bradley died on April 8, 1981.
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton Jr. was born in San Gabriel, California on November
11, 1885. An outstanding general, he was known for his discipline and
toughness, achieving him the nickname "Old Blood and Guts."
Patton graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1909.
During his studies Patton became fascinated with leaders of the Civil
War, much like general Omar Bradley. Before World War I, he served in
Mexico (1916-17) and England(l917). During World War I, Patton developed
his skill for tank warfare. In November, 1917, he was assigned to the
Tank Corps of the United States Army. Patton organized and trained the
1st tank Brigade. Following the St. Mihiel drive, and being wounded,
Patton was awarded the Distinauished Service Cross and the Distinauished
During Normandy General Patton was placed in charge of a fictitious
group in order to lead the Germans to believe that the Invasion would
take place in the Pas-de-Calais region. After Normandy he was placed
in charge of the Third Army. Two months after the landing his army was
sent to pursue the breakout effort in Avanches. Patton's army pushed
through Mayenne, Laval, le Mans, Rums, and Chalons, passing Paris until
they finally had to stop at Nancy and Metz.
Patton's forces relieved Bastogne in the battle of the Bulge and eventually
pushed towards the German border. By the end of January 1945, he had
reached Czechoslovakia and his army finally freed Czechoslovakia by
the end of the war. Following the end of the war Patton was removed
from his position as head of the third army due to his criticisms of
U.S.policy of denazification. After being injured in a car accident,
Patton died in Heidelberg on December 21, 1945. Patton was a general
of showmanship and strict discipline. Yet despite his severity and flamboyance,
his soldiers revered him as a genius in tank warfare.
Courtney H. Hodges
Courtney Hicks Hedges was born on January 5, 1887 in Perig, Georgia.
After enlisting in the Army in 1906 he served in Mexico (1916), in France
during World War I and in Germany(l919). Following World War I he studied
at the prestigious Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth.
It is a prestigious school, through which an officer who hoped to ascend
in the armed forces would enter. Like General Bradley, Hodges trained
troops at Fort Benning, Georgia. After being commander of the 3rd Army
he became deputy under General Omar Bradley for the Normandy Invasion.
Following D-Day, Hodges succeeded Bradley as commander of the 1st
Army. He led the ist Army to liberate Paris, Luxembourg and Belgium,
being the first to reach Germany's frontier. The German counter offensive
in Ardennes was dutifully fought off by the ist Army. By March of 1945
the 1st Army had joined in the effort to encircle the German forces
in the Ruhr. Following the end of the war in the West he was transferred
to Japan, an d later retired from the Army in 1949.
"Bradley, Omar N."1998 Britannica Online,Online, Netscape:
15 March 1999. http://normandy.eb.com/normandy/people.html