In the weeks before arriving in Normandy, General Patton had prepared what he called his 'Opus No 1,' a bold plan for a U.S army breakout and the complete liberation of France. He had passed this plan on to his Boss, General Omar Bradley. Bradley had shown little interest and as far as Patton was concerned, it had been filed away.
Patton had an intricate knowledge of the Norman countryside, having spent part of his second honeymoon touring the area in 1917. He is reputed to have said, "We're going to have to fight a war here one day, so I might as well get to know the terrain."
|Camp Patton, 2011|
While continuing to 'cool his heels' in the apple orchard at Nehou, Patton was invited to the odd conference with Bradley and other Generals.
As U.S forces became progressively more bogged down in the hedgerow fighting, Bradley came up with a plan, 'Operation Cobra'. Patton could see that this plan was a virtual copy of his very own 'Opus No 1', but nowhere near as bold or ambitious: Nonetheless, it was for all intents and purposes, a plagiarized version of the Patton plan. Ever generous of spirit, Patton preferred to believe that 'Cobra', had evolved from suggestions he had made.
|Bradley, Patton and Montgomery|
Although the plan was considered 'Top Secret', Patton decided to brief
his senior aides in the strictest of confidence.
His public relations officer, Colonel Charles C. Blakeney, could see that Bradley's Cobra plan was plagiary, and shared his convictions with embedded journalists in an adjoining orchard - before Bradley had revealed anything about 'Cobra' to his own press corps. The men from the Patton camp let it be known that they had information on an impending action and the whole matter exploded. Once again Patton was in the 'dog house': However it did not prevent him from begging Bradley to make his Third Army operational immediately.
No go. It would be a while longer before the Patton 'Blitzkrieg' would get the thumbs up. He would have to content himself with the tranquility of the orchard at Nehou, as the front moved ever farther away. July 20th was a dark day for Patton. The bomb plot against Hitler caused him to worry that he would never get into the fight before it was all over.
Waiting proved a bitter pill for the man who said,
"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base..."