World War II American General Officers' Project

 

 
 
 

A project dedicated to the study of the American General Officer and the preservation of their original uniforms, flags and medals.

General Lucian Truscott

 

In preparation for the invasion of Sicily General Truscott was placed in command of the 3rd infantry division. Truscott who earlier in World War II joined Britain’s Lord Mountbatten's combined staff where he developed Ranger units for special operations. General Truscott demanded that his Ranger units be in top physical condition, could he expect the same out of the average infantry man? After commanding for only a week an opportunity presented itself for which Truscott had been waiting. An Infantry battalion located at an outpost about ten miles away was to be relieved. Truscott gave the order " Have the battalion march out at four miles an hour and the other battalion return at the same rate." The usual rate of marching was two and a half miles an hour. Truscott observed the results. More than one hundred of the one thousand men in the battalion had fallen out to be treated by the following medics. The next day Truscott observed the relieving battalion, a battalion that had been in the field for two weeks, and had been training daily the difference was notable, only twelve men had fallen out. General Truscott was convinced that the average infantry battalion could approximate Ranger and Commando standards of training.

General Patton did not like the idea of playing second fiddle to the British feeling that the capture of Palermo could be touted as the first great exploit by American armor. This exploit would demand more use of the infantryman and less use of armor but would in fact be a good buildup for the American fighting man. Palermo was one hundred miles away. Speed was of the essence. The faster these hundred miles could be traversed the less time the enemy had to set demolition. Travel would be difficult. The first forty miles led through rugged mountains with many hairpin turns followed by 40 miles of plateaus leading to a range of rugged hills that encircle the city of Palermo. Truscott instructed his troops that they would be the first troops in Palermo and that they would be there in five days. Through leadership and the true grit of the 3rd ID fighting man they made Palermo and in fact while Patton rode victoriously through the city at 10:30 that night two battalions of the 3rd ID were already patrolling the streets. Truscott was ordered into the city the next morning to report to General Patton. Patton’s greeting was "Well, the Truscott Trot sure got us here in a hurry"

General Truscott was a reliable, aggressive, and successful leader. He went on to command VI Corps in Italy and Southern France, Fifteenth Army, Fifth Army and finally Third Army.

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