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General Patton and His Musicians From Mars

Musicians From Mars is part of the famous “Blood and Guts” speech General Patton to his men in 1941

“There is still a tendency in each separate unit…to be a one- handed puncher. By that I mean that the rifleman wants to shoot, the tanker to charge, the artilleryman to fire…That is not the way to win battles. If the band played a piece first with the piccolo, then with the brass horn, then with the clarinet, and then with the trumpet, there would be a hell of a lot of noise but no music. To get the harmony in music each instrument must support the others. To get harmony in battle, each weapon must support the other. Team play wins. You musicians of Mars must not wait for the band leader to signal you…You must each of your own volition see to it that you come into this concert at the proper place and at the proper time…”

General George S. Patton, Jr., 8 July
1941, address to the men of the 2nd
Armored Division, The Patton
Papers, Vol. II, 1974

What this means is to be balances and synchronized.  To do what is needed when it is needed and not to spend too much resources on any single thing – unless it is time for that thing.

My old boss loved talking about the battle rythmn while working disasters.  Meaning when we do what to get the emergency stabilized.

He got a twinkle in his eye when I mentioned this speech.  Old LPF was a great leader, he said a bunch of wild stuff and made you think.  He gave hints and guidance and was able to let you figure it out on your own.

I think he also once heard about Patton’s preference for course speech.  But Patton did not curse for cursing sake, like everything he had a reason.

When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can’t run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn’t fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag. … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence.


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