Battle Of The Bulge Siege of Bastogne Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Patton’s Employment of Mission Command: Siege of Bastogne

As a military leader, Patton is remembered for great accomplishments. As a matter of fact, his approach to leadership has led many to speculate that he was before his time in the military (reference module 6 notes). In many ways, Patton could also be remembered for his excellent application of what is now referred to as mission command. In basic terms, mission command has got to do with “the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of Unified Land Operations” (Department of the Army (ADRP 5-0), 2012, p. 1-1). It is important to note that during his time as general, Patton made extensive utilization of mission command – and effectively employed the operations process in this endeavor (reference module 6 notes). In essence, Patton could, in all engagements “understand his assigned mission, and he sought to build and maintain his understanding of the operational environment and the problem” (reference module 6 notes). Patton’s competency on the application of mission command and the operational process was displayed in most of his engagements – as was evidenced in the Siege of Bastogne in 1944 and 1945.

In basic terms, the Siege of Bastogne took place in a town known as Bastogne in Belgium, where German forces clashed with American forces in a sustained effort by the former to seize the town which was of great relevance as it could have provided a very strategic pathway for the German forces to expand northward (Barron, 2015). At the time of the German invasion, the town was under the active protection of the American forces, under the able leadership of Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, who during the sustained 7 day German assault faced the real prospect of surrender. Then entered Patton, a battle-hardened general whose mission on this particular engagement was to redeem the besieged forces in this strategic town.

Patton’s orientation, throughout his service, was that attacks must be done aggressively and continuously. He felt that the swift annihilation of the enemy was a sure way to save lives. When the Battle of Bastogne commenced, Patton’s 3rd army was engaged in an eastward attack. It was at this point that Eisenhower committed the 3rd Battalion towards Bastogne – effectively meaning that to head to Bastogne, Patton’s men had to turn 90 degrees and head north. It was no easy task, but with pure confidence, guts, and courage, Patton was able to pull this off. He effectively broke off an attack and wheeled away, while at the same time avoiding a very probable situation of breaking his stride while heading in the opposite direction and giving the enemy the chance to wipe out his formation.

In all his engagements, Patton clearly understood and internalized his mission. The weather was in this case awful and there was virtually no air support, but Patton understood that he had to make a dash to Bastogne. In essence, “commanders assess continuously to better understand current conditions and determine how the operation is progressing” (reference module 6 notes). Patton clearly understood that…

Sources Used in Document:


Barron, L. (2015). Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne. New York, NY: Penguin Publishing Group

Harvey, R., (2008). Maverick military leaders: The extraordinary battles of Washington, Nelson, Patton, Rommel, and others. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing

Morelock, J.D. (2015). Generals of the Bulge: Leadership in the U.S Army’s Greatest Battle. Stackpole Books.

Reference module 6 notes

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