On this day in 1944, General George S. Patton, aka “Old Blood and Guts,” begins his bold strategy to relieve the Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.
Ultimately, his plan paid off, and his 3rd Army penetrated the German lines and pushed them east across the Rhine.
Notably, a couple weeks prior, 250,000 prayer cards were distributed to every soldier in his Third Army. The text of the two-sided card follows:
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.
G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.”
After all, as General Patton said just prior to their distribution:
“[B]etween the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything. That’s where prayer comes in.”