Patton slaps another soldier
10th August 1943: In the second of two controversial incidents General Patton accuses another sick soldier of cowardice
The campaign in Sicily was to demonstrate very clearly what could be achieved by a General with determination. George S. Patton had driven his forces on with great speed to take Palermo in the north. Now he was competing with Montgomery in a race to push the Germans to the eastern tip of the island at Messina. Yet for all his achievements Patton was to suffer as a consequence of two relatively small incidents.
On the 3rd August Patton had been involved in an incident at a Field Hospital. The initial diagnosis of Private Charles A. Kuhl was that he was suffering from "psychoneurosis anxiety" and when Patton confronted Kuhl as he toured the wards he said " I guess I can't take it". Patton became enraged and slapped him around the head with his folded gloves, calling him a 'coward' and physically threw him out of the tent.
He demanded that the doctors send the soldier, whom he called a "gutless bastard", back to the front. A subsequent medical examination found Kuhl to be suffering from 'malaria, chronic diarrhoea and a fever of 102.2 degrees'.
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