Patton Unveiled

New acquisition for the Archive.

2nd April 2018

On the 1st July 1952, the M48 [Patton 48] was unveiled to the world in a lavish ceremony held at the Chrysler Delaware Tank Plant.

Patton imageThis commemorative booklet, bought at auction by the Archive and Library after a tip-off from a sharp eyed Friend of the Museum, is a fascinating collection of newspaper articles, speeches and photographs celebrating the event. 

In total 19 articles are featured from across America, including the New York Times, Atlanta Journal and Chicago Herald. The booklet is a prime example of ‘Americana’ [which can be simply defined as ‘characteristically American’]. Each article features highly stylised writing focusing on patriotic imagery and photographs. It appears the writing very much reflected the tone of the event, which is wonderfully illustrated by a theatrical introduction to the first tank off the production line:  

 “Bursting through a paper screen…[the tank] raced down the track to the reviewing stand, and suddenly spun to a halt almost in front of Mrs George S Patton Jr….[who] swung a christening bottle of champagne against the tank’s broad face and sent it on its way”.  
(Baltimore Maryland Sun article dated 2nd July 1952)

Not satisfied with christening a tank, the articles report that Mrs George S Patton Jr, the widow of the famous Second World War commander, would later don overalls and take a ride in one of the tanks, driven by her son then-Captain George S Patton IV.Patton booklet

The Ordnance Technical Committee Minutes #33791 initiated the design of a new tank on 27th February 1951, with the first rolling off the line 18 month later at the Chrysler Delaware Plant. It would officially standardise the tank as the “90mm gun tank M48” and name it “Patton 48” on the 2nd April 1953. The third in a series of tank named after the General George S Patton Jr, the M48 would be most noted for its service during the Vietnam War.

For those desiring a closer inspection, the Museum’s example of the M48 Patton is one of the T48 pilot tanks which can be found in the Tank Story Hall.