Patton’s Mobile Headquarters 3rd Army HQ in Europe
The Original, The Recreation and History brought to life through exhibition
In 2008 a shop Van was purchased with the expressed purpose of recreating the Patton HQ Van, used by General Patton through out the War in Europe.
The original Patton Shop van was located at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox. The van was on display but difficult to view the inside of it. Somewhere is its long history on display, it had been painted the wrong color and very little maintenance had been done on it.
Master cabinet maker Mike Sabota and his son Andrew were able to recreate the inside of the Patton Furniture. Based on photographs from tours of the Patton Museum a finished van was compared to the original on display. It was important to be as accurate as possible.
The Patton Museum Display
The George Patton Museum has been an excellent source for of information. I asked them if they would mind sending me some inside pictures of the Patton HQ Shop Van on display in the museum. They send me asset of them that was invaluable to restoring my own shop van” said Denny Hair who has played Patton since 1984 and was looking to re-create an exact duplicate of Patton’s Hq Shop Van. They sent a wealth of information by sending the high resolutions images.
Views of the original Vanity inside Patton’s Van
We brought our recreation to various museums and showings and developed a traveling exhibit to display the collection.
What we were doing was known by the Patton Museum at Fort Knox and Denny Hair got a call from the Patton Museum Director, Christopher Kolakowsk about possibly helping gather information to help the restore the original Patton Van.
Quite a bit of information was exchanged at the Patton Museum volunteers began a long restoration to bring the original Patton Museum van to a high quality restoration.
In 2012 the Third Army Historical Society did show at the Patton Museum and Denny Hair was invited to our the inside of the real Patton van as they were just beginning their restoration.
The Patton Museum at Fort Knox did a fantastic job on the restoration of the Patton van and brought it to a higher museum standard than had existed before.
There were still many mysteries as to how it had been used and what was originally in it. Denny Hair was writing an in-depth history of Patton’s Headquarters and his Third and hade gained access to the Library of Congress Patton Files. It would take 10 years of research to finish the books.
Visit the Patton Hidden in Plain Sight Page
The book is also now available, world wide, through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/ Third-Patton-Hidden-Plain-Sight/dp/0692040560
From the research into Patton’s Headquarters a great deal of information was gleaned from the files.
However, it did not tell the whole story as to how it was used. Images taken by the volunteers staff of the Patton museum helped tell the rest of the story. There were places where wires were cut, screws were seen to be left in place and empty compartments where there had once been. An in-depth study of the images was undertaken and a comparison of the known facts associated with the Patton Van and how it was used.
The recreation of the Third Army Historical Society’s Patton van continued and went on for a total of ten years. Finally it was completed. There now exists a complete manual on how the van was originally used in the field.
It is now published below on this web site so future historians can see how General Patton existed in the field as he commanded the United States Third Army in Europe.
The Patton Museum at Fort Knox continues to interpret the original and the research continues.
The General Patton Mobile Van Exhibit
Patton Museum Fort Knox Kentucky
The Third Army Historical Society The “Patton Van”
A docent manual Interpreting our Patton Van Recreation.
The shop portion of the van was an ST6 and was originally a small arms maintenance workshop manufactured by Perley A Thomas Car works High Point North Carolina, which is known today as Thomas Buses. Sometime in March 1944 the conversions began near Patton Headquarters in Peover, England. In 1965, one of the builders of the Patton Van visited the Patton Museum located at Fort Knox.
In 1965, one of the original builders visited Fort Knox where than van came to be put on display after the war. An article that appeared in the “The Turret” newspaper stated that Technician 5th Grade Joseph E. Owczarczak “was then a “shop clerk” in charge of maintenance and repair shop of the 911th Ordnance Heavy Automotive Company. Twenty men from the company and ten French civilians actually built the vans. Mr. Joseph E. Owczarczak stated he was included because of his position in the company and his knowledge of the French language and people. He passed instructions on to the French civilians.”  For weeks the Ordnance section in England converted the vans into traveling mobile caravans.
The “Caravans” and Living in the Field.
In the center of the Third Army Headquarters were three shop vans referred to as caravans They were assigned to General Patton, General Hugh Gaffey, Chief of Staff and General Hobart Gay (Deputy Chief of Staff). They were heavily guarded by MP’s 24 hours a day unless they were moving. Patton referred to the MPs as “sentinels” These sentinels carried .30 caliber M1 rifles with fixed bayonets and, on occasion, M1903A1 rifles with bayonets fixed. Patton believed that the fixed bayonets gave a foreboding effect and conveyed the idea that they meant business. In Patton‘s Headquarters, they took their assignments seriously. They were part of the 503rd MP Battalion Company A, which was assigned to provide headquarters security.
The three “caravans” were located in close proximity to each other and had a canvas tarp protruding outward from the rear of each van, supported with poles and guy ropes which formed a canvas awning.
The truck that became General Patton’s Headquarters van was officially designated by the quartermaster and transportation department as a 2 ½ CCKW Shop Van St6. They were based on a two and one half ton truck with ten wheels and 6 wheel drive. The truck weighed some 13,000 pounds. It was powered by a GMC 6-cylinder engine and had a 40-gallon gas tank. The truck measured 19 feet in length, 7 ft. 10 inches wide and 9 feet tall. It was rated to get 7.5 miles per gallon.( 269.5 cubic inch displacement.) It was an ordnance repair truck converted to a mobile house trailer. General Patton described his by saying, “It is like a cabin cruiser that you can stand up in. 
There was a 25-gallon canvas bag hanging on one side with a shower attachment to bath with. Patton was said to not be very shy about his latrine or bathing habits. From an outward appearance these vans looked identical with one notable exception.
There was added a metal stair rail to assist Patton coming in and out of the van, as the stairs were steep. The stairs were moved to the middle both doors could remain closed and the top secret map board, on the inside, could not be viewed from the outside.
Patton’s dog, Willie, had trouble getting up the stairs into the van because of the expanded metal mesh on the stair rungs. It would pull his nails off getting in. As a result, there were small pieces of board placed over the stairs so he would not hurt himself going up the stairs. All of this was covered by a huge array of camouflage netting that helped it blend into the countryside and not be seen from the air or distant ground observation.
The Patton shop van cabin interior was designed and constructed in England and delivered to Patton on or about June 10, 1944.
At the entrance to Patton’s “caravan” were two flags. On the right side flew his field rank flag that was red with three white stars denoting his rank of Lt. General. To the left was the Third Army flag. There was to be no doubt as to where Patton was billeted. Just outside the van were folding canvas director chairs and folding camp tables. Below Patton leaves with Willie outside Patton Van.
Inside the “Patton Mobile Sleeping Quarters
A drawing of the van interior helps to understand the size of the van. It is unknown what the other two vans looked like on the inside but they may have been identical.
The first thing a visitor sees is the bed to the rear and the map board.
The bed originally had an inflatable air mattress. It was made of plywood and would have been uncomfortable without some sort of mattress or cushioning
This is an exact duplicate of Patton’s original van
Left : Patton Van, June 1944 / Right : 2018 Recreation
Built- in Radio
The overhead cabinets above the desk. Patton had a radio installed in the cabinets with a set of speakers. There may also have been some type of storage as well but no images of the inside of these have been found during their use in 1944-1945.
Above the bed and desk is a long cabinet located above the windows on the driver’s side. It has three doors. For years this had been a mystery but a clue was visible. There appeared to be a door cut for speakers. During the 2012 restoration of the original Patton van another clue was found. It appeared the built-in radio was to the far end of the speakers. Only a board was left where it had been mounted. Careful measurements were taken were taken by the restoration team.
It took some time to find a civilian radio which matched the four holes in the board. In 2018 it was matched by a 1940’s tube radio. It was restored and is now fully functional.
Patton made mention of its use on April 12, 1945.
“I went to bed rather late and noted that I had failed to wind my watch, so turned on the radio to see if I could get the time. Just as I turned it on, the announcer reported the death of the President.
I immediately informed General Eisenhower and General Bradley, and we had quite a discussion as to what might happen. It seems very unfortunate that in order to secure political preference, people are made Vice Presidents who were never intended neither by the Party nor by the Lord to be Presidents.
I returned to bed and everybody called up until about 2:00 O’clock to give me official reports on the death of the President and other matters.
Even though Patton’s headquarters at the time was, in what could only be described as a elegant luxurious mansion, he preferred to sleep in his van. It offered him privacy and he had become us to it. He felt he should be as uncomfortable as his command and did not care much for fancy suites and large mansions. He also enjoyed the solitude that his van offered.
On the evening of the 12 of April when he heard the news of President’s Roosevelt’s death, his day had been long and eventful. It started out early, meeting General Eisenhower’s plane on the airfield. They then went to the Merkers Mine and inspected the stolen Nazi gold and art work. After lunch, they when to the Ohrdruf labor camp and saw the horror of the concentration camp. Later that evening there was a talk by Ike to his staff and the Club mobile Red Cross girls attended the formal mess and listen to Ike talk about the war with Patton’s staff.
It was late when Patton went out to his van. He looked at his watch and he had forgotten to wind it. He turned on the radio to get the proper time.
Leaning of the president’s death he went back indoors and informed Ike. They then stayed up most of the night talking.
The Sink and Medicine Cabinet
To the right as you enter is a hinged door. When the door is open there is a sink about waist high. Above the sink and medicine cabinet is a water tank that gravity fed into the sink. There is a pipe leading into the brass water tank from the top of the shop van. Water had to be poured in from the outside top of the roof, where a filling cap was located. It holds about five gallons of water. There no water heater and only one faucet was installed. Above the sink is a mirror built in to the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet held those medicines and bandages to cover minor cuts and burns along with the toiletries normally expected in a medicine cabinet. The Patton museum displays an after shave talcum powder called Fougere Royal by Houbigant of New York. They also display a standard “Mollie” shaving cream among others.
The recreation Patton van sink and cabinet have been patterned as to the original and made fully operational. The light switch and fixtures have been meticulously recreated with the original period materials. The light is from the 1930’s era and the piping has been soldered and tinned as it would have been in 1944. To recreate it exactly, the sink has been made fully functional and holds water as the original once did. All it takes is a turn of the faucet and the sink files with water. The sink drains into a pipe which drains outside the van as the original.
Across from the water closet is the clothes closet. Patton kept his uniforms for the day and personal items in this closet. No original images have surfaced as to what Patton kept in it. It is obviously used for cloths. MSGT George Meeks was his orderly and was responsible for keeping Patton’s wardrobe in order. Some mention has been made of a laundry and it is known that large vans were used for that purpose but little information remains as to their use in Patton’s HQ. However George Meeks did it, he was able to keep Patton’s uniforms immaculate.
The van was furnished with two chairs. One slid under the desk. The other was quite innovative for its design. It was a Morris chair. The Morris chair was widely thought of as being the first reclining chair. Patton apparently picked it up while he was in Peover, England. It is identical to the chair Willie became comfortable in while at the estate belonging to Lady Leese in England. She may have given it to Patton for his van. Willie slept in it quite a bit. The Morris chair was first introduced in the 1870’s and had a spring-loaded reclining back. It gained popularity and is said to be the first mass-produced reclining chair. Patton’s Morris chair still exists and resides in the Patton Van in the Patton Museum at Fort Knox. The Morris chair in this van is an original and has a push button to release the rear springs so it can recline. It has a pullout foot rest and was patented in 1910.
On the passenger side of the Patton van is a custom made desk with sliding draws. The drawers and the desk were used for Patton’s everyday duties as commanding general of Third Army. It had papers to be signed, books, phones, cigars, a phonograph, a bible, a typewriter and personal effects. At the front end of the desk was a folding leaf used to extend the surface of the desk. Patton received mail and other official correspondence and stayed up late at night and into the early morning
responding and replying to correspondence received.
He also wrote entrees to his diary each day. To the right end above the desk and was a box referred to as Patton’s library. There he kept the books that he was reading at the time.
This is the desk area of the van as it was seen for almost 60 years.
The Patton van at the Patton Museum has been on display since about 1947. It was certainly taken care of and recently it has undergone a full restoration. So much time has passed that there is no one left who has direct knowledge of its use and can say they were at Patton’s headquarters. The interpretation of the van has undergone a new phase and has yet to be completed. In 2010-2011 the Patton Museum Director, Christopher Kolakowski, approached Denny Hair who had restored his shop van into a recreation of Patton shop van. The collaboration between the two has lead to a learning experience that has helped bring a better understanding as to how General Patton used his van in his beloved Third Army headquarters. In 2011 through 2013 the Patton Museum volunteers did a ground-up restoration on the truck shop van and all of its mechanical running parts. They cleaned and repaired the interior but there were many unanswered questions as to its usage and various functions.
Wiring on the desk
Affixed to original van desktop are a number of curious objects that, when identified, tell a story of their use. Patton had two phones on his desk. There still exist the phone connections screwed to the desk. The wires can be traced down and through the underside of the desk and through the bottom of the van where they stop. There is also a board affixed to the top of the desk that may have had one of the phones secured to it. There is also evidence of some sort of wiring affixed to the window stanchions with screw type bolts still in place. 
In studying the wiring, the unknown connector, made reference to by the museum during the restoration of the original van,  is a1940’s period four-prong terminal telephone connector. In looking at the available phones to the United States Third Army, it was determined that a TP6 phone would have been the type of phone connected to the phone line and connection. There is a board screwed into the desk to secure the phone when the van is moving. It would not have had a rotary dial nor a curlicue cord as such cord was not available in 1944. More interesting the wiring above the desk that indicates that a wiring system of a different type was once in use. This would have been the secret scrambler phone.
Deputy Chief of Staff to General Patton Col. Paul Harkins wrote in a footnote to War As I Knew It that “Once in a while it was necessary to use radio telephone, which was handled over a regular telephone system installed in the truck. One of the two telephones – incidentally, it had a green receiver was a direct line to General Bradley and General Eisenhower. This particular telephone had a device scrambled the words as they passed over the wire and come out spoken at the other end. Most of the General’s oaths [profanity] were used at this device. It seemed he could never get it is in phase and complained that it scrambled his words before he uttered them.” 
Telephones in Patton Vans
In 2011 to 2013 the original Patton van was restored near as possible to its original configuration. The volunteers restoring the van carefully documented all of the electrical outlets located near the desks. These were phone related connections. 
A careful study was made of these connections by the Third Army Historical Society. There findings were confirmed when the US Army T6 Phone and British made Scrambler phones were compared. This was matched with the outside phone line connections located on the passenger side of the van below the antenna connection. Both the phone connections entered into the van from this point. 
The TP6 phone was compatible with any switchboard and had a local battery connection located with in the van. This too was also true of the scrambler phone. Nether of these phones had the (yet to be invented) curlicue headset cord. Both phones in the recreation Patton van are connected as they once were in 1944 and they both work.
Patton’s personal call sign and his phone connection number was Lucky 6. His forward headquarters was called Lucky Forward. 
The phones were not a stand alone scrambler unit. They had to have a frequency changer mainframe consisting of a wooden or metal chest containing the tube-based circuitry to modulate the signal and scramble or descrambled the signal into normal speech patterns. By 1944 they had introduced a unit what would run on 110 volts, which would work with most Army generators. Patton van and work trailer had such generators.
Frequency Changer No 6AC.
“Introduced in January 1944, this CV1052 tube based unit had a power supply designed to run on either 100-110v/200-250v. AC or 12v DC (via a vibrator circuit) for use in instances of mains power unavailability or failure.”  It could scramble up to three phones. This frequency changer is extremely rare and considered to be top secret.
The scramble phone and would had been listed under the Signal Corps inventory and removed periodically when Patton was not using of his van or his semi-trailer office trailer. It was replaced by the British type ten radio mobile set. 
Patton had little privacy during his command of the Third Army. What little he had was found in the living quarters of the cabin. Here he could relax a little, smoke a cigar and read his many books. Based in the accounts, the recreation Patton van is an accurate representation of Patton’s living quarters in the field. 
The van had a gasoline-fired heater in it which was located above the bed. There is a fire extinguisher bracket to the left of the bed and it can be reached from the bed. This was a safety precaution as the Evanair hearers had to be hand lit by match and caution had to be used not to cause a fire or a flash explosion.
Attached to the opposite side of the cabinet with the sink was a small library shelf. It contained from time to time a five volume set of “The History of the Norman Conquest of England,” published in the 1870’s, Arthur Bryant’s Years of Endurance, about the Napoleonic wars. Freeman’s Norman Conquest, The Holy Bible, Rudyard Kipling Verse, published in 1940, Rommel’s Infantry Attacks, Caesar’s Gallic War, A life of Jeb Stuart, Webster Collegiate Dictionary, and Roots of Strategy by Thomas R. Phillips. 
There is a cigar box. Patton loved 9 inch 24 karat Havana gold cigars. 
Colonel Robert Allen wrote in his book Lucky Forward,” “When we landed in the Contentin, a copy of Freeman’s The Norman Conquest was in his trailer. He had carefully studied the volume to learn the roads used by William the Conqueror in his campaigns in Normandy and Brittany. Patton reasoned that in medieval times such roads had to be all weather thoroughfares and therefore could be used by tanks to bypass the enemy-mined modern highways. Patton read many other volumes on wars in Europe and pored over countless maps. He collected maps the way some men do art treasures. He knew the entire road net of France and Germany by memory.” 
General Patton had his own German–made 35mm Leica camera made by Ernst Leitz Wetzar and was fond of taking his own pictures. Patton took many photographs and had them sent home to Beatrice. She put them in scrapbooks and labeled them as to what they were. In 1986 all of the scrapbooks were donated to the Library of Congress. 
Lighting in side the Patton van
During the conversion, the original light were utilized and or left in place. This provided overhead lights and lights for the map board. During blackout periods, the shades could be drawn and the overhead lights turned off. The cab has two 6 volt lights with red lenses and could be turned on for a short time to be able to move around in the van. They were connected directly to the 6-volt batteries located in the floor of the cabin.
Patton had most of his letters dictated to his private secretary, Joseph Rosevich. He did type but his spelling was not good and his handwriting was in cursive was almost unreadable. However he is known to have typed letters home when he found the time.
The typewriter on the desk is antique 1920’s Royal typewriter. The Royal 10 was introduced in 1914. It had two beveled glass panels on either side of the machine.
A later version only had one glass panel on either side. It is not clear at what point exactly that change was made. However, the machine presented here, with two glass panels, has a serial number that fits a production date in 1923. This is exceptional, because most of these machines with double glass panels have serial numbers from the first production year.
The Royal 10 was marketed as being the sturdiest and strongest typewriter around. To underscore the point, the Royal company even organized stunts, where it threw typewriters (in crates) from airplanes, to show that they would even survive a fall.
Most of the personal typing was by Patton’s secretary Joseph Rosevich.
Most of Patton’s correspondence during WWII was typed from short hand by Sgt. Joseph Rosevich. As a Delaware native, Rosevich graduated from Wilmington High School and the University of Delaware. He took shorthand and typing at Goldey College, and later earned his master’s degree at Teachers College of Columbia University. He taught at Surrattsville High School in Preston, Md., until World War II. Patton promoted Rosevich from private to master sergeant, and in Sicily, awarded him the Bronze Star for meritorious service. Patton could not endure errors — on the battlefield or in the office. So the letter of commendation he dictated to Rosevich was something of a medal in itself: “My dear Sgt. Rosevich: You have been my personal secretary since Feb. 15, 1942, and have accompanied me in all my campaigns. Your work has been of very high class, both rapid and accurate. I am sorry that the exigencies of the service cause us to separate and I hereby commend you for the superior performance of duty. Very sincerely, G.S. Patton Jr., General.”
Patton had a record player that he used to teach himself foreign languages. It was said he was trying to teach himself Spanish. He was fluent in French and could speak German. Patton had many personal effects in the van. Among them was a phonograph he used to teach himself different languages. He wrote home to Beatrice, “I still work with my phonograph daily,” and he had a record that taught him both French and German. 
WII Special Services US Army Crank Style Gramophone Record Player. The crank winds up the motor spring. The tone arm has a needle and it follows the groves in the hard vinyl record. Its vibrations are transferred through the echo chamber and can be heard for some distance. There is a spare needle chamber.
The crank arm, when removed from the hole in the front of the case, is stored inside the case.
The crank arm winds the spring located underneath the round turn table covered with felt. The cover is hinged and has 2 hasps to secure the cover closed. There is a leather carrying handle on the left side of the case, and secured by brackets that holds it. This gramophone functions well and the turntable rotates after being cranked.
Lt. Col. Robert Allen wrote of Patton’s health during the battle of the bulge and stated, “Patton is having the water de-chlorinated to be more palatable for him due to stomach problems. He also has use of a sun lamp to help his complexion”.  It is believed Patton acquired his sun lamp in England and a lamp of this type appears in the first photographs of the inside of his new van on June 10, 1944.
A British made lamp of the period was acquired for the recreation Patton van and installed in the approximate location of the one in the first photographs. It is a fully functional heat lamp complete with a heat lamp bulb.
Patton Museum Artifacts
These are the artifacts donated by the Patton Family to the Patton Museum
Images of Patton Museum Artifacts are images taken by the author and appear in his book(s) 
The original Patton van and the recreation Patton van can be attached to outside power generators. The original van had a generator located the rear of the front cab under the cabin. It was a gasoline generator and provided 110 power source to the cabin. 
The recreation Patton van can be hooked to an generator or plugged into a 110 volt power source.
Communications into the Patton Van
For years there were questions as to what some of the wiring still present on the outside of the Patton van was used. Those questions can now be answered.
Below the electrical box is a smaller box with a hinged lid. This has two sets of connectors that can be hooked to external switchboards and TP6 and Scramble phone lines. In Patton headquarters there were several mobile vans full of switchboard equipment and manned by the 301st Signal Corps attached to Patton Headquarters.
The phone lines wires were ran from the 301st Signal Corps vans to Patton’s van and his semi-trailer. 
Patton did not use his van exclusively as an official office while in the field. The volume of work required and the number of visitors he meet while in the field did not give him any privacy. His work office was moved to a mobile semi-truck and trailer attached
Above the desk are a series of lights that look as if there are too many for such a small space.
The reason for this is the van started out as a mobile workshop van and was designed as such.
Note: The information contained herein are excerpts from the books and their original footnotes have been added to the text. The books are
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, The Battle Before the War Book 1, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, The Third Army Goes to War Book 2, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, A prediction Ignored and a Prayer book 3, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, Secrets Hidden, book 4, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, A Grateful Nation, book 5, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Hair, Denny, Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, The Images Uncovered, book 6, Third Army Publishing, Houston Texas 2018
Additional footnotes are included from the following sources
Images shared with Denny Hair, Pre-restoration image inventory, Patton Van, Patton Van, Patton Museum of Leadership, Fort Knox Kentucky, 2011-2012
Patton Van Display, Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, Kentucky, 2008
Third Army Historical Society, Restoration team, The study of the original Patton Van images, Images provided by the Patton Museum, 2008, 2010, 20111, 2012 and on site inspection the team 2013. Team members, Denny Hair, William White, and Charles Wallace, conclusions 2018.