In 1943, after German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps has severely defeated American tank units in the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, Gen. George S. Patton is sent to spearhead the U. S. sector of the North African campaign. His dramatic flair for leadership revitalizes the tank corps; an avid student of military history, he indulges his mystical belief in reincarnation and envisions the succession of great warriors and battles that have preceded him. Aided by his deputy commander, Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Patton scores a decisive victory over Rommel at El Guettar, which eventually leads to the German expulsion from North Africa. His next assignment is to lead the 7th Army into Sicily by taking Palermo, but instead he is ordered to protect the flank of his chief rival, British Field Marshal Montgomery, while Montgomery leads the attack. On his own initiative, Patton pushes forward and takes Messina, the island's main port and primary objective of the campaign, thereby intensifying his feud with Montgomery. Shortly thereafter, Patton visits a field hospital where, in a fit of rage, he slaps a weeping, battle-fatigued soldier; his action causes Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to demand the general's public apology and to eventually relieve Patton of his command. In spite of his probation, Patton's worth as a decoy during a tour of the Mediterranean is acknowledged, and he eventually assumes leadership of the 3rd Army under the command of Bradley. He forces his men through an impasse at Normandy and comes to a dramatic rescue of the beleaguered 101st Airborne under siege at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton pushes his troops all the way to Czechoslovakia where, with total victory imminent, he is ordered to allow Montgomery and the Russian troops to rout the already disorganized German army. At the war's end, Patton cannot refrain from insulting America's current ally, Russia; unable to make the transition to peacetime, he is removed from command and bids a sad farewell to his staff.