Skip to main content

Good Instincts

March 2023
1min read

After the invasion of Sicily in World War II, my infantry company was ordered to clear one of the secondary roads to Palermo. By late in the afternoon we were about ten miles from Palermo when our advance people were fired on by an Italian machine gun along the mountainous road. We had no armor to quiet the gun, so we called back for an armored car or a light tank. Before too long we heard a vehicle approaching, but we knew from the sound that this wasn’t the armor we requested. When it rounded the corner behind us, I saw it was a military sedan with the top down and somebody standing up in back.

Being at the head of the column and sitting down (like all the men), I rose as I saw the car. It rolled to a stop by me, and the occupant asked why the delay. I explained about the Italian machine gun and our request for armor. “Ah, there ain’t no damn machine gun up there,” he said. “If you’d get off your ass and get moving, you’d be in Palermo by nightfall.” With that he told his driver to go ahead, and I began wondering what we’d do with a dead general. But the machine gun had moved out, and Gen. George S. Patton was right. We did get to Palermo that night.

—Woodrow A. Schlegel is a real estate broker in Carrizozo, New Mexico.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "February/march 1993"

Authored by: The Editors

Jno. Trlica’s photographs of Granger, Texas

Authored by: The Editors

The First Flight

Authored by: The Editors

Trouble in Paradise

Authored by: The Editors

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Authored by: The Editors

“Barnyard Marriage”

Authored by: The Editors


Authored by: The Editors

Enter Clean Gene …

Authored by: The Editors

… Exit LBJ

Authored by: Jill Jonnes

One man invented the modern narcotics industry

Authored by: John Steele Gordon

It opened fifty years ago and changed Broadway forever

Featured Articles

Famous writers including Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts turned Sleepy Hollow Cemetery into our country’s first conservation project.

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

A hundred years ago, America was rocked by riots, repression, and racial violence.

During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.

Now a popular state park, the unassuming geological feature along the Illinois River has served as the site of centuries of human habitation and discovery.  

The recent discovery of the hull of the battleship Nevada recalls her dramatic action at Pearl Harbor and ultimate revenge on D-Day as the first ship to fire on the Nazis.

Our research reveals that 19 artworks in the U.S. Capitol honor men who were Confederate officers or officials. What many of them said, and did, is truly despicable.

Here is probably the most wide-ranging look at Presidential misbehavior ever published in a magazine.

When Germany unleashed its blitzkreig in 1939, the U.S. Army was only the 17th largest in the world. FDR and Marshall had to build a fighting force able to take on the Nazis, against the wishes of many in Congress.

Roast pig, boiled rockfish, and apple pie were among the dishes George and Martha enjoyed during the holiday in 1797. Here are some actual recipes.

Born during Jim Crow, Belle da Costa Greene perfected the art of "passing" while working for one of the most powerful men in America.