Skip to comments.WWII officer who said 'nuts' to Germans dies (Patton Alert)
Posted on 01/13/2009 4:57:12 PM PST by GSP.FAN
NEW YORK - Retired Lt. Gen. Harry W.O. Kinnard, a paratroop officer who suggested the famously defiant answer "Nuts!" to a German demand for surrender during the 1944 Battle of the Bulge, has died. He was 93.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
Now THAT is a real American.
‘A man so eloquent must be rescued.’
Lt. Gen. Harry W.O. Kinnard, RIP
That’s the kind of guy that you want to lead you into battle.
I’ve never worn a uniform but that’s my kind of General.
Thank you, Sir, and may God Bless You.
Actually,General Anthony McAuliffe said it. Kinnard repeated it.
Actually,General Anthony McAuliffe said it. Kinnard repeated it.
God bless his family. One of the Greatest Generation, and another example of why they earned the name.
A true hero. Rest in peace my friend. You earned it.
Not only great fighting men, but willing to help bridge cultural gaps as well!
General, your generation will be sorely missed in the dark days ahead.
Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, the 101st’s artillery chief and acting division commander in the absence of Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, laughed and remarked, “Us surrender? Aw, nuts,” and then wondered aloud how he should reply.
As recalled later by himself and other witnesses, Kinnard suggested that McAuliffe tell the Germans “what you just said ... nuts.”
In the summer of 1964, I got my dream job: lifeguard at the Ft. Benning Officer’s Club. But, my father’s transfer to Ft. Bragg put it all at risk. The Kinnard’s came to the rescue and I spent that summer as a house guest. MG Kinnard was then the CG of the 11th Air Assault Division and war was looming. If you have seen Mel Gibson’s movie “We Were Soldiers”, then you know the story.
General Kinnard played golf every Saturday morning and I often caddied when my lifeguard schedule permitted. The foursome was different every week and included other leaders of the division. I learned lots of great bawdy jokes, and also understood what the division was preparing to do. He trained a great division and led them into battle as the 1st Cavalry Division. Many of the things I later did in Vietnam as an aero rifle platoon leader, long range recon platoon leader and rifle company commander were techniques developed by General Kinnard and his 11th Air Assault Division.
He served his country well and I remember him fondly.
A few years ago, I saw an interview with the German commander who received the reply.
He said they didn’t know what he meant. He thought they were calling them nuts or crazy. Whatever, they knew the answer was not they were going to surrender.
Join George S. in the heavenly Officer's club and have a drink, and a prayer for US, will you. We need it. Dark times are once again at our shores, and your like are in short supply.
Rest easy, General. We’ll take the next watch.
God Bless you and keep you.
I thought it was Gen. McAuliffe that made the statement.
Great story. Thanks for sharing it, and thank you for your service to our country. God bless.
What a terrible loss in this day and age when we need more like him, not less. Rest well General, you have our undying gratitude. In our hearts you will live on.
Read my reply 11
“Actually,General Anthony McAuliffe said it. Kinnard repeated it.”
Wasn’t there more to that statement than just the word “nuts?” When I was in Germany during my AF tour there, I thought I’d read somewhere that the full statement was “He’s f***ing nuts.” Anything to that? God bless Gen. Kinnard and all those who stood tall in America’s defense in WWII. A special (and rapidly vanishing) breed of American.
I might add, fellow FReepers, if you’re anywhere near a VA hospital, please take some time to visit the veterans there and thank them for their service. Don’t need to wait until Veterans or Memorial Day to do it; they will greatly appreciate it.
Eventually I've read every Battle of the Bulge book I could find.
Can't recall if it was the book series Total War, or one that was written about St. Vith and the surrender of 2 US regiments of the 106th Golden Lyons near there.
I read in one of them that the ‘Nuts’ reply was made up to bolster troop moral because they didn't want Bastogne captured like St. Vith as it would have caused a collapse of the front.
Most roads led in and out of St. Vith and Bastogne.
I have read somewhere, can’t recall at all where, that although Bastogne was something of a transportation hub, the Germans did not consider capturing it a strategic necessity.
They had decided to just bypass it until it got the publicity, then Hitler ordered them to take it.
No member of the 101st has ever agreed that the division needed to be rescued.
Those were a paraphrase of Patton’s words upon hearing the ‘Nuts’ reply to the German demands.
Rest well Soldier, you’ve earned it.
Prayers for your family.
He said they didnt know what he meant. He thought they were calling them nuts or crazy. Whatever, they knew the answer was not they were going to surrender.
"I answered, 'Sir, you said "Nuts".'" ...
But then McAuliffe realized that some sort of reply was in order. He pondered for a few minutes and then told the staff, "Well I don't know what to tell them." He then asked the staff what they thought, and I spoke up, saying, "That first remark of yours would be hard to beat." McAuliffe said, "What do you mean?" I answered, "Sir, you said 'Nuts'." All members of the staff enthusiastically agreed, and McAuliffe decided to send that one word, "Nuts!" back to the Germans. McAuliffe then wrote down: "To the German Commander, "Nuts!" The American Commander."
McAuliffe then asked Col. Harper to deliver the message to the Germans. Harper took the typed message back to the company command post where the two German officers were detained. Harper then told the Germans that he had the American commanders reply. The German captain then asked, "Is it written or verbal?" Harper responded that it was written and added, "I will place it in your hand."
General Anthony McAuliffe
taken on December 27th, 1944
The German major then asked, "Is the reply negative or affirmative? If it is the latter I will negotiate further."
At this time the Germans were acting in an arrogant and patronizing manner and Harper, who was starting to lose his temper, responded, "The reply is decidedly not affirmative." He then added that, "If you continue your foolish attack your losses will be tremendous."
Harper then put the German officers in a jeep and took them back to where the German enlisted men were detained. He then said to the German captain, "If you don't know what 'Nuts' means, in plain English it is the same as 'Go to Hell'. And I'll tell you something else, if you continue to attack we will kill every goddam German that tries to break into this city."
The German major and captain saluted very stiffly. The captain said, "We will kill many Americans. This is war." Harper then responded, "On your way Bud," he then said, "and good luck to you." Harper later told me he always regretted wishing them good luck.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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Whoops, and THANKS indcons.
Read the article.
The only guy I've known who was there was pretty happy to see friendlies knocking on the door.
You are correct — the Germans were trying to capture the Meuse and control the waterway to the North Sea. They didn’t have the supplies for an extended assault to take Bastogne, so they figured they’d bypass the city and take it at their leisure after Bastogne ran out of supplies. Unfortunately for the Germans, they did not count on the efficiency of the American airdrop, the resiliency of the 101st Airborne, nor the determination of Patton and his men to cover 100 km in 3 days.
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