Skip to comments.Officer behind 'nuts' response in WWII dies
Posted on 01/12/2009 7:59:57 AM PST by Borges
His death was announced by his family.
Kinnard parachuted into Normandy in the first hours of D-Day. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during Operation Market Garden, the airborne attack in the German-occupied Netherlands. And he helped pioneer the airmobile concept, sending troops into combat aboard helicopters during the Vietnam War.
But he was perhaps best remembered for what happened in December 1944 at the Belgian town of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne Division, short on clothing and boots in a snowstorm and bitter cold, was surrounded by German troops.
Bastogne, at the intersection of important roads, was a crucial objective for the Germans in their surprise attack in the Ardennes region of Belgium, an offensive that had created a "bulge" in Allied lines.
On Dec. 22, two German officers approached the American lines in Bastogne carrying a demand that the American commander surrender his troops within two hours or face annihilation from an artillery barrage.
The message was passed on to Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, acting as division commander while Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor was in Washington.
Kinnard, a lieutenant colonel at the time and the division's operations officer, would recall that McAuliffe "laughed and said: Us surrender? Aw, nuts.'"
(Excerpt) Read more at 2.journalnow.com ...
Of course today we would have surrendered immediately, for the good of Bulgium’s environment, while congradulating the German high command for its efficient use of low-carbon gas at Dachau.
Rumor has it that “nuts” wasn’t the real response. It’s been cleaned up for the history books. According to the rumor the real response was a lot more earthy.
Thank you and good night, Gen. McNut.
[The story Gen McAuliffe tells (at the end of this article) is really funny!]
RIP for an American hero BTW.
A giant of history.
May God rest his soul.
Thanks for photo. He looks lethal.
Notice both hunting knife on belt and bayonet on boots. His pockets bulging, maybe ammo. Carring a M1 and a Bazooka.
This was not the movies.
I’d have followed him.
those Battling Bastards of Bastonge.
Well, I did say it was a rumor and according to the Wikipedia excerpt below there is dispute about what was actually said.
According to various accounts from those present, when McAuliffe was told of the German demand for surrender he said “Aw, nuts”. At a loss for an official reply, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard suggested that his first remark summed the situation up well, which was agreed to by the others. The official reply: “To the German Commander, NUTS!, The American Commander” was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper, commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, and his S-3 Major Jones to the German delegation. Harper had to explain the meaning of the word to the Germans, telling them that in “plain English” it meant “Go to hell.”
According to an article in the Daily Mail (a British Newspaper) the reply was not “Nuts” but a four letter expletive that was changed for propaganda purposes for domestic consumption. But that was not the case, according to Vincent Vicari, McAuliffe’s personal aide who was there at the time. As quoted by Richard Pyle of the Associated Press December 12, 2004, Vicari said, “General Mac was the only general I ever knew who did not use profane language. ‘Nuts’ was part of his normal vocabulary.”
.........when I was a 10 year old child, my grandfather( who was in one of the first divisions that freed the 101st) and I walked all around Bastogne with him telling me all the battle sites and about the General who said “nuts” to the Germans....I never forgot the story and it was one of the best days I ever spent with my grandfather
BTW this declaration would have tumultuos effect. Patton's Army was driving towards Germany and the Battle of the Bulge was a German thrust to split the Allied Armies and drive them back to the sea. Patton's radio operators had heard the message regarding the "Nuts!" message. He knew that he had to save those B@st@rds defending Bastogne and performed one of the most unbelieveable maneuvers in Warfare's History. He pivoted his army 90% to the left and drove into the German flank. He ordered his troops to save that SOB who had issued that Splendid Statement. Col Abrams, (who the tank was named after), led his tank corp into Bastogne and relieved the seige.
The Patton Movie covers this action in an outstanding manner.
In his Biography written by his Aide de Camp we learn that Patton had grown up in a military family and at an early age learned how to swear. In the Patton Movie when the reporters ask him about the bible on his nightstand and how often he reads it his answer is "Every Goddam Day!"
My favorite line in "Band of Brothers" was when one of the 101st was asked about how he felt about being rescued by Patton, his reply was, "Well I'd feel pretty peachy, except for one thing, we didn't f'in need to be rescued by Patton!"
My Dad served in the Navy during WWII. He was a part of the Armed Guard which provided gun crews for Merchant ships. He made the Atlantic crossing 6 times. His ship was part of the Southern invasion of France. He was quite a guy!
A common feeling of annoyance among many of the 101st veterans. The problem was the press described the situation as a 'rescue' while the 101st felt it was a 'releif'. One could argue that it was or was not a rescue, but many of the 101st men would fall sqaurely in the 'releif' camp.
We are loosing them every day a 100 or so make that last march, stand the last watch, listen to their last tattoo and we are that much poorer for it. The really sad thing is so few in the lastest generations know of those warriors great sacrifices and even fewer would care even if they did know. I sometimes think that stepping off a landing barge and immediately drowning off Omaha Beach would be a better fate for many of us then what the coming Peace at any price and Its all Americas fault crowd is about to bring to us.
But thank God that my work with AnySoldier has shown me that there are still men and women of that generations caliber still around, though they dont carry a M1 and a Bazooka, but an M16 grenader and a AT4, they still have the bayonet, but instead of a regular hunting knife they have a Ka-bar, and lastly they have the gear to call in hell from above on top of their enemy. God bless thefighting men and women of the United States Armed Forces!
May your sword be sharp and your arm strong.
May your eyes be keen and your arrows flight true.
May your lance never break and your body endure.
May you knife be ever at hand in need and your mind ever viglent and alert as to of your enemys intent.
And I pray that God would watch over you and keep you, so that you may return home in valor, to enjoy that which you have fought to defend,and there live out your life in peace and prosperity until the end of your days.
That's a great line, and fresh in my mind because my wife was kind enough to buy me the Band of Brothers DVD series for Christmas, and I just finished the final disc a few evenings ago. Brave SOB's and great men, every one.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.