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« Mother Of The Year | Main | Who's Got It Right? »

World Outraged By Crude Surrender Response

December 22, 1944

BASTOGNE (Routers) A generous German offer of surrender terms was crudely rebuffed by an American general in this besieged Belgian town today, reinforcing the growing image of America as a brutish cowboy in the OK Corral, and almost certainly dooming it and its inhabitants.

The town has been under attack by German artillery almost since the beginning of the latest successful German offensive six days ago, and has been surrounded by German troops for the past two days. Its only defense has been the US 101st Airborn Division, under the command of General Anthony C. McAuliffe.

At 11:30 AM this morning, the German commander, General Heinrich von Luettwitz of the XLVIIth Armored Corps, sent negotiators in to arrange for the peaceful handover of the town. There are varying stories about what occurred next.

Some say that General McAuliffe's response was a single word--"Nuts!"--a word that the German officer sent to negotiate had trouble translating back to his superiors. Other firsthand reports suggest, however, that the General actually issued a two-word reply, one in the imperative case suggesting that the unfortunate officer have someone engage him unwillingly in activity of a sexual nature, but one that was also more readily and universally understood.

In either case, the negotiations were ended, and with them any prospects for saving the town. As a result of the general's needlessly insulting recalcitrance, the destruction of the town is now all but certain, and the lives of its terrified residents and defenders likely forfeit.

Surprisingly, some have defended the general, pointing out that the value of German surrender offers had been severely debased after the "massacre" of American POWs at Malmedy just five days earlier.

However, back in Washington, many were privately appalled. One State Department official noted that this could only diminish Americans in the eyes of the world as a heartless and base people, who don't understand the exigencies and nuance of war. "General von Luettwitz is a noble aristocrat--not the SS troops at Malmedy, and anyway, we still don't have all the facts on that. That town could have been spared," he went on, "but General McAuliffe put his own ego and stubbornness ahead of the lives of the townspeople and his own men. But then, what do you expect from a hick who went to the University of West Virginia?"

Some at the Pentagon were dismayed as well. "Now we're going to have to risk many more men to go in and save his sorry ass," groaned an undersecretary. "Maybe Patton can do it, in between slapping enlisted men."

The White House had no official comment, but staffers indicated that the general was perfectly justified in light of the Malmedy incident. It was clear that despite his incompetence and rashness, the general continues to have the president's full support, and that the war effort would continue, despite its seeming hopelessness, as the tide of world opinion continues to turn against the nation.

(Copyright Rand Simberg 2004)

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 22, 2004 08:19 AM
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This Week In History, Part II
Excerpt: ...and the MSM also covers the deteriorating security situation in Bastogne. (H/T to Instapundit, who only blogged one of today's two MSM parody stories, thus implicitly acknowledging that he's half the blogger I am.)
Weblog: Let's Try Freedom
Tracked: December 22, 2004 10:22 AM
American Simplisme Endangers Innocents Yet Again
Excerpt: Yes, once again the cowboys of America are out endangering innocents. Failing to bow to the inevitable, they are bringing death and destruction where it need not come. Have we learned nothing from the past? LW...
Weblog: The Laughing Wolf
Tracked: December 24, 2004 06:50 AM

Another great entry in the series.
One very small nitpick... It's West Virginia University, WVU not UWV.

TJ Diamond

Posted by teej at December 22, 2004 09:20 AM

Count on the MSM to get it wrong...

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 22, 2004 09:26 AM

Secretary of War Stimson should be called to resign for this!

Posted by Buzangi at December 22, 2004 10:06 AM


now do one on japanese internment, and another on the fire-bombing of dresden.

Posted by reliapundit at December 22, 2004 10:48 AM

You might want to note that significant elements of the 10th Armored Divsion fought side by side with the 101st in Bastogne. They often are forgotten, but infantry alone could not have held out that long without armored support.
"Years after the war, General Anthony McAuliffe praised the men of the Tiger Division, noting that, 'In my opinion, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division never properly was credited with their important role in the Bastogne battle.'"

Posted by Ace Whiplash at December 22, 2004 10:57 AM


Lets not forget to whine about how the 101st drove there in dump trucks with no ammo and many without rifles. They had to scrounge on the way there to get their combat load. None of the men had winter clothes and they had no sleeping bags.

In addition to to CCB of the 10th Armored and the complete 101st ( with artillery ) Airborne, there was:

CCR (-), 9th Armored Div
158th Engineer BN
705th Tank Destroyer BN
35th Engineer BN
327th Glider Infantry Regiment
969th and 755th Field Artillry Bns ( 155mm )
Remnants of 28th Div plus 500+ remnants of 106th div.


Full Supply Trains for 10th Armored
VII Corps Level Supply Depot
Several BNs of transport troops.

Posted by puredata at December 22, 2004 11:28 AM

Geez, Rand...

Waht a great way to illustrate the near treason of our own MSM and certain elements of the lacy-panty crowd out at Foggy Bottom.

Posted by Greg at December 22, 2004 11:29 AM

Did I he "nuts"? I heard that was the "sanitized" version...where's the FCC when you need them?

Posted by Fred Kiesche at December 22, 2004 11:37 AM

Thanks Rand. Fantastic post - very funny and spot-on. Unfortunately, the sarcasm is directed at those very unlikely to get any of the historical references.

Posted by Mike Plaiss at December 22, 2004 11:40 AM

Were any innocent civilians killed at Bastogne?
Were any civilian casualties guilty? Perhaps it was not quite
clear back in 1944; i.e. the distinction between
"innocent" and "guilty" civilians/bystanders, as
it is in 2004. Actually, in current events I've
NEVER heard of a GUILTY civilian/bystander being
killed in the crossfire, only innoocent ones.
Are there no GUILTY civilians/bystanders,
or have they all gotten religion since 1944?

Posted by JohnS at December 22, 2004 11:43 AM

Great as usual, Rand. Wish I had your talent.

Greg - you're absolutely right. I wish Powell had cleaned house; I hope Rice will. Unfortunately we can't clean house at the MSM, except by ignoring them and denying them our money.

(P.S. - Rand, don't forget to slap your copyright at the end of that sucker; I know it's automatically copyrighted, but it never hurts to place the notice.)

Posted by Barbara Skolaut at December 22, 2004 11:49 AM

Reached at his Australian headquarters, General Douglas McArthur is quoted as follows:

"As I have repeatedly told the War Department, the focus of this war should be in the Pacific. The wasteful and woefully unprepared combat decisions in Europe have prevented me from ending this war against the enemy who began it, Japan. As the only Medal of Honor winner commanding American forces on a theater-wide scale, I have maintained from the beginning that our European efforts were a distraction from the real war. Our repeated failures, from Kasserine Pass through the current collapse under German assault, prove that my tactical and strategic planning was right on the money. Were I President, I would relieve General Marshall and order a fallback of our forces to France."

Posted by Chuck Simmons at December 22, 2004 12:06 PM

Perfect!While I was contemplating a serious comparison of then and now, you nailed it with the best weapon of all--humor. Thanks.

Posted by Stephen at December 22, 2004 12:12 PM

Actually Hull had taken over for Stimson a month before.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 22, 2004 12:15 PM

Brilliant satire. It amply demonstrates the effect of "spin" on a factually identical story. The condescending remarks about him being a 'hick' were particularly timely, as that sort of gross discourtesy has become common among the MSM.

One minor point of order: Brigadier General McAuliffe was only de facto in command of the 101st. He was airborne, but his branch was artillery. He was actually the Division Artillery Commander, but was the highest ranking officer on the scene at that time, because Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, was in the United States, while his deputy, Brig. Gen. Gerald J. Higgins, was in England.

Oddly enough it was the second time McAuliffe had saved the day for the US Army: at Kasserine Pass then COL McAuliffe personally rallied a battery of 155mm guns, ordering them to engage the advancing Afrika Korps tanks with direct fire. This stopped the German advance cold and barely prevented the total rout of my beloved 1st Armored Division [Bamerg, Germany '76-'79]

Posted by OldFan at December 22, 2004 01:12 PM

When I was growing up, there was an older gentlemen living across the street from me that was one of the soldiers trapped in that city. I asked him if the response really was "Nuts!" one time. This stern, very proper man stiffened and replied "That's not the actual word, but it's a word I don't use and a man your age doesn't need to use either."

Posted by TheEmerged at December 22, 2004 01:33 PM

Actually, General McAuliffe only attended WVU from 1916-1917. He then joined the originally planned USMA class of 1921, which due to WW1, graduated on November 1st 1918, but was recalled to serve as Officer Students on December 3rd, 1918 finally graduating again in June 1919. He is considered Class of 1919.

So as the saying goes (can be used many ways including sarcastically), he did not go to college (except for one year), he went to West Point.

Posted by A West Point Graduate at December 22, 2004 02:42 PM

Rand, you could do one on the Humvee Armor, by doing a mock complaint about the under armored Sherman tanks.
The Germans called the Tommy cookers, with good reason.

Posted by Harley W Daugherty at December 22, 2004 04:07 PM

Can I use this as a full page ad in my local newspaper? How do I get your permission-I owe it to all my NATO buds 59-61 Donald Serwatka -Jefferson Ohio want to slap some faces.

Posted by Donald Serwatka at December 22, 2004 05:24 PM

Brilliant, terrific satire.

Posted by Doug at December 28, 2004 09:03 AM

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