Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 by Travis Cody in

We briefly interrupt this hiatus for a historical tribute.

Economy of language. Use only the words you need. And when one word alone gets your point across quite fiercely, then just use that one word.


On 16 Dec 1944 the Germans launched their last major offensive of World War II, a massive push through the Ardennes designed to punch through Allied lines, cut off and destroy elements of four Allied armies, and ultimately capture the port of Antwerp. Over 840,000 American, British, and Canadian troops were involved in the battle.

Although the battle involved more than the encircled 101st Airborne, 10th Armored Combat Command, and 37th Tank Battalion of 4th Armored Division at Bastogne, it is General Anthony McAuliffe of the 101st, in overall command of the forces fighting at Bastogne, who uttered what I think is the most memorable phrase of the war. Many others were more eloquent, but none got the point across more directly and succinctly.

General McAuliffe's paratroopers were battered but unbowed. It was the worst winter in nearly 30 years in Belgium and they were short on every conceivable supply. They had no winter clothing or gear, few rations, dwindling medical supplies, and were running out of ammunition. But they were holding the line despite constant and brutal artillery bombardment from German forces. They were surrounded and outnumbered, and taking heavy casualties.

On 22 Dec 1944, the German commander sent a note to the the US command requiring surrender of all forces defending Bastogne. He advised that surrender was the only way to avoid the complete destruction of the town, civilian inhabitants, and all military defenders.

General McAuliffe responded, "Us surrender? Aw, nuts!" With the encouragement of his staff, the General shortened his reply.

To the German Commander


The American Commander
The Germans were confused by the reply. Regimental Commander Colonel Harper explained that the reply was negative. In other words, the Germans could go to hell. The Americans would not surrender.

To a man, the paratroopers of the 101st maintain that they did not require rescue from General George Patton's 3rd Army. The 101st had orders to hold Bastogne, and hold they did. Breaks in the weather finally allowed resupply by air and the Americans maintained their stubborn hold on the line at Bastogne. Third Army broke the stalemate and allowed the 101st to move forward on the attack.

This has been a brief hiatus interlude. Carry on.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    NUTS is a great word! LOL

  1. I remember that story. now that you've reminded me. ALways got a kick out of it. Talk about economy of language!

  1. I say that alot...nuts!
    Merry Christmas Travis.

  1. Anonymous says:
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  1. Bond says:

    OK, blogger is cooperating...Loved this post Sir

    MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, your Lovely Lady and Mr. Tucker

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