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Author Topic: Nuts ?
Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Chow me if needed...

I've seen this story once in the Bastogne Museum , now again on a website with military quotes :

quote:
"Nuts."
- Anthony McAuliffe
Acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 1. He was in charge of the defense of Bastogne on December 22nd 1944 when the garrison was called on by advancing German forces to surrender. His initial response was 'Aw, Nuts!' When he came to compile a written reply he could think of nothing more appropriate: 'To the German Commander: NUTS! The American Commander.' Bastogne was successfully held by the Americans and Anthony C. McAuliffe became immortalized for a single word.

True or not ? It seems like a weird response when confronted with an enemy force...

EDIT : just realized I have a "war" theme going on here... not intended. I just like the avatar and the quote is something I'd say.

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Generic User Name 001:
Chow me if needed...

I've seen this story once in the Bastogne Museum , now again on a website with military quotes :

quote:
"Nuts."
- Anthony McAuliffe
Acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 11. He was in charge of the defense of Bastogne on December 22nd 1944 when the garrison was called on by advancing German forces to surrender. His initial response was 'Aw, Nuts!' When he came to compile a written reply he could think of nothing more appropriate: 'To the German Commander: NUTS! The American Commander.' Bastogne was successfully held by the Americans and Anthony C. McAuliffe became immortalized for a single word.

True or not ? It seems like a weird response when confronted with an enemy force...

EDIT : just realized I have a "war" theme going on here... not intended. I just like the avatar and the quote is something I'd say.

It seems to have died out, but at one time "NUTS!" meant something like, "Go NFBSK yourself!"

There is a similar story about a French general in a much earlier war who, under similar circumstances, sent back a one-word message: "Merde!"

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Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
His initial response was 'Aw, Nuts!'
So I guess it was just an outcry of "last thing we need is trigger-happy Germans on our back" , which he then copy-pasted onto his reply.Thanks for the info on "nuts!" , though. Didn't know it had a double meaning.

Still , regardless of meaning , did he actually send that note ? Could be a nice idea for a sig [Big Grin]

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All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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According to Lt Gen Kinnard, it's genuine.

The story was also well-known enough to make it into the movie Patton.

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Ursa Major
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by bufungla:
According to Lt Gen Kinnard, it's genuine.

The story was also well-known enough to make it into the movie Patton.

As well, as The Battle of the Bulge.

I assumed this was something every American school child learned. In third grade, I saw it referred to in, not only a textbook, but also in a Sgt Rock comic book.

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Greg of Winter
Xboxing Day


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Even the Germans believe it to be true. I caught a special on The Battle of the Bulge, and they were interviewing a former Wehrmacht officer, with a voice-over providing the English translation.

Apparently the German field commander was baffled by the response until they found someone familiar with American slang.

"Was nuss ist?"

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ThornyWreath
Happy Holly Days


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Members of the 101st Airborne Division are taught that this is fact. It happens to be part of the history surrounding the 101st.

Thorny "rendezvous with destiny" Rose

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Engine 3:16

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Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Well , if that ain't confirmation , nothing is. Glad to see people's sense of humour survives even the hardship of war. [Big Grin]

ETA :

quote:
I assumed this was something every American school child learned.
Not being an American schoolkid , I wouldn't know - but it wasn't in our history textbooks.

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I had heard the rumor that the reply was something akin to "NFBSK YOU!!" but was cleaned up for public release.

And I can vouch for the fact that the 101st relates it as fact.

Generic, this one goes down like all of the alleged quotes by the Marine Corps God, Chesty Puller. If not true, then they make some dang fine inspirational lies.

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Ursa Major:
I assumed this was something every American school child learned. In third grade, I saw it referred to in, not only a textbook, but also in a Sgt Rock comic book.

I've never even heard of this person, or this quote, and we were never taught anything about the Battle of the Bulge. I've heard of it, but literally don't know anything about it. We always skimmed over WWI and did a little about WWII, but by the time we got there in history class it was May or June and school was over. Even in high school, we were never taught anything about Vietnam, Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs, or anything that happened after 1945. Literally. And I went to school in the mid 1980's through 1999, if that gives you a frame of reference. My history classes were pitiful.

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Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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"Nuts" is also what an official US Army History of the Battle of the Bastogne cites as the response (Bastogne: The First Eight Days, by Gen S. L. A. Marshall).

When I was in the 82d a few decades back, however, Gen Kinnard addressed an officer call. He stated that the actual word McAuliffe blurted out was "Balls!", and that was then passed to the Germans. Of course that would not have been suitable for public consumption back then, so the closely related but sufficiently ambigious term "Nuts" was substituted.

"Balls" probably is more true to the earthy nature of the men in a tough situation, but no doubt "Nuts" looks much better in the permanent reecord!

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Once a Warrior Prince

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
[QUOTE]It seems to have died out, but at one time "NUTS!" meant something like, "Go NFBSK yourself!"

There is a similar story about a French general in a much earlier war who, under similar circumstances, sent back a one-word message: "Merde!"

I'm not sure if this is the incident you are refering to, but at the end of the Battle of Waterloo, Napolean had the Old Guard form up to delay the victorious British/German advance and buy time for the retreating, defeated French Army. When the Guard was brought to bay, and British Gen Colville aksed their surrender, The Guard commander - Cambronne - offered up a pithy reply, which has come down to us in two distinct forms: 1) "The Guard dies but never surrenders," and 2) "Merde."

However . . . in "Wellington: The Years of the Sword," Elizabeth Longford states that Cambronne always denied to his son that he ever "used that obscenity."

Who knows? Both quotes have a certain appeal.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I may regret asking this, but could someone translate "merde" for me?

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Fools! You've over-estimated me!

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Giant Radioactive Troodon:
I may regret asking this, but could someone translate "merde" for me?

Sorry. "Merde" is French for shit.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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Felessan
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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With regard to what General Cambronne actually said, I read (though I cannot remember where) that "Merde" was known as "le mot Combronne" (the Combronne word) for quite some time thereafter.

In that context, it's worth noting that when a large French force was bottled up in Sedan in 1870, the French Commander said, "Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre and nous y serons emmerdes!" (We are in a chamber pot and we are going to get crapped on!)

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You fool! That's not a warrior, that's a banana!
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Gerard
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
With regard to what General Cambronne actually said, I read (though I cannot remember where) that "Merde" was known as "le mot Combronne" (the Combronne word) for quite some time thereafter.
"Le mot de Cambronne", to be precise. In fact, it's the title of a Sacha Guitry's play, in which Cambronne tries to hide to his (english) wife what he said at Waterloo, and fails. But that he said it may well be an urban legend, fostered by Victor Hugo.On the other hand, German 16th century knight Götz von Berlichingen had a stronger reply when faced with a similar situation :"Er kann mich im Arsch lecken" (he can lick my arse).
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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
I've never even heard of this person, or this quote, and we were never taught anything about the Battle of the Bulge. I've heard of it, but literally don't know anything about it. We always skimmed over WWI and did a little about WWII, but by the time we got there in history class it was May or June and school was over. . . . My history classes were pitiful.

I came in to history via wargaming. This was in the high glory days of The Avalon Hill Game Company and Simulations Publications Inc., and I still have hundreds of these games. They're obsolete, of course, due to computer wargames, and yet they were far, far more educational than today's "videogame" offerings.

Plus...they were fun! It's one thing to read about Hannibal at Cannae...but quite another to pull off the same trick yourself!

Silas

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Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.

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Cobra4J
Jingle Bell Hock


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I have a book on the Battle of the Bulge. It claims this quote to be genuine as well, and it goes into detail about how he came up with it.
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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I had a book of photos of historical documents and that telegram was in it.

As I recall the word was printed as "N U T S !".

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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See Surrender? NUTS!
quote:
"I thought McAuliffe would just laugh and come up with something more formal," said retired LTG Harry Kinnard...
[snip]
When McAuliffe heard the demand," Kinnard said, "he laughed and said: 'Us surrender? Aw, nuts!' But when he realized he had to respond, he told the staff, 'I don't know what to tell them.' He asked what we thought, and I said, 'That first remark of yours would be hard to beat.'"

The rest of the staff wholeheartedly agreed with Kinnard, and McAuliffe immediately wrote, "To the German commander: Nuts."
[snip]
There is one point, however, Kinnard insists on setting straight: the idea that "Nuts" was selected because McAuliffe's other comments were obscene. "That's absolutely false. Tony McAuliffe was a fine, decent commander, a bona fide gentleman who did not believe in vulgarity."

And, from an interview with Kinnard
quote:
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."

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."



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BobtheEwok
The Red and the Green Stamps


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The 'Nuts' thing is true. As a fanatic of WW2 I watched Band of Brothers, read the book and did some more research and both tell the story of 'Nuts', a comment met with great mirth!
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gift-wrapped smittykins
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
I've never even heard of this person, or this quote, and we were never taught anything about the Battle of the Bulge. I've heard of it, but literally don't know anything about it. We always skimmed over WWI and did a little about WWII, but by the time we got there in history class it was May or June and school was over. . . . My history classes were pitiful.

I came in to history via wargaming. This was in the high glory days of The Avalon Hill Game Company and Simulations Publications Inc., and I still have hundreds of these games. They're obsolete, of course, due to computer wargames, and yet they were far, far more educational than today's "videogame" offerings.

Plus...they were fun! It's one thing to read about Hannibal at Cannae...but quite another to pull off the same trick yourself!

Silas

My husband has a bunch of Avalon Hill games.

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"We're all entitled to a few eccentricities, provided they don't harm anyone, break the law, or cause a public nuisance"--James Qwilleran, The Cat Who Dropped A Bombshell(Lillian Jackson Braun)
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Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Video game versions.

Is that the Avalon Hill or just a computer branch ?

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All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Revenge of the Mutated Bug Muldoon:
Video game versions.

Is that the Avalon Hill or just a computer branch ?

They're one and the same. They were, at one time, one of the biggest publishers of tabletop strategy games. Their most famous are probably 'Axis and Allies' and 'Advanced Squad Leader'. Around 1981 they started making computer games.

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Coal Glow Kidd
I Saw Three Shipments


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[Wink] World War Two it was Bug............ I can truthfully relate my memory to this "Nuts?" thread with 23 replys. I'd always wished Ernie Pyle had heard what I did. I'll try to be short in content. The winter of 1982 I went to our pool room for a little winding down. I was up all night hauling hogs to our local meat packer.

Willie was there and surprisingly he said, "Do you want to go with me to check coyote traps?" I said, "Sure, I'll go!", and trappers normaly don't do that. After 40 minutes with no disturbed traps we came back. Inside at a front table he opened his billfold and presented a perfectly preserved photo of himself in battle dress holding his Thompson sub machine gun. On his shoulder were sergeant's stripes keeping company with the Screaming Eagle of the 101st.

For starters he said, "I was in Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge with General "Tony" McAuliffe and I bet you heard he'd said,"Nuts!" when asked to surrender." "Yes, that's the famous reply," I said. Willie leaned over the table and whispered, "He said, "Bull shit!" Next he said with a quizicle look, " No one ever believes me when I tell that!" He implied he was within arms reach of the General when the words were heard. Willie then added, "Nuts!", would be more appropriate for the Stars and Stripes and the national press back home."

He related the 101st had heard of the Malmedy tragedy, and no way would they consider the German's request for surrender. For 30 minutes more he told of being able to set our watches to expect the German attacks on the side of town he was on. I think he said,"10:30 am and 2:30 pm".

He mentioned the side-by-side houses on the edge of town with basements. The paratoopers had dug connecting holes in the basement walls to run through to be several houses away if bazooka rockets were shot at one tank they'd send with infantry. That strategy would save lives in case of a miss. He added that each attack only one tank was used and he didn't know why.

In 1994 a poem he wrote about his experiences was published in the Princeton paper.

The surrounded 101st Airborne's paratroopers, knowing the truth that to surrender meant death; accurate artillery; the bazooka; Patton's 3rd Army's 4th Armored Division; and clearing weather allowing the Thunderbolt and C-47 Army pilot's to fly; is what saved the 101st Airborne Division according to history,....and Willie!

Noted from the Band Of Brothers on the History Channel,...an insight. The paratroopers of the 101st said they were holding their own, and didn't need to be rescued.

With all the cursing in Band of Brothers I hoped to hear the two words that "Aw, Nuts!" replaced according to Willie. I haven't the slightest idea why he would make this up, and I'm sure he knew the legend would always be, "Aw, Nuts!" As bull shit wouldn't fly then as now. [Roll Eyes]

I will always believe in what he said to me that Winter morning. In the U.S. Army, "nuts" are something you bust,...not something you say! [Wink]

Willie took this story to his grave. You ought to see what was inscribed on the grave stone. The cemetery board let it ride, but no more will ever say a similar phrase. "I did my time in Hell, and you all can kiss my ass."

CGK [Wink]

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So if you're tired of the same old story,....Oh, turn some pages. REO Speedwagon from Champaign,Urbana, Illinois.

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