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Quotes by Military leaders

Discussion in 'Vets and Friends' started by Salty, Aug 16, 2022.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.
    - William Frederick "Bull" Halsey Jr. (October 30, 1882 – August 16, 1959)
    Fleet Admiral (5 Stars), US Navy
     
  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    "Leadership" is getting other people to do what you want because they want to do it. Ike
     
  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    “The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.” TR
     
  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps we will be forgiven if we claim we are about midway to our objective! Fleet Admiral Nimitz
     
  5. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Surrounded. Low on supplies. Freezing. The Nazis demanded his surrender.

    Gen ” McAuliffe replied: ‘Nuts!”
    *****************************

    Two German officers, a major and a lieutenant, and two enlisted soldiers had walked past an American bazooka team before coming upon Palma, one Browning Automatic Rifle gunner among 14,000 other American soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division. Outnumbered 5 to 1, the Americans had been under siege for the past two days, enduring armored attacks, artillery fire, and frigid temperatures.
    German morale was high. “The snow must turn red with American blood,” one German soldier had written his wife of the situation. “Victory was never as close as it is now.” Meanwhile, the American defenders were outgunned and lacking ammunition, food, and cold weather gear. And the harsh winter weather made resupply from the air improbable.

    “I want to see the commanding officer of this section,” said Hellmuth Henke, the German lieutenant.

    Palma said nothing, according to an official U.S. Army history, but Staff Sgt. Carl Dickinson, who was nearby, called over to the Germans. They said they needed to deliver a message to the American commander in Bastogne.
    After donning blindfolds, the German officers left their enlisted men and were taken to an American company command post about a quarter of a mile away. Word quickly began to make its way along the line that something was up, with rumors spreading on the American front that “the enemy had had enough” and was giving up. But the rumor mill was wrong. Wagner, the German major, presented a written message from his commander: Surrender within two hours or face “total annihilation.”
    Officers frantically began making phone calls, passing along word that the Germans had threatened “serious civilian losses” from artillery fire that would be unleashed immediately after the two-hour window expired. The division’s acting chief of staff, Lt. Col. Ned Moore, was the first to deliver the news to Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, the commander of the 101st.
    “The Germans have sent some people forward to take our surrender,” Moore told him. McAuliffe, still half-asleep and climbing out of his sleeping bag, responded with one word: “Nuts!”

    Eventually, McAuliffe read the full message, which was typewritten in English and German. “They want to surrender?” McAuliffe asked his operations officer. “No sir, they want us to surrender,” replied Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard.

    The general laughed. “Us surrender, aw nuts!” he said, before dropping the message on the floor. McAuliffe walked out of his command post and headed toward the western perimeter to congratulate a unit that had destroyed a German roadblock earlier in the morning. As far as he was concerned, according to Army historian S.L.A. Marshall, the Germans were taking “one hell of a beating” and his men could hold out.
    Meanwhile, the two German officers were waiting on an official reply. They delivered a formal demand for surrender and wanted a formal response to bring back. So at division headquarters, McAuliffe sat down with a pencil and paper and thought for a few minutes about what he would say.

    “Well, I don’t know what to tell them,” McAuliffe wondered aloud to his staff.
    “What you said initially would be hard to beat,” replied Kinnard. McAuliffe wasn’t sure what he meant. “Sir, you said nuts,” Kinnard reminded him, drawing applause from other American officers for the pithy initial reply.

    McAuliffe wrote it down. “Have it typed up,” he said. The typewritten response was given to Col. Bud Harper, who delivered it to the waiting and still-blindfolded Germans. “I have the American commander’s reply,” Harper told them. Written or verbal, they asked.

    Written, said Harper, who then placed the message in the German major’s hand. The English-speaking lieutenant quickly read and translated the message: “To the German Commander, N U T S ! The American Commander.”
    “Is that reply negative or affirmative?” Henke asked. “If it is the latter I will negotiate further.”
    “And I will tell you something else,” Harper added. “If
    you continue to attack we will kill every German that tries to break into this city.”

    “We will kill many Americans,” Henke replied. “This is war.”

    “On your way bud and good luck to you,” Harper said.
    “The reply is decidedly not affirmative,” said Harper. “If you continue this foolish attack your losses will be tremendous.” The German officers were then put into a jeep and taken back to where the two German enlisted men were waiting. But they were still confused.

    “What does this mean?” the Germans asked of the “nuts!” message. Harper discussed how to explain the American slang with Pfc. Ernest Premetz, a medic who spoke German. “Tell them to take a flying shit!” Harper said. Instead, Premetz turned and faced the Germans. “Du kannst zum Teufel gehen,” Premetz said, telling them they could go to hell.


    Despite the German threat, artillery fire never materialized. Instead, small units of German soldiers attacked the American line with small arms and tanks before being beaten back, according to Marshall’s account. Then the German air force began a four-day bombing campaign that failed to dislodge the American defenders. But McAuliffe inspired his soldiers even further with a Christmas Eve message to his troops that explained the situation.

    “What’s Merry about all this, you ask? We’re fighting — it’s cold, we aren’t home. All true, but what has the proud Eagle Division accomplished with its worthy comrades the 10th Armored Division, the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion and all the rest? Just this: We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us,” McAuliffe wrote on Dec. 24, sharing the German surrender message and his response with the division.

    “We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas.”
    The siege was finally broken on Dec. 26 after elements of Gen. George Patton’s Third Army arrived in Bastogne from the southwest, though the 101st wasn’t pulled from the front until mid-January.

    By Jan. 25, 1945, the so-called “Battle of the Bulge” was over, and the Americans were on their way to Berlin. But months before the Germans surrendered in May 1945, an American intelligence report summarized what had happened on that cold day in Belgium, when the tables were turned and the Germans had the upper hand.

    “The Commanding General’s answer was, with a sarcastic air of humorous tolerance, emphatically negative. The catastrophic carnage of human lives resulting from the artillery barrage of astronomic proportions which was to be the fate of the defending troops failed to materialize. The well known American humanity was considerate of the threatened possible civilian losses by firing artillery concentrations directed at the enemy’s impudence.”


    The siege was finally broken on Dec. 26 after elements of Gen. George Patton’s Third Army arrived in Bastogne from the southwest, though the 101st wasn’t pulled from the front until mid-January.

    By Jan. 25, 1945, the so-called “Battle of the Bulge” was over, and the Americans were on their way to Berlin. But months before the Germans surrendered in May 1945, an American intelligence report summarized what had happened on that cold day in Belgium, when the tables were turned and the Germans had the upper hand.

    “The Commanding General’s answer was, with a sarcastic air of humorous tolerance, emphatically negative. The catastrophic carnage of human lives resulting from the artillery barrage of astronomic proportions which was to be the fate of the defending troops failed to materialize. The well known American humanity was considerate of the threatened possible civilian losses by firing artillery concentrations directed at the enemy’s impudence.”

    [​IMG]

    Paul Szoldra
    Paul Szoldra is the Editor in Chief of Task & Purpose. Since October 2018, he has led a talented team of writers, editors, and creators who produce military journalism reaching millions of readers each month. He also founded and edits Duffel Blog, an influential satirical newsletter for the military. Contact the author here.



     
  6. Mikey

    Mikey Active Member

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  11. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Don't drive those tent stakes too deep, we are moving up in the morning. U.S. Grant
     
  12. Salty

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    The ideal of honorable service which we instill in our Soldiers today will lay the foundation for a better Army in the future.

    —2nd SMA George W. Dunaway, USA Ret.
     
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