Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Battle of the Bulge

From page A6 | December 21, 2012 | 12 Comments

Headquarters 101st Airborne Division

Office of the Division Commander

24 December 1944

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 of 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 from the North, East, South and West. We have identifications from four German Panzer Divisions, two German Infantry Divisions and one German Parachute Division. These units, spearheading the last desperate German lunge, were headed straight west for key points when the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history; not alone in our Division’s glorious history but in World history. The Germans actually did surround us. Their radios blared our doom. Their Commander demanded our surrender in the following impudent arrogance.

December 22nd 1944

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hombres Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.
 There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. Troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A.A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. Troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this Artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

The German Commander

The German Commander received the following reply:

22 December 1944

To the German Commander:


The American Commander

Allied Troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne. By holding Bastogne we assure the success of the Allied Armies. We know that our Division Commander, General Taylor, will say: Well Done!

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.

A.C. McAuliffe

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 12 comments

  • Friends of the Veterans MonumentDecember 21, 2012 - 8:30 am

    Col. Waey F. Sagaser lead the 11th Armor Division on be-half of General Patton relieving the American Forces at Bastogne. Col. Sagaser lived in El Dorado County before his death and is honored with a bronze plaque mounted in front of the El Dorado County Veterans Monument.

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  • Battle of the BulgeDecember 21, 2012 - 8:33 am

    The capture of Bastogne was the ultimate goal of the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive through the Ardennes forest. Bastogne provided a road junction in rough terrain where few roads existed; it would open up a valuable pathway further north for German expansion. The Belgian town was defended by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, which had to be reinforced by troops who straggled in from other battlefields. Food, medical supplies, and other resources eroded as bad weather and relentless German assaults threatened the Americans' ability to hold out. Nevertheless, Brigadier General Anthony C. MacAuliffe met a German surrender demand with a typewritten response of a single word: "Nuts." Enter "Old Blood and Guts," General Patton. Employing a complex and quick-witted strategy wherein he literally wheeled his 3rd Army a sharp 90 degrees in a counterthrust movement, Patton broke through the German lines and entered Bastogne, relieving the valiant defenders and ultimately pushing the Germans east across the Rhine.

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  • MonumentDecember 21, 2012 - 8:41 am

    Col. Wray F. Sagaser USA ****

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  • James E.December 21, 2012 - 10:45 am

    The suggestion to reply to the Germans with "nuts" was recommended to the general by Colonel Harry W. O. Kinnard, the division Chief of Staff. Nearly 20 years later, I served under Major General Kinnard in the 11th Air Assault Division. Unlike many generals of my experience, General Kinnard was a gentleman.

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  • James E.December 21, 2012 - 11:02 am

    The 11th Armored Division -- "Thunderbolt."

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  • Jim RiordanDecember 21, 2012 - 12:10 pm

    Col. James, according to my grandma, her brother, my grand (or great) uncle was killed in one of our tanks by a direct hit from a German "Big Bertha Gun" in the battle of the Bulge. She seemed to think it was a "railroad gun".

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  • James E.December 21, 2012 - 12:16 pm

    Mr. Riordan, if my memory serves "Big Berta" was moved and fired on railroad tracks. Too big to move otherwise. Not sure if it was employed during the Battle of the Bulge, but possible.

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  • James E.December 21, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    Interesting thing about the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans had them surrounded with overwhelming force. But, strangely, the Germans would attack from from 2 o'clock and then be beaten back. Then they would attack from 6 o'clock and would be beaten back. Then they would attack from 11 o'clock and be beaten back. Always, single attacks from various positions on the ring. Most strange because if they had attacked from multiple positions they would have overwhelmed the 101st. Could it be that if they did so they would be firing into the circle from various positions and thereby shooting into themselves? Who knows but the Germans?

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  • cookie65December 22, 2012 - 7:34 am

    Last month I attended the funeral of my uncle who was there. His name is on the memorial in Ione. If you ever drive thru Ione stop and look at all the names on that wall. I read somewhere that more kids from Ione served in WWII than any town in America. Amazing what some have endured for the cause of freedom. From crossing the Atlantic in a wooden boat to Omaha beach just to have their descendants be willing to trade it for a handout.

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  • James E.December 22, 2012 - 11:29 am

    Cookie, they didn't cross the Atlantic in a wooden boat, they crossed the English channel and debarked ships into the wooden landing craft. And, they endured the Normandy landings just so their descendants could become moochers? Really? You are indeed the queen of spin.

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  • cookie65December 26, 2012 - 5:45 am

    James, I think you know what I mean. To suggest that I am saying they took wooden boats to Omaha beach is spin.

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  • James E.December 26, 2012 - 11:39 am

    Cookie, you said wooden boats across the Atlantic. Words have meaning. When you say Atlantic, I can only assume you mean Atlantic.

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