Member # 2917
The story of the NUTS! reply
On December 22, 1944, at about 11:30 in the morning, a group of four German soldiers, waving two white flags, approached the American lines using the Arlon Road from the direction of Remoifosse, south of Bastogne. The group consisted of two officers and two enlisted men. The senior officer was a Major Wagner of the 47th Panzer Corps. The junior officer, Lt. Hellmuth Henke of the Panzer Lehr Operations Section, was carrying a briefcase under his arm. The two enlisted men had been selected from the 901st Panzer Grenadier Regiment.
The Americans defending in that location were members of F Company of the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The Germans walked past a bazooka team in a foxhole in front of the Kessler farm and stopped in front of the foxhole of PFC Leo Palma, a B.A.R. gunner. Palma described the officers as wearing long overcoats and shiny black boots. Lieutenant Henke, who spoke English said, "I want to see the commanding officer of this section." Palma was at a loss for words, but Staff Sergeant Carl E. Dickinson who had been manning a position nearby walked out to the road and called the group over to him. The Germans explained that they had a written message to be presented to the American Commander in Bastogne.
Henke said they would consent to being blindfolded and taken to the American Commanding Officer. In fact, they had brought blindfolds with them. Henke blindfolded Wagner and Dickinson blindfolded Henke. As the blindfolds were being applied, Dickinson was joined by PFC Ernest Premetz, a German-speaking medic of his platoon who offered to serve as an interpreter. However no interpreter was needed.
Dickinson and Premetz left the two German enlisted men there and took the two German officers to the Kessler farmhouse. Tech. Sgt. Oswald Y. Butler, Acting Platoon Leader of the 1st Platoon, and Lt. Leslie E. Smith, Platoon Leader of the Weapons Platoon, told them to take the blindfolded officers to the F Company Command Post. They took the two German officers on a roundabout route to the Command Post of F Company, 327th GIR, which was a large foxhole located in a wooded area about a quarter mile away. Shortly after arriving at the command post, they were joined by Capt. James F. Adams, the F Company Commander, who had been at a forward observation post when he was notified of the arrival of the Germans.
When Adams arrived, 1st Sgt. Constantine A. Pappas informed him that the German major had already presented a written message. The F Company Executive Officer, Lt. William J. Herzke, was on the phone, reading the message to their Battalion Command Post in Marvie. The 2nd Battalion Command Post then notified the 327th Regimental Headquarters in Bastogne. Col. Bud Harper, the 327th Regimental Commander, was not there; he was out inspecting his unit's positions. The senior officer present was the Regimental Operations Officer, Major Alvin Jones. Maj. Jones notified the Division Headquarters in Bastogne and asked for instructions. He was told to retrieve the message and bring it to the Division Headquarters. He drove to the F Company Command Post and was given the message. The two blindfolded officers were kept in the woods adjacent to the foxhole Command Post.
Upon receiving Maj. Jones' phone call at Division Headquarters, the Acting Chief of Staff, Lt. Col. Ned Moore entered Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe's sleeping quarters adjacent to the communications center. Moore wakened McAulliffe and told him, "The Germans have sent some people forward to take our surrender." Moore recalled that Brig. Gen. McAuliffe, still half asleep, said "Nuts!" and started to climb out of his sleeping bag.
Moore then went back out into the Communications Center where he briefed the rest of the Division staff of the on-going situation, including telling them of McAulliffe's remark of "Nuts!"
That is all.....
Posts: 8060 | From: USA, MICHIGAN | Registered: Mar 2004
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