Kinnard, Harry, born 07-05-1915, grew up in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1939, he entered military service. He was a champion tennis player as a young man. He played golf into his 80s and shot his age at 82, 85 and 86. In 1944, then Colonel Kinnard, was a 29-year-old assistant Chief of Staff to General Anthony McAuliffe
, Commander of the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagle” Division (Richard “Dick” Winters). When the German army launched a last-ditch attack in the Ardennes Forest on 16-12-1944, the 101st was rushed into the Belgian town of Bastogne to defend the intersection of five strategic roads. Two days later, the division, outnumbered by more than 4 to 1, found itself surrounded by German tanks and infantry. The Americans were unprepared for fighting in the bitter cold and were pounded relentlessly by artillery.
Their situation seemed hopeless. On 22-12, the Germans sent two officers and two non-commissioned officers into Bastogne with a white flag and Lieutenant General der Panzertruppe, Heinrich von Luttwitz´s typewritten demand that U.S. forces surrender, the “one possibility” of saving American troops from “total annihilation.” McAuliffe’s instinctive response was to laugh and exclaim, “Us surrender? Aw, nuts!” He told his staff that he wasn’t sure how to respond officially and asked for suggestions. “That first remark of yours would be hard to beat,” Colonel Kinnard told him, and other staff members enthusiastically agreed. McAuliffe then called in a typist and dictated: “To the German Commander: Nuts!” and signed it, “The American Commander.” The American soldiers who escorted the German emissaries back to their lines had to explain that “Nuts!” was the equivalent of “Go to hell.” In the early morning of Christmas Day, the 101stDivision repulsed a German assault.
The siege of Bastogne ended when U.S. forces attacking from the south joined the 101st. Harry William Osborn Kinnard II was born in Dallas and was raised in an Army family. He was a member of the Hawaiian Division when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. As a platoon leader in the 27th Infantry “Wolfhound” Regiment, he commanded a machine gun nest on Waikiki Beach in anticipation of a Japanese land assault. He parachuted into Normandy overnight on June 5-6,1944, with Commanding General Maxwell Taylor and took command of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment . General Don Pratt was the first General to die in Normandy, as his glider crashed.
The 101 Airborne Division had the next losses during their campaign in Europe; In Normandy D-Day, killed/died of wounds 868, wounded in action 2.303, missing/captured 665. In Holland, Operation Market Garden, killed 752, wounded 2.151 and missing 398. In the battle of the Bulge in Belgium, killed 482, wounded 2.449 and missing 527, in total killed 2.043, wounded 2.782 and missed 1590. Kinnard was Battalion Commander of the 501st
Parachute Infantry Regiment during the Airborne invasion of Holland later in the year, Operation Market Garden. In Holland he landed with his Company around the castle in Heeswijk Dinther, where father Francis Leon Sampson
dropped in the moat and Kinnard’s Company liberated the town of Veghel close by. In Veghel my mother was born (see Jan Ackermans
) and the aunt a non, of my wife Mieke was killed in the nunnery of Veghel (see Aunt Peters
Another Colonel and Commander of the 101st
Easy Company, Robert Sink
liberated my hometown, Eindhoven.
Death and burial ground of Kinnard, Harry William Osborn.
General Kinnard, who visited Holland many times, (see About) gave me a signed photo and was a charming man. Harry Kinnard, who had six children, three sons, Bruce, Robert, Harry and three daughters Susan, Kathleen and Cynthia, died at the very old age of 93 on 05-01-2009, of complications of Parkinson’s disease and is buried on the National Cemetery of Arlington, Section 12. I was glad to find his grave on Arlington Cemetery.