McAuliffe, Anthony Clement, born 03-07-1898 in Washington, DC, was a student at West Virginia University from 1916 to 1917. He entered West Point in June 1917 as a member of the Class of 1921. Because of World War I, the class underwent a special shortened training and graduated on 01-11-1918. He rose through the ranks to Four-star General in 1955. Brigadier General McAuliffe was serving as Commander of Division Artillery of the 101st Airborne Division when he parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and when he entered by glider into Holland during Operation Market Garden (see Richard “Dick” Winters)
. In December 1944, when the German army launched the surprise Battle of the Bulge, Major General Maxwell Davenport Taylor,
commander of the 101st Airborne Division, was away, attending a staff conference in the United States. In Taylor’s absence, acting command of the 101st and its attached troops fell to McAuliffe. At Bastogne, the 101st was besieged by a far-larger force of Germans under the command of General der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur XXXXVII Panzer Division, Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz. On 22-12-1944, through a party consisting of a major, lieutenant, and two enlisted men under a flag of truce that entered the American lines southeast of Bastogne, occupied by Company F, 2nd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry , General von Lüttwitz sent the following ultimatum to General McAuliffe: 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 Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-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 General Heinrich von Lüttwitz. According to various accounts from those present, when McAuliffe was told of the German demand for surrender he said “nuts”. At a loss for an official reply, Lieutenant Colonel, Harry William Kinnard
suggested that his first remark summed up the situation well, which was agreed to by the others. The official reply: “To the German Commander, NUTS!, The American Commander” was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper , commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, and his S-3, Major Alvin Jones, to the German delegation. Harper offered an explanation of the meaning of the word to the Germans, telling them that in “plain English” it meant “Go to hell.” According to an article in the Daily Mail the reply was not “Nuts,” but a four letter expletive that was changed for propaganda purposes for domestic consumption. But that was not the case, according to Vincent B Vicari,
McAuliffe’s personal aide, who was there at the time. As quoted by Richard Pyle of the Associated Press. 12-12-2004, Vicari said, “General Mac was the only General I ever knew who did not use profane language. ‘Nuts’ was part of his normal vocabulary.” Vicari died age 92, on 29-12-2011, in Bethlehem Township. The threatened artillery fire did not materialize, although several infantry and tank assaults were directed at the positions of the 327th Glider Infantry. In addition, the German Luftwaffe entered the attacks on the town, bombing it nightly.
The 101st was able to hold off the Germans until the 4th Armored Division arrived on December 26 to provide reinforcement. The 101 Airborne Division had the next losses during their campaign in Europe; In Normandy, killed/died of wounds 868, wounded in action 2.303, missing/captured 665. In Holland 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.
The last commander of the 101st from September 1945 was Stuart Cutler. For his actions at Bastogne, McAuliffe was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Georg Smith Patton on 30-12-1944, followed later by the Distinguished Service Medal. After the Battle of the Bulge, McAuliffe was given command of his own division, the 103rd Infantry Division, nickname “Cactus Division” of the US 7th Army, which he led from 15-01-1945, to July 1945. Following his retirement from American Cyanamid in 1963, he resided in Chevy Chase, Maryland, until his death on 11-08-1975, age 77.
Death and burial ground of McAuliffe, Anthony Clement “Nuts”
He is buried along with his wife, son, and daughter in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3. Close by in Section 3 the graves of the Major General. Commander, G1 (Personnel) Section, Headquarters SHAEF, Inspector General, US. European Theatre of Operations ’45, Charles Bonesteel, Major General. Commander, 7th Armoured Division, Truman Boudinot, Commanded the 25st Infantry Division during the Attack on Pearl Harbor Maxwell Murray, Major General, adviser MacArthur. Corps Engineers, Hugh Casey, Major General, “Father of the Armoured Forces”, Adna Chaffee, Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff, Hugh Drum, Lieutenant General, 3rd Service Command and Deputy, Manton Eddy, Rear Admiral, U Boot 505, Daniel Gallery, General Lieutenant, Frank Cadle Mahin, 1* Brigadier General, Assistant Commanding General 78th Division John Kirkland Rice, Commander of the 45th Division , Lieutenant General, Quartermaster U.S. Army, Thomas Larkin, General Lieutenant, Commander 84th Infantry Division Third Army, Alexander Bolling and Marine Corps General, Iwo Jima-Guadalcanal-Okinawa, Randolph Pate.