22.12.04

SIXTY YEARS AGO. Sgt. Karlson's unit is in action.

Week before Christmas moved to Obergelbach, France, but were very near the German border. Radio station was perched in the open forward high slope for good reception, but were sitting ducks from German artillery. Frequent close calls from 88s.

Dec 25: Spent Christmas in a quiet French farmhouse in a small village of Lohr behind the lines; later in the day moved to Reims.

Christmas afternoon moved to a large beautiful wooded area about 15 miles out of Reims and spent the next 5 days freezing, sleeping in pup tents.

Providing reinforcements to contain Fall Wacht am Rhein.

In those days the press coverage was probably not like this:

Some say that General McAuliffe's response was a single word--"Nuts!"--a word that the German officer sent to negotiate had trouble translating back to his superiors. Other firsthand reports suggest, however, that the General actually issued a two-word reply, one in the imperative case suggesting that the unfortunate officer have someone engage him unwillingly in activity of a sexual nature, but one that was also more readily and universally understood.

In either case, the negotiations were ended, and with them any prospects for saving the town. As a result of the general's needlessly insulting recalcitrance, the destruction of the town is now all but certain, and the lives of its terrified residents and defenders likely forfeit.

Next action report next week.

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