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Who led the 82nd Airborne?

Updated: 8/23/2023
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16y ago

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Several generals have led the famous "Screaming Eagles" division, but the one you're probably asking about was actually the assistant division commander in December, 1944, Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe. At the time, the actual division commander was Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, but he was away from the unit attending a staff conference. It is said that when his outfit was surrounded at Bastogne, Taylor asked Eisenhower for permission to parachute in to take command and be with his beloved unit, but Eisenhower couldn't take the chance of dropping an American Major General right into German hands if he missed his drop zone, so Taylor had to wait out the battle, fuming, until the 101st was relieved by the breakthrough of the 4th Armored Division of Patton's 3rd Army.

On December 16, 1944, the Germans launched what became known as The Battle of the Bulge, so named for the big bulge or salient they created into the American lines in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. The Germans, in a last ditch attempt to win the war in the west by breaking through the American lines and capturing the Belgian port of Antwerp, threw everything they had in a surprise attack into what had been a quiet sector.

To slow the German advance, Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne, along with Combat Command B of the 10th Armored and the 463rd Field Artillery into the important crossroads town of Bastogne. The German 5th Panzer Army needed to control Bastogne very badly, and quickly the town was surrounded, the Americans outnumbered and outgunned. The German commander sent in a couple of fellows under a flag of truce to ask the American Commander, Acting 101st Division Commander "Tony" McAuliffe, to surrender. The way the story was related to me, McAuliffe's instant response was … "Aw, nuts!" Then he went away to check his lines. When he came back, his aides pointed out to him that the Germans were still waiting for an answer. "What should I say?" asked McAuliffe.

One of the aides said, "I thought your first answer was pretty good."

"What'd I say?" asked McAuliffe.

"Sir, you said, 'Nuts!'"

So McAuliffe grabbed a scrap of paper and wrote: "To the German Commander: Nuts. The American Commander."

There being no way to translate this into German, it had to be explained to the envoys that it basically meant "go to hell." It has gone down in history as one of the single most famous quotes in all warfare. And Screaming Eagles to this day will tell you that they didn't need any relief at Bastogne; they were doing just fine, thanks.

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17y ago
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16y ago

The 82nd Airborne Division had 2 commanding officers: Matthew B. Ridgway during training and up through D-Day. James M. Gavin after D-Day and during Operation Market-Garden.

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11y ago

General Maxwell Taylor................

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Who enterd World War 2 first the 101st airborne or 82nd airborne?

The 82nd entered the war first and then split into the two divisions the 101st and 82nd. The 82nd has been around much longer than the 101st


How old are 82nd airborne coins?

Depends


What is the moto of the 82nd Airborne Division?

In Vietnam it was "Take 2 salt tablets and drive on".


Did the 82ND Airborne Division make 5 combat jumps in World War II?

No, the 82nd ARB made 4 combat jumps during world war II. Salerno, Sicily, Normandy, and Holland. The only other combat jump since was into Panama during Operation Just Cause.


What is the difference between the 101st Airbourne and the 82nd airbourne?

Nothing really. Both were US paratrooper divisions used during WW2. The paratrooper division the same in their size and the type of equipment they used. But they were not the same as the typical US Infantry Division. The units within the 101st and 82nd were different of course. The paratrooper regiments were numbered 501 PIR, 502 PIR, 506 PIR and 508 PIR, etc where PIR means Parachute Infantry Regiment. They each had paratrooper artillery battalions and engineer battalions. The units saw combat in different areas. Early in the war, some of their Regiments were used individually and some where changed for other regiments. Their history and traditions are different. The 101st Airborne was created in WW2. But the 82nd "American Airborne" Division dates back to the 82nd "All-American" Infantry Division that saw service in France in WW1. The 101st Division evolved into a helicopter assault unit and no longer parachuted into combat. The 82nd Division remained a airborne unit.

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