[PW] Battle of the Bulge Quote (Quotation Query #741)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sun May 1 12:12:01 PDT 2016

More citations: The April 30 1945 issue of "London Stars and Stripes"
attributed the remark to a member of the 4th Armored Division named
"Sgt. Constant Klinga of Brooklyn" and referenced earlier articles in
"The Saturday Evening Post" and "LIFE" (both magazine have been
digitized and I will search for the articles shortly).

In addition, an instance appeared in an Associated Press article
published March 6, 1945 in the "The Amarillo Globe" of Amarillo, Texas
which was trickier to locate because it employed the euphemism
"so-and-sos" instead of "bastards". The remark was attributed to an
unnamed soldier based on the testimony of Corp. Newman L. Tuttle of
Albert Lea, Minn. of the 101st Airborne Division.

Date: April 30, 1945
Newspaper: London Stars and Stripes
Newspaper Location: London, Middlesex
Article: No Celebrations in U.S. As Yanks, Reds Link Up
Quote Page 4, Column 2
Database: NewspaperArchive

[Begin excerpt]
The 4th Armored Division has been getting a big play in newspapers as
the spearhead of Gen. Patton's drives and now the magazines are
getting around to writing about it. Last week's Life magazine carried
a long story about Lt. Col. Creighton Abrams, one of the 4th's heroes.
The Saturday Evening Post ran a detailed article about the 4th by
Collie Small, which it calls 'the story of the immortal 4th Armored
Division's stampede to glory." The article, entitled "Rat Chase to the
Rhine," traces the Division's activities from Normandy across the

There's one discrepancy between the Life and SEP accounts, however.
The Post attributes to Sgt. Constant Klinga, of Brooklyn, the
Division's classic observation about Germans: "They've got us
surrounded again, the poor devils." According to Life it was "the poor
[Begin excerpt]

Date: March 6, 1945
Newspaper: The Amarillo Globe
Newspaper Location:  Amarillo, Texas
Page Number 4, Column 3
Article: 'They've Got Us Surrounded, The Poor So-and-Sos!'
News Service: Associated Press
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
SALT LAKE CITY, March 6 (AP) —"They've got us surrounded, the poor so-and-sos."

An American paratrooper said that at the siege of Bastogne in the
Belgian bulge in December and his remark was typical of the spirit of
the U. S. soldiers caught in what the Germans must have thought was an
inescapable trap.

The unnamed soldier's remark was recalled here today by Corp. Newman
L. Tuttle of Albert Lea, Minn., a member of the 101st Airborne
Division cut off at Bastogne for a week without food or ammunition.
[End excerpt]

Postscript: A snippet visible in "Words on war: military quotations
from ancient times to the present" suggests that Constant Klinga died
in action later in the war.


On Sun, May 1, 2016 at 10:04 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> Here's one for the military historians.  The Battle of the Bulge quote, "They've got us surrounded again, the poor bastards," is often attributed to Creighton Abrams.  Is it likely that Abrams did originate this, or was it an anonymous saying that later got attached to Abrams' name?  Is there any evidence of the quote's usage before 1961, which is the earliest I can readily find?
> Fred Shapiro
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
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