Many Americans love stories from World War II because the war was clearly a battle between good and evil, not to mention pride in the U.S. military, as American involvement helped to end the war quickly.
World War II was a long and bloody war that resulted in many American losses, but one battle was done without bloodshed. A veteran tells the story of how 15,000 German soldiers surrendered to him, two other men, and a jeep — all due to bravery, ingenuity, and one incredible bluff. (via Independent Journal Review)
In an interview with Fox News, former Captain T. Moffat Burris and his unit were awaiting orders to attack Berlin. The men were “lined up, ready to go” to end German hostility and stop the Nazi advance, but were sidelined by an order from General Eisenhower which said, “Stop, do not cross the hill. A political decision has been made to allow the Russians to take it.”
Burris said he was irritated and impatient with the order. “I got in my Jeep with the lieutenant and sergeant and said, ‘Let’s go across the river and see what we can see.’” What he saw upon crossing the river was a German panzer corps of 15,000 men.
Anyone else would have hastily retreated, but Burris did the unthinkable — he approached their leader and said, “I’m here to accept your surrender.”
The German leader, justifiably confused, said, ‘Three men and a Jeep, are you crazy?” Burris responded, “No. I have a whole army of paratroopers and tanks behind me.” This was a bluff, of course, considering there were only two hundred or so in the unit waiting on the other side of the river out of sight. Burris added in a bit of truth, saying, “The Russian are behind you. Either surrender to them or us.”
The panzer corps leader reported to a three-star general who approached Burris and presented some “opposition.” After hearing the claim by Burris, he conversed with his senior staff for a moment before returning to point a gun at Burris’s heart. Burris admitted that he “had a flutter inside my body at that moment.”
Surprisingly, the three-star general at the head of 15,000 troops turned the pistol around to point at himself as a sign of his surrender. Burris said he told the general, “Alright, you get in the Jeep with me and I’ll take you to my commander. And you have your troops move forward and we’ll disarm them.”
Returning to Colonel Tucker, Burris’ commanding officer, Burris informed his leader of the matter and received a stern rebuke from the colonel — saying he was ordered not to cross the river. Having just faced a three-star general and his 15,000 men with only two men to back him up, Burris sarcastically responded to his superior, “You want me to take him back?”
Burris’ ingenuity is an impressive feat even today, and his curiosity and quick thinking likely saved Russian lives, as the Russians were the ones supposed to take Berlin and the panzer corps. His story reminds us of the great courage American soldiers displayed during the war, and how important our military is to preserving our freedom and liberty.