WWII Vet Explains How He Tricked 15,000 Nazis Into Surrendering to Him [VIDEO]
T. Moffatt Burriss was a Captain in he Army in 1945. By that point in his career, he’d seen more than his fair share of the war. Moffatt was at the liberation of the Wobelin Concentration Camp. He’d jumped with the Airborne during Operation Market Garden, and he’d fought in the battles of Anzio and Salerno in Italy.
Burriss had a reputation for bucking the system that made him a minor celebrity after the war. His American can-do attitude was immortalized in the film “A Bridge Too Far.”
But it was a moment near the end of the war that almost cost him everything.
As the allied troops plodded their way toward Berlin, they met heavy resistance. By this late stage of the war, Germany had armed a wide variety of conscripted citizens and forced them to fight. Yet there were still pockets of seasoned soldiers standing in the way of victory.
Burriss’s unit was just about to reach Berlin when orders came down for them to stop. They were to hold their position, but not advance. Even though they had the advantage, Washington had made a political decision. Russia would be allowed to take Berlin, and the German surrender. The rest of the allied forces would simply wait.
Burriss was stalled on one side of a river. “But I said: ‘I can’t stand this any longer.’ I got in my Jeep with the lieutenant and sergeant and said, ‘Let’s go across the river and see what we can see, see if there are some Krouts still over there,'” he said.
There were some Krouts. 15,000 from a German Panzer Corps. Burriss wasn’t deterred. He rode straight into their camp and demanded to see the German leader.
When the man was brought to Burriss, Burriss asked for him to surrender. “He went back and had a conference with his senior staff, walked back, pulled his pistol out and pointed it right at my heart. I will admit that I had a flutter inside my body at that moment, but he turned it around and had the pistol pointed toward himself,” Burriss said.
What happens next is one of the best bluffs of the war. It worked, obviously. Burriss is still with us. The man who disarmed 15,000 Nazis is still just as unflappable today.
Burriss is still sharing his stories with soldiers, too. Not long ago, he spoke a leadership luncheon. Lt. Col. Mike McTigue, 120th AG Reception commander, was there.
“What resonated most with me as a commander was the simple message that good leaders need to lead from the front and should never expect anything from their Soldiers that they would not do themselves,” he said. “As a result of his exceptional leadership, his men and others who served near him were able to overcome the insurmountable odds they faced and accomplish the missions they were given — even under the difficult conditions they experienced throughout the war,” McTigue said.
The video below, produced by FOX, has the whole story.