Editor's note: Before you read the posting below, check this page on 'The origin of the whole nine yards'.
In Reply to: Whole nine yards, the posted by Silver Surfer on November 07, 2002
The phrase "give'em the Whole nine yards was part of my grandfather's vocabulary since I was a child. I was born in 1954, but more importantly, he was born in 1892. He volunteered and went over to fight in France with the AEF in 1917.
This gives creedence to the answer I got to the question of where this phrase come from in the early 1980's. A friend who was at that time an early user of the internet said he would put it out on the internet. He got multiple replies in just a few days. Remember that the internet in the early days was mostly military. The answers he got ALL said that it was from the First World War and that it was the lenght of the Machine gun belt in use by the allies.
In that war the charges and counter charges were of massive numbers of men running into a wall of lead. The machine gunners facing a charge were to save the last few feet of their last belt in case a few of the enemy emerged from the shell holes in no mans land before another belt was brought up.
The phrase was uttered by the lieutanants and sargeants running down the line when the chips were down and, in desperation, you would "give them the Whole nine yards".