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Holding the Northern Flank at Stoumont

Holding the Northern Flank at Stoumont
The 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion advanced through France and on to Belgium, Holland and the Siegfried Line on the Western Front with the rest of the Allied Forces engaging in many strategic battles along the way.  Beginning in October and continuing through until December 1944, the 823rd converted from half-tracks to self-propelled M10 Tanks.  The men were trained in driving, maintenance, gunnery and tactics.  Kent was the gunner in his platoon.
On December 18th, the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion was attached to the 119th Regimental Combat Team and preceded in the direction of Stoumont.  The situation was extremely fluid.  It was bitter cold and a thick blanket of snow covered the entire area.
The 30th Infantry Division was holding down an extended front from Schaufenberg to Wurselen, Germany.  Before day light, German armor was heard maneuvering outside Stoumont.  In the darkness and fog, there was practically no visibility.  The infantry refused to grant permission for the firing of flares.  As the pressure increased, the foot soldiers were forced to withdraw and the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion found themselves outflanked.  Small arms and machine gun fire became intense.
One Mark VI was knocked out by the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion and the attack was held off for some time. However, all of the guns were eventually neutralized with most of the personnel moving North of Stoumont.  Most of the 823rd withdrew to Remouchamps, Belgium while the 2nd platoon (Kent’s Unit) remained in position North of town.
When the enemy tried to break through, East and West of Stavelot on the afternoon of December 18th, the 823rd destroyed three Mark V’s, two personnel carriers and eight Mark VI’s.  An enemy ½ ton truck and one half-track were also destroyed.  The 823rd set a road block East of Stoumont and also helped protect the Stoumont – La Gleize Highway from North to South.  The 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion was instrumental in the recapturing of both towns.  One incident that occurred in Malmedy on December 17th a few miles from Kent’s position was the massacre of 90 American troops by the Germans.  Kent often expressed his sorrow that if he had known what was taking place at that time, his unit could have prevented it from happening.
Fighting in the Bulge was continuous off and on through the rest of the year.  There were times when the troops would get pinned down in their foxholes.  For one seven-day period during the Battle of the Bulge, the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion remained in their foxholes.  It was bitter cold with the snow levels knee deep.  Frostbite began to takes its toll on the troops.  Many of the men became discouraged and wanted to give up.  Kent was often seen crawling from foxhole to foxhole attempting to cheer the men up by telling jokes.  By the end of the year, the German surge had subsided and the Battle of The Bulge was over.  The 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion received its second Presidential Citation for service in the Bulge.

Source: Warren Watson, July 31, 2011. See:

By Cpl Kent A. LEE

Company "A"

823rd Tank Destroyer



Battle of the Bulge,