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825th Tank Destroyer Bn. Company “A”

Company “A”825th Tank Destroyer Bn.
 
After Action Report: (Appendix “B”)
From 17 to 31 December 1944
By Captain Joseph H. DIBERT
Commanding Officer 825th T.D.Bn
Document N.A.R.A. 1945
 
The Company “A” was alerted by Headquarters “T” Force 12th Army Group at 1130 hours 17 December 1944.  At approximately 1600 hours, orders were received from “T” Force Commander that the Provost Marshall of First Army directed the Company move to Malmedy, Belgium and occupy firing positions East of town.  The Company was to be attached to the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion for the move to Malmedy.  Upon reaching Malmedy, the Commanding Officer was to report to Colonel Hansen, Commander of 99th Infantry Battalion.  The Company joined the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion and passed the IP at La Reid, Belgium at 2200 hours this date.
 
While enroute to Malmedy the column was ordered to halt and await further instructions.  Written orders were received that one Company of 526th Armored Infantry Battalion and one platoon of Company “A”, 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion should be moved to Stavelot, Belgium and occupy positions South and Southeast of the town, whereby the road blocks already established could be covered by fire.  The force was placed under command of Major Solis, Executive Officer, 526th Armored Infantry Battalion, and was made up of Company “A” 526th Armored Infantry Battalion, and First Platoon, Company “A”, 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion.  This force moved to Stavelot and the remainder of the column moved to Malmedy.  The column arrived at Malmedy at 0200 hours 18 December 1944.
 
I reported to Col Hansen as ordered upon arrival; who ordered my company to occupy positions already chosen to cover the road block by fire. Guides were furnished by Company “C” 291st Engineer Battalion, and Platoon Leaders moved guns into position (see attached overlay #1) (Sorry for the scale who is not correct).  The Third Platoon took up positions in vicinity of roadblock at (803036).  The Second Platoon took up position in the vicinity of roadblock at (792052) and (778037); one section of this platoon occupying positions at each location.  Defense was setup and guns in position at 0430 hours this date.
 
The First Platoon arrived at Stavelot at approximately 0330 hours 18 December 1944.  Major Solis, the force commander, sent one platoon of Company “A”, 526th Armored Infantry Battalion and one section of First Platoon this unit, across the river to occupy positions on the high ground South of town.  The other section of First Platoon and the Anti-Tank Platoon of Company “A”, 526th Armored Infantry Battalion were held in reserve.  The First Section crossed the river at approximately 0545 hours and made contact with the enemy at approximately 0605 hours this date.  This section was unable to reach the positions designated due to enemy fire and upon trying to withdraw to take up positions to return enemy fire, they were hit by direct fire of the enemy, knocking out the two guns and halftracks.  As a result of this action, six enlisted men were missing, and two were battle casualties.
 
The two guns and halftracks destroyed by enemy at Stavelot
 
At daylight the enemy placed considerable fire on the town of Stavelot.  The fire was coming from machine guns and heavy weapons which were set up in the houses overlooking the town.  One gun was put in position at (721013) whereby could be placed on the fixed enemy positions.  By 0930 hours, the gun had set fire to six houses, and hit approximately ten others.  At 1000 hours the rumble of tank could be heard and the tanks appeared on the hill South of town.
 
Four Mark VI German tanks were observed, and taken under fire by the section which remained at Stavelot.  Each squad knocked put two tanks.  A fifth tank (Tiger Royal) had come into town by another route and could be heard reconnoitering the town by fire.  A gun was moved to a position in the center of the street at (719012) so as to permit firing on the approaching tank.  Some 15 rounds were exchanged in the fire fight.  One of the rounds from the 3” gun hit the tank at a point where the gun extends from the turret, and the tank withdrew.  In doing so, the tank backed into a brick building, and pulled the building down pinning the tank underneath the wreckage.
 
The King Tiger into the Brick Building at Stavelot
 
During this action the platoon leader received orders to withdraw, but due to the enemy fire it was impossible.  However, at 1145 hours the reminder of the platoon withdrew under covering fire which came from the gun at (719012). The gun commander and gunner, firing the gun at (719012) after proving certain the platoon had withdrawn, rendered the gun useless to the enemy by placing an incendiary grenade in the breach.  The two non-commissioned officers then withdrew on foot.  One ¼ ton truck and one halftrack were lost during this action.  One man was wounded.
 
 
On 19 December 1944, two men of the company captured three suspected German soldiers in civilian clothes in Malmedy, and turned them over to C.I.C.  Third Platoon received enemy mortar and small arm fire in their position. No casualties for the period.  On 20 December 1944, gun positions were improved. No contact with enemy during this period.  An attack by the enemy was expected and all personnel were alerted at 0300 hours 21 December 1944.  At approximately 0700 hours one section of the 2nd Platoon located at (778037) made contact with the enemy, and destroyed one ¼ ton truck, one halftrack and one Mark VI German tank.  In addition, the section at (778037) inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.  During this engagement, two men were battle casualties, two wounded but not hospitalized.  One 3 inch gun was knocked out.  In this same operation the section captured one M-8 and two ¼ ton trucks (American; in serviceable condition, which was being used by the enemy.  Company “B” 99th Infantry Battalion also engaged the enemy at this point.
 
During period from 23 December 1944 to 28 December 1944, platoons remained in defensive positions and continued to dig in and improve positions.  On 24th December 1944, the 3” gun and halftrack of Third Squad 1st Platoon was repaired and put into position at 2000 hours at (778038).  This gun supported one gun of Second Platoon at (778036).  25 December 1944, positions remained the same, and the 3” guns and halftrack of 4th Squad 1st Platoon was recovered from Stavelot.  On 26 December 1944, the gun and halftrack of 1st Platoon was repaired and put in position at 2000 hours at (778039).  All other positions remained the same.  All the positions remained the same during period of 27 December 1944 to 28 December 1944 include.
 
On 29 December 1944, one reconnaissance was made for location of new and better positions.  The Second Section of Third Platoon moved to and occupied new positions, at (804039) the other section remained in position at (797039).  Further reconnaissance was made for positions on 30 December 1944, and First Section of the Third Platoon moved to and occupied new positions at (803041).

Signed:

JOSEPH H. DIBERT

Capt., 825th TD Bn

Comdg. Co. “A”

Source: Document N.A.R.A. 1945.
Signed by Joseph H. DIBERT

Commanding Officer

Company "A"

825th Tank Destroyer

Battalion

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium