Aurio Pierro

This is Aurio Pierro of B Company, 33rd. Armored Regiment

CORBIN: Aurio, I know that you were in Petit Coo guarding the Aid Station Dec. 20-24, 1944. Usually there is no problem with this duty. Will you tell us what you experience this time. We know that E /33 and E/36 had cut Peiper's column above Grand Coo but ran into stiff opposition in Trois Ponts, and could not advance to Stavelot.

PIERRO: I am Aurio J. Pierro and I was in B/33 and when we went to Normandy and the Task Forces were put together, our B Company of M-5 Light tanks were assigned to Task force Lovelady, and I was with him all the way to the Mulde River in Germany. We came down from Stolberg Germany and on December 20, 1944 to Petit Coo and the first platoon remained there as security for Task Force Lovelady's first aid station, which was in a building there. Things were quiet the first day although there were a couple German vehicles close by that had been knocked out. There was German dead near the railroad track, which was close to the back of the building. In the late afternoon on December 22, there was a force of Germans that came from the direction of Stavelot. They surprised us, as we did not have any infantry and only five light tanks. WE began to fire at them and they answered back with a lot of mortars.

     We had to drop back near the bridge, which went over the railroad tracks about a hundred yards from the aid station. Some Infantry from the 30th. Division came up to support us at dark. We had lost one of our tanks during the first scrimmage, and I called for one of out tanks to line up with mine and we charged back down the road with 30th. Infantry in support. As we arrived at the first aid station the tank beside me got hit with a bazooka. I picked up the flash of the bazooka and we shot our 30-cal. machine guns and the 37mm cannon. My tank got hit and we bailed out and went into the building on the second floor. We received fire from all directions and a red-hot projectile came through the wall and landed on the floor near me. Then the top of the building was burning and we went down in the cellar where at one end there was a large oven. The Germans came around the back and asked us to surrender.

      We held out and next afternoon I climbed into the tank and the radio was working so I called headquarters and asked for permission to come out which was granted. We went beside the Railroad tracks and received small arms fire and one of the Infantry in front of my driver and me got hit and we got him between us and continued on to the bridge. I went back to the unit on Christmas Eve and also went to the aid station where they removed some shrapnel from my back. We had a turkey dinner Christmas and then began our trip to our new position near Ny where the dossiers had dug holes in the ground for us to put our tanks.

CORBIN: Aurio can you tell me about the causalities during the battle?

PIERRO: I can't tell you how many causalities the aid station or the Infantry had, but in my platoon, my gunner, John F. Pinowarski was killed and my driver was shot through the foot, and I was hit with shrapnel and in the tank behind mine, the commander was killed and two others were killed trying to get back. The driver was the only one that lived from that tank and he became my driver the rest of the war.