Major G. T. Stallings, Hq. 2nd Battalion. 33rd Armored Regiment. 3rd Armored Division.
Task Force I, CCB of 3rd Armored, consisting of 2nd Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, Co. E of the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 1st. platoon of Co. D, 23rd Armored Engineering Battalion, 2nd Platoon of the Reconnaissance Co. of 33rd Armored Regiment and was commanded by Lt. Col. W.B. Lovelady.
On 19 December, 1944, we left ESCHWEILLER in the ROER RIVER area and went to an assembly area just outside of SPA near MALMEDY. SPA. had been the headquarters of the 1st ARMY until they left. While here we organized and prepared to attack. On the 20 December we jumped off and passed through the 30th DIVISION to capture STAVELOT, four or five miles to our south. The country was very hilly and wooded and covered with snow. When we had advanced about half a mile, we met a column of German artillery on the road. It was the tail end of the 17th PANZER GRENADIERS Regiment. They did not fire a single shot at us and we got two (150 mm) guns, two 88s and three tanks. We captured fifteen to twenty prisoners and were held up for about one hour on account of burning enemy material. Our position was between a river on one side and a mountain on the other.
At 11,00 hours, we started out again for TROIS-PONTS, where we were to make a short left turn and approach STAVELOT. About a mile after we passed TROIS-PONTS, we met a German column crossing the river in front of us on a road at a right angle to our line of advance. The Germans were very congested but had six or eight tanks and anti-tank guns guarding the bridge. Our first .tanks in column were knocked out, while we hit two or three vehicles and a half-track. The enemy hit one Company commander, three lieutenants and four or five men, and we were ordered by the task force commander to retire to TROIS-PONTS and set up road blocks. The task force was now split. 'E' Company, who had been leading were pulled out to man the road-blocks.
The next morning, the 21 December, 'D' Company set out cross-country along with 'I' Company of the 30th DIVISION. They proceeded to STAVELOT and secured a series of road blooks and another section en route.
On the 22 December, we found that the Germans had gotten in behind us but they had only small arms, so we were not particularly worried. However, they became annoying, so we shot a telephone wire by rifle grenade across the river
to the 82nd AIRBORNE, occupying the other side. They had their artillery in better position to support us and this proved a life-saver.
We were relieved on the 24th December by the 30th DIVISION who took over all our road-blocks and our objective. We moved to HOTTON, west of STAVELOT and went into position near THEUX. We stayed there over Christmas.
Meanwhile, our other task force went to seize the town of LA GLEIZE. They lad trouble there for two days. Finally they laid down a 'time on target' artillery concentration. Following that, they were able to enter the town and found over 100 armored vehicles had been knocked out by the artillery fire. When we arrived at HOTTON, we took
over defensive positions, running through HOTTON, SOY and MARLOIE. Our job was to back up the 75th DIVISION and hold the enemy in the event they were unable to do so. We took our tanks in for the first time and we really had a strong position. We stayed there until the 31 December, until it was certain that the 75th DIVISION would be able to hold. We were then pulled back to an assembly area; HUY.
We spent New Year's day resting and it was at this time Colonel LOVELADY took sick and the command of the Battalion fell to me. CCB Headquaters called me for conference that afternoon.
he next attack, which would see the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions along with the 83rd and 84th Infantry Divisions attack in concert, the 2nd Armored Division and the 84th Division would be on the right, while the 3rd Armored and 83rd Division would advance on the left , with the boundary being the road between MANHAY and HOUFFALIZE. We were to meet the 3rd Army at HOUFFALIZE in funning the attack. Our task force was deprived of one company of Infantry, but gained the 3rd Battalion of the 30th Infantry Regiment to support us. 'We also were given a TD platoon.
The immediate ogjective for our task force was Just east of HOUFFALIZE. On the 3 January, 19145, at 0830 hours, we jumped off through the 75th DIVISION in a blinding snow storm. Visibility was about one hundred yards ad the ground was hilly and wooded. Our tanks did not have grousers, only the plain V-track. Consequently it was very slippery and we were able to proceed very slowly. We got to MALEMPRE the first night. We had captured about fifty prisoners during the day, but there bird been no real fight. The weather was our greatest foe on that march. The next morning we set out again and found some AT guns, two tanks and a mine field about half a mile out of town. They were on higher around with good observation, making it necessary for us to attack up-hill on very slippery ground. Our first tank was knocked out by a mine. The second was hit by one of the anti-tank guns. It was so slippery and the tanks were having great difficulty, that I sent the Infantry to flank the road and eliminate the opposition. We cleared the minefield at night to a width of 30 ft. and it was the thickest mine-field I had yet seen. It took us one and a half days to get across that point of resistance.
Our- next-town was FRAITURE. We thought it was a German regimental C.P. We had good observation so we decided to use our artillery and make a dash for the town. We did so and not a shot was fired while we occupied the place. There were only about twenty five houses, but we got 1E00 prisoners who were packed in like sausages. Also we found a battery of 75mm artillery and lots of supplies.
The next morning (January 7), we were to join our other task force at REGNE, two or three miles away. At 10 o'clock we arrived there and established communications with the other task force coming up. I was standing beside my peep, talking with the Commander of the other task force by radio, when a sniper picked me off from a house. A bullet went through my chest and came out my back. It knocked me down but I was not unconscious. It was a very strange feeling when I found that I was breathing through a hole in my back rather than through my nose or mouth.
I was very scared and did not take part in any activity. I was given attention very quickly as my medics were nearby. Then I was put on a. jeep in a litter and taken to the rear. Due to the poor condition of the trail over which we had advanced, it was several hours before I reached the aid station, but I was more scared than uncomfortable on the way. When I reached the aid station, I was given a drug to induce sleep and I remember nothing further.