143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 20
We had expended a total of 18 rounds and had destroyed 2 tanks; an excellent score and we felt good about it.
The counter fire which we received during this action did not destroy either material or men. However, the enemy sent up infantry to reduce this strong point. The crew of the first machine gun which brought us under fire from the right was driven off or killed by our own small arms fire.
A second machine gun opened up from a well-concealed position and it was impossible for us to hold the strong point any longer. We destroyed our guns and fell back to our fourth and only remaining gun.
It was during this action that Pfc Donald Eyanson was killed and Pvt's D P Phillips and Charlie Schofield were seriously wounded.
During this time the 119th Infantry reorganized, counter-attacked and held the enemy.
Charlie Battery hat stopped the spear-had; one of the reasons why one of Hitler's elite panzer divisions didn't eat Christmas dinner in Paris.
Batteries "A" and"B" were in position supporting the 82nd Airborne Division advance elements which had arrived during the nights of the 18th and 19th December.
Battery A formed an advance strong point with one company of the parachute infantry and Battery D became part of the integrated anti-tank defenses supporting the advance of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. A new conception of mobile warfare was gained when we found that between these two batteries approximately fifteen to twenty German armored vehicles were attempting to advance.
We breathed a sigh of relief when the 82nd Airborne attacked the morning of the 20th and drove the enemy, an element of the First SS Panzer Division back.
During that day we were receiving varied reports regarding the progress of our counter attacks. Things began to seem more stable. Early on the morning of the 21st, around two o'clock, came that cry "March Order!" and we found we were attached to the 30th Division, under the 8th Corps Airborne. We were to move immediately to the Francochamps- Stavelot-La Gleize-Malmedy area where another armored column threatened a break through.
Recon elements left in the middle of the night to report to the battalion report center at Spa.
At this point, orders for the disposition of the batteries were received and the battery recon parties left to make actual ground reconnaissance of positions for individual guns.
On Arrival of the battalion recon parties at 30th Division Headquarters, the situation had changed. An immediate break-through was possible and all guns, had to be emplaced immediately in positions outlined in order of priority regardless of the original dispositions.
Although, everything seemed to be in a state of confusion which we all believed was normal in mobile war-fare, our guns were set up as fast as they arrived. Fortunately, the expected penetration was beaten back and our positions were improved as further reconnaissance became available.