This is Charles Corbin of A/391 Armored Field Artillery|
Battalion In Stolberg, Germany , December 1944
I was the Chief of Section of the R.O. Section. We had a half-track and a jeep. We did reconnaissance work and directed our 105 artillery shells in support of our task force. We had just moved into billets in the Munsterbusch section of Stolberg. We were on a steep hill that overlooked the train station. There was a triangle section across the street with some trees, like a park where we parked our half-track. On the morning of December 17th. 1944 we learned the rumor we had heard yesterday was true. The Germans had broken through our lines in the Ardennes. We had heard the planes and the ack-ack and the bombs the night before. Suddenly there were German Me-109s overhead and I rushed to the half-track climbed in the turret loaded the fifty cal machine gun, took aim at one of the planes and pulled the trigger, again and again as the gun was not firing. I jumped down and hurried back and T-5 Roland Mniece pulled out a round spring and said "Charlie, I took this out yesterday to replace it as it is weak". About that time several planes came over and the ack-ack started again, this time the planes were British and later some p-47s were met with our fire, but fortunately there were no planes shot down.
On the18th. In the evening T-5 Truman Fanning backed the half-track up to our building and told me we should load up our duffel bags. I told him I had not received any orders. He told me I would get them in the morning. I knew that Fanning was not called G2 for nothing so I tossed the bags downstairs to him as he loaded them in our rack on the back. of the track. In the afternoon of the 19th. we took our place in the column, I remember passing through Aachen and it was devastating to see how the city lad been leveled. We stopped at La Reid a mile West of Spa Belgium. Lt. William Plummer came over and said He was our new F. O. and we had to move out right away at 10"00 to get to Task force Lovelady Headquarters for an attack in the morning.
Our CCB had been attached to the 18th. Corps. We prepared to move out in the morning toward Theux to block and enemy thrust. All of a sudden we were in the war again. It did not look like the war would be over by Christmas and we would not be on the way home soon. In fact unbeknown to most of us until years later, our 32nd. Recon had already ran up against T F Peiper on December 17, 1944. T F Lovelady would tangle with Peiper very soon.
Lt. Col. Joachim Peiper led his Kampfgruppe Peiper Task Force of the First SS Panzer Division. in the breakout. He tried to go right through the 99 Infantry Division but was held up for a day. He did reach Honsfeld that night where gassed up his vehicles and left next morning for Bullingen and on to Moderscheid, Schoppen and Ondenval. Later I learned that T F Peiper had shot capture GIs In Honsfeld and Bullingen. There was more to come, not only Capture American POWs but over 100 civilian atrocities.
On the 17th. of December, COL. Leander L. Doan, CO of the 32nd. Armored Regiment had decided the day before to find out about the breakthrough, and how far the Germans had penetrated. He had sent two scout sections of the 32/Recon on a mission. Each scout section consisted of 4 jeeps and 12 Men. 1st. Lt. McDermott led the first group. There were only 11 men. They made a right turn in Ondenval and ran right into T F Peiper. Kampfgruppe Peiper passing through Ondenval had captured the 11 men of the 32nd, Recon. They put their jeeps and drivers in their column and the other prisoners in half-tracks. One of the jeeps broke a transmission and another another got stuck in the soft terrain. This left William Barron and Vernon Anderson driving the American jeeps. After going through Thirimont and approaching the Baugnez crossroads, some of the vehicles tried to take a short cut to the Liqneuville road, but got a couple of their vehicles stuck.
As Peiper's approached the crossroads the 285th. Artillery Battaliion had just cleared the corner on the road to St Vith and Ligneuville. The 285th. lead trucks were shot up and soon they were surrounded and had to surrender. They were ordered back to the crossroads and put in a vacant field near the Café Bodarwe. It must have been a little more than a 100 of them. Just afterwards the nine men from the 32nd. Recon were also placed there.
What Happen next, We know, but why, We will never know? All I know is what I learned from some interviews. and affidavits.
I will recomend two books in English. The first is called The Malmedy Massacre by John M.Bauserman. The other is called The Devil's Adjutant by Michael Reynolds. I know both authors.
In the next several pages I will post text taken directly from interviews on video tape. I believe all the following interviews are true, and the people I know personal to be truthful in what they saw and heard. Next Page