This is Jim Cullen of E/36 Armored Infantry
I am Jim Cullen of E Company, 36th. Armored Infantry Regiment. I was a squad leader in the 1st. Platoon. I had just returned to the outfit after having been wounded after the dragonteeth on September 13.We were with E Company, 33rd. Armored Regiment, under Task Force Lovelady. In the morning of the 20th. of December, 1944 we drove down to Trois Ponts. Belgium and came to the viaduc, with houses on our right, and tanks in front of us. We dismounted and were told to go through the viaduc under the railroad bridges and attack. After passing through the viaduc we passed a stone building on our right which was a tavern. We started to take fire from across the Ambleve River. We could see a bridge in the distance. We went into the ditch on the left side of the road. Then our Platoon leader a Lieutenant McCord came down the road and passed us, so I shouted to the men to lets go with him. We followed him and we received so much fire we had to hit the ditch again. By this time we had passed a 57-mm anti tank gun.
CORBIN: Jim, I have read several stories about this gun and the men. All the stories are different. You are the only one I know that was there and saw the antitank gun. Will you tell me exactly what you remember about this antitank gun?
CULLEN: The gun was a 57mm anti tank gun that belonged to a Company of the 526 Armored Infantry Regiment. It was 250-300 yards passed the tavern on the right side of the road. There were three or four dead guys huddled behind the shield. I have read books about the placement of this gun from the A-526 McDonald, Eisenhower, and a few other had it placed all over the countryside, but the only one that got it right was the book 'The Damned Engineers". I believe they were killed with machine gun fire because if it were a shell the gun and the men would have been displaced. The bodies had not been touched, as the pockets on the men were still intact.
The fire got real heavy and we were told to pull back and dig in on the reverse slope of the railroad viaduc. Next day the Germans came around us they were looking down our throats so we took shelter in the houses. They had cut us off from the rest of the 3 AD. The house my squad went in had dead woman lying on the kitchen floor with a bullet hole in her head, still bleeding with blood all over the floor. We closed the kitchen door, but the blood was still coming under the door so we put newspaper down. Peiper's men had also shot a man and a boy in the house next to us, and several others in the other houses. There was a lot of fire across the river from us coming from the 505 of the 82nd, Airborne Division. We were shelled with a lot of mortals and one of them landed in a doorway with several Officers, McCord, Elliott and the Major. Lt. McCord was killed instantly. We called for support from the 82nd. and one of their round dropped short and blew up one of our half-tracks. In the afternoon of the 24th.our tanks and the 30th. Infantry Division broke through to us to take over our position.
When we went to leave the treads on our half-tracks and tanks were frozen to the street. We had to rock them to break them loose. It was really cold.