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Commandos vs. Engineers:
The Guns of Malmédy
with Mike Haught
The 49th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade supplied its guns to the defence of the Northern Shoulder. Like many of the US V Corps assets, the heavy anti-aircraft gunners formed a solid defence line at Malmédy along with other random units thrown in to stop the Germans.
The brigade had been stationed in Belgium for several weeks. Their main task before the Ardennes offensive was to shoot down V-1 rockets heading to Antwerp. Elements of the brigade were quickly re-deployed in the anti-tank role, forming a back-stop behind the corps’ infantry divisions and their supporting tank destroyers.
Tank destroyer units in Malmédy were a bit of a mystery for me to untangle. There was definitely a battalion present, the 825th, which was a towed unit, but some sources have placed M10s there as well. I suspect that the latter is because people might have been confused by Skorzeny’s “M10” Panthers and recorded an M10 battalion there, but I could be totally wrong on that assumption.
The point remains that no M10s were ever noted in the actual battle of Malmédy, other than Skorzeny’s knockoffs, and if there were some in the area, it seems suspicious that they would never have been committed to that battle. The 823rd supported the 30th Infantry Division in the area as well.
Like the 90mm guns, a platoon of A Company, 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion, was split off to join A Company of the 526th Armored Infantry in Stavelot. The rest of the tank destroyer company proceeded to Malmédy where Colonels Hansen (99th Infantry Battalion) and Pergrin deployed them to the east of town covering the Malmédy bridge over the Warche River.
The men of the 825th deployed around a small house near the river and across the road from the paper mill. At least a platoon of towed M5 3” guns was deployed around the building, giving it the name “the TD House”.
To make matters worse, when the morning fog cleared, the US troops deployed along the railroad embankment thought that the TD house was in German hands and opened fire on it. However, they quickly realised their mistake and focused relieving the men in the TD house as soon as possible. The battle eventually let up and the few survivors of the TD House could proudly say they didn’t give up their position to the enemy.
So that’s what I’ve got this week! I should be all done with my heavy
weapons and so I’m off to work on my engineers now—only a few weeks to