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Small MOH-Related Group to a Normandy Vet


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Picked this up last week, didn't even google the citation or history until after I got it. This group came from a picker who got it at the estate of James M Burt. He said he also picked up a K98 war trophy, but opted to keep that piece. I'm not an Army collector at all, but figured I should probably pick this group up. James Burt commanded Company B, 3d Bn, 66th Armor Reg and was at the Normandy Invasion and Battle of Aachen, and his MOH is an unusual case of the award being presented for actions over an extended period...

 


 

Citation:

 



Capt. James M. Burt was in command of Company B, 66th Armored Regiment on the western outskirts of Wurselen, Germany, on 13 October 1944, when his organization participated in a coordinated infantry-tank attack destined to isolate the large German garrison which was tenaciously defending the city of Aachen. In the first day's action, when infantrymen ran into murderous small-arms and mortar fire, Capt. Burt dismounted from his tank about 200 yards to the rear and moved forward on foot beyond the infantry positions, where, as the enemy concentrated a tremendous volume of fire upon him, he calmly motioned his tanks into good firing positions. As our attack gained momentum, he climbed aboard his tank and directed the action from the rear deck, exposed to hostile volleys which finally wounded him painfully in the face and neck. He maintained his dangerous post despite pointblank self-propelled gunfire until friendly artillery knocked out these enemy weapons, and then proceeded to the advanced infantry scouts' positions to deploy his tanks for the defense of the gains which had been made. The next day, when the enemy counterattacked, he left cover and went 75 yards through heavy fire to assist the infantry battalion commander who was seriously wounded. For the next 8 days, through rainy, miserable weather and under constant, heavy shelling, Capt. Burt held the combined forces together, dominating and controlling the critical situation through the sheer force of his heroic example. To direct artillery fire, on 15 October, he took his tank 300 yards into the enemy lines, where he dismounted and remained for 1 hour giving accurate data to friendly gunners. Twice more that day he went into enemy territory under deadly fire on reconnaissance. In succeeding days he never faltered in his determination to defeat the strong German forces opposing him. Twice the tank in which he was riding was knocked out by enemy action, and each time he climbed aboard another vehicle and continued the fight. He took great risks to rescue wounded comrades and inflicted prodigious destruction on enemy personnel and materiel even though suffering from the wounds he received in the battle's opening phase. Capt. Burt's intrepidity and disregard of personal safety were so complete that his own men and the infantry who attached themselves to him were inspired to overcome the wretched and extremely hazardous conditions which accompanied one of the most bitter local actions of the war. The victory achieved closed the Aachen gap.

Oddly, the button of Burt is actually a hand mirror for some reason


 

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-Brig
GySgt/USMC/0369
RSU-Quantico


"FOR OUR TOMORROWS, THEY GAVE THEIR TODAYS"
RIP
Sgt Jesse 'Jeff Nasty' Balthaser
Sgt John P Huling
Cpl Carlos 'Gilo Monster' Gilorozco
Cpl Stephen C 'Socks' Sockalosky
LCpl Joshua A 'Scottie' Scott
LCpl Jason Lee 'Birdman' Frye
LCpl Nicolas B Morrison
LCpl Jon T Hicks
LCpl Osbrany 'Oz' Montes De Oca
Pvt Lewis T D Calapini
'The SOI 5'

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Hi Brig,

Your James Burt material is great! He is a big figure in the 2nd Armored Division and 66th Armored Regiment. You will want to get the two books “Iron Knights”, where he is mentioned 24 times and “Hell of Wheels”, where he is mentioned 9 times. They are available on Amazon. Of the sixteen U.S. Armored Divisions deployed in WWII, the 2nd and 3rd were heavy divisions with two tank regiments and one infantry regiment. They also had three artillery battalions, of which two were usually armored (M-7 Priest, etc.). Each of their Combat Commands (A, B, R) often had more battle strength than one of the light armored divisions, such as the 4th.

 

Here are a couple of photos of James Burt from the books. The larger photo was taken in 1968. I believe the collar brass you have matches up nicely with the ones he is wearing in the photo. I have items from other tankers of Burt’s 66th AR, such as F Company (Co F/66th/2nd AD is the unit portrayed in the movie Fury), but I do not have MOH associated pieces. Outstanding picking up!

 

Also related to D-Day, the 66th AR’s Combat Command A (of which B and F Companies were part of) was the unit that showed up in the nick of time on June 13th to fend off the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Gotz Von Berlichingen, which were about to overrun a portion of the lightly armed 101st Airborne Division at Carentan. This action is portrayed in the HBO Band of Brothers series.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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