The battle for Stavelot continued on 22 December. Heavy fighting broke out in some houses on the western edge of town, where soldiers of the Leibstandarte’s reconnaissance battalion were surrounded. The battalion commander ordered SS-Oberscharführer Wendt with his Tiger 133 to mount a relief attack. Wendt recalled that he fired a shell that exploded beside the house, but nothing happened. In all probability Wendt fired at one of the first houses on the outskirts of Stavelot and did not enter the city or go all the way to the house where the reconnaissance battalion men were trapped. When he returned to the command post, Knittel was still in telephone contact with his trapped men and ordered Wendt to advance again. (17) Wendt returned in the direction of Stavelot and “tried to do my best. But suddenly my driver turned around. The intercom on board didn’t work anymore. Slowly, we rolled toward the rear. We had already passed the command post and the tank stopped 200 meters from the Petit-Spai bridge. I realized only then the meaning of the disaster. Our tank had been struck and the radio operator had been killed. The shell had struck the base of the turret and deflected downward into the hull. Shrapnel damaged the transmission and the hydraulic fluid ran out. We could still fire but it was impossible to drive the tank.” This is probably the same action seen by Charles Corbin, an observer with the 3rd Armored Division’s 391st Armored Artillery Battalion. Corbin was posted in a house on the edge of Stavelot, from which he saw what he described as a Mark VI Tiger tank close by in some trees. As the tank moved a Sherman of TF Lovelady also in Stavelot took it under fire, “but three balls of fire bounced off of it and it backed away never moving its turret.” (19) The shot that damaged Wendt’s tank was probably from this Sherman.
Bridge foundations Petit-Spai bridge is seen in the background. Image taken towards Trois Ponts. It had been pushed off the road near the Petit-Spai bridge. Scrap metal dealers have already removed the turret in this view.
ArdennesBattle for the BulgeModelNormandiePeiperPetit Spai BridgeStavelotTankVadVarVem