Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company B, 66th Armored Regiment,
2d Armored Division.
Place and date: Near Wurselen, Germany, 13 October
Entered service at: Lee, Mass.
Birth: Hinsdale, Mass.
G.O. No.: 95,
30 October 1945.
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.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)