Rule#1: Bring a Bigger Gun!
2nd October 2003
Given it's the 60th anniversary of the Bulge, I thought some of you might be interested in reading the following. It's a bit long, but worth the time. I often think about the soldiers on both sides this time of year when the snow starts piling up and the temps drop at night. I can only imagine what it must have been like.
We should all be thankful for what soldiers like those listed below did to keep us all free -- in some cases making the ultimate sacrifice in the process.
The Battle of the Bulge during World War II 60 years ago this month remains the largest single battle ever fought by the U.S. Army in its 229-year history, dwarfing even the massive ground offensive in Operation Desert Storm 13 years ago. U.S. Army records state the offensive officially began on Dec. 16, 1944, with the German surprise attack in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The battle ended three weeks later on Jan. 7, 1945, when an Anglo-American counteroffensive had pushed the German advance back across its original line of departure.
During the 22 days of bitter fighting, over 600,000 American soldiers were involved, of whom 20,000 were killed, another 20,000 captured and over 40,000 injured. On the other side, the Wehrmacht had suffered 30,000 killed, 30,000 taken POW and 40,000 wounded.
The fierce struggle in subfreezing winter weather also produced incredible acts of heroism, including 19 instances that led to American GIs receiving the Medal of Honor. Here are the official accounts (an asterisk denotes a posthumous award of the Medal of Honor):
Beyer, Arthur O., Cpl. USA Biddle, Melvin E., Pfc. USA Bolden, Paul L., Staff Sgt. USA *Cowan, Richard Eller, Pfc. USA Currey, Francis S. Sgt. USA Funk, Leonard A. Jr., First Sgt. USA *Gammon, Archer T., Staff Sgt. USA Gerstung, Robert E. Tech. Sgt. USA Hendrix, James R., Pvt. USA *Jachman, Isadore S., Staff Sgt. USA *Kimbo, Truman Tech. 4th, USA Lopez, Jose M., Sgt. USA McGarity, Vernon, Tech. Sgt. USA Neppel, Ralph G., Sgt. USA *Shoup, Curtis F., Staff Sgt. USA Soderman, William A., Pfc. USA *Thorne, Horace M., Cpl. USA *Warner, Henry F., Cpl. USA Wiedorfer, Paul J., Pvt. USA
Beyer, Arthur O., Cpl. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company C, 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Place and date: Near Arloncourt, Belgium, 15 January 1945.
Entered service at: St. Ansgar, Iowa. Born: 20 May 1909, Rock Township, Mitchell County, Iowa. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August 1945.
Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry in action. His platoon, in which he was a tank-destroyer gunner, was held up by antitank, machine gun, and rifle fire from enemy troops dug in along a ridge about 200 yards to the front. Noting a machine gun position in this defense line, he fired upon it with his 76-mm. gun, killing 1 man and silencing the weapon.
He dismounted from his vehicle and, under direct enemy observation, crossed open ground to capture the 2 remaining members of the crew. Another machine gun, about 250 yards to the left, continued to fire on him. Through withering fire, he advanced on the position. Throwing a grenade into the emplacement, he killed 1 crewmember and again captured the 2 survivors. He was subjected to concentrated small-arms fire but, with great bravery, he worked his way a quarter mile along the ridge, attacking hostile soldiers in their foxholes with his carbine and grenades.
When he had completed his self-imposed mission against powerful German forces, he had destroyed 2 machine gun positions, killed 8 of the enemy and captured 18 prisoners, including 2 bazooka teams. Cpl. Beyer's intrepid action and unflinching determination to close with and destroy the enemy eliminated the German defense line and enabled his task force to gain its objective.
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Biddle, Melvin E., Pfc. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company B, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Place and date: Near Soy, Belgium, 23-24 December 1944.
Entered service at: Anderson, Ind. Birth: Daleville, Ind. G.O. No.. 95, 30 October 1945.
Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy near Soy, Belgium, on 23 and 24 December 1944. Serving as lead scout during an attack to relieve the enemy-encircled town of Hotton, he aggressively penetrated a densely wooded area, advanced 400 yards until he came within range of intense enemy rifle fire, and within 20 yards of enemy positions killed 3 snipers with unerring marksmanship.
Courageously continuing his advance an additional 200 yards, he discovered a hostile machine gun position and dispatched its 2 occupants. He then located the approximate position of a well-concealed enemy machine gun nest, and crawling forward threw hand grenades which killed two Germans and fatally wounded a third.
After signaling his company to advance, he entered a determined line of enemy defense, coolly and deliberately shifted his position, and shot 3 more enemy soldiers. Undaunted by enemy fire, he crawled within 20 yards of a machine gun nest, tossed his last hand grenade into the position, and after the explosion charged the emplacement firing his rifle.
When night fell, he scouted enemy positions alone for several hours and returned with valuable information which enabled our attacking infantry and armor to knock out 2 enemy tanks. At daybreak he again led the advance and, when flanking elements were pinned down by enemy fire, without hesitation made his way toward a hostile machine gun position and from a distance of 50 yards killed the crew and 2 supporting riflemen. The remainder of the enemy, finding themselves without automatic weapon support, fled panic-stricken.
Pfc. Biddle's intrepid courage and superb daring during his 20-hour action enabled his battalion to break the enemy grasp on Hotton with a minimum of casualties.
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Bolden, Paul L., Staff Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company 1, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Petit-Coo, Belgium, 23 December 1944.
Entered service at: Madison, Ala. Birth: Hobbes Island, Iowa. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August 1945-.
Citation: He voluntarily attacked a formidable enemy strong point in Petit-Coo, Belgium, on 23 December, 1944, when his company was pinned down by extremely heavy automatic and small-arms fire coming from a house 200 yards to the front.
Mortar and tank artillery shells pounded the unit, when Staff Sgt. Bolden and a comrade, on their own initiative, moved forward into a hail of bullets to eliminate the ever-increasing fire from the German position. Crawling ahead to close with what they knew was a powerfully armed, vastly superior force, the pair reached the house and took up assault positions, Staff Sgt. Bolden under a window, his comrade across the street where he could deliver covering fire.
In rapid succession, Staff Sgt. Bolden hurled a fragmentation grenade and a white phosphorous grenade into the building; and then, fully realizing that he faced tremendous odds, rushed to the door, threw it open and fired into 35 SS troopers who were trying to reorganize themselves after the havoc wrought by the grenades.
Twenty Germans died under fire of his submachine gun before he was struck in the shoulder, chest, and stomach by part of a burst which killed his comrade across the street. He withdrew from the house, waiting for the surviving Germans to come out and surrender. When none appeared in the doorway, he summoned his ebbing strength, overcame the extreme pain he suffered and boldly walked back into the house, firing as he went. He had killed the remaining 15 enemy soldiers when his ammunition ran out.
Staff Sgt. Bolden's heroic advance against great odds, his fearless assault, and his magnificent display of courage in reentering the building where he had been severely wounded cleared the path for his company and insured the success of its mission.
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*Cowan, Richard Eller, Pfc. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company M, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944.
Entered service at: Wichita, Kans. Birth: Lincoln, Nebr. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945.
Citation: He was a heavy machine gunner in a section attached to Company I in the vicinity of Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944, when that company was attacked by a numerically superior force of German infantry and tanks. The first 6 waves of hostile infantrymen were repulsed with heavy casualties, but a seventh drive with tanks killed or wounded all but 3 of his section, leaving Pvt. Cowan to man his gun, supported by only 15 to 20 riflemen of Company I.
He maintained his position, holding off the Germans until the rest of the shattered force had set up a new line along a firebreak. Then, unaided, he moved his machine gun and ammunition to the second position. At the approach of a Royal Tiger tank, he held his fire until about 80 enemy infantrymen supporting the tank appeared at a distance of about 150 yards. His first burst killed or wounded about half of these infantrymen. His position was rocked by an 88-mm. shell when the tank opened fire, but he continued to man his gun, pouring deadly fire into the Germans when they again advanced. He was barely missed by another shell.
Fire from three machine guns and innumerable small arms struck all about him; an enemy rocket shook him badly, but did not drive him from his gun. Infiltration by the enemy had by this time made the position untenable, and the order was given to withdraw. Pvt. Cowan was the last man to leave, voluntarily covering the withdrawal of his remaining comrades. His heroic actions were entirely responsible for allowing the remaining men to retire successfully from the scene of their last-ditch stand.
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Currey, Francis S. Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company K, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Malmedy, Belgium, 21 December 1944. Entered service at: Hurleyville, N.Y. Birth: Loch Sheldrake, N.Y. G.O. No.: 69, 17 August 1945.
Citation: He was an automatic rifleman with the 3d Platoon defending a strong point near Malmedy, Belgium, on 21 December 1944, when the enemy launched a powerful attack. Overrunning tank destroyers and antitank guns located near the strong point, German tanks advanced to the 3d Platoon's position, and, after prolonged fighting, forced the withdrawal of this group to a nearby factory.
Sgt. Currey found a bazooka in the building and crossed the street to secure rockets meanwhile enduring intense fire from enemy tanks and hostile infantrymen who had taken up a position at a house a short distance away. In the face of small-arms, machine gun, and artillery fire, he, with a companion, knocked out a tank with 1 shot.
Moving to another position, he observed 3 Germans in the doorway of an enemy-held house. He killed or wounded all 3 with his automatic rifle. He emerged from cover and advanced alone to within 50 yards of the house, intent on wrecking it with rockets. Covered by friendly fire, he stood erect, and fired a shot which knocked down half of 1 wall. While in this forward position, he observed 5 Americans who had been pinned down for hours by fire from the house and 3 tanks. Realizing that they could not escape until the enemy tank and infantry guns had been silenced, Sgt. Currey crossed the street to a vehicle, where he procured an armful of antitank grenades. These he launched while under heavy enemy fire, driving the tankmen from the vehicles into the house.
He then climbed onto a half-track in full view of the Germans and fired a machine gun at the house. Once again changing his position, he manned another machine gun whose crew had been killed; under his covering fire the 5 soldiers were able to retire to safety. Deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry casualties, the enemy was forced to withdraw.
Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion's position.
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Funk, Leonard A. Jr., First Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company C, 508th Parachute Infantry, 82d Airborne Division.
Place and date: Holzheim, Belgium, 29 January 1945. Entered service at: Wilkinsburg, Pa. Birth: Braddock Township, Pa. G.O. No.: 75, 5 September 1945.
Citation: He distinguished himself by gallant, intrepid actions against the enemy. After advancing 15 miles in a driving snowstorm, the American force prepared to attack through waist-deep drifts. The company executive officer became a casualty, and 1st Sgt. Funk immediately assumed his duties, forming headquarters soldiers into a combat unit for an assault in the face of direct artillery shelling and harassing fire from the right flank.
Under his skillful and courageous leadership, this miscellaneous group and the 3rd Platoon attacked 15 houses, cleared them, and took 30 prisoners without suffering a casualty. The fierce drive of Company C quickly overran Holzheim, netting some 80 prisoners, who were placed under a 4-man guard, all that could be spared, while the rest of the under-strength unit went about mopping up isolated points of resistance.
An enemy patrol, by means of a ruse, succeeded in capturing the guards and freeing the prisoners, and had begun preparations to attack Company C from the rear when 1st Sgt. Funk walked around the building and into their midst. He was ordered to surrender by a German officer who pushed a machine pistol into his stomach.
Although overwhelmingly outnumbered and facing almost certain death, 1st Sgt. Funk, pretending to comply with the order, began slowly to unsling his submachine gun from his shoulder and then, with lightning motion, brought the muzzle into line and riddled the German officer. He turned upon the other Germans, firing and shouting to the other Americans to seize the enemy's weapons.
In the ensuing fight 21 Germans were killed, many wounded, and the remainder captured. 1st Sgt. Funk's bold action and heroic disregard for his own safety were directly responsible for the recapture of a vastly superior enemy force, which, if allowed to remain free, could have taken the widespread units of Company C by surprise and endangered the entire attack plan.
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*Gammon, Archer T., Staff Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company A, 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division.
Place and date: Near Bastogne, Belgium, 11 January 1945.
Entered service at: Roanoke, Va. Born: 11 September 1918, Chatham, Va. G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946.
Citation: He charged 30 yards through hip-deep snow to knock out a machine gun and its 3-man crew with grenades, saving his platoon from being decimated and allowing it to continue its advance from an open field into some nearby woods. The platoon's advance through the woods had only begun when a machine gun supported by riflemen opened fire and a Tiger Royal tank sent 88-mm. shells screaming at the unit from the left flank.
Staff Sgt. Gammon, disregarding all thoughts of personal safety, rushed forward, then cut to the left, crossing the width of the platoon's skirmish line in an attempt to get within grenade range of the tank and its protecting foot troops. Intense fire was concentrated on him by riflemen and the machine gun emplaced near the tank.
He charged the automatic weapon, wiped out its crew of 4 with grenades, and, with supreme daring, advanced to within 25 yards of the armored vehicle, killing 2 hostile infantrymen with rifle fire as he moved forward. The tank had started to withdraw, backing a short distance, then firing, backing some more, and then stopping to blast out another round, when the man whose single-handed relentless attack had put the ponderous machine on the defensive was struck and instantly killed by a direct hit from the Tiger Royal's heavy gun.
By his intrepidity and extreme devotion to the task of driving the enemy back no matter what the odds, Staff Sgt. Gammon cleared the woods of German forces, for the tank continued to withdraw, leaving open the path for the gallant squad leader's platoon.
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Gerstung, Robert E. Tech. Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company H, 313th Infantry, 79th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Siegfried Line near Berg, Germany, 19 December 1944.
Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 6 August 1915, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 75, 5 September 1945.
Citation: On 19 December 1944, he was ordered with his heavy machine gun squad to the support of an infantry company attacking the outer defense of the Siegfried Line near Berg, Germany. For 8 hours he maintained a position made almost untenable by the density of artillery and mortar fire concentrated upon it and the proximity of enemy troops who threw hand grenades into the emplacement. While all other members of his squad became casualties, he remained at his gun.
When he ran out of ammunition, he fearlessly dashed across bullet-swept, open terrain to secure a new supply from a disabled friendly tank. A fierce barrage pierced the water jacket of his gun, but he continued to fire until the weapon overheated and jammed. Instead of withdrawing, he crawled 50 yards across coverless ground to another of his company's machine guns which had been silenced when its entire crew was killed. He continued to man this gun, giving support vitally needed by the infantry.
At one time he came under direct fire from a hostile tank, which shot the glove from his hand with an armor-piercing shell but could not drive him from his position or stop his shooting. When the American forces were ordered to retire to their original positions, he remained at his gun, giving the only covering fire. Finally withdrawing, he cradled the heavy weapon in his left arm, slung a belt of ammunition over his shoulder, and walked to the rear, loosing small bursts at the enemy as he went. One hundred yards from safety, he was struck in the leg by a mortar shell; but, with a supreme effort, he crawled the remaining distance, dragging along the gun which had served him and his comrades so well.
By his remarkable perseverance, indomitable courage, and heroic devotion to his task in the face of devastating fire, T/Sgt. Gerstung gave his fellow soldiers powerful support in their encounter with formidable enemy forces.
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Hendrix, James R., Pvt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company C, 53d Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division.
Place and date: Near Assenois, Belgium, 26 December 1944.
Entered service at: Lepanto, Ark. Birth: Lepanto, Ark. G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945.
Citation: On the night of 26 December 1944, near Assenois, Belgium, he was with the leading element engaged in the final thrust to break through to the besieged garrison at Bastogne when halted by a fierce combination of artillery and small arms fire.
He dismounted from his half-track and advanced against two 88-mm. guns, and, by the ferocity of his rifle fire, compelled the gun crews to take cover and then to surrender. Later in the attack he again left his vehicle, voluntarily, to aid 2 wounded soldiers, helpless and exposed to intense machine gun fire. Effectively silencing 2 hostile machine guns, he held off the enemy by his own fire until the wounded men were evacuated.
Pvt. Hendrix again distinguished himself when he hastened to the aid of still another soldier who was trapped in a burning half-track. Braving enemy sniper fire and exploding mines and ammunition in the vehicle, he extricated the wounded man and extinguished his flaming clothing, thereby saving the life of his fellow soldier.
Pvt. Hendrix, by his superb courage and heroism, exemplified the highest traditions of the military service.
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*Jachman, Isadore S., Staff Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company B, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Place and date: Flamierge, Belgium, 4 January 1945.
Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Berlin, Germany. G.O. No.: 25, 9 June 1950.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at Flamierge, Belgium, on 4 January 1945, when his company was pinned down by enemy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, 2 hostile tanks attacked the unit, inflicting heavy, casualties.
Staff Sgt. Jachman, seeing the desperate plight of his comrades, left his place of cover and with total disregard for his own safety dashed across open ground through a hail of fire and seizing a bazooka from a fallen comrade advanced on the tanks, which concentrated their fire on him. Firing the weapon alone, he damaged one and forced both to retire.
Staff Sgt. Jachman's heroic action, in which he suffered fatal wounds, disrupted the entire enemy attack, reflecting the highest credit upon himself and the parachute infantry.
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*Kimbo, Truman Tech. 4th, USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company C, 2d Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Rocherath, Belgium, 19 December 1944.
Entered service at: Houston, Tex. Birth: Madisonville, Tex. G.O. No.: 42, 24 May 1945.
Citation: On 19 December 1944, as scout, he led a squad assigned to the mission of mining a vital crossroads near Rocherath, Belgium. At the first attempt to reach the objective, he discovered it was occupied by an enemy tank and at least 20 infantrymen.
Driven back by withering fire, Technician 4th Grade Kimbro made 2 more attempts to lead his squad to the crossroads but all approaches were covered by intense enemy fire. Although warned by our own infantrymen of the great danger involved, he left his squad in a protected place and, laden with mines, crawled alone toward the crossroads. When nearing his objective he was severely wounded, but he continued to drag himself forward and laid his mines across the road.
As he tried to crawl from the objective his body was riddled with rifle and machine gun fire. The mines laid by his act of indomitable courage delayed the advance of enemy armor and prevented the rear of our withdrawing columns from being attacked by the enemy.
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Lopez, Jose M., Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Krinkelt, Belgium, 17 December 1944.
Entered service at: Brownsville, Tex. Birth: Mission, Tex. G.O. No.: 47, 18 June 1945.
Citation: On his own initiative, he carried his heavy machine gun from Company K's right flank to its left, in order to protect that flank which was in danger of being overrun by advancing enemy infantry supported by tanks. Occupying a shallow hole offering no protection above his waist, he cut down a group of 10 Germans. Ignoring enemy fire from an advancing tank, he held his position and cut down 25 more enemy infantry attempting to turn his flank.
Glancing to his right, he saw a large number of infantry swarming in from the front. Although dazed and shaken from enemy artillery fire which had crashed into the ground only a few yards away, he realized that his position soon would be outflanked. Again, alone, he carried his machine gun to a position to the right rear of the sector; enemy tanks and infantry were forcing a withdrawal. Blown over backward by the concussion of enemy fire, he immediately reset his gun and continued his fire. Single-handed he held off the German horde until he was satisfied his company had effected its retirement.
Again he loaded his gun on his back and in a hail of small arms fire he ran to a point where a few of his comrades were attempting to set up another defense against the onrushing enemy. He fired from this position until his ammunition was exhausted.
Still carrying his gun, he fell back with his small group to Krinkelt. Sgt. Lopez's gallantry and intrepidity, on seemingly suicidal missions in which he killed at least 100 of the enemy, were almost solely responsible for allowing Company K to avoid being enveloped, to withdraw successfully and to give other forces coming up in support time to build a line which repelled the enemy drive.
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McGarity, Vernon, Tech. Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company L, 393d Infantry, 99th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Krinkelt, Belgium, 16 December 1944.
Entered service at: Model, Tenn. Born: 1 December 1921, Right, Tenn. G.O. No.: 6, 11 January 1946.
Citation: He was painfully wounded in an artillery barrage that preceded the powerful counteroffensive launched by the Germans near Krinkelt, Belgium, on the morning of 16 December 1944. He made his way to an aid station, received treatment, and then refused to be evacuated, choosing to return to his hard-pressed men instead.
The fury of the enemy's great Western Front offensive swirled about the position held by Tech. Sgt. McGarity's small force, but so tenaciously did these men fight on orders to stand firm at all costs that they could not be dislodged despite murderous enemy fire and the breakdown of their communications. During the day the heroic squad leader rescued 1 of his friends who had been wounded in a forward position, and throughout the night he exhorted his comrades to repulse the enemy's attempts at infiltration.
When morning came and the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry, he braved heavy fire to run to an advantageous position where he immobilized the enemy's lead tank with a round from a rocket launcher. Fire from his squad drove the attacking infantrymen back, and 3 supporting tanks withdrew. He rescued, under heavy fire, another wounded American, and then directed devastating fire on a light cannon which had been brought up by the hostile troops to clear resistance from the area.
When ammunition began to run low, Tech. Sgt. McGarity, remembering an old ammunition hole about 100 yards distant in the general direction of the enemy, braved a concentration of hostile fire to replenish his unit's supply. By circuitous route the enemy managed to emplace a machine gun to the rear and flank of the squad's position, cutting off the only escape route.
Unhesitatingly, the gallant soldier took it upon himself to destroy this menace single-handedly. He left cover, and while under steady fire from the enemy, killed or wounded all the hostile gunners with deadly accurate rifle fire and prevented all attempts to reman the gun.
Only when the squad's last round had been fired was the enemy able to advance and capture the intrepid leader and his men. The extraordinary bravery and extreme devotion to duty of Tech. Sgt. McGarity supported a remarkable delaying action which provided the time necessary for assembling reserves and forming a line against which the German striking power was shattered.
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Neppel, Ralph G., Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Birgel, Germany, 14 December 1944. Entered service at: Glidden, Iowa. Birth: Willey, Iowa. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945.
Citation: He was leader of a machine gun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them.
The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen.
Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.
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*Shoup, Curtis F., Staff Sgt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company I, 346th Infantry, 87th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Tillet, Belgium, 7 January 1945.
Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Birth: Napenoch, N.Y. G.0. No.: 60, 25 July 1945.
Citation: On 7 January 1945, near Tillet, Belgium, his company attacked German troops on rising ground. Intense hostile machine gun fire pinned down and threatened to annihilate the American unit in an exposed position where frozen ground made it impossible to dig in for protection. Heavy mortar and artillery fire from enemy batteries was added to the storm of destruction falling on the Americans.
Realizing that the machine gun must be silenced at all costs, Staff Sgt. Shoup, armed with an automatic rifle, crawled to within 75 yards of the enemy emplacement. He found that his fire was ineffective from this position, and completely disregarding his own safety, stood up and grimly strode ahead into the murderous stream of bullets, firing his low-held weapon as he went. He was hit several times and finally was knocked to the ground. But he struggled to his feet and staggered forward until close enough to hurl a grenade, wiping out the enemy machine gun nest with his dying action.
By his heroism, fearless determination, and supreme sacrifice, Staff Sgt. Shoup eliminated a hostile weapon which threatened to destroy his company and turned a desperate situation into victory.
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Soderman, William A., Pfc. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company K, 9th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Rocherath, Belgium, 17 December 1944.
Entered service at: West Haven, Conn. Birth: West Haven, Conn. G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.
Citation: Armed with a bazooka, he defended a key road junction near Rocherath, Belgium, on 17 December 1944, during the German Ardennes counteroffensive. After a heavy artillery barrage had wounded and forced the withdrawal of his assistant, he heard enemy tanks approaching the position where he calmly waited in the gathering darkness of early evening until the 5 Mark V tanks which made up the hostile force were within point-blank range.
He then stood up, completely disregarding the firepower that could be brought to bear upon him, and launched a rocket into the lead tank, setting it afire and forcing its crew to abandon it as the other tanks pressed on before Pfc. Soderman could reload. The daring bazookaman remained at his post all night under severe artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire, awaiting the next onslaught, which was made shortly after dawn by 5 more tanks
Running along a ditch to meet them, he reached an advantageous point and there leaped to the road in full view of the tank gunners, deliberately aimed his weapon and disabled the lead tank. The other vehicles, thwarted by a deep ditch in their attempt to go around the crippled machine, withdrew. While returning to his post Pfc. Soderman, braving heavy fire to attack an enemy infantry platoon from close range, killed at least 3 Germans and wounded several others with a round from his bazooka.
By this time, enemy pressure had made Company K's position untenable. Orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area, where Pfc. Soderman was located when he once more heard enemy tanks approaching. Knowing that elements of the company had not completed their disengaging maneuver and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack, he hurried from his comparatively safe position to meet the tanks. Once more he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last; but before he could reach cover, machine gun bullets from the tank ripped into his right shoulder. Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along a ditch to the American lines and was evacuated.
Through his unfaltering courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power of the last great German offensive.
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*Thorne, Horace M., Cpl. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Troop D, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Armored Division.
Place and date: Near Grufflingen, Belgium, 21 December 1944.
Entered service at: Keyport, N.J. Birth. Keansburg, N.J. G.O. No.: 80, 19 September 1945.
Citation. He was the leader of a combat patrol on 21 December 1944 near Grufflingen, Belgium, with the mission of driving German forces from dug-in positions in a heavily wooded area. As he advanced his light machine gun, a German Mark III tank emerged from the enemy position and was quickly immobilized by fire from American light tanks supporting the patrol. Two of the enemy tankmen attempted to abandon their vehicle but were killed by Cpl. Thorne's shots before they could jump to the ground.
To complete the destruction of the tank and its crew, Cpl. Thorne left his covered position and crept forward alone through intense machine gun fire until close enough to toss 2 grenades into the tank's open turret, killing 2 more Germans. He returned across the same fire-beaten zone as heavy mortar fire began falling in the area, seized his machine gun and, without help, dragged it to the knocked-out tank and set it up on the vehicle's rear deck. He fired short rapid bursts into the enemy positions from his advantageous but exposed location, killing or wounding 8. Two enemy machine gun crews abandoned their positions and retreated in confusion.
His gun jammed; but rather than leave his self-chosen post he attempted to clear the stoppage; enemy small-arms fire, concentrated on the tank, killed him instantly. Cpl. Thorne, displaying heroic initiative and intrepid fighting qualities, inflicted costly casualties on the enemy and insured the success of his patrol's mission by the sacrifice of his life.
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*Warner, Henry F., Cpl. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Antitank Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, 20-21 December 1944.
Entered service at: Troy, N.C. Born: 23 August 1923, Troy, N.C. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945.
Citation: Serving as 57-mm. antitank gunner with the 2nd Battalion, he was a major factor in stopping enemy tanks during heavy attacks against the battalion position near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, on 20-21 December 1944. In the first attack, launched in the early morning of the 20th, enemy tanks succeeded in penetrating parts of the line. Cpl. Warner, disregarding the concentrated cannon and machine gun fire from 2 tanks bearing down on him, and ignoring the imminent danger of being overrun by the infantry moving under tank cover, destroyed the first tank and scored a direct and deadly hit upon the second. A third tank approached to within 5 yards of his position while he was attempting to clear a jammed breach lock.
Jumping from his gun pit, he engaged in a pistol duel with the tank commander standing in the turret, killing him and forcing the tank to withdraw. Following a day and night during which our forces were subjected to constant shelling, mortar barrages, and numerous unsuccessful infantry attacks, the enemy struck in great force on the early morning of the 21st.
Seeing a Mark IV tank looming out of the mist and heading toward his position, Cpl. Warner scored a direct hit. Disregarding his injuries, he endeavored to finish the loading and again fire at the tank whose motor was now aflame, when a second machine gun burst killed him. Cpl. Warner's gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty contributed materially to the successful defense against the enemy attacks.
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Wiedorfer, Paul J., Pvt. USA
Organization: U.S. Army, Company G, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near, Chaumont, Belgium, 25 December 1944.
Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 45, 12 June 1945.
Citation: He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized. Company G had cleared a wooded area of snipers, and 1 platoon was advancing across an open clearing toward another wood when it was met by heavy machine gun fire from 2 German positions dug in at the edge of the second wood. These positions were flanked by enemy riflemen.
The platoon took cover behind a small ridge approximately 40 yards from the enemy position. There was no other available protection and the entire platoon was pinned down by the German fire. It was about noon and the day was clear, but the terrain extremely difficult due to a 3-inch snowfall the night before over ice-covered ground.
Pvt. Wiedorfer, realizing that the platoon advance could not continue until the 2 enemy machine gun nests were destroyed, voluntarily charged alone across the slippery open ground with no protecting cover of any kind. Running in a crouched position, under a hail of enemy fire, he slipped and fell in the snow, but quickly rose and continued forward with the enemy concentrating automatic and small-arms fire on him as he advanced.
Miraculously escaping injury, Pvt. Wiedorfer reached a point some 10 yards from the first machine gun emplacement and hurled a hand grenade into it. With his rifle he killed the remaining Germans, and, without hesitation, wheeled to the right and attacked the second emplacement. One of the enemy was wounded by his fire and the other 6 immediately surrendered.
This heroic action by 1 man enabled the platoon to advance from behind its protecting ridge and continue successfully to reach its objective. A few minutes later, when both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant were wounded, Pvt. Wiedorfer assumed command of the platoon, leading it forward with inspired energy until the mission was accomplished.
24th November 2002
Those accounts are very intense.
Not a title right now
25th June 2004
I just read 4 of them, times quick, Those are/were real heroes, and this as well as Gen Taskeen, a nice post and worth the time.:bows:
Death from above
30th January 2004
next time just post the link!
I didn't make it!
RaftermanWe should all be thankful for what soldiers like those listed below did to keep us all free
What a crock. I bet you believe all of the lies that Bush expounds about spreading "freedom and democracy" in the Middle East, too. While you wave your little flag and speak of freedom and remembrance, the constitutional rights of Americans are continually stripped away through new legislation designed to further restrict free speech and, consequently, free thought, as well as dissolve many of the other basic rights which have been taken for granted by most Americans.
World War II was not a just or righteous war, and it certainly wasn't about securing freedom for Americans or anyone else. Just ask the people of Poland who spent half a century behind the iron curtain, subjected to abject misery and numerous untold atrocities at the hands of the Soviet Union -- America's ally in "liberating" Europe. Lest you forget, the war was supposedly started in order to protect Poland from the German "aggressors" (nevermind the legitimate grievances over Danzig, we don't want to complicate matters and make the war with Poland look like a justifiable conflict). But, despite this rather important detail, Poland was forgotten about after the war. This isn't a surprise, though, since Germany was completely prostrated and left for ruin, which was the original aim of the war all long.
Before you blame the "evil Nazis" and "tyrannical Hitler" for the war, remember that it was France and Great Britain which declared war on Germany, and prior to that point in history, the German Reich posed no threat to the freedom of Americans. If you do a little research on the subject, you will discover that Adolf Hitler had no wish to engage in a second bloody war with Great Britain or the United States, whose citizens he respected and saw as the brethren of Germans. Despite post-war dogma perpetrated by anti-German propaganda, it was never Hitler's ambition to "conquer the world," or even conquer Europe. He simply wanted to restore Germany's honor and retrieve the territory wrongly taken from Germany after World War I.
Revenge was here.
14th December 2003
for fucks sake....way to turn a perfectly fine thread about war heros into your own fucking soapbox...save it for melee asshole /sorry bout the language guys :angry:
your mother is a beaver
3rd June 2004
Your first post, and you rant how WWII is not a just or righteous war? Well, I agree. Germany was wrong in invading Poland. As for the Polish being subject to misery at the hands of the Soviet Union - that's too damn bad. Not like the other Allies could do anything. You think US and Britain should have declared war on the Soviets or something? As for France and Britain declaring war on Germany, I wonder why? Maybe it's because he had already taken Austria and Czechoslovakia and was poised to take Poland, and no amount of appeasement would change his mind.
He simply wanted to restore Germany's honor and retrieve the territory wrongly taken from Germany after World War I.
And grab the rest of Europe and murder half its population. Nothing wrong with this, right? In fact I agree - the US and Britain are the aggressors in WWII, not the poor Germans........ For a 51 year old, you sure are stupid. Back on topic, it's pretty interesting to learn about these great soldiers. By the way, are there pages showing other countries' soldiers that have won the highest award in their nation? I think in US, the highest military award is Congressional Medal of Honor, and highest civilian award is Presidential Medal of Freedom, but not sure.
30th April 2004
Just ignore the cave troll. Let the admin's handle it and they will all be dealt with. In other news I only read the first story and I gotta say those men in WW2 sure had some mighty big titanium balls.
Rule#1: Bring a Bigger Gun!
2nd October 2003
Hey Rampart, your skinhead is showing. Good thing you weren't at the Bulge, you would have gotten an awful case of frostbite.
Your ridicoulous arguments don't even deserve a response.
Just go back to your hitler youth discussion board and don't bother us anymore.