WIEDORFER, PAUL J

It was Christmas day 1944 and snow and ice covered the ground. Against all odds Pvt. Paul Wiedorfer charged 150 yards in open terrain and single handedly overpowered two German machinegun nests and forced six of the enemy surrender to him. Mr. Wiedorfer is now 89 years old. Please take a moment to read the citation of a hero.

"So I thought, somebody’s got to do something. And all of a sudden I said, ‘Goddammit, let’s see if we can get that nest.’ I remember slipping, falling and the good Lord was with me and I got it. I got two of ’em."
Paul J. Wiedorfer

Rank: Staff Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company G
Division: 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division
Born: Baltimore, Md.
Departed: No
Entered Service At: Baltimore, Md.
G.O. Number: 45
Date of Issue: 06/12/1945
Place / Date: Near, Chaumont, Belgium, 25 December 1944

 

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 machinegun 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 machinegun 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 machinegun emplacement and hurled a handgrenade 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.

Thanks to our friends at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for this citation and thanks to Paul Wiedorfer for his bravery. Visit http://www.cmohs.org.

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