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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Harry J Michael

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company L, 318th Infantry,
    80th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 14, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Neiderzerf, Germany

He was serving as a rifle platoon leader when his company began an assault on a wooded ridge northeast of the village of Neiderzerf, Germany, early on 13 March 1945. A short distance up the side of the hill, 2d Lt. Michael, at the head of his platoon, heard the click of an enemy machine-gun bolt. Quietly halting the company, he silently moved off into the woods and discovered two enemy machine guns and crews. Executing a sudden charge, he completely surprised the enemy and captured the guns and crews. At daybreak, enemy voices were heard in the thick woods ahead. Leading his platoon in a flanking movement, they charged the enemy with hand grenades and, after a bitter fight, captured 25 members of an SS mountain division, three artillery pieces, and 20 horses. While his company was establishing its position, 2d Lt. Michael made two personal reconnaissance missions of the wood on his left flank. On his first mission he killed two, wounded four, and captured six enemy soldiers singlehandedly. On the second mission he captured seven prisoners. During the afternoon he led his platoon on a frontal assault of a line of enemy pillboxes, successfully capturing the objective, killing 10, and capturing 30 prisoners. The following morning the company was subjected to sniper fire and 2d Lt. Michael, in an attempt to find the hidden sniper, was shot and killed. The inspiring leadership and heroic agressiveness displayed by 2d Lt. Michael upheld the highest traditions of the military service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Harry Michael
Medal of Honor Recipient Harry Michael
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Milford, Kosciusko County, Indiana
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 20, 1946

    presented to his father Plomer R. Michael

  • Born: March 13, 1922, Benton, Elkhart County, IN, United States
  • Died: March 14, 1945, Germany
  • Buried: Violett Cemetery (MH) (309-G), Goshen, IN, United States

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