Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

  • Filter Recipient Database here
    • Service Branch
    • Conflict / Era
    • Additional Filters

World War II - U.S. Army

Paul Joseph Wiedorfer

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant (rank at time of action: Private)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    2d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company G, 2d Battalion, 318th Infantry,
    80th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 25, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Chaumont, Belgium

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 one platoon was advancing across an open clearing toward another wood when it was met by heavy machine-gun fire from two 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 three-inch snowfall the night before over ice-covered ground. Pvt. Wiedorfer, realizing that the platoon advance could not continue until the two 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 six immediately surrendered. This heroic action by one 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.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 29, 1945

    137th Gen. Hospital, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, presented by Brigadier Gen. E. F. Koenig, UK Base Commander

  • Born: January 17, 1921, Baltimore, Baltimore County, MD, United States
  • Died: May 25, 2011, Baltimore, MD, United States
  • Buried: Moreland Memorial Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD, United States

Questions? For More Information Contact Us!