Page 549


infantry from holes and log-covered trenches where they sought shelter from the tankers' shells. This was a slow, precarious business. Some of the enemy paratroopers could be persuaded that surrender was the better part of valor, but many had to be finished off with grenades and even bayonets. In this manner the 2d Battalion worked through three successive wood lots, meeting strong rifle and automatic weapons fire in each. Here Sgt. Paul J. Wiedorfer made a lone charge against two German machine guns. He killed the crew serving the first weapon and forced the crew of the second to surrender. (He was awarded the Medal of Honor.)


Chaumont village was less of a problem. Prisoners had reported that a large number of panzers had come in during the night, but in fact there were no tanks, except the derelict Shermans left on the 23d. The American light tanks moved in with the infantry and by dark the village was in American hands-most of the enemy had withdrawn farther north after the struggle in the woods. The 2d Battalion saw nearly a hundred of its men evacuated for bullet wounds, mostly suffered inside the woods. Both here and at Tintange the 5th Parachute troopers had been forced to rely on their small arms; the 318th as a result sustained more casualties from bullet fire than at any time since its frontal attack at the Moselle River in early September.


Artillery and large numbers of fighter-bombers belabored the 5th Parachute