Lieutenant Audie Leon Murphy, small of stature, big of heart…

Lieutenant Audie Leon Murphy

Lieutenant Audie Leon Murphy

Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Audie Murphy helped redeem the day with valor uncommon even by his standards. Since advancing up the Rhône and across the Vosges with the 3rd Division, Murphy ─ who was still not yet old enough to vote or to shave more than once a week ─ had collected two Silver Stars, a battlefield commission, and a severe wound that turned gangrenous and cost him several pounds of flesh whittled from his right hip and buttock.  Rejoining the 15th Infantry in mid-January after two months’ recuperation, he soon took command of the same company he had joined as a private in North Africa two years earlier; it was now reduced to eighteen men and a single officer, himself. On January 26, two hundred German infantrymen with half a dozen panzers attacked from the woods near Riedwihr. Clutching a map and a field phone, Second Lieutenant Murphy leaped onto a burning tank destroyer and for an hour repulsed the enemy with a .50-calibe machine gun while calling in artillery salvos. He “killed them in the draws, in the meadows, in the woods,” a sergeant reported: the dead included a dozen Germans “huddled like partridges” in a nearby ditch. “Things seemed to slow down for me,” Murphy later said. “Things became very clarified.” De Lattre [De Lattre de Tassigny, Gen. Jean Joseph] described the action as “the bravest thing man had ever done in battle,” but Murphy reflected that “there is no exhilaration at being alive.” He would receive the Medal of Honor.” ─ The Guns at Last Light, The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945, Copyright © 2013 by Rick Atkinson, Page 532.

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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