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THOMPSON, MAX

thompson max

On 18 October 1944, Company K, 18th Infantry, occupying a position on a hill near Haaren, Germany, was attacked by an enemy infantry battalion supported by tanks. The assault was preceded by an artillery concentration, lasting an hour, which inflicted heavy casualties on the company. While engaged in moving wounded men to cover, Sgt. Thomason observed that the enemy had overrun the positions of the 3d Platoon. He immediately attempted to stem the enemy's advance singlehandedly. He manned an abandoned machine gun and fired on the enemy until a direct hit from a hostile tank destroyed the gun. Shaken and dazed, Sgt. Thomason picked up an automatic rifle and, although alone against the enemy force which was pouring into the gap in our lines, he fired burst after burst, halting the leading elements of the attack and dispersing those following. Throwing aside his automatic rifle, which had jammed, he took up a rocket gun, and fired on a light tank, setting it on fire. By evening the enemy had been driven from the greater part of the captured position but still held three pillboxes. Sgt. Thomason's squad was assigned the task of dislodging the enemy from these emplacements. Darkness having fallen and finding that fire of his squad was ineffective from a distance, Sgt. Thomason crawled forward alone to within 20 yards of one of the pillboxes and fired grenades into it. The Germans holding the emplacement concentrated their fire upon him. Though wounded, he held his position fearlessly, continued his grenade fire, and finally forced the enemy to abandon the blockhouse. Sgt. Thomason's courageous leadership inspired his men and materially contributed to the clearing of the enemy from his last remaining hold on this important hill position.

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Service

Rank

Division

U.S. Army Sergeant (highest rank: Technical Sergeant) 3d Squad, 3d Platoon, Company K, 3d Battalion, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division

Conflict

Year of honor

born

World War Two 1944 Bethel, Pitt County, North Carolina

Citation

On 18 October 1944, Company K, 18th Infantry, occupying a position on a hill near Haaren, Germany, was attacked by an enemy infantry battalion supported by tanks. The assault was preceded by an artillery concentration, lasting an hour, which inflicted heavy casualties on the company. While engaged in moving wounded men to cover, Sgt. Thomason observed that the enemy had overrun the positions of the 3d Platoon. He immediately attempted to stem the enemy's advance singlehandedly. He manned an abandoned machine gun and fired on the enemy until a direct hit from a hostile tank destroyed the gun. Shaken and dazed, Sgt. Thomason picked up an automatic rifle and, although alone against the enemy force which was pouring into the gap in our lines, he fired burst after burst, halting the leading elements of the attack and dispersing those following. Throwing aside his automatic rifle, which had jammed, he took up a rocket gun, and fired on a light tank, setting it on fire. By evening the enemy had been driven from the greater part of the captured position but still held three pillboxes. Sgt. Thomason's squad was assigned the task of dislodging the enemy from these emplacements. Darkness having fallen and finding that fire of his squad was ineffective from a distance, Sgt. Thomason crawled forward alone to within 20 yards of one of the pillboxes and fired grenades into it. The Germans holding the emplacement concentrated their fire upon him. Though wounded, he held his position fearlessly, continued his grenade fire, and finally forced the enemy to abandon the blockhouse. Sgt. Thomason's courageous leadership inspired his men and materially contributed to the clearing of the enemy from his last remaining hold on this important hill position.