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 Max Thompson

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Max Thompson

WWII Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Sergeant in the Co. K, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. T/Sgt. Max Thompson was just a modest, soft-spoken young man, who preferred showing his discharge papers rather than his Medal of Honor or any of his other awards. On his return home, he would willingly talk about Fort Bragg and other places in the USA, but would close up when anyone would mention the battles in Europe where he fought and won all those deserved honours. Sgt. Thompson holds his country's highest honor for almost single-handedly stopping a Nazi breakthrough near Haaren, Germany on 18 October 1944. He continued to bombard a group of Germans after about 100 of his comrades had been killed. He is credited with killing 23 Germans and wounding an unknown number in the battle near Haaren. From the Army records . . . "When the enemy broke through, T.Sgt. Thompson tossed aside his rifle and took up the only weapons that could stop a mass assault. He fired a machine gun until a shell from an enemy tank blasted it out of his hands. All during the day he dragged wounded from the foxholes and carried them back for treatment." Max's company commander had even more to say. "The enemy broke through a platoon with tanks. In overrunning the platoon pillboxes, the enemy captured 20 of our men and drove back the others who were not killed or wounded - four men. Sgt. Thompson stepped in alone to stop the troops pouring through. The Germans immediately swept the area with machine guns and other automatic fire from the captured pillbox positions and I saw Sgt. Thompson repeatedly enter the fire-swept field to carry wounded from their foxholes to a pillbox we were using as an aid station. Behind a tank, the Germans swarmed the gap in the line. Sgt. Thompson went to a machine gun, where the gunner had become a casualty, and faced the attack alone. He fired steadily into the advancing Germans. Then, a direct hit from the enemy tank destroyed the machine gun. He was badly shaken and dazed, but escaped being wounded. He regained his bearings and staggered to where an abandoned Browning automatic rifle was lying on the ground. He stood alone against the enemy force pouring through the gap. His fire halted the leading elements and dispersed the follow-up squads. But the Germans were coming through in ever-increasing numbers. He fired into them until his rifle jammed.Throwing it aside, he searched for another weapon. He went to a rocket gun which had been dropped by a wounded gunner and turned back to the advancing enemy who were coming up behind a light tank. He didn't bother to find a foxhole from which he would fire without being a conspicuous target. He loaded the gun, took careful aim and fired on the tank. The rocket scored a direct hit and set the tank on fire. He charged the German riflemen and dispersed them with hand grenades. During this time period the American forces were reorganized, and the reformed line held, although enemy forces still held the three pillboxes seized in the breakthrough of the platoon positions. Waiting until nightfall, Sgt. Thompson led squads against these positions." The enemy poured fire from the pillboxes and the squad was unable to advance. Going forward alone, Sgt. Thompson crawled 20 yards so that he could get close enough to fire a rifle grenade through the apertures. From a kneeling position he fired the grenades and the first two struck the wall and exploded outside. The fragments of one wounded Sgt. Thompson, but he remained there firing at the openings. Then he got one inside. There was an explosion and approximately two squads of Germans ran from the place. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he was awarded the Bronze Star for conspicuous gallantry, The Order of Glory 2nd Class (the second highest Russian medal), a Presidential Unit Citation with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Medal, the European theatre ribbon (with five battle stars and the Invasion arrow), and a Purple Heart.

Bio by: StratasFan

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Don Morfe
  • Added: 11 Sep 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7862859
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Max Thompson (21 Jul 1922–30 Nov 1996), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7862859, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Candler, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .