Pfc WILLIAM A. SODERMAN
Co K, 9th Inf, 2d ID
17 December 1944
Pfc Soderman was armed only with a bazooka as he defended a key road junction near Rocherath, during the German Ardennes counteroffensive.
Enemy artillery took his Loader/Asst gunner but Soderman heard enemy armor approaching so he played possum and waited in the dark until the 5 Mark V tanks were within pointblank range.
Soderman stood up and greeted the enemy with a direct hit on the lead tank, putting it out of comission and blocking the other tank’s route.
Soderman and his Bazooka remained at his post all night. The enemy knew where he was and set out to destroy him with severe artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire. He was singlehandedly blocking their advance.
Shortly after dawn 5 more enemy tanks attempted a different route… Soderman saw them and ran along a ditch to meet them.
He sprang out into the road in full view of the tank gunners, and again disabled the lead tank with a direct hit, blocking the way and thwarting the attack.
Pfc. Soderman, confronted by enemy Soldiers on his way back to his position –three met their god face to face at Soderman’s hand and the rest retreated with their wounded.
Numerically superior enemy forces made Company K’s position untenable and orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area.
Pfc Soderman heard more enemy tanks approaching. Knowing that the company was in the process of retreating and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack.
He ran from his safe position to meet the tanks head on – Again he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last round.
Soderman wat hit by a volley of Machine gun fore from one of the tank commander’s turret gun. The large caliber rondes tore into Soderman’s his right shoulder.
Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along a ditch to the American lines and was eventually evacuated.
The last paragraph of Soderman’s Medal of Honor Citation says it best:
“Through his unfaltering courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power of the last great German offensive”
PFC Soderman passed on October 20, 1980, Büllingen, Belgium