SGT JOHN J. McVElGH
Co H, 23rd Infantry, 2nd ID
Near Brest, France
29 August 1944
The counterattack came just after dusk on the 29th, G Co wasn’t dug in yet and were taking the worst of it.
The Germans had two heavy FLAK cannons pummeling the exposed Americans while a platoon strength force attacked defensive positions When part of the American line faltered it left the Crew served weapons without infantry protection
Enemy forces moved so swiftly that German riflemen were on top of the American machinegun positions.
Sgt. McVeigh, ignored the hail of lead and steel as he stood up in full view of the enemy and directed American fire on the attacking Germans.
When his position was overrun, McVeigh drew his trench knife and single-handedly charged the advancing enemy, engaging them in brutal hand to hand combat.
Sgt. McVeigh killed at least one German with the knife, and was advancing on 3 more of the enemy when he was killed by another enemy infantryman at pointblank range.
Sgt. McVeigh’s heroic act allowed the rest of his squad to concentrate their machinegun fire on greatest threat.
After the battle, it was determined that Sgt. McVeigh’s squad was almost entirely responsible for repelling the enemy assault allowing the rest of his Battalion to reorganize, assume positions on and hold the high ground gained during the day.