Medal of Honor recipient tells WIS about battle

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This week we are looking at Medal of Honor recipients with South Carolina ties.

One World War II veteran held off hundreds of Germans single-handedly for more than six hours.

Then Army Lieutenant Charles P. Murray had only been company commander for eight days.

"It was the last area of France west of the Rhine river that was still in the hands of the Germans," Murray said.

Murray was leading his troops through the mountains when his lookout spotted something.

"He hollered back, Lt. Murray come down," Murray said.

Murray led the soldiers down the mountain.

"Then my radio went dead -- cold, wet probably. I had no spare batteries," he told WIS News 10.

With no way to call for heavy artillery from the rear and fearing the Germans would annihilate his company, the 23-year-old ordered his fellow soldiers to scatter and he hunkered down.

"I borrowed a rifle and some blank cartridges for the rifle," said Murray.

Because of the way the winding road weaved through the mountains, Murray was the only one who could see, so he was the only one shooting.

"I knelt down in the road and started firing those one at a time into the d-file where the Germans were located and they hit the target pretty good. Those weapons were gone and still nothing from the upside. Nothing was happening, so I borrowed an automatic rifle, a Browning automatic rifle. I fired that weapon for 35-45 minutes," Murray said.

Finally someone managed to get a mortar to Murray. They were ready to help, but there was a problem.

"He said I can't see anything. Politely, I hope, I said 'please young man, get out of the way," Murray recalls.

Using two borrowed rifles and a mortar, Lieutenant Charles Murray managed to keep nearly 200 German soldiers at bay, all by himself for more than six hours.

"One of my sergeants when I came back said he'd been given the job of collecting and counting the dead people and he counted 50. Single-handedly, with the help of good rifles and good mortars," says Murray.

When asked if he ever thinks now about just how remarkable that was, Murray replied, "I never think about it. I was a job that had to be done,"

Murray didn't think about doing it. Nor did he think about death.

"No. Never. It never entered my mind. What I was doing was just busy doing what I was doing and concerned about my troops," said Murray.