During the 72nd Anniversary Ceremony held May 8, 2017 the people of the Alsatian towns of Sigolsheim and Kaysersberg unveiled a plaque of honor in memory of 4 American soldiers who distinguished themselves during the hard and bloody battle of Sigolsheim and Hill 351 better known among veterans of the 3rd, 36th and 63rd Infantry Divisions as “Bloody Hill”.
CAPTAIN MARTIN JOSEPH HIGGINS
Able Company, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th US Infantry Division
Silver Star and French Croix de Guerre Vermeille for his heroic fighting in the ruins of Sigolsheim on December 10 to December 12, 1944.
Late in the day on 10 December 1944, 1st Lt. Martin J. Higgins Jr. and 77 men, the remnants of Company A were captured were captured in the Alsatian town of Sigolsheim after a desperate two-day engagement with an enemy force at regiment strength supported by Panzer IV. The German force was comprised of Companies 2, 4, and 7; 326th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Division together with one company of the 1213th Grenadier Regiment, 189th Infantry Division. Promised American support (on both of his flanks) failed to materialize. Company B was torn to pieces by "friendly fire" from tanks and tank destroyers, and Company C never left the line of departure. (Text provided by Michael Higgins, son of Lt. Martin J. Higgins Jr.)
LIEUTENANT COLONOL KEITH LINCOLN WARE
1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd US Infantry Division
Medal of Honor for his Exceptional Bravery for the victorious fight on Hill 351 near Sigolsheim on December 26, 1944.
On December 26, 1944, Ware's battalion was attacking a heavily fortified German hilltop position. Finding one of his assault companies stalled and digging in under heavy fire, Ware went forward and made a close reconnaissance of the German positions, deliberately drawing their fire in order to determine their location. After two hours, he returned to the company and organized a small force of eleven men including two officers and a tank in order to renew the attack. Leading the advance, he personally assaulted four enemy machine guns, enabling the tank and the rest of his detachment to destroy the German position. Ware was wounded, and five soldiers of his group were killed before the hill was secured. In April 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. (source: wikipedia)
LIEUTENANT WHITELEY ELI LAMAR
L Company, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd US Infantry Division
Medal of Honor for courageously leading his platoon in savage house to house fighting in Sigolsheim on December 26, 1944.
While leading his platoon on December 27, 1944, in savage house-to-house fighting through the fortress town of Sigolsheim, France, he attacked a building through a street swept by withering mortar and automatic weapons fire. He was hit and severely wounded in the arm and shoulder; but he charged into the house alone and killed its 2 defenders. Hurling smoke and fragmentation grenades before him, he reached the next house and stormed inside, killing 2 and capturing 11 of the enemy. He continued leading his platoon in the extremely dangerous task of clearing hostile troops from strong points along the street until he reached a building held by fanatical Nazi troops. Although suffering from wounds which had rendered his left arm useless, he advanced on this strongly defended house, and after blasting out a wall with bazooka fire, charged through a hail of bullets. Wedging his submachine gun under his uninjured arm, he rushed into the house through the hole torn by his rockets, killed 5 of the enemy and forced the remaining 12 to surrender. As he emerged to continue his fearless attack, he was again hit and critically wounded. In agony and with 1 eye pierced by a shell fragment, he shouted for his men to follow him to the next house. He was determined to stay in the fighting, and remained at the head of his platoon until forcibly evacuated. By his disregard for personal safety, his aggressiveness while suffering from severe wounds, his determined leadership and superb courage, 1st Lt. Whiteley killed 9 Germans, captured 23 more and spearheaded an attack which cracked the core of enemy resistance in a vital area. (source: wikipedia)