Apr 24 , 2023
On this Day: Pfc. John C. Squires slays Nazis with their own guns
On this day in 1944 Pfc. John C. Squires is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
"At the start of his company's attack on strongly held enemy positions in and around Spaccasassi Creek, Italy, on the night of 23-24 April 1944, Pfc. Squires, platoon messenger, participating in his first offensive action, braved intense artillery, mortar, and antitank gun fire in order to investigate the effect of an antitank mine explosion.
Acting without orders, he rounded up stragglers, organized a group of lost men into a squad, and led them forward. When the platoon reached Spaccasassi Creek and established an outpost, Pfc. Squires, knowing that almost all of the noncommissioned officers were casualties, placed eight men in position of his own volition, disregarding enemy machine-gun, machine-pistol, and grenade fire which covered the creek draw. When his platoon had been reduced to 14 men, he brought up reinforcements twice. On each trip he went through barbed wire and across an enemy minefield, under intense artillery and mortar fire.
Three times in the early morning the outpost was counterattacked. Each time Pfc. Squires ignored withering enemy automatic fire and grenades which struck all around him, and fired hundreds of rounds of rifle, Browning automatic rifle, and captured German Spandau machine-gun ammunition at the enemy, inflicting numerous casualties and materially aiding in repulsing the attacks.
Following these fights, he moved 50 yards to the south end of the outpost and engaged 21 German soldiers in individual machine-gun duels at point-blank range, forcing all 21 enemy to surrender and capturing 13 more Spandau guns. Learning the function of this weapon by questioning a German officer prisoner, he placed the captured guns in position and instructed other members of his platoon in their operation.
The next night when the Germans attacked the outpost again he killed three and wounded more Germans with captured potato-masher grenades and fire from his Spandau gun. Pfc.
Squires was killed in a subsequent action.
Today we honor his memory.
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