Audie L. Murphy had come a long way since he had landed in Sicily in 1943 as a Corporal and the runner for B Company, 15th Infantry Regiment. A string of promotions and medals had been accompanied by a number of wounds and incapacitation with Malaria. In October 1944 he had been awarded two Silver Stars and a battlefield commission – but had also been shot in the leg and during subsequent hospital treatment had had muscle removed after gangrene set in. Many men would have taken a long time to recover from such a wound but in January 1945 Murphy rejoined his regiment and soon was back in the thick of the action.
On January 23, the 30th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division had reached the outskirts of the village of Holtzwihr, the wooded area known as the Bois de Riedwihr. They suddenly encountered 10 tanks and accompanying infantry and sustained heavy casualties before they were forced to withdraw.
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