Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 338th
Infantry, 85th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Firenzuola, Italy,
22 September 1944.
Entered service at: Streeter, N. Dak.
Birth: Big Falls,
G.O. No.: 9, 10 February 1945.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry
and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st
Lt. Bloch undertook the task of wiping out 5 enemy machinegun nests that
had held up the advance in that particular sector for 1 day. Gathering
3 volunteers from his platoon, the patrol snaked their way to a big rock,
behind which a group of 3 buildings and 5 machinegun nests were located.
Leaving the 3 men behind the rock, he attacked the first machinegun nest
alone charging into furious automatic fire, kicking over the machinegun,
and capturing the machinegun crew of 5. Pulling the pin from a grenade,
he held it ready in his hand and dashed into the face of withering automatic
fire toward this second enemy machinegun nest located at the corner of
an adjacent building 15 yards distant. When within 20 feet of the machinegun
he hurled the grenade, wounding the machinegunner, the other 2 members
of the crew fleeing into a door of the house. Calling one of his volunteer
group to accompany him, they advanced to the opposite end of the house,
there contacting a machinegun crew of 5 running toward this house. 1st
Lt Bloch and his men opened fire on the enemy crew, forcing them to abandon
this machinegun and ammunition and flee into the same house. Without a
moment's hesitation, 1st Lt. Bloch, unassisted, rushed through the door
into a hail of small-arms fire, firing his carbine from the hip, and captured
the 7 occupants, wounding 3 of them. 1st Lt. Bloch with his men then proceeded
to a third house where they discovered an abandoned enemy machinegun and
detected another enemy machinegun nest at the next corner of the building.
The crew of 6 spotted 1st Lt. Bloch the instant he saw them. Without a
moment's hesitation he dashed toward them. The enemy fired pistols wildly
in his direction and vanished through a door of the house, 1st Lt. Bloch
following them through the door, firing his carbine from the hip, wounding
2 of the enemy and capturing 6. Altogether 1st Lt. Bloch had single-handedly
captured 19 prisoners, wounding 6 of them and eliminating a total of 5
enemy machinegun nests. His gallant and heroic actions saved his company
many casualties and permitted them to continue the attack with new inspiration
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)