As awful as war is, it has a way of bonding people. Once you've dragged a bleeding dude to safety or slowly walked away from an explosion together, well, nobody can take that away from you. We'd imagine that goes double for these guys, who found themselves having to pretty much fight the goddamned battle themselves.
5Two Guys Storm a Stronghold Full of Nazis
During the Battle of the Bulge, Company I of the 120th Infantry was moving through Petit-Coo, Belgium, on December 23, 1944, when they were suddenly pinned down by fire from a house bristling with Nazi guns. It was a bad situation that became balls-out terrible when they started getting pounded by mortar and tank fire as well.
Enter Staff Sgt. Paul L. Bolden and Tech. Sgt. Russell N. Snoad. Presumably worried that the cost of an airstrike on the house would come directly out of their own paychecks, Bolden and Snoad volunteered to take care of the pesky Nazi problem themselves. Their superiors apparently decided "Screw it, whatever" before giving them the green light, and the two men began crawling the length of two football fields through the hellstorm of enemy fire. It was two men against what would turn out to be 35 heavily armed Nazis.
The two men carried on, motivated by bravery, duty, and not wanting to look like pussies in front of their buddies.
When they reached the house, they took positions to prepare for their grossly ill-conceived assault. Bolden, after presumably losing a round of Rock Paper Scissors, set himself up directly underneath a window near the door of the house, while Snoad went across the street so he could provide covering fire. Bolden threw a frag grenade through the window, followed by a white phosphorus grenade. While the three dozen Nazis were trying to recover from the blasts, Bolden rushed to the door, threw it open, shouted the 1940s version of "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!" and opened fire with his Tommy gun while Snoad covered him.
The duo was able to take out 20 of the 35 Nazis before the enemy was able to return a burst of fire, killing Snoad and severely wounding Bolden in the shoulder, chest, and stomach. He withdrew to a cover position and waited for the 15 surviving Nazi soldiers to come out and surrender. That last sentence was not a typo. And that's not us embellishing, either. All reports say that Bolden waited to see if the enemy would surrender. While outnumbered. While grievously wounded. While his one and only ally lay dead.
"By my calculations, if I attack again, y'all will owe me five more Nazis."
The Nazis didn't, and we can totally understand why. After all, even after having nearly two-thirds of their force wiped out in an instant by these two Americans, they did end up killing one and seriously jacking up the other, and the odds were still a cozy 15-1. Bolden presumably then glanced at his watch, shrugged his shoulders, and raised his Tommy gun as he calmly walked back into the house to finish the job.
By the time Bolden ran out of ammo, all 15 of the Nazi soldiers were dead, and the way was paved for his unit to continue on and eventually succeed in its mission.
Huntsville History Collection
Paul L. Bolden, balls pictured separately in a much larger portrait.