First Lieutenant Victor L. Kandle, USA (October 9, 1945)

Victor Leonard Kandle was born on June 13, 1921 in Roy, Washington. He grew up in Puyallup, Washington, graduating from high school there in 1939. He volunteered and enlisted in the United States Army on September 5, 1940, ostensibly for the Philippine Department. After basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, Kandle was eventually sent to Officer Candidates’ School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

I don’t know at which point Kandle joined them, but he went to war in the European theater as an officer with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment – part of the 3rd Infantry Division. He was with them for the Anzio campaign at least, and then landed with the division in southern France. Along the way, he was promoted to First Lieutenant.

On October 9, 1945 near the Cleurie Quarry in France, Kandle led an understrength platoon against multiple Nazi fortified positions. The Germans had dug in deep in the quarry and surrounding terrain and had to be cleared so the 3rd Infantry Division could continue its advance towards Germany.

The Cleurie Quarry (dogfacesoldiers.org)

First Lieutenant Kandle’s actions opened the way for his battalion, and the rest of the 15th Infantry Regiment.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (G-L):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*KANDLE, VICTOR L.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near La Forge, France, 9 October 1944. Entered service at: Redwood City, Calif. G.O. No.: 37, 11 May 1945

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 9 October 1944, at about noon, near La Forge, France, 1st Lt. Kandle, while leading a reconnaissance patrol into enemy territory, engaged in a duel at point blank range with a German field officer and killed him. Having already taken 5 enemy prisoners that morning, he led a skeleton platoon of 16 men, reinforced with a light machinegun squad, through fog and over precipitous mountain terrain to fall on the rear of a German quarry stronghold which had checked the advance of an infantry battalion for 2 days. Rushing forward, several yards ahead of his assault elements, 1st Lt. Kandle fought his way into the heart of the enemy strongpoint, and, by his boldness and audacity, forced the Germans to surrender. Harassed by machine gun fire from a position which he had bypassed in the dense fog, he moved to within 15 yards of the enemy, killed a German machine gunner with accurate rifle fire and led his men in the destruction of another machine gun crew and its rifle security elements. Finally, he led his small force against a fortified house held by 2 German officers and 30 enlisted men. After establishing a base of fire, he rushed forward alone through an open clearing in full view of the enemy, smashed through a barricaded door, and forced all 32 Germans to surrender. His intrepidity and bold leadership resulted in the capture or killing of 3 enemy officers and 54 enlisted men, the destruction of 3 enemy strong points, and the seizure of enemy positions which had halted a battalion attack.

Kandle continued in combat, and was awarded the Silver Star for an additional act of valor on December 29, 1944. He was killed in action two days later. Kandle was buried in a temporary cemetery near Colmar, France before he was re-interred in the Epinal American Cemetery, where he rests in peace today. His Medal of Honor was presented at the Presidio of San Francisco to his widow and young son in 1945.

3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry is presently a light infantry battalion with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

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