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Ohio Valley Military Society
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Theodore (Ted) J. Paluch
was born on December 4, 1 22 in Philadelphia, PA. Ted was the th of 10
children in his family of 5 boys and 3 girls. In 1928 Ted attended St.Ann’s School then Visitation Grammar
School until 8th grade, at which time he finished school at Philadelphia North Catholic High School. In
Ted and his best friend Joe Lanahan wanted to join the US Marine Corp. They went together to sign
up. Joe became a Marine and Ted was rejected because of flat feet. But in January,1943 he was drafted
into the US Army and was sent to Camp Gruber in Oklahoma for basic training and became an American
soldier. He then was transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a member of the 2 5th Field Artillery Observation
Battalion, Battery “B”. On August 11, 1944 his outfit was sent to Camp Shanks, New York. On August 19
they boarded the SS Mormac Moon for the Atlantic crossing. The ship landed at Cardiff, Wales on Sept. 1,
1 44.
The 2 5th stayed in four other towns before crossing the English Channel arriving on Omaha Beach,
Normandy, France on September 18. During the next month “B” Battery bivouacked in many towns and
villages across France, Luxembourg and Belgium. In mid-October they set up camp in Zeifail, Germany. In
the first week of December they moved to Schevenhutte Germany. On Sunday, December 17 they left this
location marching towards their fateful journey into history.
Upon arriving at the southern end of the town of Malmedy between 12:00 and 12:30 pm Lt. Lary and Capt.
Mills of HQ stopped to confer with the commanding officer of the 291st Combat Engineer Battalion, Lt. Col.
David Pergrin, the Lt. Col. advised the 285th officers to “head west toward Trois Pont and from there south
to St. Vith and onto Luxembourg” with reports of a large German column in the vicinity. Pergrin’s advice
was disregarded. The 285th FAOB convoy continued south on N 32 / N 23 past Pergrin’s roadblock to the
crossroads at Baugnez. The convoy turned right a mile down the road toward Ligneuville when the lead
tank in Peiper’s column fired a round at them. Lt. Lary’s jeep stopped when they got hit. Chaos ensued,
the 2 5th column halted, they were surrounded with no choice but to surrender. Cpl. Ted Paluch, T/4 Irwin
Sheetz and Pvt. R.L. Smith were in a weapon’s carrier about fifty yards south of the crossroads. They heard
a lot of firing and thought they were in an air raid so they got out of the truck. All of a sudden tracer bullets
started to hit around them. The truck provided limited cover so they got into a small ditch when they saw a
panzer muzzle coming straight at them, they saw it was useless to run and surrendered. In a few minutes
they were all gathered with their hands in the air. Then they were ordered to climb a fence and line up in a
field. Many were searched. The SS soldiers took cigarettes, gloves, watches, rings, etc. Other accounts of
how the POWs came to the field are similar. There were approximately 140 Americans in the field around
pm. The weather was extremely cold and gray with low overcast clouds. It was about 32˚ F and bits of
ice lay on the ground. Everyone had the same difficulties with aching arms from holding their hands over
their heads for so long. The men soon became suspicious of a SPW sitting on the road moving its cannon
towards the POWs at such close range. A German command car drove up and an SS officer in the car
stood up, aimed his pistol and shot twice, killing an American officer and a medic. After the initial two or
three shots, the POWs started to run. Most dropped to the ground and stayed while the machine guns con-
tinued for two or three minutes, wounding many. The critically wounded thrashed and moaned such things
as ‘mom’, ‘mother’ or ‘God-Oh-God’. When the firing stopped, the SS soldiers went into the field to kill the
men still alive. Paluch could hear the panzer and SPW’s continually moving. Many of the vehicles opened
up with machine gun fire on the Americans lying in the field. Paluch had a bullet graze his right hand. As it
started to get dark, Paluch heard voices and footsteps, he believed 3 German soldiers were shooting any-
one who showed any sign of life. They passed him by. Under the cover of darkness men waited in the field
to make their escape. Some of the wounded escaped with the help of their fellow soldiers. Cpl. Ted Paluch
escaped to the northwest, crossed a farm land, and ran across a farm field. He was shot at by a German,
who missed as Paluch dove through a hedgerow on the road to Hedomont and he feigned death again. The
German pursued him, then gave up leaving him for dead. Paluch made his way along railroad tracks and
soon ran into two of his buddies. They made it back to Malmedy by following the tracks.
When the war ended Cpl. Ted Paluch was an MP for a short time before leaving for the states. Ted arrived
on American soil on Christmas Day 1945 and was discharged at Indiantown Gap on New Year’s Day 1946.
He caught a train to Philadelphia and was welcomed home by his parents and family.
His first job at home was as a shipping clerk at Howard & Clearfield Company and Discmakers Company.
He retired as a traffic manager. He traveled back to Baugnez several times over the years and cut the rib-
bon for the opening of a new museum there.