York Town Square

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World War II combat hero from York County: ‘Avenged the death of his platoon leader’

Pvt. Paul E. Ruppert of the Dover (Pa.) area was busy during World War II, earning a lengthy stay in a German prisoner of war camp and a bronze star. Also of interest: The Tuleyas of York and Millersville, Pa.: A love story, not baseballs and hand grenades and Nazis murdered downed WWII airman from York, Part V and Bataan survivor from Red Lion persevered as POW.

A letter writer, N. Hollerbush York, read my recent York Sunday News column about the heroics of the late Robert N. Senft.
This evoked the nomination of another hero, a former Hollerbush neighbor in Conewago Township, Paul E. Ruppert.
Like Bob Senft, Ruppert was a longtime Conewago Township resident and former York Corporation, now Johnson Controls, employee. Senft and Ruppert were among 1,200 Yorkco employees who served in World War II. Twenty-five died in uniform.
“After reading the enclosed newspaper clippings,” Hollerbush wrote, “I think you’ll agree the title of hero fits him perfectly.”
The news stories, indeed, point to valor… .

This May 4, 1945, York newspaper clipping tells Paul Ruppert’s story.
One undated story tells about Pvt. Paul E. Ruppert, who was liberated from Altengrabon camp in Germany by the 83rd Infantry Division. Ruppert had entered the Army five days before Pearl Harbor and served in Sicily early in the war.
That story also tells about the freeing of Charles C. Knisely of York from Altengrabon.
Another clip indicates Ruppert saw extensive combat action:
S/Sgt. Paul E. Ruppert was soldiering in Belgium in January 1945, taking over a platoon after sniper fire took out its leader.
“He ordered his squad to lay down a base of fire, advanced on the building under heavy small arms and machine gun fire from the enemy, took the prisoners and their weapons and with the rest of his platoon, proceeded to clean out the entire town (Lamermanil),” the clipping states.
He did all this in a blinding snowstorm with enemy artillery shells falling in his sector at a rate of three a minutes. Ruppert was forced to take cover twice in small buildings in his advance on the sniper nest.
He and another squad member cleaned out the nest and took 14 German enlisted men and two officers prisoner.
“Ruppert avenged the death of his platoon leader, and removed an enemy stronghold which was holding up the advance of the entire platoon. His bravery and utter disregard for his own personal safety were in accordance with the highest military traditions,” a recommendation for the Bronze Star stated.
He indeed received the coveted star, according to a May 4, 1945, newspaper article, published four days before V-E Day , marking the Allied victory in Europe.
– All York Town Square posts from the start.
– All World War II blog posts from the start.