By Walt Larimore and Mike Yorkey During World War II, the U.S. Army determined that the typical frontline infantryman couldn’t take much more than 200 to 240 days of combat before mentally falling apart. By April 1945, 1st Lt. Philip B. Larimore, Jr., of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 30th Infantry Regiment, had already trudged through 416 days of frontline combat, and he wondered if he was fighting on borrowed time. After landing in Naples, Italy, in late February 1944, Phil had led his Ammunition & Pioneer Platoon through the Anzio “Bitch-Head,” marched into a liberated Rome, and participated in Operation Dragoon, the amphibious assault on southern France that began on August 15, 1944. In the fall of 1944, Phil took a sniper bullet to the right hip in a ferocious battle with the German Wehrmacht outside St. Diè in northeastern France—his second major wound in the war. He was lucky to be alive. He recovered in an officer’s ward next to Audie Murphy, another 3rd Division dogface and the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II. Murphy was to receive every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, while Phil would be awarded most of them. Phil returned to active duty on Christmas Eve 1944 and participated in intense firefights on the frozen Colmar plains, almost being overrun by elite German troops in the near-disaster of the Battle for the Maison Rouge Bridge. He was promoted, becoming one of the youngest company commanders


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