In November 1944, Knoll was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. His battalion had been tasked with capturing the town of Schmidt, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest. A heavy German counterattack overran his unit and forces survivors to withdraw to Kommerscheidt where they fought against additional enemy attacks. He was reported killed in action on Nov. 7., while fighting enemy forces at Kommerscheidt. His remains could not be recovered after the attack.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950 but were unable to recover or identify Knoll’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in November 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-2519 Neuville, recovered at Kommerscheidt in April 1946, possibly belonged to Knoll. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, in 1949, were disinterred in July 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.
To identify Knoll’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Knoll’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Plombières, Belgium, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Knoll will be buried on July 7, 2023 in Garden City, Kansas.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.