View Full Version : Alvin York? Fact of Fiction.

10-01-2010, 5:04 PM
Doing some minor research on Alvin York and his 1911 pistol shooting. Im wondering if some of you that might be a history buff can tell me if you believe he used his 1911 when his Enfield ran dry and shot from the back to the front. Or is the story of him shooting the advancing Germans, picking off the rear soldiers first so the lead man wouldnt be alerted to the fire coming at them? Myth or Fact.

In not questioning the the events of the day, just if it was really done like it has been told. Internet has conflicting stories.:confused:
Medal of Honor (http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2613/york-alvin-c.php)
After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machinegun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.

10-01-2010, 5:15 PM
Sorry...its bunk. A great propaganda story to get the boys all gun-ho to kill the enemy...thats all.

I heard it was a bolt action at 100 yards when his machine gun broke..that is at least sorta believable...but if you are trying to say he killed abunch of guys with a handgun while they were all charging him with rifles..and he did this by shooting the last man and working to the front man so they wouldn't realize they were being shot....come on man...think about it...

10-01-2010, 5:16 PM
Not a bad movie!http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034167/

Cyc Wid It
10-01-2010, 5:25 PM
There's a version of this story in Patrick Sweeney's new 1911 book. Something to the effect of picking off the last 6 men with a 1911. He shot the furthest one first (not terribly long distance) so they wouldn't stop and start shooting, as they were charging at him with bayonets.

10-01-2010, 5:26 PM
I want the rest of the story.:)

10-01-2010, 5:26 PM
Good information here:

Alvin York and his Medal of Honor (http://www2.york.k12.tn.us/JROTC%20Web/alvin_c_york)

From the official report made by officers of the Eighty-Second Division to General Headquarters:

The part which Corporal York individually played in this attack (the capture of the Decauville Railroad) is difficult to estimate. Practically unassisted, he captured 132 Germans (three of whom were officers), took about thirty-five machine guns, and killed no less than twenty-five of the enemy, later found by others on the scene of York's extraordinary exploit.

This story has been carefully checked in every possible detail from headquarters of this division and is entirely substantiated. Although York's statement tends to underestimate the desperate odds which he overcame, it has been decided to forward to higher authority the account given in his own name.

The success of this assault had a far reaching effect in relieving the enemy pressure against American forces in the heart of the Argonne Forest.

You decide...

10-01-2010, 5:30 PM
Not a bad movie!http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034167/

GOD DAM HOLLYWOOD :cuss::cuss::cuss: :26::26::26:

He's holding a GERMAN LUGER on the cover.

10-01-2010, 5:32 PM
About 4 years ago I visited Alvin Yorks house in Tennesse , Below is a Photgraph of a Painting that hangs in the York Home , The home is a currently a state park and at the time One of the Keepers was Alvins son Andrew Jackson York who I had the pleasure of talking with , Alvins son and I are in the second pic with the house in the background(I am the good lookin young guy!)
According to Andrew , Alvin York was on the set of the movie to make sure it was accurate , If you Google it you will get information that gives a slightly different story than the movie.
Anyway you want to look at it Alvin York was a Great American .



10-01-2010, 5:35 PM
in his own words

http://acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vignettes/The.Diary.of.Alvin.York.html#October 8th 1918

10-01-2010, 7:22 PM
:cuss: :26::26::26:

He's holding a GERMAN LUGER on the cover.

Thats his trophy Luger, DUH! :rolleyes: :p

10-01-2010, 8:10 PM
Part fact, part fiction.

York is far more interesting because of the fact that he was a Conscientious Objector.

10-01-2010, 8:14 PM
Samuel Woodfill Medal of Honor citation is another story that almost seems unbelieveable.

If I was the Germans and had to fight guys like these, I would have just shot myself. Its better than being hacked to death with a pick axe by Sam Woodfill.


10-01-2010, 8:35 PM
I teched off the sixth man first; then the fifth; then the fourth; then the third; and so on. That's the way we shoot wild turkeys at home. You see we don't want the front ones to know that we're getting the back ones, and then they keep on coming until we get them all. Of course, I hadn't time to think of that. I guess I jes naturally did it. I knowed, too, that if the front ones wavered, or if I stopped them the rear ones would drop down and pump a volley into me and get me.

10-01-2010, 10:46 PM
The 1911 was quite difficult to make realistic blanks that would operate the slide. So the movie substituted a Luger, since its fixed barrel would take a blank adapter very well. York protested this during filming, but there was no alternative.

10-01-2010, 11:24 PM
Gary Cooper is using a Bannerman Springfield in the rifle range scene. It has a M1898 Krag rear sight on it. The rifle switches between an actual 03 and the Bannerman rifle several times.

Milsurp Collector
10-02-2010, 1:03 AM
Im wondering if some of you that might be a history buff can tell me if you believe he used his 1911 when his Enfield Springfield ran dry and shot from the back to the front.

The March 2005 issue of American Rifleman had an article about Alvin York and stated that while he was issued a M1917 he acquired a M1903 in France and used it for his Medal of Honor action.

Upon arriving at Le Havre, the 82nd was issued .30-06 US Model of 1917 "Enfield" rifles. According to York's son Andrew, his father didn't didn't much cotton on to the M1917 as it had a peep sight with which York had difficulty leading a target. Somehow he finagled to swap his issue rifle out for a Model 1903 Springfield -- a gun he had found much more comfortable.

In 1941, a movie, "Sergeant York", starring Gary Cooper, was made about York's life. Alvin went to Hollywood to act as technical advisor, and according to Andrew, it is just about as close to fact as it is possible to make a movie. In the film, Cooper used a M1903 Springfield, but because period .45 blanks were just not reliable, a Luger was substituted for his 1911. Andrew is careful to point out, however, that his father did get a P.08 from the German officer he captured.

As far as his use of his 1911, this is what the same article states:

After going through several five-shot clips of ammunition, he began to run low. Suddenly a German officer and five men charged him with fixed bayonets. Having only a couple of rounds in his rifle, York drew his Colt Government Model 1911 .45, ticking them off back to front in the manner he hunted ducks back home in Tennessee. In this manner he finished off his assailants, ending up with the officer who was in the lead, and who was probably unaware that he was ultimately attacking the rangy corporal all by himself.

In April 2006 an expedition explored the area where York's famous action took place, and found .45 shell casings that were likely those that York fired.