Thursday, July 2, 2009

Part 4: Real Soldiers that make Rambo look like a wuss~

Alvin York

Who Was He?

Born to a family of redneck farmers from Tennessee, Alvin York spent much of his youth getting piss drunk in bars and getting into crazy barfights. When his friend got killed in one of the aforementioned barfights, he swore off the liquor, and became a pacifist. When he received his draft notice in 1917, York filed as a "conscientious objector" but was denied. They shipped his ass out to basic training.

About a year later, he was one of 17 men designated to sneak around and take out a fortified machine-gun encampment guarding a German railroad. As they were approaching, the gunners spotted them and opened fire, tearing nine of the men to pieces.


The few survivors that didn't have enormous balls of steel ran away, leaving York standing there taking fire from 32 heavy machine gunners. As he said in his diary, "I didn't have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush, I didn't even have time to kneel or lie down. I had no time no how to do nothing but watch them-there German machine gunners and give them the best I had. Every time I seed a German I just touched him off. At first I was shooting from a prone position; that is lying down; just like we often shoot at the targets in the shooting matches in the mountains of Tennessee; and it was just about the same distance. But the targets here were bigger. I just couldn't miss a German's head or body at that distance. And I didn't."

After he killed the first 20 men or so, a German lieutenant got five guys together to try to take this guy from the side. York pulled out his Colt .45 (which only had eight bullets) and killed all of them with it, a practice he likened to "shoot[ing] wild turkeys back home."

At this point lieutenant Paul Jurgen Vollmer yelled out over the noise asking if York was English. See, in WWI, no one really took the Americans very seriously, and everyone thought of them as the rookies. Vollmer figured this crazy/awesome/ballsy soldier must be some kind of English superman who was showing these sissy Americans how it was done. When York said he was American, Vollmer replied "Good Lord! If you won't shoot any more I will make them give up."


Ten minutes later, 133 men came walking towards the remains of York's battalion. Lieutenant Woods, York's superior at first thought it was a German counter-attack until he saw York, who saluted and said "Corporal York reports with prisoners, sir." When the stunned officer asked how many, York replied "Honest, Lieutenant, I don't know."


The Best Hollywood Could Come Up With:
John Rambo from Rambo


Why it doesn't Compare:

Sure, Rambo takes on a huge chunk of the Vietnamese soldiers guarding a POW camp and slaughters them all. But that was a good 10 years after the war ended. It's not like they were expecting some guy to come charging into the camp, mowing everybody down.

York pulled his badassery off in the middle of a war, while outnumbered every bit as badly as Rambo was. And York's the one who was a pacifist.

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