War 1, Argonne Forest in France: The inspiration for this attack was a Corporal
Alvin C. York, and for it he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
seems to be a story of undoubted bravery, but coupled with complete confusion
on the battlefield with the German commanders mistakenly thinking they were up
against a much bigger force.
small US unit, under the command of a Sergeant Bernard Early, found themselves
behind enemy lines. Following a brief firefight the Germans surrendered, thinking
they were up against a much bigger unit. However, German machine-gun operators
on the top of a hill noticed the size of the American unit and shouted to their
officers to continue to fight, they shot a number of American troops, including
the commanding officer.
an expert marksman, returned fire, picking off the men as he ran for the machine
gun nest, along with the surviving 7 American troops. York shot 6 of the Germans
sent to apprehend him. In total 25 Germans were killed. About 90 Germans were
apprehended at the scene.
returning to Allied lines they came across 40 or so other German troops who also
had almost never happened: York had become a highly religious man, an active member
of the fundamentalist Church of Christ in Christian Union.
had initially contested the draft as a conscientious objector because his Church
opposed the war. However it was deemed that his Church was not recognized. He
was enlisted in the 82nd Infantry Division - he agreed to fight after being convinced
of America's cause.
was immediately promoted to sergeant and was highly regarded by Allied leaders.
He was given a heroes welcome on his return to the USA.
1941 a movie called Sergeant York, based on York's life, starring Gary Cooper,
died in 1964.