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Question about Sgt. York's actions

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Fatelvis, Nov 26, 2010.

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  1. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    On Guns and Ammo TV, they covered the remarkable heroism of Sgt. York's actions. They mentioned that he engaged 7 Germans with 7 rounds of his 1911, putting them all down. The part that intrigues me, is that he supposedly started with the furthest enemy soldier, and continued shooting them until he shot the closest. What would the reasoning be behind that? I assumed that engaging the closest enemy first would make most sense, thinking he was the greatest threat at the time. Am I wrong in this thinking? Thanks-
     
  2. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    I'm thinking he knew his limitations, and knew he had to make those seven rounds count. He probably figured the closer they were, the easier they would be to hit, so it would be better to start with the furthest because as soon as the shooting starts, its going to be much harder to hit those further targets.
     
  3. Erik

    Erik Member

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    IIRC the logic was that by beginning at the back those in front wouldn't realize that they were under attack. Remember, the context is in battle on an active field of fire. True, as in what happened and why he did it? I don't know.
     
  4. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    I agree, but wouldn't YOU be easier to hit also?
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    In Alvin York's own words so people can quit guessing -
    Yep, it was Tennessee turkey hunting habit that took over.;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  6. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    Guns and ammo and another show insist that he dispatched 7 of them with his 1911, and the rest with his rifle, (either '03 or 1917). I'm just repeating what I've heard on TV. If it's on TV it HAS to be correct, doesn't it?
     
  7. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    According to the legend, his logic was that if he shot the man in front, the rest would scatter, or use their guns instead of advancing with bayonets (ammo use was very sparingly by the disciplined Germans, as they apparently saved the limited ammo for more emergent uses, thinking that they could "take" the singlehanded York without shooting). If he shot the last of the charge and moved forward to the next rearmost man, the others would not know that he was effectvely reducing their number, and hold off shooting him. If that was the theory, he was one cool dude, or figured he had nothing to lose to give it a try. Also, with a 1911, one wonders how far away the Germans were when they started to advance...30......40 yards? Whatever, York didn't miss his targets. In the movie, he referenced making this decision based on how he hunted turkeys and they reacted, but that could have been Holywood bunk. Needless to say, York was a fine shot, a cool head, a clever strategist (for a not-so-educated, pacifistic, enlisted man), and had luck with him that day, too. All it would have taken is just one of those Germans firing one good shot, maybe even from unseen cover, 50-100 yards away. York would have never seen it coming, with all the other stuff that he had to worry about.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That makes the most sense.

    I would think if seven solders saw the leader fall down squrting blood they might take cover and start trying to kill the guy that shot the first guy.

    rc
     
  9. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    That would be an understatement! Almost like a Quarterback ignoring an advancing defensive line, but with much higher stakes!
     
  10. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    He did use a 1911. The 1941 movie showed him using a captured Luger but this was a mistake in the film. The Germans were making a bayonet charge and he shot them back to front so that they wouldn't realize he was dropping them and start shooting.

    He did use a 1917 Enfield rifle. Again the movie had it wrong when he was depicted using a 1903 Springfield.
     
  11. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    Years ago,I read where a Luger was used in the movie because a 1911 would not cycle with blanks.
     
  12. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Well, I am sure many WW2 movies have used 1911s with blanks and they worked fine ....
     
  13. Acera

    Acera Member

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    25 yards, 6 charging men, wow. If true that was an amazing piece of pistol-craft. 25 yards can be covered pretty quickly.
     
  14. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    So am I but remember the movie being referrenced was made BEFORE we entered WWII. I'm sure technology caught up with the film industry at some point.
     
  15. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    That would depend on how badly one wanted to cross it.
     
  16. NRA-Highmaster

    NRA-Highmaster Member

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    I always heard that he used a 1917, but a few years back in the American Rifleman his son claimed he was sure it was an 03.
     
  17. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    The movie used a Luger because the blanks used at the time would not cycle a 1911. Sgt York states he used a 1903, but the records show he was issued a 1917. So who is correct, the man who did the shooting or the records? He liked the 1903, he thought it was the cat's meow, he could have acquired one, they were in use at the time. However, York is dead and so is every one who was there. We will never know for sure ,but I like to think the man who was doing the shooting would know what type of rifle he was using. He went to his grave stating he used a 1903.
     
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    If Sgt York said he used a 1903, then that's the last word. Rest In Peace, sir.
     
  19. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    I have nothing to add other than I have the privilege of working with his great grandson, LTC York who works here at Brooke Army Medical Center. Nicest and smartest man I've known in a long time. That is saying a lot for a doctor which by nature are naturally a pain in the you know what. Guess I'm bragging.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  20. 84B20

    84B20 Member

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    Shooting the farthest first and the closest last seems to make sense in a combat situation but from my understanding in a street or home scenario, shooting the nearest first is the way to do it. The BG or guys probably don't have a combat mindset and the closest can probably get to you sooner especially if he is within the 21 foot range.
     
  21. Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket member

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    watch the gary cooper movie, hollywood is always accurate when it comes to guns....:eek:
     
  22. AR27

    AR27 Member

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    I met Sgt. Yorks great newphew Steve York this summer at a fishing lodge.
     
  23. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    45s do not work well with theatrical blanks unless the bore is welded up. In movies they often use 9mm 1911s and call them 45s. In fact, if you look closely the Star 9mm is frequently the Hollywood gun of choice when the script calls for a 1911.

    I never saw the statement from York saying he used an 03. The authors I have read always related it was a 1917.
     
  24. Roadkill

    Roadkill Member

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    The rifle in the Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning is a 1917
     
  25. NRA-Highmaster

    NRA-Highmaster Member

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    Uh oh. Anybody care to do a seance ? :D
     
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