100 Years ago today, Sergeant York stormed German machine gun nests, killing 25 Germans and capturing 132

Today is the 100th Anniversary of Sergeant York’s famous assault upon German machine gun nests, with him killing 25 Germans and capturing 132 more.


He was the literal definition of a bad ass.

York and his trusty 1911 did a lot of damage that day. I’m sure the German infantry opposing him thought they were getting attacked by an entire platoon.

he was Bad ass…

One of the most heroic acts ever performed and a great movie.

Actually like most true heroes he was an average or below average soldier who found it within himself to take action when others couldn’t or wouldn’t with no regard whatsoever for his own life or safety. He just saw that something had to be done and did it.

If you’re ever lucky enough to see such a hero in action you’ll understand.

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That scene is actually fairly accurate in a lot of ways but still doesn’t show much of the true brutality of the war.

It was probably the most brutal war in history because it combined twentieth century repeating and automatic weapons, very accurate and devastating artillery with basically the same tactics of the last two centuries of essentially marching your men straight into the enemy’s guns hoping they’d run out of ammo or melt down their guns before your forces were totally wiped out.

Horrible way to fight a war.

4 or 5 moments…

You might want to check again. Mos of his work was done with ann -A3 and the rest with Lugers that he captured as he advanced.

Imagine what he would have done with a Thompson… . Hell he’d have easily taken the Battalion and probably the Division if he could have carried enough ammo.

Sergeant York was constrained by the Hays Code. That greatly limited what could be put on screen.

All Quiet on the Western Front, which was produced and released prior to the code in 1930, was much more graphic.

Yep. In the spirit of the thread, you’ll probably enjoy this.

I thought he entered the trench with his 1911 drawn. I knew he charged forwarded with the 03 but ran out of stripper clips before he reached the trench line.

I forgot about the captured Lugers.

Can’t imagine how the German prisoners felt afterwards after losing their position to one country boy. Talk about demoralizing.

No, if the stories are accurate he was actually firing his 03-A3 throughout. Enlisted infantry were not issued 1911’s except those manning crew served weapons.

I think grabbing the lugers was just a reaction and they were pretty handy even if ugly as hell.

In that war though he probably would have been more likely to be taking broom handled mausers off of the officers since they were still quite popular among the German Officer core. Some of them were even fully automatic and came with up to 30 round magazines. They were preferred by the officers that could afford them and most of the German Officers were drawn from the ranks of the ruling class at the time right up through WWII.

Definitely. It was industrial scale slaughter for four long miserable years.

I’d place World War I as the most important conflict of the last 200 years. Four empires (German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman) that controlled nearly a quarter of the world’s population ceased to exist over night. Dozens of new nations plus a few old ones were created at its end.

The idea of war being a glorious right of passage was turned upon its head as an entire generation of young European men were either slaughtered wholesale or so emotionally traumatized by the experience that they were unrecognizable afterwards.

Reading the letters written by those guys is truly humbling. I read one (it was an exerpt from a book chronicling the war) from a German officer fighting at the Somme. The British artillery fire stopped and the infantry began to move in. He ordered his men to open fire at the British soldiers as they closed within 200 yards. The slaugher in his words was like something out of the worst descriptions of the book of revelations. In the aftermath he ordered his men to stop firing and allow the remaining British walking wounded to withdraw back to their own lines unmolested. He stated that he gained the utmost respect for the British after that harrowing event, stating that despite coming under withering machine gun fire the unit never broke rank and never ceased their advance until they were essentially wiped out.

The French Republic, who sacrificed the most out of everyone involved, was never the same afterwards. They might as well have collapsed along with the empires and the French performance in World War II can be traced back to the societal destruction 1914-1918 forced upon France. Probably my favorite studies of the war deal with its consequences in France. After the war France was seen as the great victor. But in reality, France was in both physical and emotional shambles, a shell of its former optimism.

WWII was brutal but for different reasons. Had the major powers not learned the lessons from WWI the number of military casualties in WWII would have probably more than tripled easily.

The Russians learned just how effective mass artillery attacks could be particulary against advancing forces and fixed fortifications.

They all learned that marching soldiers in lines up against machine guns and artillery was suicide.

Fortunately the Chinese didn’t figure that out until the post Korean War era or we’d not even be talking about North and South Korea as different countries.

The trend since that era, particularly by the western allies has been much smaller engagements with much more precision weaponry keeping casualties and infrastructure destruction to a minimum. We’ve learned just how costly both are particularly once the war is over and it’s time to enforce the peace and rebuild what’s been destroyed.

France as a nation pretty well lost it’s stomach for war permanently over WWI and the losses they suffered. They’ve basically become the “also ran” power of the west since.

One could argue that modern warfare was born in 1918. First during Operation Michael where the Germans used specialized “Sturmtruppen” armed with rapid fire weapons and bypassed entrenched British positions to move deeply into the supply areas in the rear. Had they been able to better support their advance units they could have separated the British and French units and forced a settlement. But the idea of specially trained troops intentionally bypassing points of resistance to hit CAC in the rear was revolutionary in the modern sense. They advanced farther in one week than either side had advanced since the summer of 1914.

Second, the Allied 100 days offensive. It was basically a World War II strategic blitzkrieg before the term had even been invented. Close coordination of armor, air power, and infantry blew holes in the German lines and advanced into their strategic rear while simultaneously keeping the German army from bringing up its operational reserves.

Lessons were definitely learned over the course of the war. And the young officers, British/Canadian, French, German, and Americans who participated would take those lessons and fight World War II. Men like Patton, Rommel, and Von Manstein saw just how effective closely coordinated air and armored troops could be against an imposing entrenched enemy.

Not really, the same tactics go back thousands of years. The only difference was the introduction of modern weapons and transportation.

Unfortunately it took far too many years to go back to those same tried and true Cavalry tactics and millions suffered and died as a result.

Keep in mind, Patton thought he was a warrior who had been reincarnated throughout history and one of his prior lives he believed to have been that of Alexander and he employed the same tactics quite often.

Alvin was a skilled hunter, a great marksman, a man of faith.

A truly great American.

Indeed. 10 more.

Yes, World War I resulted in huge changes. In addition to ending several empires, it was the beginning of the end of European dominance around the world.

What is often forgotten are the huge losses outside the Western front. Italy and Austria fought a bitter war in the Alps. In eastern Europe, the Russian, German and Austrian losses were horrendous. The Russian Civil War, Soviet-Polish War, and wars of independence for Finland the Baltic states continued long after the end of the war in the West.

This poignant poem used as lyrics in this song was popular in World War I in Canada and the British Empire, but I have never heard it in the US. I found it just recently:

This is a little off the subject but worth noting.
Hitler had a monopoly on nerve gas during WWII and the Allies didn’t know it. His high command begged him to use it to throw back the invading forces at Normandy, but he refused.
I had always assumed it was because Hitler had been gassed in WWI and he despised it’s use.
Not quite.
Hitler knew if he used gas the Allies would use it- not nerve gas because they didn’t have it, but mustard and chlorine gas.
Troops could be protected with masks. Horses couldn’t and the German Army ran on horses.