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York, Alvin Cullum

Given Name:
Alvin Cullum
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Original Name:
Alvin Cullum York
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Datum, místo narození:
Date and Place of Birth:
13.12.1887 Pall Mall, Tennessee
Datum, místo úmrtí:
Date and Place of Decease:
02.09.1964 Nashville, Tennessee
Nejvýznamnější funkce:
(maximálně tři)
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(up to three)
velitel, 7. pluk, Tennessee State Guard
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nositel Medaile cti
nejvyznamenávanější voják USA v 1. sv. válce
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Young years

Alvin Cullum York was born on 13. 12. 1887 on the poor farm in the state of Tennessee near the town of Pall Mall, which lies at the foot of the expansive mountainous region. Alvin was the third of a total of 11 children, who together begat his father, William York (, the local blacksmith, the forge should in the near the cave) and mother Mary Elizabeth York, which was, to put it in today's language, "in the home" (in the 11 children of course or otherwise not). Mother was strongly religious, and it should in the future have on Alvin strong influence. The whole family lived in the cottage with a single room, so for an easy life really was.

Little Alvin has begun to go to school, but she worked only 2-3 months of the year and in the class was sitting on 100 children! Alvin finished only the third grade, learned to read, write and count, and that in the opinion of the neighborhood at a normal life is quite enough. It is interesting that Alvin, despite of the poor education he wrote practically the whole life diary, thanks to which we preserved a lot of interesting information.

Little Alvin since he had to help father in the smithy, however, learned one more thing, and that is to hunt. Alvin says that his father was an excellent marksman, which often won the local shooting competition and advise him exactly how to shoot. Apparently he was a good teacher, and of the son could be truly happy.

Alvin "take after my dad" and became an avid hunter (he could hunt and the bear) and also soon demonstrated that he has extraordinary shooting talent. While it is interesting that almost all my life hunted with a single percussive death by a rifle, today usually known as the kentucky or pennsylvania rifle. Although today we have the turn of the 19. and 20. century mainly associated with henry rifles Winchester, York, in his diary states that percussion rifles were still at the beginning of the 20. century in his county completely normal: "For us in the mountains to manufacture their own weapons. It's been a long předovky, cap and ball (capsule-sphere, the English term for a percussive weapon, ed.). Were the most accurate weapons in the world to some 100 or 150 yards... In our factories at home we shot at a turkey on his head. We tied the turkey behind a log, and as soon as he stuck his head, we tried to hit him with our old předovkami. We paid 10 cents for a hit and who hit it, took you a whole turkey. In this way I learned to shoot about 60 yards.“

York already does not deliver, that he usually won and took the trophy home. While it was a truly fantastic shooting performance, hitting a moving target the size of about a ping-pong ball on some 55 meters! Likewise, York was winning in other shooting events, which in the countryside was a common pastime.

York also I like a boy taught to treat with a revolver. He writes: "I Read about Frank and Jesse James. I thought if Frank and Jesse could be good shooters, I could be also. I rode at a gallop on horseback around the tree with a revolver and hit that tree pretty swiftly. And I was also acceptably accurate.“

How Alvin was growing up, began to with him problems. The work really looked, it rather went to drink and play cards. He was a big guy – according to enlistment records measured 183 cm and weigh 85 kg, which was at that a period of above average stature. Maybe that's why also he indulged in fist fights and proudly writes: "I've Never been bit, except from the father or from the mother." Just the mother but in the end this the way his life ended.

"And one night, after I've been drinking and fighting," writes York, "I returned after midnight and found my mother sitting and waiting for me, and I asked her: "Why aren't you sleeping?" And she said: "I can't sleep. I don't know what will happen to you when you're out and you drink, and so I'm waiting for you to come." And then she asked me: "Alvin, when did you become a man like your father, and your grandpas?"

Here we allow ourselves a small digression, because Alvin's ancestors were also very interesting men. His great-great-grandfather Coonrod Pile, was the first white man in this county settled. Grandfather York originally lived in a cave in the mountains, but also apparently (Alvin wasn't sure) he built a log cabin, in which Yorkovic family lived. 1847 participated in the mexican war and the conquest of the fortress of Chapultepec. After returning, however, fell ill and died. My grandfather on my mother's side, William Brooks again came from Detroit and in the civil war he fought on the side of the Union in the ranks of the michigan cavalry. After the war it fate took me to Pall Mall, where, however, eventually ended badly. In a quarrel he had shot his foreman, lumberjacks, and even though no one knew exactly what really happened, was to him the hill people carried out cruel punishment – tied to a mule, and dragged through the streets of the district town of Jamestown, where he also eventually "shot to pieces", as he writes York in his diary.

Alvin with his mother's rebuke deeply touched. By your words I never touch whiskey, tobacco, or cards. Found a job – he worked on the construction of the road, which today is named Yorkova – and the mother it also brought on a journey of faith. He began to regularly go to church, sang in the church choir and became even "the second elder" in the local church organization.

Chastened York city also started to look after the bride, ended up in the miss Grace Williams, of near the farm in Pall Mall, but all the plans for the future suddenly cut the war.

To war

Alvin York was drafted 5. June 1917, 14. November received orders and three days later reported in the Camp Gordon in Georgia. Here since August formed a new unit, later famous 82. infantry division "All American". Today it is an elite light airborne division. The nickname "All American" division because it was formed from conscripts levied from all corners of the USA. This is confirmed by the experience itself York after he was assigned to G company 2. battalion 328. infantry regiment, who notes that in his platoon served the Greeks, the Italians, the new york Jews, Irish and even one German.

Training with York mentions only minimally, notes for example, that he had seen many boys go on during the gruelling marches. Resistant and strong horalovi, however, apparently did not do a similar load of trouble. In march 1918 the soldiers got rifles Sprinfield M 1903. York complained that his rifle was dirty and full of oil and he had to clean – at home were the mountain men used to keep your rifle in mint condition. Also notes that the Italians and the Greeks are shooting miserably – not only at 100 yards miss the target, but also the hill on which the target stands.

Hit the target for York itself wasn't the problem, but York due to his strong religious faith he was not willing to fire on their fellow men. This profound inner contradiction to the deeply afflicted, in addition to his mother and pastor Pile from his hometown urged him to renounce the service in the combat department. Pastor Pile even sent to the war department a letter, in which he explained that killing is against the faith of their church. The mother argued that Alvin is after the death of the father the sole breadwinner. The result was that by Camp Gordon came the official request for transfer York to a non-combat unit. But York refused to sign!

He states: "I Knew that I had many brothers who could take care of my mother, I was her only support, and I didn't feel that I should make. And so I never asked for exemption from service for any reason. I've never been a pacifist. And I'm not even today. I didn't want to go fight and kill. But I had to answer the call of my country, and I did. And I believed that I was doing well. I don't hate the Germans and I've never felt.“

21. march 1918 after York went home on a ten-day furlough before leaving for Europe. At home participated in a series of worship services and meetings with friends. He notes that while from the train just drive the car, but the last 12 miles (almost 20 km) went away and the whole time he was carrying his suitcase.

19. April 1918 the left 82. division Camp Gordon and hits the road. Through New York arrived in Boston, where Yorkova company aboard the ship Scandeven and 1. may sailed to England. 16. 5. landed in Liverpool, and four days later set sail to France. In Le Havre dropped anchor 21. may 1918. Here also occurred the rearmament of the troops, when, after the surrender of rifles M 1903 got rifles Enfield M 1917 komorované to the american charge 30-06 Springfield. York was not changing the weapons not happy: "I don't much like the british rifles. I don't think they are as accurate as our american rifles.“

The york condemnation maybe it was related not so much with the accuracy of the weapon itself, and more to do with the fact that enfieldky should prescription visor, that York was not accustomed to.

York was at the end of may promoted to corporal and appointed to command the squad. His 328. infantry regiment began to move in part pedestrian march partly by train closer to the front. 27. 6. 1918 arrived in Rambucourtu, where he took over his section of the trenches. It was a quiet part of the queue where to send fresh units to familiarise themselves with the battlefield. After the necessary "otrkání" the regiment had been moved to and from 12. September participated in the offensive operations at St. Mihiel.

The york battalion attack on the village of Norroy. The americans suffered heavy losses in a machine-gun and artillery fire. Despite this, the battalion managed to break through to Norroy, in close combat to clean a few houses and capture the village. The germans then a few hours Norroy they hurled gas grenades, which led to further losses. The battalion was due to heavy losses withdrawn from the queue 17. September, after five days of fighting, to complement the numerical conditions.

The battalion was again deployed to combat 4. 10. 1918 to the area of rozstříleného Argonnského the forest. Again followed by heavy fighting: "Many men were killed by artillery fire. And a lot of other wounded. (...) The forests were all torn and looked like they through them overboard the terrible cyclone. But God will never be cruel enough to create a storm so dreadful, as in this battle of the Argonne. (...)And it all made me think of the bible and the story about the Antichrist and Armageddon.“

the most Famous battle

The evening of 7. 10. orders came in for the following day. The battalion should attack in the morning before dawn near the hamlet of Chatel-Chehery, approximately 20 km north-west of Verdun. The task of the battalion was to capture hill 223, continue through the valley for about three miles and cut a narrow gauge railway line, which the Germans built to supply their troops in the trenches.

The york regiment action started shortly after six the morning of the 8th. October 1918. This thing came without the promised artillery support, and things quickly started to unravel. The americans had advanced up to 300 yards on hill 223, where, however, for them to suddenly withstand a strong barrage of about three dozen machine guns. The regiment suffered heavy losses, of soldiers managed to retreat, a number of others, however, remained nailed and tried to unprotected terrain lying down to bury. The defense was so strong that conquer the enemy position head-on was completely unthinkable.

"she Couldn't even our whole division," expressed to York. The commander of his battalion has decided to obchvátit the enemy position from the flank and attack the Germans from behind. Risky task commissioned Yorkovu 2. the platoon, which at that time was commanded by sergeant Early, as all the officers were already knocked out of the fight. Platoon alone in that moment no longer consisted of only four non-commissioned officers and 13 soldiers. The German trench line fortunately not continuous, so with a little luck it was possible to the intention of the commander to implement.

The squad then promptly went out and deftly taking advantage of the undulating terrain and scattered houštinám she actually managed to penetrate into the German rear. However, when the american soldiers for the dimension they head out of the bushes, wonderingly gazing up at the German infantry unit in the force of about 250 men, lying in the dimension. The germans just had breakfast and most of them had deferred the weapons. Looking at the 17 Americans who are on them rushed in a body from the bushes, panicked, as they apparently believed that the terms of the vanguard of some stronger units. Some began to flee, but the others stood up and raised his hands above his head. In the next moment, however, responded kulometčící on top of the dimensions, just 30 metres from the american group. Immediately turned their machine guns astern and on the Americans swooped down a barrage of lead. Within a few tens of seconds was more than half Yorkovy platoon swept away by the German shells. York remained as the only officer unhurt, and took command. Left him seven valiant soldiers and three severely injured. His men attempted to download and cover in the stand. While York decided to stay and fight.

"I was left alone and machine guns přeorávaly the ground all around me," wrote York in the journal, "the captives on top of and more than thirty machine guns at me shooting through them."

York is also immediately threw himself to the ground and crawled as close as possible to being prisoners of war, for which he gained a partial cover. Then he began to return fire. At first glance, it seemed clear that he can never win. German machine-gunners, however, didn't want to hit their own friends, and so their firing abated. Gunners with machine guns began to lift the head, to gain an overview of the situation and York started from their rifles to shoot the "the turkey behind the log". Every German who raised his head to her, immediately received a bullet.

York showing off your shooting championship: "I Gave them the best that I had. It all took only a few minutes. As soon as it was possible, I stood up. That was my favorite shooting location. I shot a few tapes, a rifle barrel was hot and I was running out of ammo, but had no choice but to continue."

At that time I York, up on the hill shot and killed about 20 Germans. Others, in desperation, decided to solve the situation differently. From the trench at him suddenly shed five soldiers led by an officer with fixed bayonets were in evidence. Sbíhali of the hill directly at him: "I Was in the rifle barely half of the last tape, but the gun I had prepared. I quickly pulled it out and I got them all. I didn't have time to think, I did it quite naturally. At first, I shot the sixth, then fifth, then fourth, then third and so on. That's how we at home were shooting at a flock of running turkeys... Then I pointed the gun at the captured major, and said, I told him that if they don't stop to shoot, I'll blow his head off."

The Major blew the whistle on the whistle and the firing ceased. The operator of machine guns, starting from their position with his hands above his head and added to the rest of the prisoners. Not all of course, the situation appealed: "One of the Germans threw a grenade, which exploded in the air in front of me. So I shot him too," said to York.

Now, however, it was necessary to return somehow back to her with a few dozens of captured Germans. York left to sort the prisoners into formation, order them to carry three wounded Americans and their men přimknul as close as possible to the column of marching Germans. York decided to go the easiest route – through the ridge of the hill, straight through the German lines. On top of the hill York found that now empty position of the guns is up to the second defensive position. Before them lay yet one trench line occupied by the German infantry. York walked in the forehead, between the first two prisoners, and before them led the German major, who called his demoralized fellow countryman, to also give up. Many of them its the challenges they obeyed, threw down their arms and flocked to the column. One German, however, stubbornly refused to give up: "So I had to take him out," wrote York, "I didn't like... it was Probably a brave soldier."

Column as follows dopochodovala up to the american positions and, of course, caused tremendous upheaval. York filed a report, which has been extensively explored and confirmed by other members of the Yorkovy platoon. York was subsequently granted a shooting of at least 25 German soldiers and steal 35 guns. The captive then brought in 132 prisoners, including 3 officers. It was noted that the decisive contribution to meet the combat mission of his battalion, who, after his action without resistance, he advanced to the specified line and cut off the German railroad. It subsequently allowed the procedure also with other american units, since after the interruption of the railway line were the German units cut off from supply and they had to retreat.

For this action he was corporal Alvin York promoted to sergeant and awarded the highest american honors Medal of Honor. Received also Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre and legion of honor, the Italian and the montenegrin war cross.

Yet did not become the cosseted celebrity. He remained in the front line until the moment before they were 1. November gonna be replaced 80. infantry division. During that time, yet there were a lot of Yorkových comrades. He himself, as he writes, was the closest to death a few days after his match with the machine guns on hill 223.

Built just with his unit in jabloòovém set in the village of Sommerance, when between them hit artillery shells of large caliber. The explosion of all hurling into the air after the impact, however, it turned out that no one was hurt.

Shortly after the download from the queue came the signing of the armistice and York then with a group of high ranking officers and generals issued back to the place of the famous gun fights, to have them described in detail the course of the encounter. In an interview with them once again stressed that survived only thanks to the intervention of a higher power: "No other power under heaven could bring a man back from a place like this. Men were killed on the right and on the left from me; and I was the biggest and the most exposed of all. Over thirty machine guns at me quickly, was hot, directly from a distance of about twenty-five yards.“

After the war

York, its popularity has brought numerous extra obligations. At first he met with general J. J. Pershing, commander of the american expeditionary force in France. Later he was even invited to Paris for a meeting with u.s. president Woodrow Wilson. York, of course, he longed for home, but 82. the division sailed to the States in may 1919. York had to undergo a lot of social events, but in the end you can enjoy a spectacular welcome in the hometown of Pall Mall.

Already 7. June is married with his beloved Grace Williams, with which then had a total of eight children. York also received a variety of gifts and financial rewards from different societies and individuals. He was appointed honorary colonel of the regiment of the National guard of his native state of Tennessee. Of all the donations but received only one. From rotariánských clubs of the USA got a farm with a plot of land covering an area of 160 hectares in the hometown of the valley of the Wolf river. (however, Since the rotarians ran out of money, was the farm built and was burdened with a mortgage). All other gifts donated to charity and funded of them even a variety of your non-profit projects for the poor such as the Agricultural institute and Bible school. York understood that in the modern world education plays a key role and became a great supporter of public education.

Despite the fame Alvin he did not become proud. He remained on the farm, where farm and, of course, continue to attend to his beloved hunting. Although over the years has accumulated an interesting collection of weapons, most often went on hunting deer with his front charging a kentucky death by a rifle. While possessed, for example, repeating shotgun Winchester Model 11, semi-automatic shotgun Remington Model 11, further rifle Winchester Model 74 and we obtain a Winchester Model 92 caliber 25-20. It is interesting that among his collection somehow also got the czechoslovak gun ČZ 27 caliber 7.65 mm, he said he sometimes carried for self-defense.

His fame, however, with the passage of years vyprchávala and Yorkovo name might completely faded into obscurity if it weren't for the movie. York long refused proposals to make a movie about him with the fact that he doesn't like displaying the war. However, as he was running out of money for his projects, he finally agreed and so was 1941 in Hollywood filmed the movie Sergeant York. The main role is played by the then a leading hollywood actor Gary Cooper, who also for his performance he received an Oscar.

It is interesting that although York in his diary explicitly said that it was during his famous fight armed with a rifle and a pistol Colt caliber .45, on the posters for the film was Gary Cooper caught up with a German pistol Parabellum P.08 caliber 9 mm. The reason they said was the lack of acoustic nábojek caliber .45.

Regarding the rifle that York used, there are two conflicting information. The york regiment was officially armed with rifles Enfield M 1917. However, York allegedly did not like the diopter sights and then got a rifle Springfield M 1903. Here then I also hear that he used during his famous fights, as he said after returning to his family.

Against this version speaks to the need for a single loadout, but technically it wasn't up to such a problem, because both rifles fired the same cartridge (.30-06 Springfield) and for the sake of a simpler supply were also šestiranné enfieldky recharged by a tape with 5 rounds, the same as for rifles Springfield. So it's hard to say.

York anyway for the rights to the film received a fee in the alleged amount of up to 200 000$. York, however, even this money is spent for charity.

At that time, he also joined in the support to the war effort of the united states. Originally reported voluntarily again to the infantry, however, he was 54 years old, suffered from obesity and diabetes, so was not adopted. But received the honorary rank of major (and later colonel) Signal Army Corps, drove across the country, held discussions, lectures, selling the war to the state ious. Expressed also to the policy, referred to himself as a democrat, clearly condemned isolationism and did not hesitate to publicly criticize, for example, Charles Lindbergh for his admiration Hitlerovi. After the second world also criticized the united nations for use against North Korea's nuclear weapons.

At that time, however, it has rapidly worsened his health condition. York practically my entire life dealt with disorders of the circulatory system and in the 40. years added complications in the form of obesity. In 1948 he suffered a first stroke, after the other in 1954, he remained paralyzed and blind on the bed. At that time he also the tax office assessed a balance due on taxes amounting to $ 25, 000 of his profit on the film Sergeant York. York, however, so much money should not, disputes are stretched long and a war hero in the end held a collection of his friends. In 1961, president Kennedy this case is declared to be a national disgrace and ordered its prompt resolution. Of the support fund was eventually the debt is paid.

One of the most famous american soldiers died 2. September 1964. He was buried with full military honors in the hometown of Pall Mall.


Missile revue 6/2011
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