Sgt. York's Rifle.......????

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Mar 3, 2003.

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    Xracer
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    (8/5/01 9:37:20 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All Sgt. York's Rifle.......????
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    I had always heard that the rifle Alvin York used when he won the Medal of Honor was an M1917 Enfield. Apparently not.....according to his diary:

    "May 21, 1918...LeHavre, France: So we got to France at Le Havre. There we turned in our guns and got British guns. Well, we went out from Le Havre to a little inland camp. I had taken a liking to my gun by this time. I had taken it apart and cleaned it enough to learn every piece and I could almost put it back together with my eyes shut. The Greeks and Italians were improving. They had stayed continuously on the rifle range for a month or two and got so they could shoot well. They were fairly good pals, too. But I missed the Tennesseans. I was the only mountaineer in the platoon. I didn't like the British guns so well. I don't think they were as accurate as our American rifles. Ho ho."

    He makes no mention later on that they switched back to the M1917. Anybody know more about this?

    acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vi....York.html

    Edited by: Xracer at: 8/5/01 10:39:54 am

    kdubaz
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    (8/5/01 7:02:53 pm)
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    Wonder why the US troops would be shipped over, then have their issued weapons turned in, Xracer? Suppose it might have been a logistics thing, whereas the Brits and French already had ample supplies of their issued rifle ammunition and the US .30 cal would just muck the supply thing up?

    This probably answers in part his ability to fire rapidly, as the Brit Enfield held its standard 10 rounds, while the Springfield had the 5. Sighted properly, the Enfield is plenty accurate for battlefield conditions. Wonder what the comments about the Greeks and Italians were about? Sounds like they were also having to reaquaint themselves with reissued firearms.
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    Xracer
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    (8/5/01 7:25:26 pm)
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    Kdub....if you read his diary, you'll see that the reference to Greeks and Italians goes back when he was in boot camp. He was in with a bunch of "city boys"....mostly Greek and Italian...who'd never fired a rifle before, and consequently, not very good shots.

    York, of course, was from the mountains of Tenn. and had used a rifle all his life.

    Read the diary here: acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vi....York.html

    kdubaz
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    (8/5/01 11:04:10 pm)
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    Yup - watched a short documentary on him the other nite on TV. He returned to Tennessee after a ticker tape parade in NYC like those given to Presidents. Tried to re-enlist when WWII started, but was turned down - said he could be better used for bond drives, etc. Think he died sometime in the early '60's, still a hero and setting a moral standard for everyone.
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    the real fredneck
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    (8/6/01 5:54:52 am)
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    Went and did some reading on the matter found the diary site yes he was always making reference to Greeks, Italians, and New York Jews, later wrote they made good soldiers. On another site relating to the CMH it said he had a 1917. One thing for sure almost half of the enemy he killed that day was with a 1911. It was also the 1911 that "persuaded" the German major to order his men to surrender. The real story is not so much about the rifle as about the 45.

    AntiqueDr
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    (8/6/01 6:56:10 am)
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    I agree that the pistol side of the story is a little more enchanting than the rifle, BUT...

    men like York are few and far between. He would have gotten the job done with a .22 rifle and half a bayonet if need be.

    The true story is about the MAN.


    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
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    LIKTOSHOOT
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
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    (8/6/01 8:38:28 am)
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    AGREED!
    "am not" R2

    Tac401
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    (8/6/01 2:32:42 pm)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: Sgt. York's Rifle.......????
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    I've got a 1917U.S. Enfield that was brought back
    by a very old friend of mine and it looks like the
    it was just issued, I sometimes think about selling
    it but when I pull it out of the safe and look at it
    I just don't know if I could part with it, I've never
    even fired it, the beautiful walnut stock and parkerize
    is something to behold.
    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    WyomingSwede
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    Posts: 70
    (8/6/01 10:00:00 pm)
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    Agree with above...its not the weapon...its the man behind it.

    I have to confess a weakness for old enfields also. I have one I take out and plink with occasionally.
    I started my son out with a .303 enfield. Sporterized out in califoria by a Santa Barbara or something like that. Has a green camo finish on the stock that I swear glows in the dark. Its as accurate as anything I own and the kid got an antelope last year with it. I dont think that you could trade him out of it for a new weatherby. Talk about a new lease on life for an old warrior???
    And I bought it for $40 off the net.I am veering away from Mil history...sorry. regards swede
    Wyoming Swede

    cointoss 2
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    (8/7/01 9:59:13 am)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: Sgt. York's Rifle.......????
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    I guess it is rather ironic, I just visited his grave yesterday on my way back home from Tennessee. Driving through the valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf River makes you wonder how he could ever have done any type of distance shooting as most areas are in heavy woods. Even with the little farms in the early years most clearings would never have been any great distance. The man was just a natural born shooter.
    Something else I have to say, my sister lives about 15 miles from there and we were having lunch together in a little restaraunt and a man and his wife came in both in their seventies or maybe eightys, the man dressed in slacks and a dress shirt had a ribbon around his neck with the Medal of Honor on it. I am not kidding you, I was with my step-father, a Korean War decorated vet, and my brother-in-law a combat wounded, Vietnam decorated vet, talk about pent up emotions from them. So I guess you kind of know why I decided to stop by Alvin York's grave on the way home, another Medal Of Honor holder, just to pay a few respects to the many people that these two represent.
    cointoss2

    polishshooter
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    (8/12/01 10:04:06 pm)
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    He may have been referring to the British P14 Enfields, in .303, do you think?

    VERY few Doughboys carried the Springfield, only the Marines carried it in WWI as a rule, the soldiers all carried the P17 for the most part.

    He would have trained with the 17 too, as he was in a "Volunteer" Division, the Army barely had enough 03s for their few Regular Regiments.

    And you're also right about the the rifleman vs, the rifle.

    When he picked off that entire patrol back to front like he used to shoot turkeys, with them never even knowing they were under fire, he probably could have done that with his old flintlock "squirrel gun" too...

    I wonder what we could have done in Vietnam, if all the "Conscientious Objectors" during the 60s did like old Alvin the "C.O." did in War I.
    Eibar Pimp. "Pssst! 'Ay Meester..."

    Xracer
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    Posts: 777
    (8/13/01 7:52:48 am)
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    Yeah Polish.......probably was a P14, but I wonder why they had to turn in the '17s?

    Did you read the diary? acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vi....York.html Very, very interesting.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1459
    (8/25/01 8:32:17 pm)
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    Flipped through Canfields "US Infantry Weapons of WWI" book at a gun show today, he says many doughboys called their p17s "British Enfields" which causes alot of confusion in diaries and letters from the day.

    He also said many of the first doughboys over there were actually issued SMLEs, the ones that first fought with the British.

    Plus, nobody back then referred to the 17s as P17s, they were "Enfields," "British Enfields," or "M1917s."

    I need to get that book, it's as good or better than his same one for WWII which I have, and use as a reference all the time. I hope the MBC gets it featured someday, I may have to join again...


    Eibar Pimp. "Pssst! 'Ay Meester..."
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