In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed - We Are The Mighty
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In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Today I found out that in WWI Alvin York almost single handedly captured 132 German soldiers using nothing but a rifle and a pistol, while the German soldiers having among them 32 machine guns along with rifles and pistols and the advantage of being above him in the biggest of the forays.  And did I mention York was out in the open during the largest gun fight?  Ya, when the Germans attacked they pretty much mowed down almost the entire unit that York was with, including York’s commanding officer, which put him in charge.  The other soldiers left from the original group of 17, were busy guarding the previous prisoners they had taken behind enemy lines, which pretty much left York to deal with the 100 or so Germans in the largest of the gunfights he was involved in, which ended in the capture of those 132 Germans.


When the 1 against 100 gunfight started, York had no time to run for cover, so just started picking off the German soldiers he saw shooting at him as they showed themselves, one by one.

So there’s York, running out of bullets, exposed with about 100 German solders above him firing down at him and now a group of Germans breaks free and runs at him with their bayonets from a range of about 25 yards.  So does he run for cover?  Nope, instead he pulls out his pistol *puts on sunglasses* and kills all of the German soldiers descending on him.  Not only this, but he systematically picks off the back ones first so the front ones will keep running at him, thinking they have support behind them.

I might add, while York is down there picking off Germans left and right that he’s calling out repeatedly, telling the Germans they can surrender at any time;  he didn’t want to kill any more than he had to…  In a previous article, I mentioned that the Right whale has the largest balls of any animal on earth at about 1100 pounds each.  Now, though no official weighing has ever taken place to my knowledge, I think that it’s safe to say that Sargent York had that beat by a fair margin.

At this point, while York was busy taking out more of the German machine gunners who were firing on him, the German commander decided he was done seeing his boys being killed.  He was clearly facing Mr. Invictus himself.  So he convinced the remaining 100 or so Germans of his company to surrender.

York was now in the precarious position of having over 100 German soldiers being held prisoner by eight or nine of his remaining men.  And worse, he was well behind enemy lines with this group he had captured being the second line in the German ranks.  The German front line was between him and the Allied lines.  And all that with himself and his men standing there with his men outnumbered more than 10 to 1.  Obviously, for someone with this level of bad-assery, this was not a problem and by the time he got through the German front, taking a few more prisoners in the process, he had managed to bring back 132 German soldiers.

Here is York’s account of the incredible events, which are verified by the accounts of his fellow soldiers in the official report of the events:

“They killed all of Savage’s squad; they got all of mine but two; they wounded Cutting and killed two of his squad; and Early’s squad was well back in the brush on the extreme right and not yet under the direct fire of the machine guns, and so they escaped. All except Early. He went down with three bullets in his body. That left me in command. I was right out there in the open.

And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a ‘racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush, I didn’t even have time to kneel or lie down.

I don’t know what the other boys were doing. They claim they didn’t fire a shot. They said afterwards they were on the right, guarding the prisoners. And the prisoners were lying down and the machine guns had to shoot over them to get me. As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them.

I had no time nohow to do nothing but watch them-there German machine gunners and give them the best I had. Every time I seed a German I jes teched him off. At first I was shooting from a prone position; that is lying down; jes like we often shoot at the targets in the shooting matches in the mountains of Tennessee; and it was jes about the same distance. But the targets here were bigger. I jes couldn’t miss a German’s head or body at that distance. And I didn’t. Besides, it weren’t no time to miss nohow.

I knowed that in order to shoot me the Germans would have to get their heads up to see where I was lying. And I knowed that my only chance was to keep their heads down. And I done done it. I covered their positions and let fly every time I seed anything to shoot at. Every time a head come up I done knocked it down. Then they would sorter stop for a moment and then another head would come up and I would knock it down, too. I was giving them the best I had.

I was right out in the open and the machine guns [there were over thirty of them in continuous action] were spitting fire and cutting up all around me something awful. But they didn’t seem to be able to hit me. All the time the Germans were shouting orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. Of course, all of this only took a few minutes. As soon as I was able I stood up and begun to shoot off-hand, which is my favorite position. I was still sharpshooting with that-there old army rifle. I used up several clips. The barrel was getting hot and my rifle ammunition was running low, or was where it was hard for me to get at it quickly. But I had to keep on shooting jes the same.

In the middle of the fight a German officer and five men done jumped out of a trench and charged me with fixed bayonets. They had about twenty-five yards to come and they were coming right smart. I only had about half a clip left in my rifle; but I had my pistol ready. I done flipped it out fast and teched them off, too.

I teched off the sixth man first; then the fifth; then the fourth; then the third; and so on. That’s the way we shoot wild turkeys at home. You see we don’t want the front ones to know that we’re getting the back ones, and then they keep on coming until we get them all. Of course, I hadn’t time to think of that. I guess I jes naturally did it. I knowed, too, that if the front ones wavered, or if I stopped them the rear ones would drop down and pump a volley into me and get me.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: Wikipedia/Frank Schoonover

Then I returned to the rifle, and kept right on after those machine guns. I knowed now that if I done kept my head and didn’t run out of ammunition I had them. So I done hollered to them to come down and give up. I didn’t want to kill any more’n I had to. I would tech a couple of them off and holler again. But I guess they couldn’t understand my language, or else they couldn’t hear me in the awful racket that was going on all around. Over twenty Germans were killed by this time.

–and I got hold of the German major. After he seed me stop the six Germans who charged with fixed bayonets he got up off the ground and walked over to me and yelled “English?”

I said, “No, not English.”

He said, “What?”

I said, “American.”

He said, “Good —–!” Then he said, “If you won’t shoot any more I will make them give up.” I had killed over twenty before the German major said he would make them give up. I covered him with my automatic and told him if he didn’t make them stop firing I would take off his head next. And he knew I meant it. He told me if I didn’t kill him, and if I stopped shooting the others in the trench, he would make them surrender.

So he blew a little whistle and they came down and began to gather around and throw down their guns and belts. All but one of them came off the hill with their hands up, and just before that one got to me he threw a little hand grenade which burst in the air in front of me.

I had to tech him off. The rest surrendered without any more trouble. There were nearly 100 of them.

So we had about 80 or 90 Germans there disarmed, and had another line of Germans to go through to get out. So I called for my men, and one of them answered from behind a big oak tree, and the others were on my right in the brush.

So I said, “Let’s get these Germans out of here.”

One of my men said, “it is impossible.”

So I said, “No; let’s get them out.”

So when my man said that, this German major said, “How many have you got?” and I said, “I have got a-plenty,” and pointed my pistol at him all the time.

In this battle I was using a rifle and a .45 Colt automatic pistol.

So I lined the Germans up in a line of twos, and I got between the ones in front, and I had the German major before me. So I marched them straight into those other machine guns and I got them.

The German major could speak English as well as I could. Before the war he used to work in Chicago. And I told him to keep his hands up and to line up his men in column of twos, and to do it in double time. And he did it. And I lined up my men that were left on either side of the column, and I told one to guard the rear. I ordered the prisoners to pick up and carry our wounded. I wasn’t a-goin’ to leave any good American boys lying out there to die. So I made the Germans carry them. And they did.

And I takened the major and placed him at the head of the column and I got behind him and used him as a screen. I poked the automatic in his back and told him to hike. And he hiked.

The major suggested we go down a gully, but I knew that was the wrong way. And I told him we were not going down any gully. We were going straight through the German front line trenches back to the American lines.

It was their second line that I had captured. We sure did get a long way behind the German trenches! And so I marched them straight at that old German front line trench. And some more machine guns swung around and began to spit at us. I told the major to blow his whistle or I would take off his head and theirs too. So he blew his whistle and they all surrendered– all except one. I made the major order him to surrender twice. But he wouldn’t. And I had to tech him off. I hated to do it. I’ve been doing a tolerable lot of thinking about it since. He was probably a brave soldier boy. But I couldn’t afford to take any chances and so I had to let him have it.

There was considerably over a hundred prisoners now. It was a problem to get them back safely to our own lines. There was so many of them there was danger of our own artillery mistaking us for a German counter-attack and opening up on us. I sure was relieved when we run into the relief squads that had been sent forward through the brush to help us.

On the way back we were constantly under heavy shell fire and I had to double-time them to get them through safely. There was nothing to be gained by having any more of them wounded or killed. They done surrendered to me and it was up to me to look after them. And so I done done it.

So when I got back to my major’s p.c. I had 132 prisoners. We marched those German prisoners on back into the American lines to the battalion p.c. (post of command), and there we came to the Intelligence Department. Lieutenant Woods came out and counted 132 prisoners…

We were ordered to take them out to regimental headquarters at Chattel Chehery, and from there all the way back to division headquarters, and turn them over to the military police.

I had orders to report to Brigadier General Lindsey, and he said to me, “Well, York, I hear you have captured the whole —— German army.” And I told him I only had 132.

After a short talk he sent us to some artillery kitchens, where we had a good warm meal. And it sure felt good. Then we rejoined our outfits and with them fought through to our objective, the Decauville Railroad.

And the Lost Battalion was able to come out that night. We cut the Germans off from their supplies when we cut that old railroad, and they withdrew and backed up.

So you can see here in this case of mine where God helped me out. I had been living for God and working in the church some time before I come to the army. So I am a witness to the fact that God did help me out of that hard battle; for the bushes were shot up all around me and I never got a scratch.

So you can see that God will be with you if you will only trust Him; and I say that He did save me. Now, He will save you if you will only trust Him.

The next morning Captain Danforth sent me back with some stretcher bearers to see if there were any of our American boys that we had missed. But they were all dead. And there were a lot of German dead. We counted twenty-eight, which is just the number of shots I fired. And there were thirty-five machine guns and a whole mess of equipment and small arms.

The salvage corps was busy packing it up. And I noticed the bushes all around where I stood in my fight with the machine guns were all cut down. The bullets went over my head and on either side. But they never touched me.”

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Alvin C. York on the hill where his raid took place. Photo: Wikipedia

York survived WWI and fathered five sons and two daughters and founded a school which is still around today and is known for its academic excellence.

When WWII came around, not to be one to run from a fight, he tried to re-enlist in the infantry, but was denied due to his age and presumably for making all the other soldiers feel like pansies.  Denied from that, he instead convinced the state of Tennessee that they needed a reserve force at home and so founded the Tennessee State Guard in which he served as a Colonel.

More from Today I Found Out

This article originally appeared at Today I Found Out. Copyright 2015. Like Today I Found Out on Facebook.

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That time Napoleon was almost defeated by a rabbit army

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Wikimedia Commons | Flickr


Napoleon Bonaparte was well-known as one of the foremost military minds of his age, but there was one group he couldn’t outsmart: rabbits! One epic conflict pitted the emperor against the lusty lagomorphs, and to the Corsican-born ruler’s great surprise, the bunnies came out on top.

During his down time, Napoleon, like many wealthy men of the time, enjoyed hunting; in particular, he liked tracking down rabbits. The animals being hunted weren’t as fond of the humans’ pastime, however. According to the memoirs of a Napoleonic general, Paul Thiébault, a courtier named Alexandre Berthier devised such an amusement for his master in July 1807. “He had the idea of giving the Emperor some rabbit-shooting in a park which he possessed just outside of Paris, and had the joy of having his offer accepted,” Thiébault wrote.

But the not-so-bright Berthier had one problem: his property had no rabbits on it! So Berthier ordered one thousand rabbits “to be turned down in the park on the morning of the day” of the hunt. On the very day, Napoleon arrived to a lovely picnic and everything was going smoothly, but the bunnies had another idea. Instead of scattering across the park and making themselves targets for eager shooters, the rabbits “suddenly collected first in knots, then a body.” Then the buns “all faced about, and in an instant the whole phalanx flung itself upon Napoleon.”

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Wikimedia Commons

Berthier was humiliated and furious, so he turned his coachmen on the rabbit army. But although their whips initially dissuaded the hippity-hoppers, the critters soon wheeled about as a group and “turned the Emperor’s flank” and “attacked him frantically in the rear, refused to quit their hold, piled themselves up between his legs till they made him stagger, and forced the conqueror of conquerors, fairly exhausted, to retreat and leave them in possession of the field…” It was lucky for Napoleon,Thiébault quipped, that the bunnies left Napoleon intact and didn’t themselves proceed in triumph to Paris!

How did one thousand rabbits wind up defeating Napoleon? According to Thiébault, Brethier, ignorant of the differences between domestic and wild rabbits, bought the wrong kind of bunny: he purchased one thousand hutch-raised hoppers, rather than the wild buns that were afraid of humans. As a result, the rabbits “had taken the sportsmen, including the Emperor, as purveyors of their daily cabbage,” and since the bunnies hadn’t yet been fed, eagerly sprang on the humans in the hopes of food.

As funny as this incident was, Napoleon was not amused. Apparently, the upstart emperor didn’t have the greatest sense of humor. But everyone else had a pretty good laugh at his expense.

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The 9 most devastating nuclear weapons in the world

Nuclear bombs are the most powerful weapons ever devised. Here are 9 of the most destructive in history.


1. Tsar Bomba (50-100 Megatons)

“Big Ivan,” or the “Tsar Bomba,” created the largest explosion ever made by man, and it was tampered to only half of its full strength. Secretary Nikita Khrushchev demanded a record-setting bomb to prove the Soviet Union’s might ahead of an important meeting of the Communist party. To fulfill his wishes, scientists designed and created the bomb in only 15 weeks. Originally designed for a 100-megaton blast, the bomb was tampered down to only 50 megatons to prevent damage to Soviet cities in the original fallout radius. Only one was ever created.

2. B-41 nuclear bomb (10-25 MT)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
A B-41 prototype is detonated July 12, 1958 at the Bikini Atoll range. Photo: Wikipedia

Capable of a 25-MT blast, the B41 was the most powerful nuclear bomb ever developed by the U.S. Like the Tsar Bomba, it was a three-stage device. About 500 were created. Due to their weight, they could not ride on missiles and bombers could only carry one device at a time.

3. TX-21 “Shrimp” (15 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: Wikipedia

The TX-21 was an experimental weapon that was supposed to create a 5-MT blast. An experimental fusion fuel caused the blast to increase to 15 megatons. While the U.S. ended up with a much stronger weapon than it expected, the experiment resulted in multiple deaths, untold numbers of birth defects, and the accidental contamination of 7,000 square miles of Pacific islands and ocean.

4. B-17 (10-15 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photos: Wikipedia and US Department of Energy

The B-17 was America’s first thermonuclear bomb to be deployed. In a way, it was a tuned-down version of the TX-21. The TX-17 prototype created a 11-MT blast much larger than the expected 4-MT explosion because of an unexpected reaction in the fusion fuel.

5. B-24 (10-15 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: Wikipedia

The B-24 was very similar to the B-17 but it used an enriched lithium fusion fuel instead of the natural lithium of the B-17. The experimental TX-24 produced a slightly larger explosion in testing than the B-17 (13.5 MT vs 11 MT), but the estimated yields in their weaponized forms were roughly the same.

6. B-36 (10 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: Wikipedia

After the TX-21 “Shrimp” test, America fielded the B-21 with a yield of 4 MT. The military decided to convert the B-21 to B-36s, making each bomb about 2.5 times as strong.

7. B53 (9 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: Wikipedia/byteboy

The B-53 contained 300 pounds of high-explosive material that triggered a uranium pit. The pit would then create a nine-megaton explosion.

8. EC-16 (6-8 Megatons)

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

The EC-16 was an “emergency capability” nuclear device and the only thermonuclear device deployed that required a cooling system. Five devices were delivered to the U.S. arsenal in Jan. 1954, but they were quickly replaced when the more stable and easier to deploy B-14s and B-17s became operational later that year.

9. EC-14 (7 Megatons)

The EC-14 was the first solid-fuel thermonuclear weapon deployed by the U.S. It was only deployed as an emergency capability in Feb. 1954. The EC-14 was retired in Oct. 1954 and many of them were converted to B-17s.

NOW: The 7 weirdest nuclear weapons ever developed

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These awesome dogs are full-on MARSOC operators

The Raiders of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command are some of the world’s greatest warrior-athletes, specializing in taking the fight to America’s enemies across the globe. But not all fighting members of MARSOC are the human Raiders. Some are specially trained canines who deploy across the world and support Marines wherever they’re called upon.


Here they are, in 14 photos:

1. MARSOC dogs are highly-trained animals who work with their multipurpose canine handlers to execute missions around the world.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maricela M. Bryant)

2. The dogs train to accompany their handlers on a variety of missions and can enter the battlefield via Zodiac boat.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maricela M. Bryant)

3. When necessary, they can also swim stealthily to shore.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maricela M. Bryant)

4. The canines and handlers will then make their way through the surf and toward their objective.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tabitha A. Markovich)

5. When the target is far from shore, the dogs and their handlers can even insert by parachute.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Scott Achtemeier)

6. Once they reach the objective, the dogs are capable of completing many missions. Some engage in direct action, helping MARSOC Raiders clear buildings and hunt down bad guys.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tabitha A. Markovich)

7. The dogs have to move tactically with the other operators and perform their tasks as a member of the team.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tabitha A. Markovich)

8. One of their specialties is seeking out enemies who’ve tried to hide or escape.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Roderick Jacquote)

9. To work well together, the dogs and handlers have to train together in all their essential tasks, including range qualifications.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Roderick Jacquote)

10. They also swim together.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Brian Bekkala)

11. They dive together.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Cpl. Brian Bekkala)

12. They even complete obstacle courses together. Here, a U.S. Army soldier navigates the course with a Marine Corps canine.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich)

13. The obstacle courses at Camp Pendleton, California, give the dogs and handlers plenty of realistic barriers to navigate.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich)

14. We’re not sure whether the dogs take the training quite as seriously as their handlers, but they’re pretty darn impressive nonetheless.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Brian Bekkala)

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This teenage genius created the best prosthetic ever

Easton LaChappelle, a 19-year-old from Cortez, Colorado, has created the most technologically advanced prosthetic the world has ever seen.


LaChappelle began experimenting with robotics when he was 17, creating a moveable robotic arm out of legos and other equipment found in his bedroom. Since then, he and his friends have created Unlimited Tomorrows, a robotics company that specializes in 3D printed prosthetics.

LaChapelle’s prototype possesses a range of motion that is nearly identical to that of a human hand, all controlled by the user’s thoughts. With more than 1,500 military service members having had major limb amputations since 2001, this device may be a game-changer for wounded troops.

And the best part? While most prosthetic limbs cost around $60,000, Chapelle’s prototype was created for only $350. This kid is going places.

To see more of Chapelle and his prosthetic, watch the video below:

DON’T MISS: Forget The Terminator Arm — DARPA Wants An Implantable Hard Drive For The Brain

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The best A-10 memes on the Internet

A while back, Team Mighty posted a story about song lyrics airmen shouldn’t text to each other to avoid punishment from the Air Force. For that list, we created this meme:


In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

Airmen did not love seeing Miley riding their beloved A-10 Thunderbolt II. To repay our debt for defiling the most beloved of Close Air Support airframes, we collected the best memes and internet humor with the A-10 and/or the GAU-8 Avenger. Netizens love the A-10 as much as ground combat troops, so A-10 humor isn’t hard to find.

There are motivational posters.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

There are newer jokes.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

 

And old favorites.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

And even Star Wars A-10 Jokes.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

There are digs at ISIS.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

And digs at the Air Force for trying to get rid of the A-10.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

We love the GAU-8 Avenger, the massive 30mm hydraulic-driven gun, around which the plane is built.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

Most importantly, we love the BRRRRRRRRRRRT

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

And the A-10 is a great way to show your appreciation on Facebook.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

 

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What would happen if the Battle of Little Bighorn was fought today

The fall of Custer and five of the companies under his command at the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, known by the Sioux Nation as the Battle of Greasy Grass, was as much a failure of reconnaissance and intelligence as of strategy and tactics, and a modern battle between the 7th Cavalry and the Sioux Nation would play out differently.


First and foremost, modern military formations have better intelligence gathering assets. While Gen. George A. Custer labored under the false impression that Sitting Bull, the Lakota leader, had only 800 warriors with him, it’s more likely that he had well over 1,000 and possibly as many as 2,500.

When Custer first spotted the signs of the camp on June 25, he wanted to spend time scouting and resting his men before attacking but thought his presence had been detected by Sioux forces and would soon be reported. So, he ordered hasty preparations for an attack.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
The Battle of Little Bighorn. (Lithograph: Library of Congress by Charles Marion Russell)

But modern drones and listening devices would have let him know that the fighters who spotted his men were actually leaving the encampment and not reporting to Sitting Bull. Once Custer knew that and was able to spend time gathering intelligence, he would have learned of the size of the enemy force and at least hesitated to attack with his 647 men without getting reinforcements.

His force was just part of one of three columns of U.S. government forces in the area.

But if he did press the attack anyway, that battle would be most similar to a clash between uneven forces of cavalry and mounted infantry. While Custer’s men would likely have enjoyed a technological advantage, the four-to-one numerical advantage of the Lakota, Dakota, Sioux, and Northern Cheyenne forces would have been too much to overcome.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: U.S. Navy Journalist 2nd Class John J. Pistone

While Custer tried in 1876 to break through to the civilian parts of the camp to force the enemy to either fire in the direction of their loved ones or surrender, a modern Custer would likely try to draw out the enemy forces instead.

To help overcome his shortage of manpower, Custer would likely do this with a careful attack, trying to minimize civilian casualties while inflicting maximum damage on enemy vehicles.

Custer’s best chance would likely have been to send anti-armor missile teams into cover and concealment near the Sioux while one or two mechanized infantry companies deployed their Strykers just below the peak on nearby ridge lines.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. Victor Ayala

Then, at a prearranged signal, the Strykers would roar over the ridge and fire TOW missiles at the Sioux vehicles. To keep the technological gap between the U.S. and Sioux forces, we’ll say the Sioux predominantly have Bradleys and HMMWVs.

As the Sioux, who were mostly sleeping or resting at the start of the battle, rushed to their vehicles and started moving them to the battlefield, the hidden anti-armor teams could start hitting the vehicles as they passed through chokepoints in the camp and the terrain around it, penning up vehicles.

The mortars embedded in the infantry companies could then start laying it on thick, slamming rounds into the top armor of enemy vehicles and hitting treads and tires with shrapnel to get mobility kills.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Paratroopers fire a mortar system during a call-for-fire exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 3, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Hewitt)

But Custer’s force of almost 650 troops would find it nearly impossible to keep over 2,000 enemies penned in for long, and the Sioux vehicles would make it into the open sooner or later. Once they did, their superiority in numbers would quickly turn the tide.

Custer could claim a victory at this point, satisfy himself with the large losses already inflicted and conduct an orderly withdrawal while radioing other U.S. government forces to be ready to attack the Sioux forces if they dispersed across the area.

If the Sioux followed him as a large group, he would be able to draw them to a larger government force and wipe them out.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
The Bradley main armament is the M242 25mm (Bushmaster) Chain Gun. The standard rate of fire is 200 rounds per minute, and has a range of 2,000 meters, making it capable of defeating the majority of armored forces including some main battle tanks. (Photo: Department of Defense)

If, instead, he pressed his luck, and continued to fight near the Little Bighorn River, it’s likely that the final result would once again be a victory for the Sioux. Once the government anti-tank Strykers and anti-armor teams had expended their missiles, attempts to take the Bradleys out with the Stryker guns would take much longer.

Sitting Bull would be able to get a force assembled, likely by staging it behind one of the hills that dominate the area, and then launch it from behind cover and into the American flank.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
An M2A2 Bradley in action during a mission in Iraq. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Once the American lines were properly disrupted, more and more Sioux vehicles would be able to escape from the camp and launch additional attacks against the beleaguered 7th Cavalry.

While the Sioux would have suffered much heavier losses than in the actual 1876 battle, the end result of a standing battle between the 7th Cavalry and the Sioux nation would always be subject to the huge numbers disparity on the ground.

Articles

The US military took these incredible photos this week

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


NAVY

SURABAYA, Indonesia (Aug. 5, 2015) U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 and Indonesian Kopaska naval special forces members practice patrol formations during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2015.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Scott/USN

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 4, 2015) Sailors prepare for flight operations on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3).

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hunter S. Harwell/USN

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class I. J. Fleming helps stretch out the emergency crash barricade during drills on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class E. T. Miller/USN

MARINE CORPS

Marines and Navy Corpsmen, assigned to various units in the 1st Marine Division, conduct tactical combat casualty care training during the Combat Trauma Management Course, taught by instructors with the 1st Marine Division Navy Education and Training Office, at the Strategic Operations facility, California.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Bobbie A. Curtis/USMC

Fire Away!

An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank crew with Company A, 4th Tank Battalion, fires its 120 mm main gun during the company’s pre-qualification tank gunnery at Range 500, Aug. 4, 2015. The live-fire exercise tests tank crews on their ability to work together on target acquisition and accuracy.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Lance Cpl. Julio McGraw/USMC

COAST GUARD

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, a maritime enforcement specialist at Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., along with other security division members, set up security zones on the pier alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Henry Blake, while conducting an exercise at Naval Station Everett.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford/USCG

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Burns, a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aviation survival technician, walks across the flight deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley during practice hoist operations while at sea.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Petty Officer 3rd Class Dale Arnould/USCG

AIR FORCE

A security forces Airman plunges into the combat water survival test at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Jason Gutierrez/USAF

Lt. Col. Todd Houchins, the 53rd Test Support Squadron commander, signals before the final takeoff of the last QF-4 Aerial Target on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Tech. Sgt. Javier Cruz/USAF

Members of the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron Propulsion Flight perform maintenance on a TF-34 engine July 27, 2015, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 23rd CMS supplies the 74th and 75th Fighter Squadrons with TF-34s in support of Moody AFB’s A-10C Thunderbolt IIs.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Airman Greg Nash/USAF

ARMY

paratroopers, assigned to 82nd Airborne Division, rig their rucksacks during a Basic Airborne Refresher course at the United States Army Advanced Airborne School, Fort Bragg, N.C.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Maj. Craig Arnold/US Army

An Army pilot, assigned to the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade, watches a MV-22 Osprey land during a personnel recovery training exercise in Southwest Asia.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo by: Sgt. Michael Needham/The National Guard

NOW: More awesome military photos

OR: 4 support aircraft you didn’t know had killer combat variants

Articles

Here are the best military photos of the week

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


AIR FORCE:

The sun rises behind an F-35A Lightning II Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth-generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support, as well as great command and control functions through fused sensors, and will provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer

Staff Sgt. Corey Blanar, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, cable and antenna maintenance noncommissioned officer in charge and Patrick Casket, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, cable and antenna maintenance technician, roll a cable reel, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 30, 2016. The cable team ensures that all cable and wireless systems are installed and maintained and provide command and control (C2) capabilities throughout the base.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman

ARMY:

Soldiers assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team move to an assembly area after executing a joint forcible entry exercise at Malemute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JBER, Alaska, Aug. 23, 2016.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
United States Air Force photo by Justin Connaher

A soldier currently deployed to Kosovo with the KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East, fires at a target during the stress shoot portion of the MNBG-E Best Warrior Competition, Aug. 28, 2016.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Duval

NAVY:

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 29, 2016) Marines, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), depart the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC). Green Bay, part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Dionne

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2016) Sailors on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) render passing honors to the fast-attack submarine USS Pasadena (SSN 752) as it transits the San Diego Bay. Carl Vinson is currently underway in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean M. Castellano

MARINE CORPS:

The sun sets over the USS Green Bay (LPD-20) at White Beach Naval Base, Okinawa, Japan, August 21, 2016. Marines of the 31st MEU are currently embarked on ships of the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group for a scheduled fall patrol of the Asia-Pacific Region.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal

Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), set up security around the back of an MV-22 Osprey during the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Composite Training Unit Exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, August 23, 2016. TRAP is one of the standing missions a MEU must be capable of executing during its deployment.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon Maldonado

COAST GUARD:

Red Man training held during our in-port time helps keep our law enforcement personnel proficient and trains new members on Coast Guard law enforcement techniques.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Coast Guard photo

On April 1, 1967, the Coast Guard was transferred from the Treasury Department to the newly-formed Department of Transportation, and then to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, but we have continued our wartime roles in modern conflicts as well.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Coast Guard photo

Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


From fighting pirates in the First Barbary War of 1801 to seizing the Kandahar International Airport in 2001 and beyond, Marine Corps infantrymen have been fighting and winning our nation’s battles for more than 200 years.

Known as “grunts,” infantrymen receive specialized training in weapons, tactics, and communications that make them effective in combat. And while many things have changed for grunts over time, they continue to carry on the legacy that was forged from the “small wars” to the “Frozen Chosin” to the jungles of Vietnam.

After more than a decade of war following the 9/11 attacks, many grunts have deployed to combat …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… In Iraq, where they earned their place in history at Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Fallujah (shown here), and many others.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While others deployed to Afghanistan, into the deadly Korengal Valley …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

But before infantrymen join their units, they need to complete initial training. For enlisted Marines, that means going to the School of Infantry, either at Camp Pendleton, California or Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For officers, their training at Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Va. involves both tactics and weapons, along with a more intense focus on how to lead an infantry platoon.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While most enlisted grunts become 0311 riflemen, others receive more specialized training, like 0331 machine-gunners, which learn the M240 machine gun (shown here), the MK19 grenade launcher, and the M2 .50 cal.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0341 Mortarmen learn how to operate the 60 mm (shown below) and 81 mm mortar systems, which help riflemen with indirect fire support when they need a little bit more firepower.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0351 Assaultmen learn basic demolitions, breaching, and become experts in destroying bad guys with the SMAW rocket system. The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is shown below.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Packing even more punch that’s usually vehicle-mounted, 0352 Anti-tank missilemen learn their primary M41 SABER (below) heavy anti-tank weapon and the Javelin, a medium anti-tank weapon.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some more experienced infantrymen go into specialized fields, such as Reconnaissance or snipers (below).

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

Always present is a focus on mission accomplishment, and to “keep their honor clean” — to preserve the legacy of the Corps …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

… That grunts are proud of. Always remembering heroics from the Chosin Reservoir Marines in Korea …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… To those who fought in Vietnam jungles, or the storied battles of Hue and Khe Sanh.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Since Vietnam, grunts have been repeatedly been called upon for minor and major engagements, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1995 (below).

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it’s practicing amphibious landings …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… Or learning the skills needed to survive and thrive in a jungle environment.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sometimes they take a break to catch up on their reading.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

And when they’re not training, they are trying to have fun.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

While technology has made today’s infantrymen even deadlier, the life of the grunt has always been spartan.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grunts often work in rough conditions, and they need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And quite often, they need to be self-sufficient. At remote patrol bases, that means everything from burning their trash and other waste …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

Grunts learn to appreciate the little things, like care packages from home …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

… Or a “FOB Pup” to play around with in between missions.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

When they get into a fight with the enemy, they battle back just as their predecessors did.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And with solid training and leadership, they can easily transition, as Gen. Mattis says, from no worse enemy to no better friend.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

Especially in a combat zone, humor helps a unit through tough times.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

But the bottom line is that grunts are the Marine Corps’ professional war-fighters.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And they never forget those who didn’t make it home.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

Articles

The Marines arrive in Norway

For the first time since World War II, United States Marines have arrived in Norway. Their mission: to deter Russian aggression.


According to a report by the Daily Caller, the deployment has freaked out the Russians, even though the Marines are deploying to a base 900 miles from the Russian border. The deployment is slated to last a year, but the Marines will cycle out after six months.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
A U.S. Marine drifts a tank on ice during training in Norway. (Photo: YouTube/Marines)

“For the first four weeks they will have basic winter training, learn how to cope with skis and to survive in the Arctic environment,” Norwegian Home Guard spokesman Rune Haarstad told the British news agency Reuters. “It has nothing to do with Russia or the current situation.”

The Daily Caller also noted that the deployed Marines will participate in the Joint Viking military exercises with Norwegian and British forces. During the Cold War, the United States had plans to reinforce Norway in the event of a war with Russia. According to a NATO Order of Battle, the forces that would have been sent from the United States included the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, New York, and a Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
A U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter kicks up snow at Vaernes, Norway, Feb. 22, 2016, as 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade prepares for Exercise Cold Response. All aircraft with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (-) Reinforced, the Air Combat Element of 2d MEB, were dismantled at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and flown to Norway in U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxies to provide air support during the exercise. Cold Response 16 is a combined, joint exercise comprised of 12 NATO allies and partnered nations and approximately 16,000 troops. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dalton A. Precht)

As noted by WATM this past November, Marine Expeditionary Brigade is centered around a reinforced regiment on the ground side (three battalions of infantry, an artillery battalion, an AAV company, a LAV company, and a tank company). The air component includes two squadrons of AV-8B Harriers, three squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets, a squadron of EA-6B Prowlers, and seven squadrons of helicopters.

British forces, centered around 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines, were also slated to reinforce Norway during the Cold War. At the present, according to the Royal Marines’ web site, it is centered around three commando battalions, along with support elements, including artillery and logistics units.

Articles

That time a Navy admiral left Marines hanging during a Japanese attack

The Marines on Wake Island had a last stand that belongs with the Alamo in terms of its legendary status. One Marine, Henry Elrod, became a legend during that stand.


What is not as well known is that there was an effort to try to either relieve or evacuate the Marines from Wake Island. Samuel Eliot Morison described that operation in “The Rising Sun in the Pacific,” Volume III of his 15-volume History of United States Naval Operations in World War II.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Most of the F4F Wildcats defending Wake Island were lost in the initial attack. The remaining would also fall to the Japanese, but not before sinking the Kisaragi battleship. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Within days of the Pearl Harbor attack, Adm. Husband E. Kimmel started the effort to help the Marines on Wake.

Kimmel saw a chance to catch part of the Japanese fleet by surprise using Wake as a form of bait. Given that Wake was 2,300 miles from Pearl Harbor, there was no time to waste.

That said, the expedition still took time. All three carriers in the Pacific Fleet would take part. But there were a few problems. The

USS Saratoga (CV 3) was the carrier that had the planes of VMF-221, 14 F2A Brewster Buffalo fighters (utter pieces of junk, but that is another story). In a fateful decision, Kimmel put Rear Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher in charge of Task Force 14, which had the mission to steam into Wake Island.

Fletcher would command from the cruiser USS Astoria (CA 34).

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
U.S. Navy Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo fighters pictured during a training flight from Naval Air Station (NAS) Miami, Florida (USA). 14 of these planes were slated to reinforce the Marines on Wake Island. (US Navy photo)

Vice Adm. William F. Halsey, in command of Task Force 8 on the USS Enterprise (CV 6), would be held in reserve. Vice Adm. Wilson Brown, on board the USS Lexington (CV 2), would carry out a diversionary raid on the Marshall Islands.

Shortly after the expedition departed, Kimmel was relieved by Vice Adm. William Pye, pending the arrival of Chester W. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor. The expedition made its way towards Wake, but Fletcher was seemingly obsessed with his destroyers’ fuel state. Much as the Civil War-era Gen. George McClellan temporized about pressing the attack against Robert E. Lee in late 1862, Fletcher would take time the Marines could not afford to get the fuel he thought he needed for his ships.

Even after messages from the Marines on Wake reported the presence of enemy dive bombers and their desperate situation, he chose to fuel on Dec. 22. Morison would note that the destroyer with the least amount of fuel still had almost 90,000 barrels of fuel oil in its tanks.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Frank Jack Fletcher. (US Navy photo)

Even with the difficult refueling, the USS Saratoga was 425 miles from Wake at 0800 on Dec. 23, where the Marines were in desperate combat with the Japanese. Pye called off the Wake Relief Expedition when word of the landings reached Pearl Harbor. Morison notes that the Marines had actually wiped out the invasion force on Wilkes Island, and it took time to convince the hard-fighting Marines to surrender. They would spend almost four years in Japanese prison camps. Almost 100 of them would be massacred on Oct. 5, 1943.

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed

Inexplicably, Fletcher would still be assigned seagoing commands after the failure of the Wake Relief Expedition. The USS Lexington would be lost during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The USS Yorktown (CV 5) would be sunk at the Battle of Midway (where Fletcher did the smart thing and let Raymond Spruance take the lead).

Fletcher would leave Marines hanging again at Guadalcanal, when a decision to pull back the carriers would lead to the disastrous Battle of Savo Island, where the USS Astoria and three other heavy cruisers would be sunk.

Fletcher was wounded when the USS Saratoga was torpedoed at the end of August, 1942. After that, he’d be shunted off to backwater commands until the end of World War II. He died in 1975.

Articles

Separation delayed for Green Beret who allegedly beat up Afghan commander

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland is being forcibly separated from the U.S. Army because officials say he beat up an Afghan commander, but he recently received a extension on the period in which he can appeal this decision.


In 2011, the Green Beret and Bronze Star recipient admitted to assaulting a local Afghan police commander who he says laughed about raping a boy in Kunduz province. Martland was recommended for involuntary separation through the Army’s qualitative management program in 2015, but wishes to remain in the Army. Then-Army Secretary John McHugh gave him a temporary reprieve. He now has until May 1, 2016 to file an appeal.

 

Martland, an 11-year veteran currently assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, had the support of California Representative Duncan Hunter, himself a Marine Corps veteran, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Hunter sent a letter to Senator Pat Roberts stating that Martland he has “the full support of his command and immediate leadership.”

In World War I, Alvin York captured 132 German soldiers pretty much single-handed
Martland (left) with General Petraeus (center).

Capt. Daniel Quinn was with Martland during the assault and has since left the army.

Quinn and Martland were told by the boy and his mother that the boy was tied to a post and raped repeatedly. Quinn verified the story with locals from other villages. The two Green Berets invited the commander to their base. Martland says he and Quinn only roughly removed the commander from their shared base, while the commander alleges Martland beat him up.

“After the child rapist laughed it off and referenced that it was only a boy, Captain Quinn picked him up and threw him,” Martland wrote in a statement ordered by Rep.Hunter. Martland then proceeded to “body slam him multiple times,” kick him in the rib cage, and put his foot on his neck. “I continued to body slam him and throw him for fifty meters until he was outside the camp,” Martland writes. “He was never knocked out, and he ran away from our camp.”

The incident lasted no more than five minutes, according to the statement.