On This Day

Sgt. Alvin York Kills 25 German Soldiers

Painting of Sergeant Alvin York firing at the German soldiers in France
Painting of Sergeant Alvin York firing at the German soldiers in France

Historical Context

In October 1918, during World War I, Alvin York was one of many thousands of American soldiers fighting on the French front. On October 8, Cpl. York and a number of others were sent to infiltrate a German machine gun position.

After sneaking in, they captured a large group of enemy soldiers. While contending with their prisoners, German machine gun fire killed 6 Americans, putting the newly promoted York in charge.

York himself attacked the machine gun position. With exceptional marksmanship he killed at least 25 enemy soldiers himself in the battle, including shooting dead six Germans with a pistol who rushed at him with bayonets after his rifle ran out of ammo. The German officer in charge of the position tried to kill him but ran out of ammunition himself, offering then to surrender his unit.

York returned to post with 132 prisoners. His actions made him an instant hero, and earned him an immediate promotion. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Painting Info

Artist: Frank Schoonover
Location painted: near Cornay, France

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1918-10-08 American soldier Alvin York single-handedly attacks German gun nest, killing at least 25 and capturing 132 Germans

Historical Paintings