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Stranger than fiction

Postby Melathys » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:25 pm

You couldn't write any fiction more unbelievable than this, short of making aliens drop out of the sky.

Audie Murphy, most decorated soldier in American history.
This is regarding his Medal of Honor citation.

Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective


and if you read other medal of honor winner stories, it just boggles the mind what these people did.

http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Hokahey » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:57 pm

Sadly, Sgt. York's citation doesn't do justice to what he actually did.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Snake-Aes » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:14 am

Audie Murphy is one of the two or three top soldiers in the list of "soldiers who were too badass for reality to bear". In the words of cracked: He asked to tone down the movie because people wouldn't believe any loyal depiction of what he did.


The lowliest guy was one that climbed a mountain while taking a dozen or so shots and destroyed one or two of the fortified bunks on top, making way for the rest of the troops to finish the whole ordeal. And he survived. His medal has "doing things deemed physically impossible" as a pre-requisite.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Fivelives » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:05 am

http://badassoftheweek.com/list.html has quite a few of these "stranger than fiction" stories on it. Great reads, all of them.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Njall » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:07 am

And then there's the Victoria Cross. Whole 'nother thing. But the posthumous award rate on that is far higher than on the CMH.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Brekkie » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:20 am

It really pisses me off though that in the 10 years we've been at war now, they have been extremely stingy about giving out medals of honor. I have no idea why, probably political reasons, but every time I read these WW2 citations it draws parallels to other citations I have read for modern Soldiers and Marines in the War on Terror whose heroism was just as great, and who accomplished feats just as breathtaking, and yet were lucky to get a Navy Cross or a Silver Star with combat V.

It says something that, after 10 years of war, we only JUST had the FIRST AND ONLY Medal of Honor award to a still-living recipient.

Also, don't get me started on the two Marines who saved their entire squads by doing exactly the same thing, jumping on a grenade, while one (the white dude) got a Medal of Honor, but the other one (the hispanic dude) got downgraded by congress to the lesser Navy Cross.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Arnock » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:57 am

I give you, Simo Häyhä

It was during the Winter War (1939–1940), between Finland and the Soviet Union, that he began his duty as a sniper and fought for the Finnish Army against the Red Army. In temperatures between −40 and −20 degrees Celsius, dressed completely in white camouflage, Häyhä was credited with 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers,[2][4] 542 if unconfirmed deaths are included.[4] The unofficial Finnish front line figure from the battlefield of Kollaa places the number of Häyhä's sniper kills over 800.[5] A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was conducted for the Finnish snipers. Besides his sniper kills, Häyhä was also credited with over two hundred kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, thus bringing his credited kills to at least 705.[4] Remarkably, all of Häyhä's kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days with a very limited amount of daylight per day.

Häyhä used a Finnish militia variant, White Guard M/28 "Pystykorva" or "Spitz", of the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, because it suited his small frame (5 ft 3 in/1.60 m). He preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present a smaller target (the sniper must raise his head higher when using a telescopic sight), to prevent visibility risks (a telescopic sight's glass can fog up easily), and aid concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper's position). Another tactic used by Häyhä was to compact the snow in front of him so that the shot would not disturb the snow and reveal his position. He also kept snow in his mouth so that when breathing the steam would not give him away.

The Soviets tried several ploys to get rid of him, including counter-snipers and artillery strikes. On March 6, 1940, Häyhä was shot in the jaw during combat by a Russian soldier. The bullet tumbled upon impact and left his head. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his head was missing" but he was not dead. He regained consciousness on March 13, the day peace was declared. Shortly after the war, Häyhä was promoted straight from corporal to second lieutenant by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. No one else has ever gained rank in such a quick fashion in Finland's military history.



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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Fivelives » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:13 pm

Brekkie wrote:It really pisses me off though that in the 10 years we've been at war now, they have been extremely stingy about giving out medals of honor. I have no idea why, probably political reasons, but every time I read these WW2 citations it draws parallels to other citations I have read for modern Soldiers and Marines in the War on Terror whose heroism was just as great, and who accomplished feats just as breathtaking, and yet were lucky to get a Navy Cross or a Silver Star with combat V.

It says something that, after 10 years of war, we only JUST had the FIRST AND ONLY Medal of Honor award to a still-living recipient.

Also, don't get me started on the two Marines who saved their entire squads by doing exactly the same thing, jumping on a grenade, while one (the white dude) got a Medal of Honor, but the other one (the hispanic dude) got downgraded by congress to the lesser Navy Cross.


They say it's because they want to keep the MOH "rare", but it's really mostly politics. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it's part of the vietnam war purple heart fallout. People got so many medals in the vietnam war that the purple heart became something of a joke - with cooks getting it for getting eggshell pieces in their eyes, soldiers falling out of bunks and spraining joints getting it, etc... now most of the "prestige" medals are near impossible to get. Hell, I had to get dismembered to get my second purple heart, and almost died from a gunshot to get my first. The other time I got shot didn't pass the medal review, because it wasn't deemed a serious enough injury.

For fucks' sakes - I got shot, in combat, and it wasn't deemed "serious enough" to award the purple heart. (repeated for emphasis!)

Fun story - because of a typo when some functionary was putting in a request for a (posthumous) MOH consideration, the military came under the belief that I was dead while I was at Walter Reed. I stopped receiving pay, my next-of-kin got the notification that I'd "heroically died while in the line of duty", and a bunch of other random shit happened. I even got a write-up and an obit in my home town local newspaper, thanks to the Army. It took me two months to get things straightened out - two months of my credit getting completely pooched thanks to not getting paid, heh.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Brekkie » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:56 am

I dunno, we still see them giving out certain medals like candy. Particularly random pouges who go outside the wire ONCE in order to get their combat action ribbon on some weak pretext, and officers writing up their own citations.

A few no shit real stories I know of personally are:
-One guy is the turret gunner of an MRAP that's driving through the base at al asad (i.e. "camp cupcake"), and a low hanging wire snags across at head level of the turret while the guy was NOT in it. Guy put in for a Combat Action Ribbon.
-Boot 2ndLT artillery guy is handed over to a platoon of army cav mounted in bradley fighting vehicles to escort to some other FOB. They get into a pretty bad firefight and the LT spends the entire thing cowering inside his bradley and refusing to engage. The army cav dudes run back through heavy fire and unload all the ammo from the LT's bradley and run it up to their own bradleys and continue to fight and proceed to win the skirmish. When the column arrives at the FOB, the 2LT writes up a citation for himself for a Silver Star with Combat V, in a glowing report of how he courageously directed the fight and pretty much won the whole thing single-handeded, saving the lives of all present.

I dunno how it is in the army regular, but I know in the Marines, and also with the few Rangers I've met, we don't take any medals seriously unless they have a combat V on them, cause all the "big military" superfluous officers like to write up their own citations for bronze stars and stuff for "operating their assignment for 6 months without any accidents" and other "I did my job" bullshit, while using up all the awards quotas and leaving nothing for the fighting men. Only the truly exceptional get recognized at all officially. I've developed a very cynical attitude toward medals and combat action ribbons on non-infantry officers and staff NCOs.

That surprises me they were so stingy with your "forgot to duck" medals. I've seen those given out for "stress".

p.s. when they thought you died, did they not pay out your $400,000 service member's life insurance policy?
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Melathys » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:54 am

I'd blame your command for lack of that purple heart, not politics. I've seen them given out for little more than pin pricks and paper cuts.

I'm still miffed about my CAB. They were given out to people that NEVER left the fob, but we had daily incoming mortar fire (I was at the same fob). While my platoon went outside the wire every day, got blown up and shot at, yet I never got a CAB.

So basically I've learned to not give much credit to awards and medals. People that have them may not have earned them, while others that deserve them don't have them.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Fivelives » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:16 am

Nah, thankfully they didn't pay out my SGLI policy (only $250k at the time - that was the cap back then). I'd hate to have to pay that shit back after the mistake was corrected. It takes awhile for any insurance policy to pay out. Pretty much the only medals I really pay attention to are the assorted stars, crosses, and the MoH. The rest are just chest dressing, as far as I'm concerned. Now I'll have to watch for the stars too, apparently, since people can just write up their own recommendations. There needs to be some oversight on awards - or at least, more/better oversight.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Kelaan » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:13 pm

Fivelives wrote:For fucks' sakes - I got shot, in combat, and it wasn't deemed "serious enough" to award the purple heart. (repeated for emphasis!)

It had never occurred to me that your username was meant to be taken literally. Congratulations on living (and on earning said medals while defending the rest of us). :) Also, thanks.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Lightbeard » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:26 pm

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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Fivelives » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:32 pm

Kelaan wrote:It had never occurred to me that your username was meant to be taken literally.


Lol. Nah, not meant to be taken literally.
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Re: Stranger than fiction

Postby Rachmaninoff » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:33 pm

Arnock wrote:I give you, Simo Häyhä

It was during the Winter War (1939–1940), between Finland and the Soviet Union, that he began his duty as a sniper and fought for the Finnish Army against the Red Army. In temperatures between −40 and −20 degrees Celsius, dressed completely in white camouflage, Häyhä was credited with 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers,[2][4] 542 if unconfirmed deaths are included.[4] The unofficial Finnish front line figure from the battlefield of Kollaa places the number of Häyhä's sniper kills over 800.[5] A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was conducted for the Finnish snipers. Besides his sniper kills, Häyhä was also credited with over two hundred kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, thus bringing his credited kills to at least 705.[4] Remarkably, all of Häyhä's kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days with a very limited amount of daylight per day.

Häyhä used a Finnish militia variant, White Guard M/28 "Pystykorva" or "Spitz", of the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, because it suited his small frame (5 ft 3 in/1.60 m). He preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present a smaller target (the sniper must raise his head higher when using a telescopic sight), to prevent visibility risks (a telescopic sight's glass can fog up easily), and aid concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper's position). Another tactic used by Häyhä was to compact the snow in front of him so that the shot would not disturb the snow and reveal his position. He also kept snow in his mouth so that when breathing the steam would not give him away.

The Soviets tried several ploys to get rid of him, including counter-snipers and artillery strikes. On March 6, 1940, Häyhä was shot in the jaw during combat by a Russian soldier. The bullet tumbled upon impact and left his head. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his head was missing" but he was not dead. He regained consciousness on March 13, the day peace was declared. Shortly after the war, Häyhä was promoted straight from corporal to second lieutenant by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. No one else has ever gained rank in such a quick fashion in Finland's military history.



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thats 70 kills A DAY
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