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York's famous Machinegun finds a home

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    #46
    This is the French 1:20,000 Foret d’Argonne map sheet used by the American during the battle.

    I added the names of Hills 180 and 167 (The American used the elevation contour index to name most hills).

    You can see the location of the American units when they were ready to jump off on the morning of 8 October and the general locations of the German units they knew were in the hills in the western edge of the Argonne Forest. I also included the divisional boundary between the 82nd and 28th Divisions.

    It is important to understand how the attack took place that morning in order to locate the site of SGT York and the patrol’s action in order to better understand what happened and how it happened. So, please bear with me through these maps.
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      #47
      As I mentioned earlier, the attack was to be oriented along a compass direction of 10 degrees north of west, but this was changed shortly before the 0610 hrs. jump off. All assault formations received this message with the exception of 2nd Battalion, 328th Infantry. The runner bearing this message had been killed and it was later in the morning before the note in the dead runners pock was found and delivered to Major Tillman, the 2nd Battalion Commander who was in the process of clearing Hill 167.

      This map depicts the attack as it was supposed to have happened before the change was made.
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        #48
        This map shows what happened shortly after jump off on 8 October. The 327th Infantry on the right of the 82nd Division attacked from Hill 180 in the direction of Cornay. The 328th Infantry on the division’s left flank continued in a westerly direction, having not received the orders to change the direction of the attack, and the 28th Division was stalled on the eastern slope of Hill 244. This left both flanks of the 328th Infantry virtually exposed or not covered by adjacent friendly units – particularly on the left flank.

        The 328th Infantry was able to advance about half way across the open field just west of Hill 223 before receiving fire from the right (Champrocher Ridge), the center (Hill 167) and particularly damaging fire from the hill located directly southwest of Hill 223. This fire coming from the left stalled the advance on this flank and was decided to send a group of men around this hill and try and get at the German guns from the rear.

        By looking back at the 82nd Division account of this battle I posted earlier you should be able to follow along on the maps I have posted.
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          #49
          This map depicts the 2nd Battalion, 328th Infantry attack shortly after jump off on the morning of 8 October, 1918.

          I emphasize the “hill located directly southwest across the valley from Hill 223”. This is where the 82nd Division says that the German machine guns located here are the primary reason this event occurred and are the first tangible clue we have as to where this event took place.
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            #50
            This is a scan of the original map found in the National Archives. It was annotated with red and blue lines personally by Major Buxton and Captain Danforth as to the route the patrol took as it departed on it’s mission to attack the German machine guns from the rear, where the patrol encountered the Germans in the ravine and the York fight took place as well as the patrol’s egress route back to the battalion CP and where they picked up the additional machine gunners who were pinning down the rest of their company in the valley below.

            This map was made by Buxton and Danforth at the request of Captain Harry O. Swindler of the US Army War College who was preparing a reenactment of the fight for the Annual Army Relief Carnival in 1929.
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              #51
              This is the Buxton/Danforth map depicted on the modern map. The description of events on the left side of the map are excerpts from the letter written by Major Buxton that accompanied the map sent to Captain Swindler at the Army War College. The numbers on the original map correspond to the numbers on the modern map and Buxton’s account.

              It is clear to see the area where this fight occurred and as you will see later agrees with the US Army Graves Registration Service records and many other documents I will provide as we continue.

              This is the area where Dr. Nolan has been conducting his research since 2006 and where I assisted with metal detector survey work last April. Much more on that later…….
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                #52
                I will shift gears a little since it is late now and I will put this on pause here shortly until Sunday night when I can continue.

                This is an image taken by the US Army Signal Corps durg the 1919 investigation into the York expoit and shows the graves of 4 of the men from the patrol who were killed. (notice that the Signal Corps lists the unit as 327th Infantry - it was 328th Infantry)

                In the next photo you will see a modern day view of the same site and this is where Dr. Nolan found one of the most convincing pieces of artifact evidence in 2006, a US Army collar disk from a soldier in G Company, 328th Infantry. This is the site indicated on the Buxton/Danforth map that also agres with the GRS records of where this grave waslocated before being removed to the Meuse-Argonne cemetary.

                Artifacts will be discused in much greater detail later.
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                  #53
                  Here is the current view of the same area, the hill is clearly the same hill, but the vegitation has changed and as anyone who has made then and now photos it is difficult sometimes to pinpoint an exact "spot", particuarly in a wooded area.

                  What is important in this case is the interetsing distribution of artifacts that were found concentrated where this photo was taken.
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                    #54
                    This is the G Company, 328th Infantry collar disk that Dr. Nolan found in 2006 where the modern photo was taken.

                    There was another artifact specifically marked to G Company, 328th Infantry found here as well as another for the 328th Infantry.

                    This site is located several hundred meters south of the 82nd Division's sector and from the position of G Company, 328th Infantry during the battle. After the machine guns on the hill above this ravine were silenced G Company proceeded to its objective and no one from this unit was ever in this ravine.....except the 17 man patrol.
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                      #55
                      Here is another modern perspective of the area we suspect the 4-mangrave was located.
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                        #56
                        This is a where we suspect CPL Savage was initially buried.
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                          #57
                          This is after the regional archaeologist conducted "trenching" around the site of Savage's initial burial site.

                          More on the artifacts found here later.
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                            #58
                            This is a hob-nailed boot sole that was found at the suspected site of CPL Savage's initial burial.
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                              #59
                              This thread just keeps getting better. It should be cleaned up and pinned to the top of the page.
                              pseudo-expert

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                                #60
                                This is a view from the perspective of the Germans who were lying on the slope above the ravine and where the patrol was when the "York fight" occurred.

                                The red panel marker in the foreground is the suspected Savage burial site and the one in the distant, on the other side of the creek, is the suspected site of the 4-man burial.

                                The area near the suspected Savage grave is where the preponderance of expended 30-06 and .45 cartridges were found clustered together and this could possibly be SGT York’s initial firing position. SGT York’s exact firing position is impossible to determine unless we could go back in time and see the event ourselves. However the evidence says this is the correct site.

                                The wealth of information accumulated during the course of this research in conjunction with the findings from the battlefield archaeology conducted at the site almost certainly, with a minimal degree of error, point to this 100x100 meter area as the location where the York fight occurred. Any attempt to point to a specific spot on the ground and say “this is the exact spot where SGT York stood” would be mere speculation.

                                We have to rely on historical documents along with what silent artifacts recovered at the site tell us in order to interpret what possibly occurred here. In the case of this research all of the artifacts found were carefully documented by accurately recording spatial information for each artifact recovered with sub-meter accuracy using a trade standard Trimble GPS unit. This information was later processed and artifact distribution maps were created with trade standard software ArchGIS. So, what I am trying to say is that during the course of this research no data was lost. In the future, should anyone want to continue this research, they will be able to.
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