5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy

#2. Alvin York

Who Was He?

Born to a family of redneck farmers from Tennessee, Alvin York spent much of his youth getting piss drunk in bars and getting into crazy barfights. When his friend got killed in one of the aforementioned barfights, he swore off the liquor, and became a pacifist. When he received his draft notice in 1917, York filed as a "conscientious objector" but was denied. They shipped his ass out to basic training.

About a year later, he was one of 17 men designated to sneak around and take out a fortified machine-gun encampment guarding a German railroad. As they were approaching, the gunners spotted them and opened fire, tearing nine of the men to pieces.


What's left of York's troupe.

The few survivors that didn't have enormous balls of steel ran away, leaving York standing there taking fire from 32 heavy machine gunners. As he said in his diary,

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

After he killed the first 20 men or so, a German lieutenant got five guys together to try to take this guy from the side. York pulled out his Colt .45 (which only had eight bullets) and killed all of them with it, a practice he likened to "shoot[ing] wild turkeys back home."

At this point lieutenant Paul Jurgen Vollmer yelled out over the noise asking if York was English. See, in WWI, no one really took the Americans very seriously, and everyone thought of them as the rookies. Vollmer figured this crazy/awesome/ballsy soldier must be some kind of English superman who was showing these sissy Americans how it was done. When York said he was American, Vollmer replied "Good Lord! If you won't shoot any more I will make them give up."

Ten minutes later, 133 men came walking towards the remains of York's battalion. Lieutenant Woods, York's superior at first thought it was a German counter-attack until he saw York, who saluted and said "Corporal York reports with prisoners, sir." When the stunned officer asked how many, York replied "Honest, Lieutenant, I don't know."

The Best Hollywood Could Come Up With:

John Rambo from Rambo.

Why it Doesn't Compare:

Sure, Rambo takes on a huge chunk of the Vietnamese soldiers guarding a POW camp and slaughters them all. But that was a good 10 years after the war ended. It's not like they were expecting some guy to come charging into the camp, mowing everybody down.

York pulled his badassery off in the middle of a war, while outnumbered every bit as badly as Rambo was. And York's the one who was a pacifist.

#1. Audie Murphy

Who Was He?

When Audie Murphy applied to the Marines in 1942 at the tender age of 16, he was 5'5" and weighed 110 pounds. They laughed in his face. So he applied to the Air Force, and they also laughed in his face. Then he applied for the Army, and they figured they could always use another grunt to absorb gunfire, so they let him in. He wasn't particularly good at it, and they actually tried to get him transferred to be a cook after he passed out halfway through training. He insisted that he wanted to fight though, so they sent him into the maelstrom.

During the invasion of Italy he was promoted to corporal for his awesome shooting skills, and at the same time contracted malaria, which he had for almost the entire war. Try to remember that.

He was sent into southern France in 1944. He encountered a German machine gun crew who pretended they were surrendering, then shot his best buddy. Murphy completely hulked out, killed everyone in the gun nest, then used their weaponry to kill every baddie in a 100-yard radius, including two more machine gun nests and a bunch of snipers. They gave him a Distiguished Service Cross, and made him platoon commander while everyone apologized profusely for calling him "Shorty."

About half a year later, his company was given the job of defending the Colmar Pocket, a critical region in France, even though all they had left was 19 guys (out of the original 128) and a couple of M-10 Tank Destroyers.

The Germans showed up with a shitload of guys and half a dozen tanks. Since reinforcements weren't coming for a while, Murphy and his men hid in a trench and sent the M-10s to go do the heavy lifting. They got ripped to shreds.

Then, this five-and-a-half-foot-tall kid with malaria ran up to one of the crippled M-10s, hopped in behind the .50 cal machine gun, and started killing everything in sight. Understand that the M-10 was on fire, had a full tank of gas and was basically a death-trap.


He is a seriously tiny man.

He kept going for almost an hour until he was out of bullets, then walked back to his bewildered men as the M-10 exploded in the background Mad Max style. They gave him literally every medal they could (33 in all, although he had doubles of a few, plus five from France and one from Belgium), including the Medal of Honor.

After the war, he came down with Shell-Shock, and was prescribed the antidepressant placidyl. When he became addicted to the drug, rather than enter a program like some kind of sissy, he went cold-turkey, locked himself in a motel room for a week and got over it. He wrote an autobiography entitled To Hell and Back, and later became an actor.

The Best Hollywood Could Come Up With:

Audie Murphy (Audie Murphy) from To Hell and Back:


He is a seriously tiny man.

In To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy plays Audie Murphy, a badass war hero who proves his worth on the battlefield with his awesome badassery. The movie was the highest-grossing film Universal made, a record it held for 20 years until the making of Jaws. That's right, they actually needed a movie about a giant, man-eating, shark to top Audie Murphy's awesomeness.

Why it Doesn't Compare:

When some Hollywood producer wanted to make a movie based on Murphy's autobiography, he was determined to have Murphy play himself in the film. Murphy was afraid people would see the complete insane awesomeness the story had to offer, and think he was embellishing or trying to cash in on his fame, so he actually had them take parts out for fear that they wouldn't be believable to a Hollywood audience. Seriously.

Sometimes killing a dozen men at once isn't what makes you badass, but how a dozen men failed at killing you. Check out those men (and a lady) who were impervious to death in 7 Historical Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard To Kill. Or check out the badasses who opted to just spit in Death's face, in The 11 Most Badass Last Words Ever Uttered.

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