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Old 05-23-2004, 12:34   #1
Bill Powell
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artillery fun

my uncle was in an artillery company, and his job was to drive the truck, or tractor, that towed an 8 inch howitzer. when they were dug in and set up for fire missions my uncle did not have a hell of a lot to do, so he would go forward with FO to kill time. in one of their sites, they inherited a five o-clock charlie, usually some do-do in a beat up plane doing a little harassing. well, this five o-clock charlie flew an ME-109, and raised some serious hell on his fly thru. one day up at the FO site, the lt had just called in a fire mission for a pre-selected target. just as the guns fired, the lt radioed back and told them five o-clock charlie was coming. just about the time he said that, that ME-109 and one of those 8 inch rounds met, prop spinner to fuze cap. while it was raining 109 parts, the lt called back and told them never mind.

possibly at the same FO site, the lt punched my uncle on the arm, and pointed to a cross road down in the valley, two or three miles away. there was a german courier on a motorcycle heading for that cross road. the lt called in the fire coordinates, waited a few seconds, and yelled FIRE. THAT 8 INCH round and that motorcycle arrived at that cross road at exactly the same time. the german commander probably never did figure out why he didn't get his dispatch.

see what i mean? there are some cool stories out there, and they need to be remembered by someone.
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Old 05-23-2004, 13:05   #2
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Re: artillery fun

c'est la guerre
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Old 05-23-2004, 15:03   #3
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A Iraqi T55 tank approched C Battery's M109 self propelled Howitzers so they started to direct fire at the T55 with their 155mm HE rounds and one of my friends rounds was the only round to hit the the T55 but didn't go off. The reason was in the heat of battle the loader just grabbed the first round he saw which still had the fuse plug still in it and loaded it into the tube. After being hit the T55 left the AO in a hurry.
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Old 05-23-2004, 16:09   #4
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artillery fun

i'll bet the ears of that T-55 crew rang for a week.
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Old 05-24-2004, 22:56   #5
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I wouldn't have wanted to be inside of that tin can!!
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Old 05-25-2004, 04:37   #6
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artillery fun

one of the old WILLIE and JOE cartoons from the stars and stripes showed a guy looking up from where he was digging a fox hole. evidently he had just been invited to join an armored unit. he was saying, "no thankee, i'd druther dig. them moving foxholes tend to attract the eye." i feel that way about armor.
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Old 05-25-2004, 16:51   #7
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This one time, in band camp... Sorry, just couldn't help myself. ;f Here are my storied from being an Indirect-Fire Infantryman (aka: Mortarman, High Angle Hell, Mortar Maggot, Gun Bunnies, etc.). This all happened while I was assigned to an Airborne Company out of Fort Richardson, AK.

"Birds in the Open":
Anyway, once my (60-mm) section was getting doing some live-firing to prepare for our up coming MORTEX (Mortar Examination) when our FO started running at us screaming if we were up!? When our Section Sgt asked why he exclaimed that he had a flock of birds sitting in our impact area (mud flats). We set up in a hurry and our FDC Section came up with a firing solution.

As they were getting ready, I yelled at the ammo handler to make sure the fuze was set to NSB (Near Surface Burst 5-15 meters above ground) but the know-it-all druggie gunner (the guy was a coke head) convinced him otherwise. If memory serves me right, the 60-mm Mortar HE round had 4 settings: Delay: 1/2 seconds, Impact, NSB-5-15 meters, and Proximity:10-25 meters.

Well before I can say anything they hung and fired. We all ran forward of our firing line to see the carnage. The round landed smack-dab in the middle of the flock. Unfortunately, the ammo handler had set the fuze ti Impact. Since th ground was soft mud, it buried itself before detonating and the flock took off as soon as the first round went off. It was one heck of a shot though. ;f

"Misfire!!"
One another occassion, we were showing the 11-Bullet Stoppers how the mortars work. Then we allowed each one of them to drop two HE rounds each. I'd have five of them lined up with two rounds ready and they would each drop two then move out of the way (I'd be gunning). The last batch of 11Bs were standing in line, when I gave them the order to "Hang it!" and then "Fire!".

The first four dropped their rounds without a hitch, but then came number 5 (A guy named limp wiener named Phillips). He drops teh first one and then nothing!! Following procedure, I stood up and yelled "Misfire!!". I looked at Phillips and noticed that he was holding his second round with the fins pointing up. I looked at him and he says: "I dropped it in backwards." I said: "You did what?!" ;P

At this point one of our Platoon Leaders is running for the bunker yelling "He dropped it in backwards!! He dropped it in backwards!!" The four NCOs (FO, 2-Mortar Section Sgts, and Plt Sgt) who was standing to the left of my mortar started saying the same to each other in a ripple-type effect (right to left). Once the last of them heard and repeated the statement: "He dropped it in backwards?", they all dispersed and dove for the bunker. I looked around and bonehead Phillips had also left for the bunker (dropping the other round in teh process ;Q). The only thing missing was the sounds of crickets as I stood there beside my M-224 Mortar with nobody else around.

I went through the established procedure in clearing a misfire. First I waited the required time in case of hang fire (30 seconds, I think). Nect I verified that there wasn't a hangfire occuring by checking for heat at the base of the tube. Then I gave the tube a couple of kicked to dislodge any stuck rounds. Since that didn't wotrk, I removed the sight (or did I removed this before I kicked it?) in preperation for removing teh round. But since this is a two-man operation, I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to accomplish this.

Finally, the Assistant Section Sgts (we had one SSG and one Sgt/E-5) felt guilty enough to come out and give me a hand in this effort. I unlocked the tube from the baseplate, lifted it up, and shook it anough to let the rounds slide out of the tube onto teh Sgt's awaiting hands. Lo and behold!! The round came out fin first!! It was only later on we found out that this generation of this particular rounds had a bad propensity of exploding when extracted from the tube. ;P

"Run, Ranger!! Run!!"
We were working with a Mortar Seciotn from 1/75th Rangers who were showing us how thw M-224 60-mm Mortar works (at Fort Lewis, WA). We still had the M-29 81-mm Mortar at this point but were scheduled to receive the 60-mm Mortar in a few weeks. First, they showed us how the system got put together, the rounds' fuze settings, charges, and the different modes (Safe, Drop-fired, Trigger-fired).

Then they showed us how to trigger fire the system using the small baseplate and the built in range finder. This was a plastic ball that "floated" in some kind of oil ina huge glass vial with tritium for illumination (I later made a cover for this which one of my Sgts received the credit and a citation for - but that's another story). I volunteered to be the first one to hand-fire the mortar, the target (and old truck) was at about 600 meters and the charge was "1" (I think).

Well, the trigger was very stiff and broke at about 20 pounds (I'm not kidding). I pulled and pulled until finally: "blam!!" I waited and waited for the impact ready to take note of any adjustments I might need to do for teh next round. Well, as it turns out I inadvetently pulled the muzzle back while I was squeezing (with all my might) that trigger. The plastic ball never moved because of the viscosity of the oil in which it was supended in. That is when I realized that I should always shake the gun so that the ball would move to the correct range setting within that range indicator.

The round had impacted at about 300 meters!!-well within danger close for training. Again, the only thing missing was the sounds of crickets because when I looked around, I was once again all alone on that firing line!! I looked behind me and all I saw was a bunch of Paratroopers and Rangers fighting for what limited space there was in the bunker. The funniest thing I did see was my then Platoon Leader (we still had a Mortar Platoon then) and the Ranger FO running head long into each other because our LT did not realize he was running away from the bunker!! The Ranger FO pointed this out and they had a foot race to the bunker which was filled to capacity so much that legs were sticking out of the entrance. But somehow, they still managed to squeeze in though. ;f I was laughing so hard at that sight I totally forgot that maybe I should be running for cover.

The Ranger Spec-4 who was instrucing us was the first one to (literally) crawl out of the bunker, white as can be. All he could say was: "aim it out. Way out!!" To which I could only respond: "Okay." The next two rounds impacted within a couple hundred meters of the intended target.

I've got a few more, but I'llsave those for later!!
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Old 05-25-2004, 17:12   #8
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;z LMFAO, Carlos ;z
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Old 05-25-2004, 19:49   #9
Bill Powell
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when artillery is not so fun

i was stationed at ft sill, ok. in 1962. i drove a radio taxi. ft. sill had a taxi fleet to support the various schools that did not have their own transportation program. one day i was in the motor pool, washing my cab, (my cab was a 57 chevy pick-up) when all hell broke loose. ambulance after ambulance was heading to the artillery range. did the sound of a siren ever tell you that something terrible had happened? thay can, sometimes.

as any of the military probably know, ft sill is an artillery training post. they were having a load and fire training class with a 105 mm self propelled howitzer. they tried to fire a round, and nothing. wait, try again. i've forgotten the cool down regulations for a mis-fire in a csnnon, but they went through the prescribed procedure by the book. when, according to regs, they started to unload the piece, there were two students, one nco instructor, and at the back door, two civilian range workers and two more nco instructors looking in. when they finally opened the breech and started to unload the round, it exploded when it was about half way out of the breech of the gun. the reason they know exactly what happened was the rest of the class was in the bleachers right beside the gun, and the procedure was being relayed to them by loud speaker. a case of doing everything right and still losing.

the only duty i used to volunteer for at ft sill was driving the busses to the artillery demonstrations. that was so cool. they would fire everything from small arms to the 280 mm atomic cannon. they would fire the honest john and the little john rockets. way cool. anyone remember the little john? it rotated on its launch rail til a certain RPM, at which point a generator fired the rocket motor. it had no fins, just spin stability. the most potentially memorable thing that happened there involved an F-100 super saber, one of the most beautiful fight planes ever built, thank you very much. anyway they would come up from shepherd AFB, and do napalm runs over our target area. well, on one pass, when the pilot released the bombs, the suspension hook on one end of one of the bombs stuck for a moment, and the bomb swung under the plane, collided with the other bomb, and exploded. that plane disappeared in a huge fireball. just about the time people started to scream the plane shot out of there waggling his wings to shake off the globs of burning napalm stuck to the plane. very exciting.
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Old 05-25-2004, 20:32   #10
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Bill have you heard the saying:
"The only time that Ft Sill looks good?"
"Is in your rear view mirror"

I swear that Ft.Sill is the only place I've ever been to that went through all four season in one day.
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Old 05-25-2004, 21:08   #11
Bill Powell
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artillery fun

7677, i've heard that expression, and i've lived that expression. i lived in headquarters company, right by the stockade where they kept geronimo.
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Old 05-26-2004, 21:23   #12
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artillery fun

in the post office, we did not live at first cav div headquarters company, but at 33rd quartermaster. well, one day the 33rd got a brand new company commander, one first Lt surface. he had been a heavy infantry CO, til about two days before we got him. he was commanding some 106 recoilless rifles, in a field exercise up above the 38th parallel. just as he was getting ready to drop the hammer a referee shut him down for a map check. the officer's map cases carried combat maps and training maps. somehow his map packs got screwed up, and all his guns were a couple of miles on the other side of the DMZ, at a north korean supply depot. that one little OH CRAP wiped out all those ATTABOYS that he had been accumulating. it took him one day to go from heavy infantry co commander, to our quartermaster compound, at munsan-ni.
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