PLEASE, Captain--Don't Do That!!in Military Stories and Humor in Uniform Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:17 pm
by LLE • | 101 Posts
Believe it or not, we had become part of the US Marines, whether we liked it or not. The Marines were in charge of harbor defense and did not have any heavy AAA, so--they had requested the Army to detach a 90mm AAA Battalion for defense of the Pusan [now Busan] and Inchon harbors. They ordered two firing Batteries for Inchon, and two more and a Bn HQ at Pusan. My Battery got Pusan, and all of our heavy equipment was unloaded on the dock waiting for us to take the long winding road up to a beautifully high spot overlooking the harbor area. Remember--the Marines picked the site for us. The most important pieces of equipment were several large bulldozers, and the most important people were the seabees. Those guys were magicians, who could do an entrenchment job in less than a New York minute. When we got to the top, they already had the giant rectangular hole for the Radar trailer done on the highest point. We backed the radar in, and they covered it almost to the roof line, leaving only the parabolic antenna visible. In the meantime another dozer cut a nice hole close by, for the power generator., and another smaller one for the optical tracker head and the analog computer. The range platoon grunts filled about a hundred sand bags and we started dressing up each of these sites, for defensive purposes. Then we ran the cables.
The four guns and the quad 50 turrets, were to be emplaced about 50+ yards down slope from us on a plateau near the edge of a cliff [ too near for me to want to become an emergency gun crew member!]. Then the CO [ Battery Commanders were usually O-3 Captains] directed the tractors to pull the guns,one by one, into the saucer shaped spots prepared by the dozers. After the guns were unhitched and the tractors departed, the gun crews
began the emplacement by unfolding the gigantic outriggers on each gun mount. The range platoon guys ran the cables down, connected them to the guns and also to displays in the HQ command tent. All was in readyness for the "settling shots" to stabilize the guns. The procedure usually was to set the fuze for maximum range, align the gun away from any direction that might shower shrapnel on any people or structures, get all crews and other people under cover, and fire the gun with a remote switch.
BUT NO!! Our CO decided to save time by firing all four of the guns simultaneously!! After about a half hour of [first] polite military courtesy wrangling by the gun platoon officer and the range platoon officer, plus more heated behavior by the Top and the Senior NCO's, we almost had a mutiny based on a presumed unsafe order--but the CO prevailed by threats of Courts Marshals, and all sorts of bad things. So, the guns were made ready, and all personnel took cover with ear protection. It was "fire in the hole", and a boom that sounded like a 16 incher. As the dust settled, if you looked toward the guns, you saw another slow motion event. But this one was REAL slow motion. The guns were slowly sinking lower and lower into the earth, right before our eyes. It was as though they were on a gigantic elevator that was going down to the first floor. This was a scene worthy of ANY comedy movie. Everyone was standing there frozen and speechless, not believing what they were seeing, jaws dropped wide. The poor Captain was almost apoplectic, stammering and stuttering, first white faced then red faced , and then almost fainted dead away. The medics revived him and made sure it was not a stroke or heart siezure. We all milled around with our thumbs up our a$$es trying to figure out what in hell just happened. The gun platoon LT phoned the Batallion Exec Officer and reported the event. The Exec opined that the Captain would probably be courts marshaled, after the investigation. But a funny thing happened on the way to the courtsmarshal. The investigation revealed that the Marines who picked the site, failed to survey the geography carefully, and had chosen a site that was on top of a gigantic, old WW II Japanese ammunition cave. The next order came verbally, from the Marine Commander of the Pusan Harbor complex to Bn HQ. Proceed down to the dock, and draw the four replacement M1A1 90mm guns, already signed out to me. We will take care of the site structural modifications and repair, including bulldozing over the original guns. Army records will show that this event never happened, but settling rounds had better be fired individually from now on.............................
RE: PLEASE, Captain--Don't Do That!!in Military Stories and Humor in Uniform Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:37 pm
by Greasy Paws • | 111 Posts
"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been ... to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country. To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home." --George Washington, letter to Partick Henry, 1775
RE: PLEASE, Captain--Don't Do That!!in Military Stories and Humor in Uniform Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:11 pm
by LLE • | 101 Posts