in the field, which was as much fun as such usually is. Did tell me a couple of things I didn’t know.
They were working with gunners in the Paladin self-propelled 155mm gun. There are three powder bags for it: White(standard charge), Green(medium charge) and Red(max charge). They had two guns with rebuilt breech mechanisms, and it seems the standard method of proofing them is to fire them twice with a Red bag, those two shots being the first fired, using a 50-foot lanyard; it survives that, all’s well. Yeah, I’d have thought they’d do that when they were rebuilt, but apparently not.
This led to mention of once in Iraq, he watched a Paladin fire with a DOUBLE-Red bag charge; target at max range he was told. Ok, the Paladin is a tracked chassis and the whole thing weighs 32 tons, and before firing they put chocks behind the tracks(when there's time). The recoil impulse of this shot was strong enough that the whole damn vehicle jounced back so far the chocks wound up in front of the rear road wheel. Think about that; even with the recoil mechanism on the gun and the weight, it pushed the whole thing back that far. As he put it, “When they fire that, you don’t want to be anywhere near it.” Can you imagine the muzzle blast?
Also mentioned that in the region around White Sands, it’s not unusual to be driving along the back roads and see Oryx. The things were imported for game farms a long time ago, and some got loose, and now there’s a sustaining population(hell, they live in the Kalahari; they can take the American southwest no problem). As he put it, they’re driving along and see one(“That’s not too big, maybe deer-size”) and then daddy came out(“LOOK at that sucker!”) Part of the briefing for that area had included “When you run across one of these, don’t bother them; they’re kind of bad-tempered.” Considering the damage a pissed-off deer can do, I would not want to be on the bad side of one.
There was also the Effing New Guy(FNG for short) who is fresh out of AIT and getting the full treatment. Though the worst he did all on his own. Sent out to find something, a while later someone asked “Where’s FNG?”
“Oh, hell, I don’t know. Let’s go on the rise.”
A couple of minutes with binoculars, “Who’s that in the impact area?”
Radio call: “FNG, where are you?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Wave your arms around.” He did, it’s him. “Do you see any unexploded ordnance?”
”Yeah, I’ve seen about twenty.”
“Didn’t that tell you something? You’re in the mortar impact area, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE.” In proper radio language, of course.
No, there were no loud bangs, he did make it out, and I’m sure he heard words about taking a look around before you walk into the area with all the holes in the ground and unexploded shells.
Speaking of artillery, here’s something I’d love to have one of these. It’s a 37mm anti-tank gun, built in the 1930’s. There are two(de-milled, unfortunately) in front of the 45th Infantry Division Museum here in Oklahoma City, and from the first time I saw them, I wanted one. Just think of the fun you could have with one; solid shot, talk about long-range shooting. I know zinc has been used, and I’ve heard of aluminum being used to make shot for small guns like this; you could use a lathe to turn them.
Can you imagine being stopped as you tow it to the range? “Sir, where are you going with that?” “Target shooting.” “With THAT?” “Yeah, want to come try a shot?” With most cops around here, “Hell yeah!”
Mind you, you’d go through a lot of powder. And I wonder what kind of primer you’d need? Something standard, or would you have to mill out the pocket and make an insert so you could use shotgun primers? For that matter, where to find 37mm cases?
But it’d be fun