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Another bit of Gunner Zen

I posted that artillery video over on Facebook, with pretty much identical commentary.  Dave Lange observed (in response to my tent comments):

Dave Lange: Wonder how much of that is lack of experience/training with firing positions that aren't on FOBs? I'd bet their E-7s, and certainly their E-6s, all joined up after 9/11.

Dave Lange: And the battery commander is probably class of '05 or '06, and the PL class of '11, maybe.

Which caused me to opine:

John Donovan: And their battalion commander didn't spend much time with guns, either. Because... nobody does. They were light infantry though.

Apropos  those comments on my gunbunny video below - the kind of artilleryman referred to in the photo below simply no.longer.exists. That's not good or bad per se, it is a reflection on the current state of war in the world. In case it's not readable - that is the base of the cartridge of the last round fired in Vietnam by the 6th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, while under the Auld Soldier's command.

The top plate reads

Last of 351,492
fired by 6 BN 15 FA
under your command.

The bottom plate reads

4th Sec C Btry
Loc Ninh RVN
14 SEP 69

The pic embiggens.


 

7 Comments

As a casual observer of field artillery operations on fire bases in SE Asia, this from an infantryman's perspective:

While at first glance, firebases might seen to be laid out in a haphazard fashion, they diligently followed several organizing principles:

Defense of the Firebase a high priority
Proper stowage of ammunition and propellent together with a system for handling residue
All guns able to fire 360 at all elevations
Overhead cover was for real, bad guys had mortars and arty too

Gun drills impressed me as simple, efficient, and serious.  Uniform was often trousers, boots, and steel pots, but every man knew his job, did it with no wasted motion, and no lolly gagging in the gun position.  Of course, they fired alot of missions, so they were very good at it.
 

What a wonderful tribute, and how wonderful that you have kept it and it hasn't been destroyed or lost.

 
I know that ammo is/was manufactured to have a long sorage life, but firing 1945 ammo in 1969 seems a bit much.  That said I admit that I was on the receiving end more than the sending so I can't attest to the storage life of Russian 107 mm rockets. 
 
 We reloaded those brass cases, Augetter.  If you look, you'll see the primer is dated in the early sixties.  And that being 1945 production, they may not have been loaded during the war.  That casing may have spent time in storage.
 
John, on the 105 mm rounds, were the primers inserted immediately before firing the round?  I know the 155mm had a separate primer, but thought the 105's had the primer loaded into the brass.
 
The rounds came loaded as "semi-fixed."

You got the cartridge case, which had powder bags in side, tied to a string itself secured to the primer tube, and the projectile.  When you got a fire mission, you pulled off the excess charge bags, put the projo in the casing, loaded and fired.  Expended cases were recycled.  Depending on the year-to-year economics and *where* rounds were expended, the cases were either sold for scrap, recycled into new cases, or reloaded.
 
The particular round in question has a 1945 case with a 1962 (I think) primer.  The possibilities are endliess in terms of the casing having been made in 1945, stockpiled but not loaded until the early 60's, etc.  The data to answer that question would have been painted on the casing, which is, of course, missing, and in the event they had given Dad the whole thing, likely polished off anyway.