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Since I was never in the military I've always enjoyed veterans talking about the big guns being fired. Since there's a lot of veterans on TFF what is the most impressive guns you've seen/heard? I'd bet theres some Navy guys especially that have seen some big ones. I've always been totally amazed at the photos of the WW1 and WW2 battleships firing their big guns. But I've only seen photos.
 

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Between the regular Air Force and the Mo. Air Natl. Guard Band I spent a year in the Mo. Army guard, 108th Artillery Acquisition Unit in Columbia, Mo. The one summer camp I went to at Fort Ripley, Mn., I was the CO's driver.....there isn't many jet aircraft for a former crew chief to work on in an army artillery acq. unit....

The artillery unit we supported was out of Mexico, Mo and I don't remember if they had 105's or 155's....or something else. The CO and I were back at the the firing emplacements and being a gun nut even then I wanted to shoot one. The CO asked and with a bunch of toothsome grins the entire gun crew said sure!! Well, I was green and anxious and the enthusiasm for a new guy didn't register. They very carefully positioned me, handed me the lanyard and showed me how to slap it when the order to fire was given. Well, the order was given, I slapped the lanyard, the gun went off and I was about knocked off my feet by the back blast from the muzzle....and the laughter began. Any arty guys know where they put me, right in the "V" of the back blast....or whatever it's called.

That was the one and only time I had anything to do with a "big gun". I was impressed. Most of the time the CO and I were with the FO's. I was even more impressed with the "fire for effect" of accurate artillery fire. Made me glad I was in the Air Force except for that year.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I remember in the photos of the old battleships firing it looked like the boat (I don't know the correct terminology) pushed itself sideways when the guns fired.
Thanks for the stories guys, I'm sure that I'm not the only person that enjoys reading them.
soonerfan, when they call a gun a "6pounder" or something similar, does that mean that the cannon ball or projectile is 6pounds?
 

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Got to load a 5 incher on an old tin can during a training exercise. We were supposed to have a live fire on a tow target but that was s**tcanned so all we got to shoot at was the other gun’s air burst. Close, but no cigar.

Being an Airdale later on, I worked on A-7s. No large guns but two 20 mm cannons, lots of rockets and 500 lb. bombs galore. A real workhorse during Vietnam.
 

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We had a battery of 175s behind us firing over our compound for a while. Eerie sound and feeling as they push through the air over your head. In the back of your mind you always hope there will not be a short round.

Hated the concussion from those Civil War cannons when they fired close by. 6" or #? iirr

Since I fired mortars in VN, I got to pull the cord on a Civil War mortar once, but just my luck. It misfired and didn't ignite the charge.
 

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Not Artillery, but I was behind and to the left of a Dragon Anti-Tank weapon about to be fired at Ft. Carson, CO 4th Mech. Infantry, on the Tank range after a bunch of tanks had been going at it for a while. (I was doing my normal Military Photography gig.) The Dragon has a large rubber ring on the back of it to help absorb the blast.(?)

It sure took me by surprise. Much more severe than the Tank rounds. (Of course I was quite a bit closer.) I still have an enlarged photo from that shot. One guy kneeling with the weapon, one guy on his feet spotting. You can literally feel the blast when looking at that image. Dust, dirt, rubber, etc. flying everywhere. Me about 10' away. Probably like the Artillery guys laughing, smiling and saying Sure you can fire this Puppy. "Watch this."

I guess it it all relative where are you, and how close are you?
 

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Got to stand behind a 105 while it fired during Division Training for the 101st Airborne ("CERTS") up near Quang Tri while they fired. Pretty impressive. About the same time I was on Perimeter Guard and (I didn't know they were there behind some trees) a bunch of 105s let loose about 2AM up near the DMZ. Got my attention real fast.

Not exactly "watching them fire" - but when I was shot down over Laos we were carrying a sling load of fused 155 rounds. These were ready-to-load-and-fire for the ARVINs during Lam San 719. We "punched the load" and when it hit the ground and went off (about 12 155s at once) everyone thought we had bought the farm and called is in as KIA. Meantime we were boogieing it back in the direction of Khe Sanh. Didn't quite make it all of the way.... Kinda funny - after we got picked up and brought back everyone stared at us like they were seeing ghosts!

Saw a 155 projectile in flight once. We were flying over a Fire Base at just the right angle to get the glint from the sun on it in flight. Seems some Bad Guys were snooping around another abandoned Fire Base close by. Ruined their day. Better part of their weekend, too.

BTW - the slang for Artillerymen was "Cannon Cockers".
 

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God Bless you Jim Brady. Crisp hand Salute to you Sir.

Really appreciate your Service, and that you made it back. My Dad did two tours in Vietnam with the 173rd ABN. Korea and WWII before that. 32 yr Lifer ABN CSM Combat Vet. (Super proud of you Dad.)

Proud of ALL my Military Brothers. Anyone that raised a hand and Volunteered, or Served in any Capacity has my RESPECT.
 

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The only "big gun" I've been around (other than Phalanx CIWS) is the canon we shoot at the local gun range. On holidays we launch bowling balls into the desert. But for a big bang, it's hard to beat watching the test launch of Peacekeeper 13. Our driver got mixed up and we ended up watching from a blown out ATLAS launch pad that was way too close; we were supposed to be standing five miles away. Wow, what a firework!
 

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8"38 on the old USS Chicago CG11
 
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Discussion Starter #17
God Bless you Jim Brady. Crisp hand Salute to you Sir.

Really appreciate your Service, and that you made it back. My Dad did two tours in Vietnam with the 173rd ABN. Korea and WWII before that. 32 yr Lifer ABN CSM Combat Vet. (Super proud of you Dad.)

Proud of ALL my Military Brothers. Anyone that raised a hand and Volunteered, or Served in any Capacity has my RESPECT.
Well said. I'm enjoying reading these stories. It's also nice to hear something positive from the era of the Vietnam War.
 

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CorsairII and I have similar tales. While my first ship was a heavy cruiser with 8” guns, never saw the guns fired, but BOSTON was our first guided misfile ship, and the Terrier was a LOUD critter when it was launched.

Later, Forrestal had 5” guns during my first Med deployment, and fired them at least once. (I have an ashtray made of a brass shell cut-away) Guns were removed during a refit, never saw any an the subsequent carriers I was on
 

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The M110, 8" self propelled howitzer, the M109, and the 105's towed in Ft. Campbell. Most fun were the M109 where I had the MA deuce mounted.
 
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