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An M 60 tank fired its main gun (105mm and much bigger case than a 105 howitzer) while I was operating a good size payloader cleaning up an adjacent tank range in Grafenwohr, Germany. I was down range a little and it certainly got my attention...

Years later I was employed and retired from a government arsenal that manufactured large caliber cannons. After awhile you get used to the big gun tubes traveling overhead all the time...
 

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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.
Rereading this thread reminded me of the time one of the officers wanted to drop a 81mm mortar round before he left for home. I agreed and gave him an illumination round to drop. As soon as it hit the bottom of the tube I could tell from the "sick" sound that it was going to be a short round. I did a back flip out of the pit and when I looked over the sand bag wall the round was hanging from the tube by its fins. The officer didn't want to drop another one.
 

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I have never myself, but my cousin was on the New Jersey in late 60's, all hands were told to be behind cover when the 16's went off, but some thought it would be a good idea to get a picture of the blast. They thought it would be ok to hold their cameras up over cover to get the shot, I think those cameras are still among the missing!
 
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