guns, in 1967 there weren’t, particularly not on a tank. The new ones are on board ship.
participated in some unnamed sweep. On which for a few brief minutes there was an
automatic 90mm tank.
see anything much, you have very little idea of just what the hell is going on. Which is
probably just as well, saving wear and tear on your nerves. The only way you can tell
what’s happening outside is through the gun sites, or listening to the three channels of
confusing radio traffic, or whatever the TC might tell you. The gunner’s seat is a
frustrating world sometime, but your one consolation is that when it finally happens,
you’re in the number one position to deal out the retribution from a 90mm main gun or
the coaxial machine gun.
Frenchy) was loading and Sgt. Mac was the tank commander, I don’t remember who was
doing our driving.
up and we were running in very close to the tree lines to provide support and evacuate the
wounded and then running back a few hundred yards to the LZs. All this shuttling, and
the close in work was making me jumpy. Mac would say come right or come left and I’d
bang the hydraulics so hard I’d almost pitch him out of the turret with the speed of the
traversing. “Come right” or whatever usually precedes a firing command, which implies
that we are taking fire. There were a lot of RPGs whizzing around out there and I didn’t
want to take one. Mac got tired of hanging on for his life and told me to “Calm down,
take it slow”. So I pulled myself together and cooled out.
said “Come right”, in what sounded a normal tone, so I started to SLOWLY traverse
right, then heard a second “Come right”, in the same tone and then a third time louder,
followed by “We’re taking fire, COME RIGHT”. At this I whipped it over into some
smoke trails that came out of the bush at us, and started popping off the main gun.
Normally this fire reload has all sorts of commands to it, but then, there was just one.
LaVigne yelling “UP!”, every time the breach block closed on the round he had just
loaded. As soon as I heard “UP”, I squeezed the triggers, and immediately heard another
“UP” and squeezed again. This went on for about five blistering rounds until Mac
hollered “Cease fire!” Whoever had been out there they would have to sift through a
strainer, half the tree line was gone. We were blowing off “Canister”, which is like a
giant shotgun shell, three and a half inches across and ten to twelve inches high, filled
with 250, .45 caliber steel slugs. Until we got back in, I really didn’t have much idea as
the track on the gunner’s side. There were a half dozen holes through it and the road
wheels from the RPGS that had been fired at us, none had hit the hull. That rocket
gunner must have been close and very nervous to have missed.
started firing, they were popping off so fast it sounded like auto fire and the other crews
looked to see us bang off five rounds in as many seconds or less. “The Auto 90”. Seems
LaVigne was pushing in the rounds and as soon as the block went up, he’d yell “UP” and
snap his arm back as the gun recoiled into the space his head and arm had been, while
loader/gunner combinations that worked as well as we had that day, and I hadn’t known
what the hell was even going on.
bad end of an ambush one day that took out two Lts., that were TCing, one of them was
on LaVigne’s tank. He was gunning and when the TC got it, the body and the gore fell
on top of him sitting below. The crew said it was too much for him to take and he
freaked out, so they med-evaced him, I don’t know what really happened, but I never saw
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