Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Artillery Strong

Happy Veterans' Day to all my field artillery brothers and thanks for the well-wishes of those who sent messages. Of all the combat arms (infantry, armor and artillery), I always felt lucky that I got into the artillery - the "king of battle." When I graduated from OCS, I requested on my "dream sheet" to be a gunnery instructor at Fort Sill in the artillery school but, in reality, we all knew that the real reason they made us 2nd lieutenants was to go fight for freedom against the Communists in Vietnam.

I was an artillery fire direction officer for a year in the I Corps combat zone where. along with Andy Tenis, Jim Lary and a hundred other original members of "C" Battery, I received calls for fire, supervised the calculation of precise firing data and gave the command to fire over 38,000 rounds of heavy artillery from the world's longest-range (20 miles) cannons. We shot continuously at targets all over the Vietnam DMZ during 1966-67 in support of 3rd Marine Division ground operations. We quickly became the target of enemy gunners, as well. It was a scary and yet exciting time. We did a lot of damage. You definitely did not want us shooting at you!

Here is an Army video showing the "shock and awe" of artillery firepower with some good "fire for effect" impact zone footage at the end.

"Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." -- Frederick the Great

"A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets." -- William Tecumseh Sherman

"Ultima ratio regum. (The final argument of kings.) -- Inscription on french cannons, on order of Louis XIV

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