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Posted: 4/6/2002 10:55:54 AM EDT
We were on our way to the 'Nam and stopped buy the Navy Gunnery Range, the island of Culebra, you know, the one in the news last month. We were loaded to the gills with war rounds for the 5"/54 gun. As we stopped to refuel at Getmo, we were informed that the " squatters " were complaining about the explosions frightening their chickens and we were to stop! So.... the Navy came up with PUFF. A projectile filled with talcum powder and a point detonating fuse. Off we go to the range to do a little shore bombing. The range is on a slight slope from sea level to the top of a very worn down mountain. We were to do a Zulu 55, which is running toward the target from 12,500 yards and turn away at 1,500 yards firing the whole time,then head back to sea. The gun was elevated to about 40 degs when we started the run, and dead level buy the time we made our turn. The point blank range for a 5"/54 is 2,000 yards. I was in the " Bubble " as safety observer, and could clearly see the puff of powder when the rounds hit. The closer we got to the target, the lower the gun dropped. At about 2,000 yards we got a " Cease Fire!!!!!" from the Marine spotters. I switched to the battle phone line and could hear the spotters say " O *&%!!! were in trouble now!!!. Seems we were the first ship to fire the PUFF round from a 5"/54 gun. All 3,200 fps, at 72 pounds a round 5" magnum. The other ships were armed with 5"/38's which are a very high angle of fire round, at 2,500 fps at 52 pounds each. Our rounds were going PUFF and due to the low angle of fire, all 72 pounds kept going, and going. Tumbling THROUGH the Squatters town cutting every thing they hit in half! The Navy decided PUFF was a bad idea, and to hell with the chickens! Rob Summerhill GMCS(SW)USN,ret.
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