So one day, a ship I was riding on did that. I was riding it to conduct and observe some tests. Since the ship was independently transiting, I didn't have much to do, so I went topside to watch the shooting.Oohrah, Comrade! And the name of her blog is a sea story in an of itself - Target: Babies in the open. Fire for effect. She explains the name:
One of the weapons that the sailors were shooting at the balloon was a M-79 "Bloopergun".
They were firing blue rounds. The balloon was off the starboard side at maybe 300 yards or so and the ship was steaming around the balloon in sort of a lazy circle. Most of the sailors were missing to the left of the balloon.
I said something to one of my fellow shipriders along the lines of: "That thing is a big as a barn and they can't hit it."
The gunner's mate senior chief must have overheard me, for he spun around, fixed me with his patented Goat Locker Stare and said: "Maybe you'd like to give it a try, Ma'am."
"Thank you, Senior Chief, I'd like that." So I went over there and he gave me a fifteen second checkout on the controls of the M-79. I checked to make sure that the windage adjustment was centered, then I shouldered the weapon, aimed and fired.
The dummy warhead splashed right in front of the balloon. The senior chief's jaw dropped and he said something along the lines of: "Goddammit, Lieutenant, how'd you do that?"
"Easy," I said, as I handed the Bloopergun back to him. "The balloon isn't moving, the ship is. So you gotta lag the target, not lead it."
The Navy also did procedures training, where data lines would be hooked up to a van alongside the pier. The crews in the Combat Information Center and in Gun Plot would then run drills, receiving radio and radar inputs from the instructors running the simulation in the van. Other than not rolling as the ship turned and not shuddering as the guns fired, the simulations were pretty much what one would see when shooting for real.Heh. Some of you already know about this (new-to-me) blog; Old NFO seems to be a regular commenter over there, but as you all know Old NFOs know everything (but say nothing). But I lost an hour and a half spelunking the archives.
Except, that is, for the targets that were called in. Besides the standard ones of "trucks/troops/tanks in open", one of the goofy targets used was "babies in open." It was just sick humor, and the shells called for, unsurprisingly, would be Willy Peter, also known as White Phosphorous. Which is nasty stuff (look it up).
That's the reason for the name of this blog.
And I somehow hadn't realized that Comrade Misfit is a (retired?) Navy officer, and missed thanking her for her service on Veteran's Day. I hope this rectifies this. And she has a story about Navy officers, too:
Double heh. And I would pick up the bar tab of an evening of Comrade Misfit and Old NFO swapping "that reminds me" stories. Just sayin'.
If you like Military stuff and haven't run across this, you're in for a treat.