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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was able to restore a few photo's of us, the USS Joseph Hewes DE-1078, while we were up north off the coast of Quang Tri.
We had just been equipped with a then new and classified CWI ( Continuous Wave Illumination ) Mk 68 radar to aim the ships 5"/54 Rapid fire gun. I could get off 40, 78 pound projectiles with a 40 pound powder charge in one minute if all went well.
In July of 1972 we were called up to help the Marines clear out Quang Tri "city" when Charlie attacked with a very large armor column of Russian T-54 tanks. The Marines had nothing to stop the tanks larger than a few LAW rockets.
Out aerial Spotter, Wolfman-33 called on us to destroy as many tanks as were could. Our radar and dependability of the ships only gun had a reputation to get the job done.
We had been on the gun-Line for about 18 hours when the call came in. The night before we had moved out into the gulf to re-arm from the USS Nitro. We had them supply us with a "few" extra rounds of ammo. So much so we had to sleep with projectiles and powder charges.
My magazine could hold 650 rounds max. We had on board close to two thousand rounds. Ammo was stacked every where there was an open nook.
I had been on watch for about one hour when the call came in for fire. I manned the little bubble onto of the gun which housed the local control of the gun for movement and firing. My sight was behind the door you can see in the down,retracted condition.
We swung out to the port side as Wolfman-33 gave us the target grid and we commenced firing. As the ship was fighting the Gulfs current, and the guns recoil, caused us to slowly turn to starboard trying to stay on target.
The tanks were coming down "Hwy-1" as well as the beach. Many of our targets were 2,000 yards away which is point blank for the 5" gun.
We had no idea how large the attack was to be. We fired until we had no ammo left. We even fired sand filled projectiles called BL&P. Practice rounds.
I stayed in the plastic bubble for 36 hours manning the ships gun. The heat was oppressive as were the fumes from the rounds being fired. In one engagement we fired over 1,000 rounds. The barrel was toast very soon afterward. We were concerned for the safety of the Marines as the rounds were no longer accurate due to barrel wear.
We were credited with destroying many tanks and allowing the Marines to retreat with little loss of life.
The ship went back to Subic Bay as fast as we could to re-gun and re-aim and we returnd to the gun line. We were back in under three days.

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The ships has drifted to port and the gun swung to starboard. Most of the empty cases were thrown overboard by the empty case ejector.
The gun is in full recoil, one case is still in the air. The gun was firing one round every 1.5 seconds.

The barrel is shot out and had to be replaced. You could not touch the barrel for almost six hours.
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Rod Knuth is manning the Mk68 CWI gun radar
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A fellow Gunnersmate took this photo of us firing. They said we were firing so many rounds it sounder like a continuous roll of thunder.
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Recoil is moving the ships bow around to port. you can see the base of one of the projectiles heading to target.
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Loading the rounds into the magazine. The rotating band is covered in cardboard, the fuze has a steel protective nose cap.

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A few fired cases that stayed on deck after being ejected from the gun. There were so many cases floating around the ship and banging together that it sounded like a sea of bells. It was very eerie.

We get a ten minute break and are so tired you don't want to stand in the breeze. You can see the cork and Styrofoam wadding from the powder charges blowing on the deck.
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I painted this after we took out a MIG. I was ordered to take it down right afterward. It wasn't Navy.
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A view of our LAMPS helo though my gun sight.


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