A little story , of a personal nature ................
Back in 1985 " The Skins" were posted in Tidworth... Whilst there we went off to Castlemartin for live firing once a year if I remember correctly .
At that time I was Gunner on 22 C sqn ,, we had been on live firing exercise for at least a week upto when this story happened !! We had been firing for a few hours with no serious "hiccups"...... then we started doing a sabot shoot ( the results of this particular "shoot" was going tobe going towards our Regimental scores for "troop tests" ,so we were all hyped up to make sure we got it right and hoped for good results ,, orders came in for our troop to move upto the firing point all 3 tanks moved up and got into positions crews went through there drills no problem arks were sorted out via radio from TP ldr ( safety Arks had all ready bin gone through in "Safety brief" before days firing started ) , over the radio came the orders that we were going tobe engaging enemy forces of varying strength Blah blah etc etc .... For me it ment only to be ready for words of command form Tk Cmdr ,, who promptly gave the order " Action load sabot " ( yippeee here we go then bring it m8y , were the thoughts at that moment in time heehee ) he gives me a target indicator I replies "on" loader goes " loaded " Cmdr shouts "Fire" I go through the drills and boom boom hit ( f..in fantastic me thinks 1st rnd hit whoop whoop,, couldn't really miss at that range any way heehee) .. Cmdr goes "next target right ........ on" loader goes "loaded" I goes " on" Cmdr goes "Fire " I go through me drills .. after observing a flash on target ( due to obscuration was pretty hard to see but was seen !! ) I reply "target" cmdr goes "target stop" this goes on for another 10 rounds or so ( as I remember we had 10 rnds apds for this shoot ,obviously if we hit all the targets it ment we had the pleasure of plastering our "TUUAM" box with a "100%" sign on it ... lol also meant the tp had a bloody good score for the overall tp test scores !! ) If I remember I missed one target by 2 bloody fet at 1800 htf that happened I don't know but mine was the only tan kin tp without said "100%" which peed me off abit .... Later into that day we switched ammo type to HESH , now things were going to get very interesting... we shot a few rounds at varying distances (cant remember the actual MAX range we were able too shoot at on Castlemartin ranges ,,if memories serves me right we were engaging out to 3 km plus ) we had just fired 6 or 7 rounds of HESH had to do a correction so my eyes were fixed on target through gunners sight ( obviously ;) ) I gets the order to fire I press the trigger on me gunrs handle ,,,,, and saw a flash from INSIDE the turret and felt a warm sensation on my left hand side of upper body tobe exact lhs of head ,shoulder upper back lhs ,,now most of you are wondering hot t f can he see a flash with his eyes fixed to the gunners sight ,,,,, good question Read ON !!!
As I saw this flash the main armament fired off ,a round when went down range at this point ( split second wise ,,my brain has registered what just happened ,, I didn't call out " Stop stop stop " ,, I pulls me head away from sight and looks over to our loader who is white as a ghost looking very very worried ,, not surprising as he was cradling in his left arm the next HESH round whilst pulling out the next bag charge with his right handout of the bin ( an amazing feat to observe,, our BERT was a f in good loader and damn quick lol )
Our commander hadn't even realized what had happened he was to busy sorting out our next target in his mind and giving us orders of the "comm's " ,,when he realized that neither Bert or I were responding he looked down towards me ,with one hell of pissed off look on his face ( 4t he was going to kick me lol ) , he looks over to Bert who is still frozen
( I wouldn't like to say Bert was scared but his Eye brows and beret were still smoking !!!!!! ) Both Bert and I were speechless,, drivers chirps and says he had felt some sort of warm sensation when last round fired ........... At this point all three of us in turret realized we had just had a f..in "Flashback " one of the worst things that could happen in a turret as any "tanker " will realize !! Commander then goes up on radio and informs tp ldr and Control tower plus safety staff of what had happened and that we need to move off the range for further investigation once tha twas all cleared ewe moved our tank off the range back into a safe are and stripped out the two Obturator seals from breechblock and barrel After a long time of cleaning the "Obturator seals " we finds a burn mark on one of them that shouldn't be there ,,more cleaning goes on till it's shining like new , and then we see what had happened a piece of cloth form the bag charge had burnt through "completely " on inner seal and 2/3 rds the way through the outer,, the mark was unmistakeably what looked like a hessian strand ,,obviously it must have come from the bag charge of a HESH round ...... We took the rings over to our REME support who confirmed our findings ,, obviously these rings were now buggered !!! so we were given knew ones and carried on firing with no further incidents .. this whole incident made me realize how much danger is involved when working on Tanks ................... I went on and did a max of 6-7 years on tanks ,,but had a knee injury so had to either leave the forces or move to a "lesser" strenuous job within Unit , shame but that was the way it went for me .... Still loved the experiences I had working on tanks though ..
Edited by IGITSIBill70, 25 March 2014 - 04:48 PM.