Monday, September 12, 2016

War Memory 3

When Dad was at one location in the Philippines, they had to watch showing themselves too long at a time. The Japs had a big gun up in the mountains mounted on a short section of railroad track. Normally, the gun was hidden either in a brush arbor or a hand-dug “cave;” I don’t remember which. When they wanted to fire it, they’d pull the brush off the track and roll it out. It had a range of several miles, and was high enough up in the mountains that it could see much of the land, clear down to the seashore. There were some forested sections and small hills, however, which did provide some places for our troops to hide and stash their equipment.

One day, a truck stopped in too open of an area to load some soldiers. Right after the first few got on, the Japs lobbed a shell at the right range, but too far to one side. The soldiers kept hurriedly climbing on the truck. A few seconds later, a second shell hit, also at the right range, but exactly the same distance to the other side. Dad said that he couldn’t help but laugh, despite the danger, as he watched from safety, as the men jumped in the truck like jack-rabbits, not even worrying how they’d land inside. The truck quickly sped away before a third shot was fired. Had they been a couple seconds longer, the whole group would have probably been wiped out.

Another day, a Seabee was trying to take a dozer across a solid rock ridge that lay between it and the big gun. Unfortunately, every time he just topped the ridge, the cleats would lose traction and he’d spin the tracks. Then, a shell would land nearby and he’d have to back down before the gun could zero in on him. He’d try again soon, in another location, but it would be the same thing. A guy in a jeep, though, drove up and over before the gun could get off a shot. Dad said that just proved that everything has its place. Cleats don’t work well on solid stone, but rubber does fine!

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