BATTLESHIP FIRE SUPPORT
While flying a special mission out of Khe Son, I had the occasion to call for artillery fire support. After calling the FDC (Fire Direction Center) they informed me that they could not reach the target and gave me an alternate frequency to try. At the time I didn’t know I was calling a fire support mission to the Battleship USS New Jersey and so it went something like this:
Condor 21: this is Condor 21 with a fire mission, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, send your fire mission, over
Condor 21: 123456, fortified gun emplacement, over
USS New Jersey: roger Condor 21, can you give us an 8-digit coordinate, over
At this point I’m impressed. Our FDC (Fire Direction Center) never asked for more than 6-digits. I thought, man these guys are good.
Condor 21: roger, 12345678, over
USS New Jersey: (long pause) Condor 21, can you give us 10-digits ?, over
Now I’m really impressed. That’s like a coffee table size target. I was starting to get a “war woody”.
Condor 21: roger, 1234567890, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, get out of the way, over
What’s this….how do they know I’m in the way….and how DO I get out of the way if I don’t know where they are and where the G-T (gun-target) line is.
Condor 21: roger, I don't know where you are....where should I move to, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, turn right 110 degrees and look straight ahead. Now, what do you see ?, over
Spooky….I don’t know anything about these guys, and yet, they know where I am, which direction I’m headed, and that I’m in the way….spooky.
Condor 21: ocean, over
USS New Jersey: roger Condor 21. Now, turn right 90 degrees and get out of the way, over
Condor 21: roger, moving, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, shot, over
Condor 21: shot, out
Now I’m flying in a holding pattern waiting and watching….waiting….waiting….
Condor 21: this is Condor 21, is there a problem ?, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, be patient, over
I kept flying and waiting for what seemed like 5 to 10 minutes
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, watch the target, 5 4 3 2 1, splash, over
As I watched, the whole side of that mountain exploded from that round and the resulting secondary explosions. It just crumbled away. The whole cement fortification disappeared before my eyes. WOW!
Condor 21: splash, over
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, do you need another round ?, over
I was in awe of what I had just witnessed. One round had done all that damage.
Condor 21: this is Condor 21, negative, that did the job
USS New Jersey: Condor 21, roger, we thought it might. We already had that site registered and were hoping someone would call it in, over
Condor 21: thank you, out
On the way back to Khe Son I though about a lot of things:
I hope there are no MIGs around
I hope I don’t run into some enemy radar controlled guns
WHY can’t we get this type of fire-power when (and where) we need it ?
Man, these 2.75” rockets are tiny.
Still didn’t put “2 + 2” together about there being a battleship with radar watching my every move.
I wonder what “fire for effect” would have looked like ?
Lancer 27/Redskin 22/ Condor 21