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Main Battery Blast Effect on Crew
Posted by:
3/9/2012 2:17:00 PM

I was a Fire Controlman Striker during the Mo’s 1st combat deployment to Korea (1950). I was Telephone Talker/Ass’t Director Operator for the Mk 51 Director controlling the 40mm Quad on the fantail, Port side. Whenever turret 3 was needed for a fire mission, all personnel on the main deck aft of the superstructure were ordered to take cover within the superstructure. That included all Marines manning the nine 20mm (we called their position “suicide circle”) and the gun crews for both 40mm on the fantail and the 40mm located atop of turret 3. In my gun crew, we had the Gun Captain, four First Loaders, four Second loaders, four ammo handlers who carried the pre-loaded magazines with four 40mm rounds in each mag to the loaders. The vertical and horizontal controllers (who also were responsible for depressing the trigger pedals) and the Director Operator and his assistant made a total of 16 men from each of the quad 40’s and the crews manning the 20’s, moving rapidly from their gun mounts to the safety of the of the superstructure. We practiced that run over and over, so when it happened it was usually accomplished without any problems.

On one occasion (and I shall never forget it) three of us did not quite make it to the superstructure hatch before turret 3 was fired. The turret was firing to port and we had to run beneath the rifles to get to the hatch. The man closest to the hatch was blown downward and was laying across the hatch opening; I was the 2nd man and I was raised off my feet like a rag-doll and slammed to the wooden deck on the flat of my back; the 3rd man was lifted up and slammed against lifelines which kept him from going overboard. Before turret 3 fired a second time, we managed to help each other into the superstructure and got the hatch dogged-down. We did not appear to be badly injured, but we were sure wide-eyed and shaken up! But, heck, we were teenagers and you know you can’t hurt a teenager! LOL! I don’t know about the other two guys, but nine years later I was in a class of UDT trainees at Little Creek, VA when I developed a serious problem with my spine. Sure, I had low-back pain after the incident on the Mo, but nothing serious. My lower spine began to show the effects of ruptured discs and the pain would not let me continue the training. Sad day for me! Brooks Outland, 3/09/12.
Posted by:
thomas clark
2/2/2009 2:21:15 AM
I was stationed on a 40mm quad for the period Aug. 1950 until the middle of June 1951 during the Korean War when I was transferred to the FA Div.Our mount was direct midships on the port side and I do not ever remember being moved out during bombardments. although I understand they did move some of the crews that were nearer the 16in guns.In fact I have a picture of the crew on our mount at battle station whith the 16's firing in the background.

The effect on the crews was quite profound as there were times when they were firing both 16in an 5in simultaniously and between the concussion and the smell of cordite it was something.. There were times when we would just get our hearing back the next day when it would start all over again. The sum total of all that is that myself and a number of others now wear hearing aids thanks to the VA and our hearing loss is quite pronounced. I cant say enough about the treeatment I have received from the VA, they have been wonderful.

Hope this helps. Tom Clark. USS MO 1950-1953
Posted by:
1/15/2009 8:01:45 PM
I am a model builder doing a diorama of a BB conducting shore fire support during WWII. What did the crews of the 20mm and 40mm guns do during main battery firing? Did they go inside the skin of the ship? Did they all leave or only those on the side toward the firing? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, John