[Tuttle got to watch a bazooka range session, followed by a demonstration from an expert team.]
Hoots went out and big grins shown all around when the first rockets hit home. Sparks, flame, noise, and not a few flying chunks of former U.S. Army tank, M4A2 Sherman (zero mm gun), met their final resting place. Not every rocket found home, of course, and those shooters who missed risked getting fresh nicknames during the march back.
With the tank put permanently out of action several times over, and each pair having done a live fire drill, the instructors found there were exactly four rounds left. A question was put to the instructees, “How fast do you think a good team can put four aimed rounds on target? When you need to shut up an enemy gun, you need to make sure of it to save your buddies. So how quick can you make it happen?” After some murmuring a few answers rang out, “Three minutes!” to open, then a run down to “60 seconds!” before no one would go any lower.
The senior sergeant took dollar bets on that one minute over/under and told his privates to watch closely as two corporals took those four rockets to the center firing pit. I was volunteered to keep time, as the professional impartial observer. On my mark a martial ballet played out at a startling pace. I don’t think anyone looked at the rounds hitting, as they were watching nonstop action in the gun pit.
The loader danced from tube side to ammo side of the gunner in nonstop motion, putting a firm hand on the gunner’s helmet between each pass as a signal. I stopped my watch at 37 seconds, which was probably a little long as I watched the last round hit and the final bits of hot tank fragment fall back to the ground.