"Anzio Annie" and the sound of war
#1

Here's a photo of my Dad with "Anzio Annie", one of the German

railroad guns in Italy. Those guns were hell

for our guys on the beachhead.

 

I've often thought that one of the worst things must've

been the noise of war. We can see photos and read accounts, but we can't

ever hear the actual SOUND of war. It must've been unimaginable.

 

When my Dad came home, he had to get a job right away to help his parents.

One of the first jobs he had was working for a General Motors plant.

Now, my father was a WORKER all his life. As a youngster, he worked cleaning

chicken coops and stables, mowing lawns etc and later in his life he held 3 jobs

to support his family ( and 2 of those jobs were physical labor). He was

never a "quitter" , so you can imagine how stunned I was to find paperwork

from GM showing that he'd quit. Under "reason for leaving", he'd put: "Noise".

I think that's pretty much tells the story.

 

M2

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#2

Here's the 540th at the capture of Anzio Annie. How I love this photo. What pride the 540th must have had that day!!!

 

Lee and I attended a WWII outdoor convention (or whatever you want to call it) this summer. They had a reenactment of "A bridge too far". Man was it ever loud, and we were standing a few hundred yards off. All the machine gun fire and everything else was just deafening! :armata_PDT_23: It gave you just a FEEL for the real thing. Hard for US to comprehend that day after day.

 

BTW, it was the 540th who brought ANNIE back to her current resting place here in the US of A at Aberdeen.

 

You really do have to "give it up" for the reenactors because they do give us a true respect for the actual battles that took place. If we can only feel it in the "nth"...

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Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

M1, I never knew that it was the 540th captured "Annie"!

:armata_PDT_37: to them! They surely must've been proud &

rightly so. Gee I wish I'd known that it was in Maryland when I went

to visit my cousin at Annapolis - I'd have made a trip over to see

"her".

 

I have another photo somewhere of Dad standing on top of "Anzio Annie" -

sort of like: "The US Army finally got you - you &$#@!"

If I remember correctly, the barrel had already been partially covered in

GI graffiti "Kilroy was here" and probably alot of appropriate obscenities. :lol:

 

M2

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#4

I'm trying to find a photo that my Dad had of him and his buddies with Anzio Annie. He was with the 36th Combat Engineers, C Regiment, I company. My aunt had this photo but can't find it. My Dad described "Annie" as the most powerful gun they ever faced. He said that when it fired that entire homes and buildings would disappear in Anzio.

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#5

Good luck with that. Would love to see it. Sure hope you find it soon. Must be frustrating!

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#6

Good luck with that. Would love to see it. Sure hope you find it soon. Must be frustrating!

 

 

I wonder what that thing looked like. All we heard was the shell going over us.

All I've seen are pictures of it.

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#7

All we heard was the shell going over us.

Better than the sound of incoming fire landing on you! I have a couple of stories about that. In Iraq the first time there were a few memorable incidents.

 

1) There was an Army base to the north of us (about 2 KM) and they would fire artillery counter fire when the insurgents would shoot mortars or rockets. This was to encourage them to not linger in one spot and limited the amount of shells they would fire. Anyone who has been around artillery and been in a place with incoming rounds knows the difference in the sound. Outgoing sounds like a loud rifle report (sort of a loud "Pah!!"). Incoming sounds like "Crump!!". Having been an artillery guy and knowing what it sounded like I always thought it was funny when I would hear the howitzers (M109A6 Paladins - 155mm) going off and see people running for cover. I always just shook my head and smiled as I went on my way.

 

2) One day I heard "PAH!" (with the accompanying panic on the part of the newbies) but about 8 seconds later I heard sound of a distant jet starting overhead. If any of you have every shot model rockets off, it sounded a lot like that. Looking up, I saw a pencil thin streak of smoke in the air. I knew what it was and when I head the next shot I made sure to look up. As I expected, another streak of smoke crossed the sky (only about two finger widths if you were holding up your hand at arms length) and then heard the "swoosh" a couple seconds later. What I had seen was the rocket starting for a rocket propelled projectile. You never see that sort of thing in training because if the rocket fails to ignite, the round will fall short. In combat, that isn't a concern.

 

3) On one occasion, I was sitting in the internet cafe (no Rocky, it's not your war) talking to my wife on the IP phone. There was a loud "Crump!!" nearby and everyone went into freak-out mode. I calmly told my wife my time was up on the phone and that I would talk to her later. While everyone else got under the desks (wood desks - just so you know, wood vs shrapnel is no contest) I just sat in my chair waiting for the all clear. My sitting there was not out of bravado; there were 10 foot high T-barriers surrounding the place. The insurgents would have to land one in the cafe for it to do any damage to those therein. Since everyone was quiet at this point I thought it was interesting that you could hear the far distant "pah" from the mortar that fired the next round. As the flight time for mortars is pretty long I knew the impact would be in a few seconds (it's hard to gauge as you don't know how far the mortar is in that situation [Flight time - the distance to the mortar divided by the speed of sound expressed in seconds = the time you have before impact] not easy math while rounds are coming at you.) The next one got closer and after what seemed like a long time the next one got even closer (and therefore much louder!!). When I heard yet another shot, I went a head got a little closer to the floor. Fortunately that was the a last shot an no one was hurt.

 

4) The insurgents got luck with a rocket one time and managed to land it in the Army's stash of Red Bag artillery propellant (a big one). The resulting secondary explosions (one set off by the attack) went on for about 5 hours. It looked like a huge fireworks display going off on the ground going up. Unfortunately, the advanced party for our replacement battalion got there that day, so they must have thought that was a common occurrence!

 

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The Red Bag going off

 

post-449-1270048648_thumb.jpg

The T-barriers



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Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#8

Better than the sound of incoming fire landing on you! I have a couple of stories about that. In Iraq the first time there were a few memorable incidents.

 

1) There was an Army base to the north of us (about 2 KM) and they would fire artillery counter fire when the insurgents would shoot mortars or rockets. This was to encourage them to not linger in one spot and limited the amount of shells they would fire. Anyone who has been around artillery and been in a place with incoming rounds knows the difference in the sound. Outgoing sounds like a loud rifle report (sort of a loud "Pah!!"). Incoming sounds like "Crump!!". Having been an artillery guy and knowing what it sounded like I always thought it was funny when I would hear the howitzers (M109A6 Paladins - 155mm) going off and see people running for cover. I always just shook my head and smiled as I went on my way.

 

2) One day I heard "PAH!" (with the accompanying panic on the part of the newbies) but about 8 seconds later I heard sound of a distant jet starting overhead. If any of you have every shot model rockets off, it sounded a lot like that. Looking up, I saw a pencil thin streak of smoke in the air. I knew what it was and when I head the next shot I made sure to look up. As I expected, another streak of smoke crossed the sky (only about two finger widths if you were holding up your hand at arms length) and then heard the "swoosh" a couple seconds later. What I had seen was the rocket starting for a rocket propelled projectile. You never see that sort of thing in training because if the rocket fails to ignite, the round will fall short. In combat, that isn't a concern.

 

3) On one occasion, I was sitting in the internet cafe (no Rocky, it's not your war) talking to my wife on the IP phone. There was a loud "Crump!!" nearby and everyone went into freak-out mode. I calmly told my wife my time was up on the phone and that I would talk to her later. While everyone else got under the desks (wood desks - just so you know, wood vs shrapnel is no contest) I just sat in my chair waiting for the all clear. My sitting there was not out of bravado; there were 10 foot high T-barriers surrounding the place. The insurgents would have to land one in the cafe for it to do any damage to those therein. Since everyone was quiet at this point I thought it was interesting that you could hear the far distant "pah" from the mortar that fired the next round. As the flight time for mortars is pretty long I knew the impact would be in a few seconds (it's hard to gauge as you don't know how far the mortar is in that situation [Flight time - the distance to the mortar divided by the speed of sound expressed in seconds = the time you have before impact] not easy math while rounds are coming at you.) The next one got closer and after what seemed like a long time the next one got even closer (and therefore much louder!!). When I heard yet another shot, I went a head got a little closer to the floor. Fortunately that was the a last shot an no one was hurt.

 

4) The insurgents got luck with a rocket one time and managed to land it in the Army's stash of Red Bag artillery propellant (a big one). The resulting secondary explosions (one set off by the attack) went on for about 5 hours. It looked like a huge fireworks display going off on the ground going up. Unfortunately, the advanced party for our replacement battalion got there that day, so they must have thought that was a common occurrence!

 

post-449-1270048620_thumb.jpg

The Red Bag going off

 

post-449-1270048648_thumb.jpg

The T-barriers

 

Capt. There is sure a lot of difference between my era and yours. All we could do was to hunker down.

And also our situation was a little different. Krauts also had another weapon,Mortar that we called

the Screaming Meemie. I can't describe how they sounded. But the shells had a very, very EERIE SOUND.

Like a woman screaming

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#9

There is sure a lot of difference between my era and yours. All we could do was to hunker down.

It does help to have huge concrete barriers surrounding you. Don't suppose you had those in the Po.

 

Krauts also had another weapon,Mortar that we called

the Screaming Meemie. I can't describe how they sounded. But the shells had a very, very EERIE SOUND.

Like a woman screaming

I believe you are referring to the Nebelwerfer (of different calibers). Yes, nasty little device. The Germans were a whole lot more competent than any insurgent (or any Arab military power for that matter. I could tell you a whole lot of stories as to why that is, but it is cultural to be sure.) One thing you can say about your war is that it was a lot simpler. Guidance then, "There's the guy in the other uniform! Shoot him!" Today's guidance "The Iraqi people are not our enemy, but our enemy hides among them" and as a corollary "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
Reply
#10

It does help to have huge concrete barriers surrounding you. Don't suppose you had those in the Po.

 

 

I believe you are referring to the Nebelwerfer (of different calibers). Yes, nasty little device. The Germans were a whole lot more competent than any insurgent (or any Arab military power for that matter. I could tell you a whole lot of stories as to why that is, but it is cultural to be sure.) One thing you can say about your war is that it was a lot simpler. Guidance then, "There's the guy in the other uniform! Shoot him!" Today's guidance "The Iraqi people are not our enemy, but our enemy hides among them" and as a corollary "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."

 

Damn-you're good, Capt. That's the one, Nebelwoofer!! Right this minute I am recalling what those shells sounded

like. No concrete barriers . we DUG IN at the walls of the canal. I well see your point of todays situation.

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