When the Marines Would Not Listen, and Ordered Us to Shoot in the Rain
By Gerald F. Mazur and Woody Pryor

Gerald F. Mazur [From FDC location]

I was on duty with B Battery's FDC when the Marines called for support from our Bravo (Hill 65) Position. I radioed Bravo, "What is the precipitation situation in your location?" I figured that if the enemy was listening in, he could not decipher that phrase and thereby figure out Bravo's position. I was told that it was raining. I forwarded this information to the Marines along with the fact that we could not fire in the rain. They did not believe me and insisted that we fire. My Lt. (Woody Pryor) refused, citing the fact that we might lose personnel due to the round exploding just after leaving the tube. The caller pulled rank on him and again insisted that we fire. I told Bravo the situation and they took cover just before the lanyard was pulled. As we predicted, the round exploded within 100 meters of the guns. The Marines did NOT believe that we even fired. I had Bravo change the frequency of their radio to that of the Marines and they fired again, but this time Bravo keyed the mike at the gun location. The "outgoing" blast followed by the immediate blast from the round exploding convinced the Marines that we should not fire in the rain.

Woody Pryor [From Gun location]

I was on Hill 65 for about a month. It was just the start of the raining season or a hurricane hit the area. There was a small village right below our guns( facing west), and there was concern for them. By then they were in small boats with everything that they owned. The boats were attached to a long bamboo poles, that kept them from drifting off down stream.

The more experienced Sgt. did not want to fire, but I did twice give the order to fire. The charge was Charge 3, PD fuse. We fired two rounds. It seemed very close, but the fuse didn't arm for at least 1/4th to 1/2 second after it left the tube -- it was moving fast. So the explosion was close but probably more than a 100 meters, and the shrapnel was going forward and expanding. If we had been at Bastogne on the Ashau Valley Operation Delaware, we might have hit our perimeter guard under the same conditions.

If they had have been in range for a Charge 2 mission, then we might have helped them. It was raining extremely hard. I think that we even tried delay fuzes just to see if it made a difference and it did not. I remember that a VT fuze was not an option during the rain, but we may have tried. Probably should have tried a beer can over the PD fuse on the projo! [but who knows where the round would have landed].