Jim Anton Remembers LZ Margo (continued)
I'm Hit, But Not Bad
But he kept yelling for ammo and I kept looking at the two cans right in front of me.
My job I guess.
I took a deep breath and decided to go.
I reached out both hands to grab the handles on the cans. There was an impact nearby and my hands felt like they were on fire. I pulled them back and saw the backs of my hands were covered in blood.
Luckily the shrapnel went mostly across the backs of my hands and not into them. I pulled out a few pieces of jagged metal, put my hands under my arms for a second to try and stop the blood, and got ready for my second try. I grabbed the handles and levered myself out of the ground, then started running.
I don't know how many rounds came down during that dash. I stumbled over loose rocks a few times and felt some stinging in my legs and back but I made it.
I flopped down next to the gunner and opened the first can and fed it in. He opened fire immediately. I could see the tracers looping into the white smoke in the distance.
The great thing about tracers is that you can see where your rounds are going. The downside is that the enemy can see where they're coming from. We ran quickly through the first can and the second.
And their rounds crept closer to us. Empty and bracketed, it was time to go. I took off for my cave with rounds still whistling in.
I was at the bottom of the ravine when a huge explosion went off above me in the mortar area. As I looked up I saw a mortar tube come rolling and tumbling down. A guy up above yelled at me to grab it which I did.
I put it by my feet and began fielding and stacking wooden crates he was throwing down the steep hillside. Finally he skidded down and joined me. He told me he'd shoot and I'd aim. I could barely hear him above all the noise.
Normally a mortar tube is mounted on a large and very heavy base plate. A metal stake helps hold it up. We were going to fire blind from the bottom of the ravine with me holding the tube between my knees. He pried open the first case, grabbed a mortar round, dropped it down the tube, and then struck the firing mechanism near the bottom. A loud "Thump" and the round was away.
We got one more off when the gunner I'd helped started yelling to aim farther out. From his vantage point he could see our rounds hitting. So I tried to hold the tube a little lower and we got off a couple more. Then the gunner yelled to move left some which I tried to do. It's not a very exact science.
After a few more rounds he started yelling, "Pour it on 'em!" I tried to hold the tube steady as we fired out every round we had. At almost the same time we ran out, their mortars stopped firing.
Then I heard guys closer to me screaming for Corpsmen.