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Concerning the warning "Incoming!"

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by BSquared18, Nov 23, 2013.

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  1. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Hello,

    Recently I watched a WW2 movie drama, produced within the past few years, where one of the soldiers yelled, "Incoming!" to warn his colleagues about incoming enemy ordnance.

    On the other hand, I don't recall ever hearing a soldier in a drama made DURING the war use that term, or in films made during the remainder of that decade.

    I'm curious. Did the use of that term to warn others originate during the Vietnam War, as I suspect; or was it in fact used earlier, during WW2 or perhaps the Korean conflict?

    Thanks,
    Bill
     
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  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have absolutely no idea, but I am liking this sort of question, and have wondered the same myself (thinking the same as you; that it's possibly later terminology than WW2).
    After asking veterans ([member='slipdigit'], maybe Old Hickory has a view on this?), Newsreels & things like the Field Artillery Journal might be the place to start looking:
    http://sill-www.army.mil/firesbulletin/archives/index.html
    (There is/used to be, a better and more searchable online version of the FAJ, but that was the first link that came up on a quick shufti.)

    Good luck,
    ~A
     
  3. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    Never heard that before...A term that was never used in my hearing in WW2. When the stuff hit the fan we were far to busy getting out of the bloody way.....
    Foxholes were the answer, every time we stopped, we got below ground .Not for reasons of anything else but necessity, above ground would be fatal And stupid. My dear old friend. The late Ted Brown, Queens infantry, reckoned the had the record in digging seven holes in one day. Amazing how good we got at it.:):):)
     
  4. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Von Poop, I sent a PC to Slipdigit with my question. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks, sapper, for your input.

    Since starting this thread, I did find one website titled Vietnam Veteran's Terminology with the entry, "INCOMING: receiving enemy mortar or rocket fire. Pg. 512." It doesn't mean, of course, that the term wasn't used before then. However, I did not find the term in a similar glossary for WW2 vets.

    Looking forward to more comments. Will continue to look elsewhere and report back if I find anything.

    Bill
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I will be spending the better part of tomorrow morning with Old Hickory. I'll ask him then. He got hit at least twice where they did not have holes dug. The first time was just as they crossed the Rhine; thankfully, those three rounds did not explode or he would have been killed as they landed practically on top of his section. The second time was near the end of the war and to use his words, "we got lazy." Fortunately, he was able to crawl under his halftrack, which had a hole knocked in it by shrapnel from that particular barrage.
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    On moving into a new position the first thing one did was to dig one's own slit trench (note I didn't use the term foxhole)

    When "stuff" started to fall, we all moved like lightning to get under cover as soon as poss.

    I don't remember any words being necessary. :(

    Ron
     
  7. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    No hanging about Ron mate. trouble was when you had just collected your billy can full of food. That with a headlong dive do not go well together. hope you keep well Ron
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    And regards to you Brian !

    Ron
     
  9. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Can I tag on a question along the same lines? In Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan the term suppression fire was used in combat scenes. They were pretty well researched movies but I cannot ever recall hearing it in a previous movie. I have seen it used in print matter, not fiction, but did soldiers actually say that or perhaps Tom Hanks thought it sounded good. Not a criticism, I liked both BOB and SPR, just a question..

    Ron and Sapper should know.

    Gaines
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Yes, suppressive fire would have been used, at least in the US military, as I have seen it in period manuals. It is a term used to describe a particular type of fire to be applied to the target for a specific tactical reason. When you read many first person accounts you notice many small things that occasionally slip into movies that add realism and haven't changed from then to the present. There were a lot of them that I noticed, especially for the machine gunners and mortarmen portrayed in "The Pacific". The use of limit stakes, setting left and right lateral limits, making range cards, and beaucoup more things. Many terms that are used in the military are very specific and precise and describe a specific act, action, function or situation so that when engaged there is no room for doubt as to what is being described, ordered or intended. Stoppage, malfunction, immediate action drills, and a hundred more ubiquitous terms, for example the immediate action for a stoppage in the BAR is pull, push, tap, aim, fire, I heard my uncle Horace repeat/recite this many times when talking with my dad, (both former BAR men) well into Horace;s 80's.
     
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    Gaines et al.

    Be aware.......

    Brian and I are Brits and we write about what life was like in the British army of nearly seventy years ago.

    What went on in other armies is beyond our ken and you must ask the same question of your American veterans.

    Ron
     
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  12. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    Never heard that expression of artillery fire .But I do know that our RA had there own barrages, and each one had a descriptive name. I only know of one or two. One was "pepper pot" Where every weapon available fired in to an area. The other was named "pandemonium" That was a barrage so heavy and concentrated... And costly!... that it needed the permission of the war office and government.

    Later, in the low countries, the Brits went back to their faithful old 25 pounders. I recall one strategy they used. How they did It I don't know. but near Venriaj they lined up what they claimed was 500 guns, and fired them all at exactly the same time together. So that 500 shell winged their way in one bloody great big BANG. I tried to spell (simitainiously) and failed!...:):):)

    HI Ron, do you think we shall make it through the winter.... to the seventieth anniversary :):):)
     
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    You'd better sir. You're not authorized to do otherwise. Can't quit your post while there are so many of the rest of us that depend upon you. The world is always short of heroes, we can't spare you or Mr.Goldstien, R., right now.
     
  14. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Ron and Brian, if we do not speak proper English it is the Redcoats fault for abandoning us before we had chance to learn !!! LOL I fully understand and will inquire here but what all soldiers said is of equal importance to me and I suspect for most of us . Especially the Brits who held the line virtually alone for so long. Brian's artillery description was both greatly interesting. Of course I can only imagine that massing of 25 pounders firing at once and what the results must have been like. Both of your insights are golden, no pun intended.

    USMCPrice, thanks for the input of suppressive fire, as I said I had read the term and knew what it meant but never heard it in movies before the fairly recent BOB and SPR. Just curious. I wold agree with Ron and Brian taking cover would seem to be instinctive....who would be saying incoming unless they were already moving !

    Interesting thread.

    Gaines
     
  15. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. Interesting conversation even though no definitive answer to my original question. The fog of war?

    Bill
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    That is called a "ToT" - Time on Target, in US terminology. It was a technique developed immediately pre-war. When an order for a ToT was given they were also given a strike time, the exact minute and second when the shells must land. Each battery might be separated by many miles, but they would calculate the flight time from their position and adjust the firing time so that their delivery would land at the pre-arranged strike time with all the other batteries in the loop. It sounds complicated, but in practice only took a few minutes to arrange.

    The ToT was used quite frequently by US artillery. I have never been able to find a definitive quote, but it is said that German forces mistook the acronym ToT for the German word tot - death. Only they used it as an adjective, as if ToT shoots were American "extermination" shoots.

    A ToT would not only arrive without warning - no first hit where everyone begins diving for cover - it also created an intense pressure wave that could even kill people under cover.
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I talked to my friend who served in the recon troop of the 30th ID and he said they "definitely" they used the term "incoming" to describe inbound artillery. He was quite emphatic about it.
     
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  18. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Re: "I talked to my friend who served in the recon troop of the 30th ID and he said they "definitely" they used the term "incoming" to describe inbound artillery. He was quite emphatic about it."

    Thanks. That sounds pretty, well, definite.

    Bill
     
  19. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Usually (in films), you hear the sound of the projectile in flight a few seconds before it hits and detonates. The speed of sound is around 1000 fps and a 105 (for example) has a muzzle velocity of 1,500 fps, well above the speed of sound. But... it would slow down considerably in flight and perhaps the sound would arrive first?

    Any vets care to comment? Can you hear the flight of the shells coming at you, and if so how long before it arrived - 1, 2, 3 seconds?
     
  20. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    He mentioned mortars specifically when he elaborated. He followed up with a comment about there usually not being enough time to find a hole when the first few hit if they were not already in or near one. I got the feeling that it was a matter of them stating the obvious (incoming artillery as it was already dropping on them). I'll ask him further later in the week.
     
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