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Concerning the warning "Incoming!"

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

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  1. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I've been following this thread and found the original question of interest. The follow-ups have been amazing! Thanks. (Jeff, tell your "friend" that I said thanks to him for his answer).
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I did some looking around.

    The speed of sound is 1,126 ft/sec and as an example, the muzzle velocity of the German 8 cm GrW 34 mortar is 571 ft/sec. I would suspect that other similarly-sized mortars would not vary significantly. If I am wrong, let me know.

    I would think that with the muzzle velocity of the mortar being half or less than the speed of sound, it would be possible to hear a mortar round in flight. I would think that if they were close enough and in an acoustically advantageous position, it would be possible, if not probable, that a mortar round could be heard when being fired, given that the trajectory of the round would be far greater than the distance that the sound had to travel to be heard by the target.

    Mr. Marion told me when we were collaborating on the book that he quickly learned to know if he was being fired upon at or if it was aimed at someone else. He said he heard artillery regularly in the distance but usually knew which ones to pay attention to. Ron or Brian, do you disagree?
     
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    I try to follow the dictum that one of the ways to achieve contentment in life is not to dwell on things that cannot be altered.

    The loss of two years of personal ww2 diaries is a case in point.

    During my ww2 service, I kept miniscule diaries (which were to prove invaluable in later years) but during a brief stay in hospital in March '44 had to leave my kitbag behind and as a result lost my diaries for the years 1942 & 1943.

    I do remember however that one of the entries for 1943 included the phrase "Bombed, shelled & mortared all night. What a night !" and it is this experience, remembered vividly still to this day, that I'd like to expound.

    I was in this field in Italy and, for whatever reason, we were too close to the enemy for comfort.

    I was folded, uncomfortably, into a slit trench that I had previously dug myself and literally had to sit the night out and trust that I would survive.

    The bombing was the easiest to identify, I had served my time in London during the Blitz and was able to clearly identify the sounds and more or less establish how near the bombs were going to land.

    The shelling was less easy to place. The first indication was the "crump" of the unmistakeable arrival of the round, followed by the debris and the shrapnel spinning frighteningly immediately over the slit trench.

    Finally the mortars, that were so close that one could hear the crack of them being fired followed by the whine of their flight and then one experienced the actual blast, seemingly immediately overhead.

    The fact that I am still here today shows that I survived the experience but I still don't remember anyone shouting "Incoming !"

    Ron

    ps
    Here's one of my diary entries that did survive
     

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  4. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Ron,

    Thank you for that account. The closest I ever came to battle was living through the strongest typhoon, at that time at least, to ever hit Guam, while I served in the Air Force in the '60s. I can only imagine what it was like to experience what you experienced. Sorry to hear about the lost diaries.

    Bill
     
  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Interesting question and fascinating responses. It was great to see perspectives from Sapper & Ron. Thanks to Jeff for getting Old Hickory's recollection to definitively answer Bill's question.
     
  6. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Thanks, M of CS. I see you're a fellow Minnesotan.

    Bill
     
  7. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    You betcha. There are a couple of us on the Forum. Everyone else moved to someplace with a warmer climate. B)
     
  8. BSquared18

    BSquared18 New Member

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    Wimps.

    Bill
     

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