This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon - We Are The Mighty
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This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon

Today’s artillery can really reach out and touch someone. The M777 lightweight 155mm howitzer, for instance, can hit targets over 18.5 miles away. That howitzer has a crew of seven, and the rounds it fires vary widely from high-explosive rounds to smoke, and some of these rounds can be guided by either a laser seeker or GPS. There was even a shell called the W48, a nuke that delivered the equivalent of 72 tons of TNT onto a target!


Such stuff would be incomprehensible to soldiers firing the most common cannon of the Civil War, the 12-pounder Model 1857 Napoleon. This cannon had a crew of seven (although this could be adjusted), and it could reach out to about a mile. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

 

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Pfc. Erik Park from San Mateo, Calif., fires his M777 155 mm howitzer at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E Sept. 3, 2011. Photo by Spc. Ken Scar.

 

Still, in some ways, the crews’ duties haven’t changed over the years. Some people have to load the cannon, others have to prep it for firing. This 2011 Marine Corps story describes the nine-step process of firing the M777.

Also read: This Civil War vet walked around with a bullet in his face for 31 years

The process for firing a Model 1857 Napoleon is not much different. According to a National Park Service publication outlining the process for demonstrations, the selected round is loaded, and the crews prep the gun for firing. The big difference is the fact that the Civil War cannon usually needs to be swabbed, largely because it is muzzle-loaded. This was to prevent a spark from prematurely igniting the cannon’s powder charge.

 

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
The M1857 12-pounder Napoleon, probably the most common artillery piece of the Civil War. (Wikimedia Commons)

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This Marine veteran uses this special ingredient to boost his men’s morale

Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the country — its foundation predates that of the United States by nearly 100 years. The historic city is the birthplace of the Marine Corps and was home to the first brigades of professional firemen.


After time in the military, many service members find a career in firefighting, as it reflects some similar characteristics to being on active duty, like brotherhood and a sense of adventure. Like the military, firefighting puts individuals into uncontrollable situations that can wear them down, both emotionally and physically.

But Marine veteran and South Philly firefighter Bill Joerger uses his culinary talents to help his men combat the stress of their everyday environment.

Related: Over 1/4 of this unique island is made up of US military

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon

After a catastrophic heart condition, Joerger exited the Marine Corps and spent months bedridden in the hospital, recovering.

Throughout his lengthy treatment, Lt. Joerger watched a variety of cooking shows that sparked his culinary interest. Lt. Joerger explains,

Being in the military and [having] the heart issues, I had no control over those situations. But for cooking, I have complete control.

Also Read: This whiskey pays homage to the men of the 10th Mountain Division

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Bill prepares yet another tasty meal for his firefighting brothers. (Source: Meals Ready to Eat, KCET)

Joerger enjoys cooking for his firefighting brothers, and it gives him the means to express himself and find catharsis.

Although Bill is an officer, he doesn’t allow his rank to stop him from serving up one incredible meal after another for his troops.

The only thing that stops Bill from cooking in the firehouse is when a fire breaks out.

Firemen never truly get time off. (Image via Giphy)

 

Check out the fifth full episode of We Are The Mighty’s original show, Meals Ready to Eat, below and watch how this Marine veteran uses his cooking skills to provide a special boost in morale.

 

(Meals Ready to Eat | KCET)

 

New episodes of Meals Ready to Eat are posted on KCET’s site every Wednesday night. And they’re awesome.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The stars behind ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ explain why today’s troops will love the flick

There are few stories as truly amazing and inspiring as that of World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss.


The soldier saved 75 of his fellow troops during the hellish battle for Okinawa — under cover of darkness, avoiding roving Japanese patrols at every turn and lowering his brothers to safety down a cliff by hand … one at a time.

And he did it all without ever firing a shot.

The story of Pvt. Doss — a 7th Day Adventist and conscientious objector during World War II who despite his religious convictions enlisted to serve in the war as a medic — is portrayed in vivid and emotional detail in the upcoming film “Hacksaw Ridge.”

Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Andrew Garfield as Doss, Vince Vaughn as Sgt. Howell, Teresa Palmer as Doss’s eventual wife Dorothy and Sam Worthington as Capt. Glover, “Hacksaw Ridge” is as much a love story as it is a tale of gritty resolve and strength of character.

WATM sat down with some of the stars behind the film to find out what their motivations were for tackling a character as complex as Doss and to get a sense why those who’ve “been there and done that” should get to theaters and see the epic film themselves.

Director Mel Gibson and actor Andrew Garfield explain the difficulty of portraying a soldier as complex as Pvt. Desmond Doss:

Actors Vince Vaughn and Luke Bracey talk about how vets inspired them for their roles:

Actor Teresa Palmer gives an intimate look at the experience of her family during World War II:

“Hacksaw Ridge” hits theaters nationwide Nov. 4.
MIGHTY SURVIVAL

This toddler’s White House briefing on COVID-19 is the best thing you’ll see today

With an abundance of data points on COVID-19 — the news, your friend from high school who has turned into a respiratory and infectious disease expert on social media despite never going to med school, your family, your neighbors, that group text — it’s difficult to discern what is relevant and what is truthful.

Finally, here’s one source that absolutely nails it. Three-year-old toddler “Dr. Big Sister” Hannah Curtis delivers a spot on briefing from her very own White House.



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This Mustang just set a new speed record

How fast can a P-51 go? There’s a new answer thanks to a flight over this past Labor Day weekend carried out by Steven Hinton, a noted air racing champion.


According to a release by Pursuit Aviation, the record was set Sept. 2, 2017, in a modified P-51D Mustang known as Voodoo. Voodoo averaged 531.53 miles per hour on four passes, the fastest of them at 554.69 miles per hour, taking the top honor for the C-1e classification. The previous holder of the record was Will Whiteside Jr., who averaged 318 miles per hour in a modified Yak-3.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Voodoo in a hangar. (Pursuit Aviation)

While the plane did go faster than Rare Bear, a modified Grumman F8F Bearcat that set an aerial speed record of 528.33 miles per hour in 1989, it did not officially set that World Speed Record due to that record being retired by the World Air Sports Federation due to changes in the sporting code.

According to a history of the plane available at AerialVisuals.ca, it was built in 1944 for the United States Army, then transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1951 before being sold off in 1959. The plane went through a number of owners and survived two crashes (one in 1962, and one in 1977) before being sold to William Speer in 1980. It was modified as a racer, then was sold to Bob Button in 1994. Hinton began to race the plane after Button retired in 2007, and won the Unlimited Gold Championship in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Steven Hinton Jr., the pilot who set the new record in the C-1e class. (Pursuit Aviation)

You can see video of this record-setting run below.


Articles

This is the first US war to make use of the telegraph for tactical advantage

The Gatling gun, hand grenade, and the repeating rifle were just some of the innovative weapons invented during the Civil War.


But as the scale of the battles between North and South grew, and the field expanded across the U.S., it was tough for military leaders to communicate with troops on the front lines and coordinate the action.

Related:  Civil War musicians served as battlefield medics

In 1844, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph and soon after approximately 15,000 miles of cable were laid strictly for military use along the east coast.

For the first time in American history, President Abraham Lincoln now had access to send direct messages to his generals in the field from a telegraph room built in an office building next door to the White House.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Civil War troops man a communication tent. (Source: History/YouTube/Screenshot)

This technology gained Union troops a massive strategic advantage over the Confederate Army who, with its limited telegraph network, failed to capitalize on the nation’s maturing form of communication.

Sending updates to the infantry regiments became a common occurrence with a few taps of Morse code.

Lincoln frequently sent messages to the press, the general public and even to the enemy.

One another positive aspect to this piece of tech was that telegraph machines were equipped with printers that generated a recording of the transmissions and eliminated human error if the incoming message was translated or written down incorrectly.

Also Read: The Civil War started and ended at the same guy’s house

Check out the HISTORY‘s channel below to see the importance of the telegraph for yourself.

(HISTORY, YouTube)
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“World War Toons” drops a piano on Nazi troops

Studio Roqovan’s new “World War Toons” video game fights a 20th Century-style war using chicken legs and Kool-Aid-man bombs to break through enemy lines.


Yes, you read that right.

Using the latest in virtual reality technology, “World War Toons” is optimized for the Playstation 4 and its VR headset so players can shoot where they’re looking and bob their heads around like Stevie Wonder at a recording session.

The developers behind the game held a release party near Los Angeles aboard the battleship USS Iowa that featured retro World War II Pinups for Vets models and music by the orchestra that performed the “World War Toons” score.

Not exactly what you’d expect from former “Call of Duty” developers, but “World War Toons” is sure to unleash the slapstick warfighter in gamers everywhere.

The game is set for release Oct. 13.

MIGHTY MOVIES

These veterans were given a chance to perform standup at Gotham Comedy Club

The Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) is an organization based in Virginia that builds communities for veterans, service members, and military families through classes, performances, and partnerships in the arts. As part of their mission, ASAP offers a Comedy Bootcamp for veterans to explore and develop their comedic abilities. 
These three veterans are alumni of the Comedy Bootcamp program and have been given the unique opportunity to perform their standup routines at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. Backed by veteran headliners PJ Walsh and Dion Flynn, the alumni put on a great show for their New York audience and proudly represented the armed services on the big stage.


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Why an Independent Duty Corpsmen isn’t your standard ‘Doc’

Navy corpsmen are well-loved. Grunts and sailors know that they can count on the corpsmen to be there to aid doctors in providing medical care. When you are on an aircraft carrier or an amphibious assault ship, it’s like being on a floating city. You have plenty of resources, including some of the best trauma facilities in the world, with plenty of doctors and corpsmen.


But not all ships can have these extensive facilities, and they can’t have doctors. If you are on an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer or a littoral combat ship, or some other smaller vessel, there probably will be no doctor on board.

Also read: What Corpsmen and Marines do in combat for one another will make you proud

Instead, you’d be seeing an Independent Duty Corpsman, an experienced Corpsman who have undergone advanced training. These well-trained IDCs can do a lot and they have a long history of service to prove it.

In World War II, three appendectomies were performed while a submarine was on patrol and the lives of sailors were at risk.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Blaasch draws blood from a patient as part of his duties as an Independent Duty Corpsman. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Amy Celentano.)

According to the U.S. Navy website, IDCs study Anatomy and Physiology; Physical Diagnosis; Clinical Lab; Pharmacy; Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Medicine; Preventive Medicine; Supply; Food Service Sanitation; Substance Abuse; Medical Department Responsibilities; Medical Diagnosis and Treatment; Pest Control; Naval and Shipboard Organization; Management of Medical/Surgical Emergency Dental Conditions; NAVOSH; ACLS; TCCC; Maintenance Material Management (3M); Dive Medicine. They also have to become Basic Life Support instructors (after all, the rest of the crew may have to pitch in to help the “doc”) and register to get a “National Provider Identification” number.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Chief Hospital Corpsman Reyes Camacho, right, checks the heartbeat of Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Rudy Taylor, left, aboard the Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769), Dec. 15. Submarine Force Independent Duty Corpsmen are the sole medical professionals permanently assigned to submarine crews. (Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bill Larned)

IDCs learn to handle a number of emergencies, whether ashore or at sea. They even train to handle situations where sailors or Marines require prolonged care.

Also Read: 5 key differences between Army medics and Navy corpsmen

Check out U.S. Navy‘s video to watch the intense training these Independent Duty Corpsmen go through in order to become operational.

(U.S. Navy, YouTube)
Articles

How America’s automakers supplied the allies during World War II

When Isoroku Yamamoto warned that Japan had no chance to win World War II, he famously cited America’s industrial might. One of the biggest areas where that strength came into play was with the automotive industry.


As this video by Fiat Chrysler shows, the automakers did step up big when World War II hit. One notable example not covered in the video is that most of the Avengers were not built by Grumman, they were built by General Motors (and thus, they were called TBMs, as opposed to the TBF for the Grumman-built versions). GM also built a lot of Wildcats as the FM and FM-2.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft guns. (Screenshot from Fiat Chrysler video)

Chrysler, though, was very good at building tanks. First the M3 Lee (or Grant) was rolling off the assembly lines — in some cases before the factory was completely built! The Grant was eventually replaced by the M4 Sherman. They also built lots of trucks — including the half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks that were ubiquitous in the military.

This video notes that Chrysler was responsible for about 25 percent of America’s tank production — more than all the tank production of Nazi Germany. What is also notable is that many designs that came to Chrysler were improved by its engineers.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
Tank treads produced by Chrysler. (Screenshot from Fiat Chrysler video)

Check out the five-minute video from FCA America that explains the U.S. automakers’ amazing role in supplying the troops in World War II.

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This retro Navy fighter footage will bring a smile to F-14 vets

This video is an ode to the F-14 Tomcat.


In 2001, as was the case six decades earlier, the United States got hit by an unprovoked and dastardly attack. The video starts with a quote from Thomas Jefferson about the tree of liberty.

Following that is a clip from the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” in which Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto reacts to the news that the United States Navy was hit by surprise at Pearl Harbor, complete with his famous “sleeping giant” comments.

 

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
A U.S. Navy (USN) F-14D Tomcat aircraft flies a combat mission in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

 

We then get close to ten minutes of action, much of which focuses on the F-14. Aviation historian Joe Baugher noted that the F-14 had its first operational cruise in 1974. Its primary weapon was the AIM-54 Phoenix missile – which had a range of 80 nautical miles, per Designation-Systems.net.

Baugher notes that the U.S. Navy’s Tomcat scored five air-to-air kills – two Su-22 Fitters in 1981, two MiG-23s in 1989, and a Mi-8 during Desert Storm. In a stunning decision, work on F-14D production was inexplicably halted in February, 1991 (the excuse given was that is was an “economy move”).

The F-14 soon found itself being phased out, and in 2006, the Navy retired the plane after 32 years of service. Many of the planes were scrapped to keep components from falling into Iranian hands.

Here’s the video featuring the F-14. Enjoy and give us a shout if you worked with these airframes!

Articles

How the P-51 Mustang almost became the A-10

The P-51 Mustang had a long combat career – seeing action in the Soccer War between El Salvador and Honduras over two decades after the end of World War II. In fact, the Mustang was serving with the Dominican Republic well into the 1980s.


But it nearly made a comeback with the United States Air Force – long after it was retired and sold off after the Korean War. Not for the air superiority role it held in World War II, but as a counter-insurgency plane.

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
PA-48 Enforcer during Air Force trials in the 1980s. (USAF photo)

But in the years after World War II, the Mustang underwent a metamorphosis of sorts. Aviation historian Joe Baugher noted that the P-51 line was sold by North American to a company known as Cavalier Aircraft Corporation. That company turned the one-time air-superiority fighter into a fighter-bomber, giving the plane eight hardpoints, with a usual warload of six five-inch rockets and two 1,000-pound bombs.

But the design could be pushed further, and Cavalier soon sold the Mustang to Piper Aviation. That company decided to try putting a turboprop engine in the Mustang airframe. That and other modifications lead to the PA-48 Enforcer. By the time they were done, the Enforcer had some Mustang lineage, but was ready for modern counter-insurgency work. It had GPU-5 gun pods – in essence, the Mustang would have two guns delivering BRRRRRT!

This is what it was like to fire a Civil War cannon
The PA-48 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (USAF photo)

The Air Force kicked the tires around the Vietnam War, but didn’t buy any. Not that you could blame ’em – there were plenty of A-1 Skyraiders around.

But in 1981, Congress pushed the Air Force into ordering two prototypes. After some testing in 1983, the Air Force decided to pass. One Enforcer found its way to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. The other is at Edwards Air Force Base.

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