"NOW HEAR THIS"
Subject: Gun Station, 11 September 1943
Published: May 1996
By: Eldor Volkman
I was stationed at the quad 40 mm anti-aircraft gun on the starboard side on the 11th of Sept 1943. This is the experience we had at our gun station.
I have seen a picture of the Savannah that the front of our ship was lifted 10-15 feet by the explosion. This is what happened:
We had a 40-mm ammunition storage compartment 8x10x7 foot high next to our four rounds per clip and four clips per can = 16 rounds. The ammo cans were laid on their side and the clips were loosened so we could grab them in a fast manner and pass them to our guns. The explosion caused the ammo to slide out of the cans and hit the steel deck. It the point of one ammo would of hit the primer of another ammo and cause one explosion, then there would be many more.
This could have been another peril that didn’t happen. This could have killed all of us at our 40-mm gun. We were next to the bridge, with no doubt more injury to those that had their station on the bridge, for those that had their station at my 40-mm gun and the other three 40-mm.
Did any of you have the same experience? I would like to hear from you. I’m collecting information of our lives on the USS Savannah; I’m writing my autobiography of “My Life and Times.” I wish to hand to my grandchildren.
Thanks to all that have put their stories in the “Now Hear This.” On Sept 11, 1943, 0943 when we were on our way to Malta, was the shortest day in my life.