October 6, 1941
Well, here I am back at the range again. The weather is perfect for our shoot this time, tho’ it’s a little hot for comfort. We manoeuvre and shoot every day, so it’s not too dull. On Wednesday, we had a tank shoot, which wasn’t quite up to scratch, so of course we all heard about it. The tank targets are about the size of a car and mounted on wheels. These targets are controlled by means of cables and are pulled by gun quads. This enables the chaps in charge of the target to move it at approximately the same speed as the real thing. It’s quite exciting work firing on this type of target, as you must lead the tank and have the range down accurately.
Today, we had what is known as “crash action” which means speeding along the road and taking up positions on a moment’s notice, firing a few rounds, then either advancing or retiring, as the situation demands. The gun no longer affects my ear drums and I have become much more confident in my laying. We are scheduled to complete the shoot next Monday, which will make it one full week of shooting. The worst part of the shooting is the maintenance after each shoot. The gun must be “boiled out” (hot water poured through the barrel) and carefully cleaned. After this general maintenance takes place, it is followed by sight testing, which means checking and testing of all instruments.
Well, so much for the “Hill” and so to more general topics. I received your letter of Sept. 30th and the parcel of cigs, which must have been mailed about the same time. Yes, the Crete episode was disheartening, but shows how slow the British are to learn their lesson. I heard the news tonight and was glad to hear that the Russians are still beating the Nazi hordes back. If they can only hold them until the Winter, the War will be over before another Summer.
I’m getting heartily fed up with this extended vacation in England and hope it will soon end one way or another. I suppose the young cockerels will soon be ready for the pan, and I will be thinking of you when you go back for a “second,” as this is out of the question here.
Things are really beginning to pinch now, particularly with regards to cigarettes, candy, beer, matches &c. Razor blades are also getting very scarce, one being the most you can buy at one time and often this is unobtainable. If you want the soldier boy to pass daily inspection, I wonder if you could enclose a blade in your letters from time to time.
Well, I go on leave again soon and as yet haven’t decided where to go, though I promised Art McLaughlin I would go with him. Well, the light is failing and, as I have to fall out of bed at 5:30, I must close now.