59. 16 Tons per Gun
I remember this day very well as In the midst of this terrific amount of shell we were firing. I received a letter from my Mother saying she had purchased a Victory bond for me. I think a hundred dollar one. Well at the rate we were firing that hundred dollars was long gone. Also it was my sister Marjorie's birthday. She would be 18 on this day.
Now to the role we gunners were playing. As the day wore on the empty cartridge cases were piling up all around. The guns were getting so hot that flecks of paint went flying off. The oil in the buffer and recuperator system became so hot that the guns were coming back on the recoil metal to metal. This is a critical situation and the gun should be taken out of action, cooled down and have more oil added to the system. Here is where the gun fitters like Archie Simpson, Wilf Hogg, JD MacClean, and Alfie Jordison all did their jobs of keeping the old desert guns firing. Some were cooling the barrels with water, others momentarily taking the gun out of action and adding buffer oil, and doing other repairs. All the time knowing our Infantry Brigade needed us to help them out. Some of the gun crews were exhausted but carried on. Others had to leave the gun pits with ear drums damaged.
The gun that I was the #1 on fired 500 shells that day. None of my crew left the pit other than to take a leak, so you can see the hammering on the ears and the handling of that amount of shells loading and firing. Some 16 tons handled per gun. Still prior to this. Floyd Brooks was calling for a hundred rounds gun fire and eventually the order was keep firing which we did.
The day wore on and as daylight faded we were told the infantry had to withdraw and we ended up firing some smoke to cover the withdrawal. What a day! What a price to pay in lives lost. Our Infantry was brave but the German Paratroopers were well dug in and experienced. It would be many months before the Perth's and Cape Breton Highlanders were to avenge this day.
Read Stan's Book. That will give you what happened at the sharp end.
During all our firing the Germans did not fire upon our guns . They were too busy wiping out our attacking Infantry.