CHERCHELL, ALGIERS-A MISS IS AS GOOD AS A MILE

My gun was positioned on a bluff on a small islet jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea. The only structure on this small spit of land was a lighthouse and its occupants, the lighthouse keeper and his wife.

I do not recall our assignment, but I assume it was to protect the islet from what I do not know. My gun crew was composed of a eight totally inexperienced Gls with no knowledge whatsoever of maritime warfare- another classic example of Army Intelligence.

A submarine surfaced about 3/4 of a mile offshore and I immediately radioed my Commanding Officer on the mainland. I was told, that unless the submarine identified itself, I was to fire a warning shot across its bow. After a brief interval of time, I ordered the gun crew to fire a shot, as ordered, across the bow of the submarine. Instead of elevating the gun, my sharpshooting gun crew depressed the gun, took aim and fired one shot which landed in the water a scant 50 yards in front of our gun. Fortunately, we missed the submarine, I would estimate by at least a half mile. Unfortunately, at that point in time there was no Guiness Book of Records, so I, the fearless leader of a totally inept gun crew, cannot be listed in the Guiness Book for the greatest miss in the history of modern warfare. Incidentally, the submarine, evidently hearing the report of the gun, immediately identified itself as British.

Another humorous incident occurred here. Since I had a basic knowledge of the French language, at the behest of my crew, I asked the wife of the lighthouse keeper if she would bake us a loaf of bread. Evidently, the names for bread and rabbit are synonymous and in my fractured French she misunderstood my request. She later appeared at our gun position, with a platter containing an ugly roasted rabbit surrounded by a garland of potatoes. My hillbilly gun crew smacked their lips in delight and devoured this unsavory dish that to me had the appearance of a huge dead rat.

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Lighthouse

acknowledgment