Kite flying and a cattle massacre

The 801st went out into the field for several days to practice using the battalion’s fifty caliber machine guns as anti-aircraft weapons. The weapons fired an awesome 2,000 rounds per minute with an effective range of over a miles and a half. The weather cooperated and the 801st was pretty good at it, and before the first day was over they had wiped out their allocated targets.

They still had a few days out in the field and lots of ammunition. So a shallow trench was dug. Dad a few other men went into the closest town to get paper, string, and balsa wood, and they made kites. Dad could never help laughing whenever he told the story of lying on his back in a shallow trench, a huge volume of heavy machine gun rounds ripping over his head, flying kites.

Unfortunately, targets and kites were not the only things shot down by the 801st. As target practice was well underway an old pickup truck came hurtling up the dirt road carrying a very angry local rancher. Apparently rounds were skipping over the surrounding hills and dropping cattle quite a ways downrange. The effective range of a mile and a half meant you could count on hitting something you aimed at in that range, but the huge .50 caliber rounds could travel much, much further than that. Apologies were made and the firing angles were adjusted. And the army bought some surplus beef.



Quad .50 caliber Machine Gun on M16 halftrack