Some people say they can accurately shoot hundreds of yards with their pistol. Foghorn’s shown us you can hit what you want at 1,000 yards for about the price of a Rock Island 1911. But for really reaching out and touching something, none of them has anything on Lance Corporal Adam Schold…
Marine Week rolled into St. Louis on Monday giving thousands the chance to climb on tanks, sit in cockpits and shoot M4s at a virtual range. But the annual promotional event gave me an opportunity to indulge my interest in artillery. No really. Potato guns are fun, but backyard ballistics only go so far. So to speak.
LCpl. Schold is a gunner in an M777 lightweight towed howitzer crew. It’s a fearsome projectile launcher capable of putting 155mm shells on a target at a distance of up to eighteen miles. Rocket-assisted shells can rain hellfire down on the enemy up to twenty-four miles away. I can’t wait to see what Karl Lippard can do when he gets around to modifying one of these babies!
Of course, the M777 is slightly more labor intensive than my potato flinger. LCpl. Schold’s responsible for making sure the gun’s placed and ready to fire. The full crew is made up of eight soldiers but can still be effective with as few as five.
Once the order’s given, LCpl. Schold controls the gun’s deflection (left and right adjustment to you and me). Another Marine mans the quadrant (up and down) controls. Both are GPS assisted and ensure incoming shells land within about 50 ft of their target.
While the gun’s rated at four rounds per minute, Schold and his crew can crank out six through that rifled barrel when they really get rolling. And the cannon’s mostly titanium construction makes the M777 light enough to be quickly delivered anywhere it’s needed by a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor or CH-47 Chinook chopper.
Seeing these fearsome weapons up close and personal gives you a healthy respect for what they’re capable of. Talking to impressive Marines like LCpl. Schold makes you glad we have men like him who know how to use them.