Postcards from Tradocia

artificial thunder

When a mortar lands in the camp, or a bomb goes off outside the walls, it seems to make a dull “wham” followed by a little “whoosh,” caused by the explosion or flying dirt or who knows what. Unless it’s really close, it just kind of blends into the background noise of diesel engines and helicopter rotors.

When our Paladins fire, though, it sounds like a tremendous clap of thunder. With a lower powder charge it’s just a sharp “boom” of a distant storm, but at full charge it’s a wall-shaking blast of concussive force that takes your breath away. SGT P describes how if you’re close enough, you can somehow feel the concussion just an instant before the sound reaches you, and that it’s a “horrible” feeling – as in “oh shit, I’m about to be blown up.” But then the sound arrives and it changes from dread to awe.

The Paladins aren’t far from the DFAC and they were firing the other day as we went to lunch. The first blast was while we were outside, and it was loud enough to hurt my ears. The second was while we were washing our hands in the entryway – all the stainless steel sinks rattled with the blast. The third was just after we sat down to eat; it elicited a collective “ooh” from the crowd as if we were watching 4th of July fireworks.

Two nights ago they were firing at night, and the thunderclap woke me up – my whole trailer shook with the concussion. My trailer is at least a mile from the guns, but they might as well have been next door. They fired a few rounds and it was sort of like getting a mini-massage, courtesy of Field Artillery!

I can see now why they call artillery the “King of Battle.”

(If infantry is the “queen of battle” and artillery is the “king,” what does that make Signal? The “Court Jester of Battle”? The “Serf of Battle”?)


  1. sec

    The Nerd of Battle.

  2. dohboy54

    “The Nerve Center of Battle” without which the battle is just a bunch of King & Queens taking shots in the dark.

  3. Sgt "Doc" Thompson

    I think that Psy-Ops is the court jester of battle.

    On a separate note if Field Artillery is the king of battle and we call them Idiot Gun Bunnies because they “Pull String-Gun Go Boom” what does that say about our kingdom.

    Don’t mind me I’m an irascible reformed Red Leg.

  4. Spike

    LOL sec.

  5. Lola Barnes

    Scary–but another vote for you as court jester ’cause your writings are so witty. If you think the guns are loud a mile away how about the crew who are there firing them? G&G

  6. Jokur

    The only thing more anoying then the paladins disturbing our slumber are the Mayor Cell Nazis
    telling us how to arange our liveing quarters I think some insurgents have a lofted bed fire for efect…

  7. Mom and Dad

    Signal is the nervous system indeed.

    Your Mom says put the f….. mattress on the floor!

    The Court Jesters are the liberal reporters!

    Love, Dad and Mom

  8. SGT P

    Ok, JoKur (my roommate) has decided to make an attempt at posting comments. Unfortunately, do to his inability to read, he is also a horrible writer. I’m going to redo his post for him.

    The only thing more ANNOYING (2 N’s Joe) THAN (THEN is used to describe order of events, THAN is used to compare) the paladins disturbing our slumber are the Mayor Cell Nazis
    telling us how to ARRANGE (2 R’s) our LIVING (No E in the middle) quarters.<–Punctuation
    I think some insurgents have a lofted bed! <–Again with punctuation
    Fire for EFFECT (Two F’s for EFFECT)…

    Good effort JoKur, keep at it old boy!

  9. Bear

    In JoKur’s defense, I could read his comment just fine.

    Re: Two posts ago– holy $hit man, that was a pretty intense comment battle, I am suprised the leader of the 5th reich didn’t chime in. (our beloved former LT now E-5)

    Anyhow, nothing can beat a good old Route Irish car bomb, those will rattle your teeth pretty good.

    SGT P– I heard the bad news. Bummer, that’s a Bummer man.

  10. SFC G (Afghanistan)

    The term “Queen of battle” is in reference to the chess piece which can attack in any direction, for any distance. Just in case you really wanted to know. Have fun in your sandbox, while I have fun in mine.

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