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Aerial reconisance photo by Lt. Dan Carson

 

There is a story here all centered on one day, June 15,1953.  That is about a 24 hour day with one return trip to OP Howe from the Signal Company after we shot pictures during the day with an experimental camera.  We made about 80 shots with an experimental "breadboard"  camera being developed by the Signal Corps.  It had a 40" focal length lens with a back end like a speed graphic with a focal plane shutter.  It was packaged in a huge carrying case with space for film, a big tripod and filters the size of dinner plates.  It was so big we had to carry it in the jeep trailer, unpack what we needed and chogie it to the shooting location with a couple of trips.

The attached annotated photo was made on June 15th by our photo officer Lt. Dan Carson, who was flying in an L-19 that day.  All the pictures were classified after being processed but I saved a print because I am in it as is my partner Frank Conger. On the original print you can see two dots in the tank dugout.

You can see our jeep trailer parked on a shoulder downhill from our shooting location which was the tank dugout.  The tank was pulled back during the daylight hours.  We unloaded the camera, tripod etc., then took the trailer where you see it and returned the jeep to a spot just below the road.

From there we carried the camera and accessories up the trench  line to where it came out at the tank.  We set the camera up in the tank dugout and gave the camera a good workout, using 4x5 Kodak Super XX film in 12 shot film packs.

The camera was less than satisfactory because the whole structure was not rigid enough to withstand the vibrations caused by the 4x5 focal plane shutter.  As a result many of our shots were blurred.  I am sorry I never took a picture of that camera.  It was supposed to be classified too!

I guess we were there too long.  There was a good deal of Chinese artillery harassing fire in our immediate area.  Our target priority must have reached the top of the Chink FOs list so we got a five or six shell volley right on top of the hill.  "I see you!" We waited where we had taken cover and sure enough, they dropped the other shoe with another volley a bit closer this time.

They shifted fire to the MSR to our left and succeeded in wounding one man who was with what looked like an infantry platoon moving up toward OP Harry or the MLR.  He was picked up very quickly by an APC and whisked to the Battalion Aide Station as more artillery came in along the road.

In talking to the tank crew we found that they were scared to death about trying to move that tank off the hill down that narrow road at night.  They were away from a PX, had no beer, no chocolate drink, no writing paper and only a couple of dog-eared pocket books to read.

When we exhausted our film supply we packed up our camera and headed back to the Company (1/2 mile from Div Hq).  We got permission to return to attempt some night photos.  Before we drove back we got all the guys in the photo section to donate some beer, chocolate drinks, writing paper and paper backs.  That tank crew was smiling that evening.


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ęCopyright 2002 James Jarboe.  All rights reserved