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General Quarters Drill:
When you have your own boat your GQ Station will be well known to you, so there is no need to rehearse the various positions. Know your spot and be there. Aside from the actual firing of the guns the important thing is the preparation. Everything must be in perfect operating order. Be prepared is not just a Boy Scout motto, it is the watchword of every fighting ship. You can make no excuses to the Japs for a jammed 50, a weak drive spring, or a 20 mm magazine with no tension on it. The guns must fire when you want them. They will, only if you have done your drills so that you can do everything automatically. Strip your guns regularly, exercise the springs, and make other routine checks. Then you will know in times of action how to put tension on a magazine and how to blind load. You cannot use flashlights on deck in the Area. Keep those guns in shape by learning your drills and routines now. The same with your fish, torpedoes to the landlubber, the smoke screen generator, and the depth charges.
The notes following cover most of the armament carried on the boats and an account is given of the experience had with this gear. Take this advice and value it, for it is the voice of experience:
37mm Gun: To the Barge Hunters this is a fondly loved gun. Its flexibility, easy of firing, destructive power, and flat trajectory make it a grand gun against targets at moderate range. A 37 mm seldom jams of itself. The few jams that do occur are usually traced to faulty ammunition. The hints given here will acquaint you with the methods used in combat areas to make this the terror anti barge gun:
1. Test fire each batch of ammunition. Check the primers for obvious defects and particularly note how tightly the casing holds the projectile. Loose projectiles can be fired, but they will be short on range and lacking in accuracy.
2. Always try to get the latest issue of 37mm shells. Stow it carefully, well lubricated and in a watertight box. Air frequently, for shells are subject to sweating.
3. Loaded magazines are easily sprung from the jarring movement of the boat. Unload the magazine when returning to base. Also keep it unloaded on the way to your patrol station.
4. Correct loading is very important. The primer end of the shell must be snug against the magazine—push them aft.
5. The loader should continuously tell the gunner how many rounds he has left so that the gunner can keep his eyes glued to the target. Likewise, the loader should keep the magazine as full as possible so that weight will be evenly distributed and the gun will be fed steadily.
6. Carry spare screws for the magazine.
7. The belt in the magazine should not be drum tight but neither should it be visibly slack.