The Day the 175mm Gun Tube Exploded

8mm Video Shot by B.J. Bowles in 1969 at Quan Loi, Vietnam

Alpha Battery 6/27th Artillery



When asked about his film of the after effects of the 175mm gun explosion, Barney Bowles replied his memory was a bit hazy after almost 50 years.  Yes, can you believe it, it will be 50 years ago next year!  He thought he had either purchased the 8mm camera at the Quan Loi PX or it had been sent to him in a "home package".  He remembered it was not a very good camera as he had trouble with the focus and the zoom feature which contributes to the quality of the film

Since the explosion occurred in the middle of the night while he was on night duty in the Fire Detection Center (FDC) he thought he did not shoot the film until after he had caught some sleep.  He said it was probably shot the next afternoon.

In a recent email exchange Barney recalled his memory of the incident:

"I do not have mail that I sent home handy that would have put a date and time on #4 blowing up, Maybe some of the others that were there could find it in there mail. I can only remember that it was in the early hours of the morning, I'm thinking between 1&3 a.m.

As far as my memories of it, and I'm sure everyone that was there would agree, "Thank God!" As you know we all got pretty good at recognizing from the sound, which gun or guns were firing. On that fire mission, when firing #4, there was a distinctive horrific sound that no doubt something went badly wrong. I remember looking around at the others in FDC, we were horrified at the thought of what could be left. It was a great feeling when someone reported a minute or so later that everyone was ok. (Not quiet the case as we found out later) A Divine Intervention! I thank God that this was not the disaster that anyone looking at these pictures and knowing where Artillery men were standing, would have to conclude, could have been much worse!

 On the why, all I know is we shot a lot rounds and metal fatigue on a worn-out barrel makes sense."

Barney Bowles  Then and Now
Alpha Btry 6/27th Arty
Sep 68 to Oct 69

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