Thankfully I have never experienced a massive earthquake or a tornado up
close, but the loudest thing I have ever heard was in US Army basic
training (I was in the National Guard for 6 years). My "MOS" (job) was
firing the 106 mm recoilless rifle, a long canon mounted on a jeep. The
rounds were almost three feet long, and the relatively small recoil for
that kind of cannon (it jumped less than a a foot) was achieved by having a
lot of the blast come out of the openings in the back of the cannon.
Unfortunately, that's also close to where the human beings are located who
are firing the weapon. If you actually get into the backblast area, a big
triangle behind the cannon, you can die on the spot from the backblast. In
basic training, we had to fire it without ear covering, or minimal (little
earplugs or something). It was overwhelming, and dulled your hearing for
quite a while. If you experienced very much of this without ear
protection, you would certainly lose your hearing. Later, in the National
Guard, we had to fire this beast regularly over a period of years, but we
had very good padded headphones that helped a lot, and we got used to it.
I fired hundreds of rounds over that six years as a weekend warrior.
Thankfully my hearing is completely intact decades later. I have no idea
what the decibel count was, but way, way more than what is deemed
acceptable. Rock musicians often lose all their upper frequency hearing
from the decibel levels they bathe in, but I don't think it compares to the
head-rattling impact of up-close recoilless rifle fire. I can only imagine
what soldiers in active combat might hear, without any ear covering.
On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:01 AM, Michael Shoshani <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 3/16/2015 08:33, Tom Fine wrote:
>> By the way, speaking of WWI recordings, perhaps the most ghastly is
>> HMV's "Gas Attack" 78. The sound isn't as disturbing as what it
> Or, indeed, the unforseen result on poor Will Gaisberg, who after
> engineering this recording succumbed to the influenza pandemic. It was, and
> perhaps still is, presumed that his exposure to actual gas during the
> recording weakened his constitution.
> Michael Shoshani