A fragment of the exploding shell must have hit one of the German gun-crew, for a man fell on his face and rolled overboard.
The American in command of the gun-crew was the only one who smiled, and he did it openly.
The gun-crew fell back to mechanical automatic speed, muscle and sinew moving with the precision of things of steel.
"Fire on the top of the roll," cautioned the captain of the gun-crew, which comprised four of the best gunners on the ship.
The next few hours must have been very uncomfortable for the German gun-crew.
Rexdale, who was closely noting the practice, hesitated, it being the strict rule that no one outside the gun-crew should fire.
A hurried conference of the ship's officers and the commander of the gun-crew resulted in a single but definite conclusion.
Our own gun-crew did not relax its vigilance until the bar was crossed and all danger was passed.
An eight-inch projectile entered the after turret-port, and silenced the gun and gun-crew forever.
A gun-crew screamed and died as one of the needle-nosed machines melted into puddles of steel.