You’re making me want to re-enlist. Almost.
One of the disadvantages to being a GM was that I seldom got to see the guns shoot from outside. A few times I turned control over to one of the Mount Captains (usually a Bosuns Mate) and would sneak out to watch them shoot. Of course, if anything had gone wrong my arse would have been court-martialed.
Re leaving the hatches open - it seems there was always at least one gun crew member who would run away the minute we started shooting. The GM had to keep a close eye on the runners and at times batten the hatches TIGHT so they couldn’t get out. Usually best just to let them go because all they did was get in the way.
Yeah, I never could understand why they had sights for anti-aircraft fire.