Post by benteeneast on Apr 28, 2009 11:56:17 GMT -5
Don't get hung up on marksmanship with a revolver. Muzzle indexing works well out to 3 yards. Firing horseback requires manipulation of the revolver with a single hand while maintaining a good seat. Taylor describes the troopers in front of him extending there right arm and firing. He stated he tried that at an Indian looking at him and missed. If you could not maintain a good seat and had to hold on then it would effect accuracy. If you could hold the revolver steady with your head like say cup of coffee in a bouncing vehicle then at 6 feet or less at an Indian next to you or closing you should hit.
I am sure there are other that have shot from horseback like I have. The problem I think we're leaving out is that marksmanship on the ground does not involve movement of a shooter like a horse running would. If you combine Sgt Ryan's statements that some had not ridden that fast before with Taylor's lack of shooting from horseback then the results are fewer casualties. Taylor states he dropped his revolver when his horse had to jump says it all.
The Indians were riding up pulling troopers off their horses a revolver in the right hands should have prevented that.
Marksmanship is not just sight alignmenton the target with steady pressure on the trigger without effecting the sight picture. The trouble is that if you only test at stationary targets you're only prepared for battle with stationary targets.
Company commanders probably didn't have a great deal of ammo on hand in their barracks.
Yes, very little, if any at all, just for the CQ in more hostile areas I'm sure. But every post had an armory or large arms room, where tens of thousands of rounds were kept, and I've seen indications that it was divided into piles per company (perhaps in physical fact, but at least on the books).
Whether company commanders were signed for these rounds kept in a common armory I don't know, but somebody was.
Mounted rifle practice: I've seen indications that every Troop did this...it was standard practice. And as mentioned, it wasn't an "aiming" drill...it was very similar to saber drill...where you run at targets on poles and "point and shoot," point-blank, off a galloping horse.
Very much like the modern military shootists do, but with real ammo, not blanks at balloons. <g>
The following is copied from Cooke’s Cavalry Tactics 1862 U.S. Regulars
“ RECORD AND REPORTS OF TARGET FIRING.
194.-Beside the foregoing progressive instruction for recruits, there will be target fixing in every three months in every squadron; on each occasion, the best practiced troopers firing at least 12 shots mounted; every member of the squadron, not a capital prisoner, will join in the exercise.
There will be a record of target firing in each squadron kept in a book, giving the name and performance of each member. In the string measure, each miss at dismounted practice counts 24 inches, at mounted practice, 36 inches.
195.-On the 1st of May and 1st of November, annually, the captains will report to the regimental commander an abstract giving the totals, from this record. At the same time he will make report of the names of the first and second best performers of the squadron, at the gallop practice at the round target.
On receipt of these reports the commander of the regiment shall publish, in regimental orders, the first and second best squadrons, and the names of the two best shot in each squadron of the regiment. “
That was pre CW and was not in effect in 1876. Heth had system of testing but it was not adhered to also. That would require that all practice ammunition would be revolver. It would be highly unlikely that their 10 round per month per trooper was revolver.
Private William O. Taylor enlisted 1872 and never fired mounted before 1876 at LBH.
Doing some research for Gordie on the Army-Navy Journal (ANJ), I found several of these results from target practice conducted by the Dept. of the Platte sent to the ANJ by Gen. Ord, commanding.
From the ANJ, 12/07/1872:
To the Editor of the Army and Navy Journal.
Sir, I enclose herewith an abstract from the reports of company target practice for the month of October, 1872, from post [sic] in the Department of the Platte.
From the interest felt on this subject by the progressive officers of the Army, I believe that the publication of a summary of the best targets made every month in all the Departments would add a valuable feature to the Journal, and show how our troops and arms compare with those of other armies.
E.O.C. Ord, Brigadier-General. Omaha, Neb., November 25, 1872
ABSTRACT FROM THE REPORT OF TARGET PRACTICE OF COMPANIES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE, SHOWING THE BEST AND WORST SINGLE DAY'S SHOOTING IN THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 1872.
Billy is that total for the whole company at the various yardage?
Steve, you have everything I know about it. Since it says abstract, I am going to assume that Ord's adjutant selected the best single target results from a series of targets to include.
Incidentally, Co. B, 2d Cav. was stationed at Camp Stambaugh, Wyoming Territory at the time.
Looking at another one abstract from the Dept. of the Platte, the best cavalry scores include targets of 150, 200, and 275 yards.
Source: The Army-Navy Journal, 01/11/1873
November, 1872 Cavalry scores-target was 72"x22" (All took place on 11/04)
150 yds.....144 shots/96 hits/6 in. avg. distance from center. D/2 Cav. 200 yds.....135 shots/68 hits/12 in. avg. distance from center. F/8th Cav. 275 yds.....213 shots/65 hits/15 1/4 in. avg. distance from center. H/3d Cav.
November, 1872 Infantry scores-target was 72"x22"
100 yds.....099 shots/79 hits/4 in. avg. distance from center. K/14th Inf. 11/23 200 yds.....132 shots/80 hits/8 in. avg. distance from center. A/13th Inf. 11/04 350 yds.....033 shots/19 hits/15 in. avg. distance from center. A/9th Inf. 11/11
November, 1872 Worst Target Scores-target size was 72"x22" except the 200 yd. target which size is unknown.
150 yds.....105 shots/16 hits/21 in. avg. distance from center. C/14th Inf. 11/22 200 yds.....105 shots/06 hits/24 in. avg. distance from center. C/8th Inf. 11/11 300 yds.....042 shots/02 hits/9 in. avg. distance from center. A/8th Inf. 11/22
The Army-Navy Journal of 02/15/1873 had this letter to the editor in reference to the inclusion of A/8th Inf. as worst shot of the November target practice.
"Sir: In your issue of January 11, you publish an 'abstract from the report of target practice of companies in the Department of the Platte, showing the companies making the best and worst single day's shooting in the month of November, 1872"
"In this report Company A, Eighth Infantry, is put down as 'worst target.' Let us see why this is so. On or about the 15th day of November, the 'Springfield breech-loaders' of the company, with which the men were all familiar, were turned into the ordnance depot, and the company was furnished with the Remington locking rifle, an arm that requires more time for men to become acquainted with than any I have ever seen in the hands of a soldier. This rifle is loaded at nearly full cock, but, by closing the breech-block, is locked and has to be cocked before firing; the hammer, however, being so far back, nearly at full cock, deceives the man (until he becomes acquainted with the arm), and he attempts to fire, without cocking the piece, which being impossible, necessarily produces nervousness, flinching, and a derangement of sight. On the 22d of November, when Company A was reported as 'worst target,' the men fired for the first time with the new arm. Again, we are at this point 6,000 feet above the level of the sea, where the wind blows a gale two-thirds of the time. On the day referred to, while Company A was firing forty-two shots, the target was blown down six times, and it was so cold that the men's [sic] fingers became benumbed, and it was hard for them to hold their pieces, let alone to fire accurately. By reference to the report, it will be seen that Company A fired 300 yards, a longer distance than any other company, excepting one which is stationed at Omaha, Neb., where the winds are comparatively light. Though the practice of shooting at a target is undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most important duty that can be performed in the Army, is it a good plan to perform it in the winter? In my opinion it is not; but the practice should be suspended during the winter months, especially in this climate; the men get cold and careless, and are only anxious to fire their three rounds and get back to their quarters, while in good weather the same men take a deep interest in it. In conclusion, it certainly is not just for these reports to be published as they are without explanation, for though understood by those serving at the same post, they are not understood by the Army, and cannot well be explained afterwards.
"Indications are that we shall have the whole fighting force of the Sioux nation to contend with."
George Crook telegraph to Gen. Sheridan May 29, 1876
"Abstract from report of target practice in the Department of the Platte for the month of December, 1872, showing the best single day's practice for the companies of cavalry and infantry at the several distances named, also the worst target made during the month."
It's too much trouble to put this in tabular form so I will improvise.
1In the original article, the distance from center was published as 172 inches. The correct distance appeared in a following issue. *denotes worst target.
"On account of the prevalence of high winds and cold weather, no target practice was held during the month at some of the posts in the Department. The best report is, therefore, probably below what might have been expected with good weather."
My suspicion is that C/8 Inf. went out shooting during the above described "high winds and cold weather."
I shudder at these reports...it was a really bad idea, and I'll bet didn't go on for long.
Company commander's careers could ride on such results being published Army-wide. This breeds a "zero defect" mentality, and inspires the creativity and dishonest in officers that need to protect those careers.
So when you believe your record may be noted and posted, you'll only send your very best men...the men who really need the practice will conveniently be sent on details somewhere out of sight. Officers and NCOs that otherwise seem average and dull suddenly become creative geniuses in how to "beat the system," and it usually isn't by improving their Soldiers skills, which was the original intent.
Lying, cheating, and stealing, is what happens when you adopt a policy like this. It does nothing to improve the marksmanship of the regular Soldier.
In peace time and up to the renak of colonel, an officer's career was based solely on the system of seniority and living long enough to get the next promotion. There was some hope to move up outside the seniority system when regiments were added to the Regular Army. There was talk of rewarding officers by moving them up a number of spaces on the seniority list, but I have not read that this was done. That may have been more a suggestion than something that tried.
At the RCOI, Reno's lawyer asked him, "were not your prospects of promotion bound up in the success of the fight by your regiment?"
Reno answered, "I don't know that I could say that. It might have given me some reputation, of course, as being a member of a regiment that had been successful in a contest with a large body of Indians."