USMC rifle capabilities at Belleau Wood
Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:12 PM
Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:19 PM
Posted 22 June 2010 - 03:21 PM
Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:10 PM
Also for food for thought. The Germans did not think the Americans capable of long distance direct fire and could have let their guard down at times. Small groups of men are better targets for an easy hit at those distances than an individual man. Once your range was doped and you had an idea of how to make your holds it's possible. Remember this is a 30.06 round, not today's .223 or .308. There is much more to consider about this than is it possible to which I say yes. But one might want to look into the individuals fil;e for training, time at the front, what he did in civilian life, ie...was he also a hunter. Just some things to consider before saying it may not be possible. People were a different sort back then and shooting for some was the only way food was put on the table. Just saying....
Food for thought. Chris
Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:06 PM
Posted 22 June 2010 - 09:09 PM
Somewhere I've read an anecdote about a US cavalry patrol during the Punitive expedition who spotted a group of Mexicans on a hill 800 yards away. The patrol leader told his sergeant to dismount, loop up, and see if he could hit the chief Mexican with his M1903. The sarge did so, and the survivors rapidily departed. This was considered a remarkable shot at not much more than half of 1400 yards...and the sergeant happened to be the champion shot of the cavalry branch
As the MTU rifleman mentioned in his post, at very long ranges the issue is not only marksmanship and weapon capability, but target detection; i.e., trying to spot a figure in a drab uniform. One cannot shoot an enemy one cannot see. At that distance the bullet will be in the air over two seconds--if the target moves at the right moment the shooter is out of luck. But maybe this would be balanced by the enemy group not hearing the shot until after it had struck. I've fired the M1903 with iron sights; as many shooters have observed, the rear sight is more of a target sight than a combat sight, and its placement on the weapon is not suited to the human eye. I've hit torso sized steel plates at 500 yards--but that was on a range, with no one shooting back. I've no doubt that a better rifle shot than me (that includes most people) could make a shot at 1400 yards. What I question is if they could do it six times in one day under combat conditions.
In my personal experience award citations routinely depect the intended recipient as leaping tall buildings in a single jump. I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of padding was practiced in WW1; the marines are reknowed not only for their marksman, but by their skill at self-promotion.
Edited by El Bibliotecario, 22 June 2010 - 09:18 PM.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:04 AM
Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:00 PM
The M1903 Rifle had a deserved reputation for having a high degree of accuracy. Note that the rear sight leaf has gradations all the way out to 2700 yards (!) In the hands of a skilled sniper with a scope equipped Springfield (even one as rudimentary as the W-S), I think it within the realm of possibility that such shots could have been made.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:35 PM
Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:07 AM
Edited by HerbG, 30 June 2010 - 10:10 AM.
Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:34 PM
you should read McBride's book
A Rifleman Went to War.
Also Sniping In France?
(How the British army won the war in the trenches)
Or something like that. This should answer a lot of
questions about sniping at long distances.
Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:59 PM
Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:44 AM
Good evening. I am currently working on doing some research on the Marines at Belleau Wood and in doing this research I am going through hundreds of SSC citations from the battle and one in particular is to a sniper or a Marine who was equipped with a scoped rifle who earned a silver star which was down graded from a DSC for making six kills at approximately 1400 yds! I spent 8 years in the Marine Corps and granted my experience is with the 5.56mm round but is this likley accurate. I am certainly not calling this false it is in the documentation but I also realize that a lot of these recommendations were analyzed and witnesses collected months after the fact and how likely do you all think it is that these are simply honest inaccuracies in the recollections of these eye witnesses. I know that maps were available by the early 1920's in fact the Marine Corps resurveyed the battlefield in 1919 and made a very nice accurate map that is currently at the Marine Corps archives in Quantico (Grays Research Center). I am just curious of some opinions. The Marine was Roland Fisher of the 51st Company and his citation was for actions on June 11 when the battalion attacked Belleau Wood but I believe this action really occurred on June 3-5 sometime since both eyewitnesses were wounded and evacuated on June 4 and June 5 and obviously unable to witness any action on dates after that. I have a nice picture of Fisher as well, very interesting citation.
If Elmer Keith can hit a deer at 600 yards with a S&W short barrel pistol, why not a man at 1400 yards with a scoped rifle?
Elmer keith has been in the NRA magazine several times
The story of Elmer Keith's famous, or infamous, 600 yard shot with a short barreled revolver has been told and retold many times over the decades since it happened. Sometimes this tale is told by people using it as evidence that handguns can be used at long range, sometimes by people who think Keith was another old cowboy telling tall tales. Of all the times the incident comes up the real story is seldom told. It wasn't as if Keith drew his revolver and dropped the deer offhand at 600 yards. He had been shooting that gun and load at several hundred yards that week and knew the kind of hold over he would need. He also didn't do it in one shot, and was prone. None of those facts changes the truth of the story or diminishes Keith's accomplishment or shooting ability. In my opinion it does give more credence to the story.
Elmer Keith was the most renowned long-range handgunner in the world. He invented the .357, .41 and .44 Magnum revolver cartridges, and was instrumental in the design of the Smith & Wesson revolvers that fired them, including the big Model 29. At first, many in the firearms establishment doubted Keith’s long-range load development work, his published exploits with his modified revolvers, his 700-yard accuracy, his 600-yard big-game kills, but as undeniable evidence accumulated even his doubters were forced to take Elmer’s accomplishments to heart. This one man, almost entirely on his own, was responsible for the birth of long-range handgunning, a sporting concept that would see vigorous expression on the target ranges and hunting fields of the world. Made famous by hitting running targets a quarter-mile away, Elmer Keith was known to be a devastating shot at more intimate social ranges as well. Nothing surprising about that.
Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:47 AM
The last matches held at Camp Perry using the '03 and open sights there was a shooter whose rifle was lost in shipment. He drew an issue weapon from the Army and shot the last perfect score at 1000 yds. That rifle had a brass plate attached to it and was awarded to the shooter. During the early stages of WW2 when England was asking for any weapons this rifle was donated. It was returned to him post war. This story has appeared in the NRA's American Rifleman magazine several times over the years.
In the hands of a well trained marksman the '03 is very capable of kill shots at 1000 yards plus even without a scope. I think most will agree that Marines of the WW1 era were well trained marksmen.
Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:01 AM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:04 AM
Six hits at 1400 yds is of course a superb performance but I'd like to know how many bullets it took. There are too many wild variables at such a distance for having consistent hits.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 10:32 AM
Bear in mind too that once the battlefield was firmly in American hands and the battle was over, the Brigade most likely did a pretty thorough evaluation of what happened as part of its after action reports. Distance measurements would have been easy to confirm.
Posted 25 July 2010 - 05:52 AM
I am not sure the rifle would have been an '03' as the P17 was actually in greater numbers in Europe during WW1,not that it would matter much as both are superb weapons.Sorry to say,but most men of that time were much better shots then we are today.Watch "Top Shots" to see what I mean.Most of those guys are incredible and yet,with more primative arms,not so much.
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