Topic: Drill and Training
A example of the Solano Target
(Click for larger image).
New British Target
The Montreal Gazette, 17 February, 1909
The fact that new targets are to be used which will abolish the necessity of firing at concentric rings at known distances may be of interest to that class of young men which dodges the territorials because rifle-range shooting is poor sport.
The old bulls-eye target is obsolete, having been formally condemned by the Army Council in their order of October, 1907.
Mr. Solana, the inventor of the new targets, condemns the old bull-eye in a sentence : "Not only are men encourage to fire at objects over distances at which objects in war are invisible," he says "but they are taught to fire with a nice accuracy utterly impossible in war through the rapid pulse and strong pulse induced by excitement and exertions."
The soldier today does not stand up in a line of his fellows and fire point-blank at short range at an opposite line of the enemy. The modern rifle gets more and more like a rapid lead pump; the enemy is nearly always invisible, except for the shortest possible periods, and battles range over vast areas.
Until Mr. Solano invented his wonderful apparatus, therefore, the modern soldier could get no training whatever in the work of learning how to kill his enemy under the conditions he would find on the battlefield. He has had field work, of course, but there has been no means of telling whether the shooting was effective.
The Solano targets have received the hearty approval of the Duke of Connaught and Earl Roberts, and have won for their inventor the warm thanks of the Army Council.
They may be described as a rifle-man's education in eye-training, distance judging, and rapid fire.
They are inexpensive, and by their means field firing practices may be carried on within the radius of a room or a barrack yard. The Solana triangle and linear targets, for individual and collective firing, will in time replace the old pattern marks at the ranges.
A triangle has been chosen instead of the circle, as being in direct relation to the human figure; and others of these targets represent infantry, cavalry, and guns, etc., at varying distances and in natural tints.
The most interesting part of the new invention, however, is undoubtedly the Battle Practice Target.
It is, with its many accessories, no less than a miniature field of battle. The size of all the objects on it—men, rocks, clouds, lights, trees, etc.—bear a mathematical relation to the distance at which they are shown. The marks—that is, the model troops—are tinted with atmospheric effects from life studies; a portion of the work for which a lady artist, Miss Coral Lubbick, is responsible.
The target is capable of the effects of dawn, of day, and of night. It can be made to represent summer, winter, and autumn, and mountain and desert scenes, and it can show various skies.
It trains men to fir at men, reduced to what they would show us, by day, in the field, with all the mutations of changing positions, distances, etc.
It can be a night scene, with varying gun flashes and sounds, to train men to judge the posirion and distance of the enemy under such circumstances.
It can be used as a training, in a small space, for signalling work, helio and flag, under conditions which men would have to deal with in the field.
The target can be provided with ordinates and wind velocity scales, and scoring sheets are provided to show the progress of individual marksmen and squads.
Indeed any body of men, who proved at all successful in scoring on this strange target, would prove very ugly customers in the real place.
In addition, the men will go through physical exercises prior to target practice, which will give them the high pulse and heavy breathing necessary for realistic inaccuracy.