‘Area fire’ an effective ploy

I enjoyed Royce Wilson’s article on the Lebel M1886 rifle (Australian Shooter, October 2018) and concur it was less than perfect, perhaps resulting in some problems for the ‘men on the ground’. No doubt the politics and ethno-centric thinking were factors.

As an aside for younger readers, the .303 and doubtless Mausers and others of the day through until comparatively recent times saw many military rifles sighted for 2000 yards/metres and, as noted, trying to hit a man-sized target at that range was difficult.

However the purpose was not for use in individual fire by sniper or such, but for what was termed ‘area fire’  when every available rifle was fired at a visible target in the immediate vicinity. What resulted was as many rounds as possible landing in or about the target as a virtual shotgun blast. It was hoped one or more would do the damage and was also practical in keeping enemy heads down while you advanced towards a more effective range.

Ross Golden, via email

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