Reading old Garand manuals.
I had been confused about elevation, once
I didn't get it when i first saw that, but now I think I do. Your '2' setting on the elevation was indeed for 200 yards. You'd hit a hair high at 100, and a hair low at 300 but still hit that katana wielding chargine Japanese officer somewhere on the breast bone, and that was enough. So when you zero at 200 yards you loosen the windage ring on the left side of your sight and without letting the peep sight move you set the 2 to match to the line.
And, in battle, and you have a target 800 yards out you can twist the windage gauge up to 8 and hit the breast bone of Nazi officer you are aiming out WAYYYYYYYY out there. Or at least that's how I think it's suppose to work.
Question is, how many times in history did some GI with his trusty rifle that he knows inside and out sit there on the battlefield and see the enemy was about 800 yards away and then he went ahead and adjusted his elevation?
Ok, well when did that GI do it in a non-ambush situation? In the movie Band of Brothers elements of Easy Company did open up on an unsuspecting German machine gun nest on a canal dyke in Holland, at night, and they went to great length showing some of the Airborne troopers adjusting their elevation. But the Germans were a mere 200 yards away, it seemed, so I don't know why they'd do that. And it was night, they'd have had to go by clicks count because they couldn't actually SEE the settings.
I can see making the adjustment on a flat range in a shooting competition, yes. And the ordnance developers that specced that sight when the rifle was created probably were going with range practicality, vis battlefield use, in mind.
Studies even found, after action in WWII and Korea, that a GI wouldn't shoot at something more than 500 yards away with iron sights because he wasn't sure he'd be able to reliably hit something, so it was less acceptable to give your position away to gain that meager reward. Those studies went a huge way toward the development of carbines shooting minor cartridges and gave us the M16.
Wars change. Relatively close and static trench warfare in Korea becomes jungle in Indochina becomes featureless desert in Iraq becomes sparsely vegetated mountain in Afghanistan, and longer engagement ranges make a comeback. GIs go from drafted citizen soldiers to more motivated and arguably better trained professional volunteers. Iron sights give way to a plethora of hardy optics being mounted on rifles almost universally, and a good number of THEM are able to pierce the darkness of a moonless night.
Make you wonder if that doesn't add more fuel to the warfighters debate (ignore civilian gunnie preferences!) about the wisdom of adopting the 5.56 cartridge almost 50 years ago. A 6.5ish millimeter might come in handy about now. At least the M16 types are mighty accurate at long range. (Actually, since I am ignorant of the ballistic data, I don't know if the .276 type rounds are as good at longer ranges that the .223 and .308 are. I presume they can be, but maybe they take the weaknesses of both other calibers and demonstrate that in flight. I could be way off.)
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