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´╗┐Title: A report on the feasibility and advisability of some policy to inaugurate a system of rifle practice throughout the public schools of the country
Author: Wingate, George Wood, 1840-1928, National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, Critchfield, Ammon B.
Language: English
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Libraries.)



A REPORT ON
THE FEASIBILITY AND ADVISABILITY OF SOME POLICY
TO INAUGURATE A SYSTEM OF RIFLE PRACTICE
THROUGHOUT THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
OF THE COUNTRY



By

Gen. GEORGE W. WINGATE
Of New York

and

Gen. AMMON B. CRITCHFIELD
Of Ohio



PUBLISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH A RESOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL BOARD
FOR THE PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1907



NOTICE


At the annual meeting of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle
Practice, held at Washington, D.C., January 24, 1906, the question of
building up an interest in target practice throughout the schools of
the country was discussed, and a special committee consisting of Gen.
L. M. Oppenheimer, of Texas; Gen. George W. Wingate, of New York, and
Gen. Ammon B. Critchfield, of Ohio, was appointed to inquire into and
report at the next annual meeting of the board upon--

The feasibility and advisability of some policy to inaugurate a system
of rifle practice throughout the public schools of the country.

At the last meeting of the board held at Washington, D.C., January 25,
1907, the report of this committee was submitted by Generals Wingate
and Critchfield, and is published in accordance with the following
resolution of the board, which was unanimously adopted:

    _Resolved_, That the report of the committee on rifle practice in
    public schools be approved and the thanks of the board be tendered
    Generals Wingate and Critchfield for their valuable paper; that the
    National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice recommend to the
    various educational authorities the desirability of interesting
    school boys over 13 years of age in the subject of rifle practice.
    It was

    _Further resolved_, That this report be printed separately and
    given the greatest publicity, the matter of distribution and number
    of copies required therefor to be submitted to the committee on
    publicity, with power.

It is deeply regretted that before the completion of the report General
Oppenheimer died, and his great help in assisting to promote interest
in rifle practice is lost to the country.

This report is earnestly commended to the superintendents of public
instruction throughout the country.

                        ROBERT SHAW OLIVER,
                            _Assistant Secretary of War_,
      _President National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice_.
                        GROTE HUTCHESON,
                            _Captain, General Staff_,
      _Member and Recorder, National Board for the Promotion of Rifle
         Practice_.



Report on the Feasibility and Advisability of some Policy to Inaugurate
a System of Rifle Practice throughout the Public Schools of the
Country.


                                        NEW YORK, _January 21, 1907_.

NATIONAL BOARD FOR THE PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE.

GENTLEMEN: In pursuance of the resolution of the board requesting the
late Gen. L. M. Oppenheimer, of Texas (who died since the last meeting
of the board, and whose death is deplored), and the undersigned to
report "on the feasibility and advisability of some policy to
inaugurate a system of rifle practice throughout the public schools of
the country," we respectfully report:

For many years attempts have been made to inaugurate a system of
military instruction in the public schools of the country. As a rule,
these have not proved successful. In a few private military schools
situated in the country some target practice is conducted, but the
difficulty of carrying on anything of the kind in the public schools
has rendered it impracticable.

The matter, however, has recently been introduced in the public schools
of the city of New York, and the success which has been attained there
has demonstrated the feasibility and advisability of introducing rifle
practice in the public schools among the boys over the age of 13 years.

The schools of the different States are organized upon many different
methods. The educational authorities not unnaturally are jealous of
their prerogatives. No outside organization could well introduce a new
subject of instruction in the schools without seriously interfering
with the educational routine. Consequently, however desirable it may be
that the pupils attending these schools should be taught to shoot, such
instruction can only be secured by the voluntary action of the school
authorities and with their hearty cooperation.

The result which has been attained by the Public Schools Athletic
League in introducing shooting in the high schools of the city of New
York has been so thoroughly tested that the committee are of the
opinion that that system should be recommended for adoption.

Few appreciate the magnitude of the New York public schools. There are
3 training schools, 19 high schools, 490 elementary schools, 2 truant
schools, and 1 nautical school; total, 515, with 14,500 teachers.

These schools are scattered all over the 326 square miles which the
city covers.

The registered number of pupils enrolled in these schools is about
600,000, which is more than the entire population of St. Louis, the
fourth city in the Union. Half of them are boys. The number attending
the high schools is about 20,000, a little more than half of whom are
boys. The College of the City of New York has about 4,000 male
students.

The vast territory over which the city has spread, and its congested
streets have made it impossible for the children (particularly in the
poorer districts), to get any physical exercise, and the physical
condition of many of them has in consequence not only become below
normal, but instead of spending their energies in play, as they do in
the country, the boys are led to join "gangs" and to become criminals.

This lamentable condition of affairs led to the formation of the Public
Schools Athletic League for the purpose of promoting wholesome athletic
exercises among the children attending the public schools of that city.
The league is made up from officers and directors of the board of
education, superintendents, principals and teachers, prominent
athletes, gentlemen interested in philanthropic work, and leading
business men. It was organized December 4, 1903, and its progress has
been so great that during the year 1906 there were over 150,000 entries
in the games which it carried on, which numbered over 600.

In the early part of 1905 it decided to institute rifle practice among
the boys of the high schools of the city, which schools are attended by
boys from fourteen to nineteen years of age, by installing in as many
of the high schools as possible a "subtarget gun machine." This is an
ingenious apparatus, by which an ordinary Krag army rifle is attached
to a rod upon an upright standard, placed to the right of the firer, in
such a way that while the gun is movable, the rod follows the movements
of the barrel of the rifle, and is at all times parallel with the line
of the sights.

The shooter cocks the rifle and aims at a target a foot high on the
other side of the room, and when his aim is satisfactory, pulls the
trigger. When this is done an electrical connection is made which
shoots forward the rod which is on the standard, so that its point
punches a hole in a miniature target like a visiting card, which is
placed in front of it, which hole is mathematically on the same
relative place on the card target as would have been made in the target
at which the shooter was aiming if he had a bullet in his rifle. It
consequently gives the same experience in holding and "pull off" as is
had in actual shooting.

The machine possesses the additional advantage that the instructor
standing on one side of the shooter can see by the movements of the
point of the rod on the miniature target exactly how the aim is being
taken on the large target and is able to correct all errors in holding
and pulling off as they are made, something which has hitherto been
supposed to be impossible. The apparatus makes no noise. There is no
danger of its hurting anybody. It can be used very rapidly, and there
is no expense involved in its operation. The results obtained from its
use are so valuable that several of the New York National Guard
regiments consider the machine equal in value to their rifle galleries.

The league succeeded in interesting a number of prominent gentlemen
with the importance of teaching the youth of the country the use of the
military rifle, so that they presented a sufficient number of these
machines to enable the league to install one of them in each of ten of
the high schools at a cost of $265 each. The schools which are thus
equipped are as follows:

Mr. S. R. Guggenheim, the treasurer of the league, gave one to each of
the following schools:

The High School of Commerce and the De Witt Clinton High School
(Manhattan), Morris High School (Bronx), Boys' High School (Brooklyn),
Curtis High School (Staten Island), and the Bryant High School
(Queens).

Col. Leslie C. Bruce presented one to the Stuyvesant High School
(Manhattan), Mr. Warren Cruikshank gave one to Erasmus Hall High School
(Flatbush), Col. Robert B. Woodward gave one to the Manual Training
High School (Brooklyn) in memory of his brother, the late Maj. Gen.
John B. Woodward, and Hon. Bird S. Coler and Mr. Horace J. Morse united
in giving one to the Commercial High School (Brooklyn). Another,
presented by Mr. J. A. Haskell, will shortly be installed in one of the
other high schools. The City College expects to have one during the
spring.

In pursuance of the policy adopted by the league in regard to its
athletic games, it caused a "marksmanship committee" to be appointed in
1905, consisting of the coaches of the different schools having gun
machines, to organize and control the shooting under regulations
adopted by the high schools games committee and approved by the central
games committee of the league.

This committee has been found of great value in carrying on the work
and creating interest in shooting in their different schools.

In 1905 Mr. Henry Payne Whitney presented to the league a beautiful
bronze bas-relief, being a reproduction of Darnley's "Battle of
Lexington," for annual competition by teams from the different schools
having these machines, the winning school to keep it for the year.

In 1905 four gun machines were in use, namely, by the De Witt Clinton
High School, High School of Commerce, Morris High School, and the Boys'
High School.

In June, 1905, a competition was held between these schools, each
school shooting in its own building under the inspection of the
"marksmanship committee."

The following were the scores for teams of 8, 10 shots standing,
highest possible score 400:

    De Witt Clinton High School    377
    High School of Commerce        363
    Morris High School             345
    Boys' High School              344

The winning team averaged 47-3/8 out of 50.

Two boys made perfect scores.

Each member of the winning team was given a bronze badge modeled from
the Whitney trophy.

The result of this match greatly stimulated interest in the shooting.
It also attracted public attention.

During the fall of 1905, and the spring of 1906, the league was able to
equip the remainder of the other six high schools with the machine.

In 1906 it employed Capt. G. W. Corwin, inspector of rifle practice in
the Seventy-first Regiment, New York National Guard, and one of the
best shots in the National Guard, as a general instructor, who served
until after the Creedmoor competition.

He selected in each school a teacher who was interested in the subject
(usually the athletic instructor) as superintendent of shooting, and in
each class four boys as sergeant-instructors. The superintendent and
these boys were carefully instructed by Captain Corwin in the theory
and practice of shooting, so as to make them competent instructors.

The system adopted varied in the different schools. Most of them
preferred to use school hours for the purpose. In these schools,
usually when each class was sent to the gymnasium for physical
exercise, squads of boys in rotation were detached to practice their
firing under the immediate direction of a sergeant-instructor, and the
general direction of the superintendent of shooting, the whole being
carefully supervised by Captain Corwin.

Some schools preferred to have their shooting after school hours, in
which case, however, it was carried on under the same general
principle.

Captain Corwin was of the opinion that the former method was the most
satisfactory, although the Morris High School, which won the Whitney
trophy in 1906, adopted the latter method.

The league established a marksmanship badge, to be awarded, as in the
National Guard and in the Army, to each boy who annually showed
satisfactory proficiency in shooting. The qualifying score first
adopted for this badge was 40 out of a possible 50 "off-hand." It was
found almost immediately that the boys were shooting so well that it
was necessary to raise the standard, which was therefore increased to
42 and later to 43.

The following is a list of the number of boys who qualified as marksmen
in their respective schools during the year 1906:

    Boys' High School              45
    Bryant High School             18
    Commercial High School          6
    Curtis High School             24
    De Witt Clinton High School    23
    Morris High School             16
    Erasmus Hall High School       15
    Manual Training High School    23
    High School of Commerce        19
    Stuyvesant High School          8

    Total                         197

The qualifying score has now been raised to 44.

The Brooklyn Eagle assumed the expense of manufacturing and presenting
these badges, which consisted of a Maltese cross having crossed rifles,
the seal of the league, which is the "Winged Victory," in the center,
the whole being suspended from a bar with the word "Marksman" on it,
and the date.

During the spring of 1906 a large number of interscholastic
competitions were held. These were found valuable, not only in
broadening the boys' ideas in respect to shooting, but in helping their
nerve in competitions.

On June 1 and 2 the annual interscholastic competition for the Whitney
trophy was held. Instead of having each team shoot in its own school it
was decided to have them shoot together at the Seventy-first Regiment
Armory as neutral ground, under the supervision of Captain Corwin as
range officer. The following were the scores, the conditions being the
same as above stated:

    Morris High School. Instructor E. M. Williams             359
    Curtis High School. Instructor O. M. Curtis               356
    High School of Commerce. Instructor Charles Jamison       355
    De Witt Clinton. Instructor Emanuel Haug                  354
    Manual Training High School. Instructor Ernest G. Muller  350
    Bryant High School. Instructor George W. Norton           349
    Erasmus Hall High School. Instructor J. M. Tilden         348
    Stuyvesant High School. Instructor M. F. Goodrich         348
    Boys' High School. Instructor W. H. Andrews               340

The two best scores were not as high as were made in 1905, largely
owing to the strain of shooting in actual competition and among strange
surroundings. But the average was better and the scores were closer.

The Savage Arms Company presented a rifle to each of the six schools
whose team made the highest score in this match.

For the purpose of impressing upon the boys and the public that those
who could make a good score on the subtarget gun machine could shoot
accurately in the field, the league arranged for a match between teams
of five from all high schools and colleges, to be held at Creedmoor,
July 26, 1906, to be shot 100 yards standing; 400 yards lying, five
shots at each distance. It also arranged for two days' previous
practice by the teams and also by all other boys who had won its
marksman's badge, and paid the transportation and ammunition for the
participants. It provided Captain Corwin as instructor, who was
assisted by a number of volunteers from the National Guard. About 150
boys in all availed themselves of this opportunity. None of the boys
had ever previously fired a cartridge. Some of them were consequently a
little nervous, in addition to being embarrassed in shooting in the
presence of so many military men. After a few shots, however, they got
over their nervousness.

In the first practice the average score was about 60 out of 100. The
second score averaged 80.

Mr. J. A. Haskell, president of the Du Pont Powder Company, and a
member of the national board, induced that company to present for
annual competition in the match, a handsome bronze trophy.

Mr. Simon Uhlmann presented a bronze figure of a rifleman, as second
annual prize.

The following is the score of the competitors in this match; highest
possible score 250:

    De Witt Clinton High School (Manhattan)        220
    Boys' High School (Brooklyn)                   215
    St. John's Military School (Manlius, N.Y.)     211
    Commercial High School (Brooklyn)              201
    Curtis High School (Staten Island)             201
    St. John's Second Team                         183
    Manual Training High School (Brooklyn)         181
    Stuyvesant High School (Manhattan)             174

The winning team averaged 44 out of a possible 50, although the day was
a difficult one for shooting.

The School of Applied Science of Columbia University asked to be
allowed to enter a team in this match, and offered to allow the high
school boys a handicap of 25 points. This was objected to on the ground
that they were grown men, who had opportunities for practice which were
out of the reach of the boys, and who were not in the same class. They
were, however, allowed to shoot under protest for the purpose of seeing
how their scores would compare with those of the boys.

The score which they made was 218, which is less than that of the De
Witt Clinton team, which could have beaten them without any handicap.

This shooting shows the value of the practice with the subtarget
machine, as the teams from both Columbia University and St. John's
Military School had been practiced in actual rifle shooting, and yet
were inferior in marksmanship to the high-school boys, who had only
used the machine.

A match was put on the programme of the New Jersey Rifle Association,
September, 1906, at Sea Girt, in which a number of the boys entered.
The pressure upon the target accommodation in consequence of the
national matches was, however, so great that it could not be held at
the date appointed, and the boys could not remain.

The high schools which are equipped with this subtarget gun machine
have organized rifle clubs, and are holding interscholastic contests in
the armories of the different regiments of the National Guard, shooting
with .22-caliber ammunition, and are displaying great proficiency.

The movement has the hearty support of President Roosevelt, who has
accepted the office of honorary vice-president of the league, and also
has announced his intention of writing to the boy who attains the
greatest skill in the rifle matches during the year a personal letter
of congratulation and commendation.

At the present time there are over 7,000 young men being instructed in
these high schools in shooting with a military rifle, the gun used
being the regular Krag army rifle as issued by the War Department.

Great interest in the matter has been taken by both teachers and boys.
Many of these have now become so proficient, that the services of a
paid instructor have been dispensed with. It would, of course, be much
better if a regular officer could be procured for such a purpose. But
the finances of the league will not permit it to continue to incur the
expense of paying the salary of such an instructor. It is believed that
if a young and active regular officer could be detailed to act in this
capacity he would be of the greatest service, and could, besides
helping the shooting, give the boys some idea of military movements and
discipline, which would be of great value. In fact an officer in this
position would accomplish greater results for the country than is
obtained by any of those who are detailed as instructors in many of the
small colleges. The supply of regular officers is, however,
insufficient for the needs of the Army, and it has so far been
impossible to have one detailed for this purpose.

The league is now preparing a manual of instruction to be used in the
different schools. In addition to containing instructions for the use
of the subtarget gun machine it will give a general idea of what is
necessary to know in order to shoot accurately.

Those who have had charge of the instruction of these boys are
unanimous in the opinion that they acquire knowledge of rifle shooting
in about one-quarter of the time that is found necessary in the case of
grown men.

It is hardly necessary to state that the experience of our recent wars
has pointed out that while there is no difficulty in case of war in
getting all the volunteers that the country requires and they can be
given a reasonable amount of drill in a few weeks, it takes a long time
to teach them to shoot, and that unless they can shoot accurately they
are of little value as soldiers. If, however, the young men who are
graduating from our high schools in the different States should be
skilled riflemen the country can rest content with a small standing
army, knowing that in case of war it can put into the field at short
notice a force of volunteers whose skill in rifle shooting will enable
them to be fully the equal of any army which may be brought against
them.

The system is, therefore, a great factor for national peace.

The committee would therefore recommend:

1. That the largest possible publicity should be given to the methods
that have been found to be so successful in the New York high schools.

2. That the educational officials of the different States should be
urged to introduce instruction in rifle shooting in their schools among
the boys of 13 years of age and upward, conforming to the New York
methods as far as their situation will permit.

3. That this would be helped by the organization of a public schools
athletic league in each educational center.

                                     GEO. W. WINGATE,
                                     A. B. CRITCHFIELD,
                                                 _Committee_.





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