Keefe Report: “Battle Fire”

posted on March 6, 2015

While researching the National Archives for “American Rifleman Television,” I came across a method of “supplemental” marksmanship training taught at Fort Hood in late 1942 or 1943 called “Battle Fire” (shown above). It is rudimentary or embryonic form of point shooting designed for close combat, and it is not just with the M1911. The officer instructor runs his troops through the pistol, the M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun, the M1903 Springfield (point shooting from the hip with a bolt-action) and then the M1919 Browning air-cooled machine gun. The instructor indicates this method was used effectively in “the Solomons,” referring of course to early American battles to retake the Pacific. 

The NRA Certified Instructor inside me winced a few times watching this grainy film from more than 70 years ago, but it is an important footnote in the evolution of combat marksmanship. Point shooting was, of course, taught by Col. Rex Applegate starting when he was with the Office of Strategic Services and is a big part of his close combat training codified in his landmark book, “Kill or Get Killed.”





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