Methods Of Estimating Distances By The Eye
Categories: TARGET PRACTICE
Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual Advanced Training
1. Decide that the object cannot be more than a certain distance away,
or less than a certain distance. Keep the estimate within the closest
possible limits and take the mean of the two estimates as the range. For
instance, that deer cannot be over 800 yards away and not less than 400
yards. Your estimated distance is 600 yards.
2. Select a point which you think is the middle point of the distance,
e the distance to this middle point, and double your estimate to
get your range. Do the same thing with half the distance, if the object
is very far away.
3. Estimate the distance along a parallel line, such as a telephone line
or a railroad having on it a well-defined length with which you are
4. Take the mean of several estimates made by several well-instructed
men. This method is used in battle, but is not applicable to instruction
or during tests.
1. Preliminary Instruction
To estimate distances by the eye with accuracy, it is first necessary
that you become familiar with the appearance of the most convenient unit
of length, namely 100 yards. Stake off a distance of 100 yards.
Subdivide this 100 yards into four 25-yard divisions. Pace off the
entire distance several times, and you will soon become familiar with
the appearance of 100 yards. Next, take a distance more than 100 yards
and compare it mentally with your unit of measure (100 yards) and make
your estimate. Verify this estimate by pacing the distance. Do this once
a day for several months, and you may become highly skilled in the art
of estimating distances.
2. Preliminary Instruction
If you know how a soldier, or group of soldiers, looks at the different
ranges, it will often assist you in quickly making an accurate estimate
of the distance. In order to acquire skill in estimating distances by
this method one must have special exercises designated to demonstrate
the clearness with which details of clothing, movement of the limbs,
etc., can be observed at the different ranges. Have a squad march away
from you to a distance of 1,200 yards. Then have it approach you and
halt every 100 yards. Each time the squad halts make a mental note of
the distance, and then observe carefully its appearance, the clearness
with which you can see the clothing, movements of the limbs, etc.