Thursday, March 5, 2015

Standard Toy Soldier Poses: The Crawly Guy and the Prone Shooter

For centuries, men in combat stood or knelt. It was the only way they could reload, from longbows to muskets. Crawling and prone firing were not part of soldiering in those times. Stealth in combat only came later.

The units of rangers, riflemen and jager in the revolution would take cover by getting low. They may even crawl to remain unseen as they observed an enemy position. However, most fired from the kneeling or standing position. Flintlock rifles do not lend themselves to the prone position.

Crawling and prone shooting became more common in the Civil War, as men sought to use cover. Percussion cap rifles also made it easier, but the best were cartridge-firing rifles like the Sharps carbine.

With the increased firepower of machine guns and bolt-action rifles, crawling and prone firing became necessary for survival. A soldier learned to get down and stay low. The low crawl, high crawl and prone firing position were part of modern soldiering frm the time of the Krag rifle to the M16.

The problem with the crawly guy and prone shooter was when playing with toy soldiers meant actual projectiles. Anything from the tin "shell" from a spring-loaded toy cannon to a hastily-tossed dirt bomb could topple standing and kneeling troops. The effect on the prone and crawling figures was nil. That meant they were excluded from the game or stood up by sticking their feet far enough into the dirt.

Games notwithstanding, those of us who served in the Army or Marine Corps well remember the lesson. Our drill instructors were none too gentle in teaching the necessity to get low. We were taught to crawl and slither on the ground. Our training included plenty of firing from all positions, especially prone. Being belly-to-the-ground may be a hassle for pelting plastic army men, but for the modern soldier it is very good advice.

You can see the actual firing methods taught to armies here:

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