As Gun Elevation increases the range pattern decreases in length. The Range Chart below shows the decrease in range as gun elevation increases. This happens because as gun elevation increases the effect of gun elevation to increase range decreases. This is especially evident when firing 9 gun salvos. We checked our pattern size in length as well as bearing by firing 9 gun salvos starting at 10,000 yds and increasing range in 5,000 yd increments out to 40,000 yds.
I and other interested parties would stand on the pilot house and watch each salvo as it fell into the ocean. It always fascinated me that the pattern size in range decreased as gun elevation increased. I really liked watching the pattern size decrease as we marched the range of the salvos out in 5,000 yd increments. Watching from atop the pilot house was much more impressive than watching it on the Mark 8 radar.
In these firing tests we were looking to see if we had a gun that was firing errouniously and therefore out of the pattern. If this should happen it was easy to spot during these firing exercises and then determine which gun was the problem and what was wrong with the gun.
These exercises also pointed out that the first best chance to get a hit always occurs at maximum gun range. At maximum gun range the range pattern is about 200 yds long and the fall of shot is at about 50 to 55 degrees. This narrow range pattern plus the high angle of the fall of shot is then the first best chance to get a hit.
The chance to get a hit decreases as gun elevation decreases and the chance to get a hit is the least at about 3/4's gun range. At about 3/4's gun range the range pattern is about 400 to 500 yards long and the fall of shot is at about 30 to 35 degrees. This means that the target would have to be very tall to even hope to get a hit. In a range pattern 400 to 500 yds long a 110 foot wide Iowa Class BB can be missed quite easily and a smaller ship even easier.
As gun elevation continues to decrease the chance of a hit begins to increase at about 50 percent of gun range and continues to increase as gun elevation decreases. At about 15 degrees of elevation the range of the gun is about 50 percent of maximum gun range. At this elevation the gun is shooting through the target and accurate range to target is not very important as the projectile is going through the target.