'The fire of skirmishers is best of all; that of a single rank somes next, that of the two ranks is still good...'-Correspondence XV, No. 12416, pp. 102-110.
Napoleon wanted his commanders to conduct both firing drill and target practice twice a week-see Napoleon on the Art of War by Jay Luvaas, 6.
Napoleon stressed aimed fire and target practice as did other French commanders. Rochambeau in 1792 made marksmanship routine training, stressing that recruits should be taught to take aim when firing.
The annual allowance for musketry training in 1804 was 250 kilograms of powder and 125 kilograms of lead. The National Guard, however, was allowed only nine ounces of powder, doubled in 1807 along with given them nine ounces of lead.
In 1812 both Victor and Augereau in Germany wanted a minimum of fifty cartridges per man for training.
In 1815 while organizing the Armee du Nord, Davout had all infantry and dragoon regiments take a 'refresher course' in musketry. The troops were issued 20 blank cartridges and 20 ball cartridges for exercising their firing and then target practice.
In French measurement, the standard French target was 5.5 feet high and 21 inches wide. There were two color bands on the target-one at the top and one in the middle. Troops fired at ranges of 50, 100, and 150 toises (one toise was about 6 feet) and conscripts additionally fired at 200 toises.
Target matches were conducted at unit celebrations and cash or clothing was offered as prizes for the best shots.
Antoine de Brack taught his troopers both to squeeze their triggers and not jerk them, and to hold their weapons straight and not canted at an angle. Common knowledge among veterans was that to get a hit, aim at the waist at 100 yards, and between 140 and 200 yards at the head as the musket round would both climb to a high trajectory and drop just as quickly because of the low velocity of the weapon.
Napoleon was a well-trained and skilled artillery officer and his ideas on artillery training, and the accuracy of artillery fire, were appropriate and fitting for the training of the French artillery officer and artillerymen. He said of himself that ‘If there is no one to make gunpowder for cannon, I can fabricate it; gun carriages I know how to construct. If it is necessary to cast cannon, I can cast them; if it is necessary to teach the details of drill, I can do that.’
'...My intention is that in each regiment of horse artillery notice will be taken of those gunners pointing the piece who hit the most targets, that you take similar note of the men working with mortars and howitzers who have lobbed the most shells into the [target] circle, and those who have fired the most shells.'
'From September 2d to the 7th each of these regiments will send its ten best gunners to La Fere, where they will be trained in large artillery drills consisting of firing siege guns, field artillery on their carriages, howitzers and mortar batteries, hot shot, and every other kind of fire, in order to determine which of these eight regiments will supply the best man who points a piece.'-Napoleon to Berthier, 25 March 1803.
'Students will be led to the target range; they will lob bombs into the target barrel, fire blank cartridges, etc...It is important for the maneuvers of artillery to keep in mind that nothing is more uncertain than the art of firing. This portion of the military art is classified among the physio-mathematical sciences, yet its results are dubious; those of practice are certain...It is appropriate...to strive above everything else...that he is skilled...and has perfect knowledge of the employment of artillery.-Notes on a Plan of Regulations for the Artillery and Engineer School, 27 June 1801.