Shooting Sports USA | Berlin 1936 Olympics: Amateurs Once Again (Half 2)

The following is an excerpt from the 1978 book Olympic Shooting, written by Col. Jim Crossman and published by the NRA. Read part 1.

1936 – Berlin: Amateurs again (part 2)
From Colonel Jim Crossman

When the gunmen got on the ship in New York, they had no worries. The United States Revolver Association had raised the full amount, not least due to the efforts of Karl Frederick, who had spent a week raising the final money needed and making other preparations for the team. Frederick was one of the men fortunate to have welcomed the shooting game into its ranks. In addition to serving as Vice President of the United States Revolver Association, he was also President of the National Rifle Association while running a legal business in New York City and a leader in the fight against restrictive gun laws across the country.

An example of the problems he encountered while trying to take this team out of service: When the sky was clear, New York police came to Bill Riedell’s Brooklyn home and confiscated his guns. He had the necessary permits for them, he had just formed the US International Team, and the weapons were only target pistols. The district manager had apparently decided there were too many guns and gun owners and he was going to sort that out. With Frederick’s help, Riedell finally sailed with the necessary pistols.

It was hard to keep everyone informed. In 1920 Billingsley had come all the way from the Canal Zone to New York to try out for the team – only to find that the trials had been postponed a few days and practically ended.

With some distress in 1936, the team selection committee saw Sheriff Ralph Marshall of Lima, Ohio hit the track at 4:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the final test drives in 1936. Marshall had only got the floor late the afternoon before, and he drove straight to New York for almost 24 hours to get from Ohio to New York. As hopeless as it seemed, the committee decided to have him shot for the slow fire team. He hastily shot twice across the course – 120 shots – and easily shot his way into the team. Not satisfied, in the fading hours of the day he tried for the rapid fire team and reached the 3 second stage before missing, but Fisher, Hudnutt and Doob had already gotten clean by that stage.

The last team consisted of these fine shooters:

1936 pistol team
  • Elliott Jones, Greenwich, Conn.
  • William F. Riedell, Brooklyn, NY
  • Sheriff Ralph S. Marshall, Lima, Ohio
  • C. Ingals Fisher, Lyons Falls, Mass.
  • Morris A. Doob, New York City
  • Maj.Dean Hudnutt, U.S. Army (Crew Captain)

After three days at sea, the team managed to set up an improvised range on the ship. The slow-fire shooters could use it for half an hour each day; The rapid fire group for the same period and the Pentathlon athletes had it for an hour. This gave the squad some practice. Even so, they felt the need to shoot in the weather, light, and distance conditions of the Olympic range.

Part 3 of our review of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin is coming soon. Be sure to subscribe to the free Insider newsletter for the latest updates.

Photo: Although media is not available for the shooting events, other sports were the first to be televised at the 1936 Games. In the greater Berlin area, 25 TV rooms were set up in which the locals could watch the games for free. (Courtesy photo of IOC / Olympic.org)

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