I went to my first battle event this year. One umbrella group opened fire on the enemy at about 100 yards with leveled muskets. Another umbrella group, also about a hundred yards away from the opposing force, aimed at the flocks of geese overhead. Those who leveled their muskets in that second umbrella grop got yelled at and ordered to point up at the sky. The same inconsistencies were visible on the "other team" in the distance, as well.
Aiming high makes some sense when opposing forces are too close, like 20 yards; it keeps someone from getting a face full of black powder. (The "alternative" to being that close, of course, is to not fire at all, but that's a different discussion.)
So here's some thoughts.
Why do we aim at the sky? Is it to confuse spectators? Is it to prove that 150 years later we still don't understand the ballistics of the rifle musket most of us carry?
We're firing blanks. At this event everyone was ballistic, pun intended, about inspections, even late arrivals who missed drill got a separate inspection upon arrival in addition to one final inspection as we went out to the battle.
If some little kid dropped a pebble down a muzzle when nobody was looking, aiming at the sky isn't going to matter a bit, because that pebble is coming out of there crazy.
Why do we shoot clouds? Remind me. And remember, I'm everybody's nagging grandmother on gun safety. But this sky shooting, unlike NOT drawing rammers and other things we do for safety, makes no sense at all.
Why are some groups doing it and others not?
And why doesn't someone make the artillery aim at the sky? They could dig in the trails after cranking it up to the maximum elevation and surely attain 45 degrees.