Infantry Drills

Section I – Principles of Direct Fire Control

Previous: Appendix B: Direct Fire Planning and Control

B-1. Fire control requires a unit to acquire the enemy and mass the effects of fires rapidly to achieve decisive results in the close fight. When planning and executing direct fires, the platoon leader and subordinate leaders must know how to apply several fundamental principles. The purpose of the principles of direct fire is not to restrict the actions of subordinates. Applied correctly, they help the platoon to accomplish its primary goal in direct fire engagements both to acquire first and shoot first. These principles give subordinates the freedom to act quickly upon acquisition of the enemy. This discussion focuses on the following principles:

  • Mass the effects of fire.
  • Destroy the greatest threat first.
  • Avoid target overkill.
  • Employ the best weapon for specific target.
  • Minimize friendly exposure and avoid fratricide.
  • Plan for limited visibility conditions.
  • Develop contingencies

Next: B-2: Mass the Effects of Fire

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad