Infantry Drills

F-120: Arm-and-Hand Signals

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F-120. Battlefield noise and distance between the gunner and leader often make it necessary to use arm-and-hand signals to control fire. (See figure F-21.) When an action or movement is to be executed by only one of the gunners, a preliminary signal is given to the gunner only. The following are commonly used signals for fire control:

  • Ready. The gunner indicates he is ready to fire by yelling UP or having the AG raise his hand above his head toward the leader.
  • Commence firing or change rate of firing. The leader brings his hand (palm down) to the front of his body about waist level, and moves it horizontally in front of his body. To signal an increase in the rate of fire, he increases the speed of the hand movement. To signal slower fire, he decreases the speed of the hand movement.
  • Change direction or elevation. The leader extends his arm and hand in the new direction and indicates the amount of change necessary by the number of fingers extended. The fingers must be spread so the gunner can easily see the number of fingers extended. Each finger indicates one meter of change of the weapon. If the desired change is more than five meters, the leader extends his hand the number of times necessary to indicate the total amount of change. For example, right nine would be indicated by extending the hand once with five fingers showing and a second time with four fingers showing for a total of nine fingers.
  • Interrupt or cease firing. The leader raises his arm and hand (palm outward) in front of his forehead and brings it downward sharply.
  • Other signals. The leader can devise other signals to control his weapons. A detailed description of arm-and-hand signals is given in FM 21-60.
Figure F-21. Arm-and-hand signals

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