Infantry Drills

F-139: Machine Gun with the Maneuver Element

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F-139. Under certain terrain conditions, and for proper control, medium machine guns may join the maneuver or assault unit. When this is the case, they are assigned a cover fire zone or sector.

F-140. The medium machine guns seldom accompany the maneuver element. The gun’s primary mission is to provide covering fire. The medium machine guns only are employed with the maneuver element when the area or zone of action assigned to the assault, platoon, squad or company is too narrow to permit proper control of the guns. The medium machine guns then are moved with the unit and readied to employ on order from the leader and in the direction needing the supporting fire.

F-141. When medium machine guns move with the element undertaking the assault, the maneuver element brings the medium machine guns to provide additional firepower. These weapons are fired from a bipod, in an assault mode, from the hip, or from the underarm position. They target enemy automatic weapons anywhere on the unit’s objective. Once the enemy’s automatic weapons have been destroyed (if any), the gunners distribute their fire over their assigned zone or sector. In terms of engagement ranges, the medium machine gun in the assault engages within 300 meters of its target and frequently at pointblank ranges.

F-142. Where the area or zone of action is too wide to allow proper coverage by the platoon’s or weapons squad organic medium machine guns, the platoon or squads can be assigned additional medium machine guns or personnel from within the company. This may permit the platoon or squads to accomplish its assigned mission. The medium machine guns are assigned a zone or a sector to cover and move with the maneuver element.

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