Infantry Drills

F-144: M240-Series Medium Machine Guns in the Offense

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F-144. In the offense the platoon leader has the option to establish his base-of-fire element with one or two machine guns, the M249 light machine gun, or a combination of the weapons. The platoon sergeant or weapons squad leader may position this element and control its fires when the platoon scheme of maneuver is to conduct the assault with the Infantry squads. The M240-series machine gun, when placed on a tripod, provides stability and accuracy at greater ranges than the bipod, but it takes more time to maneuver the machine gun should the need arise. The machine gunners target essential enemy weapons until the assault element masks their fires. They also can be used to suppress the enemy’s ability to return accurate fire, or to hamper the maneuver of the enemy’s assault element. They fix the enemy in position and isolate him by cutting off his avenues of reinforcement. They then shift their fires to the flank opposite the one being assaulted and continue to target automatic weapons providing enemy support, and engage enemy counterattack. M240-series fires also can be used to cover the gap created between the forward element of the friendly assaulting force and terrain covered by indirect fires when the indirect fires are lifted and shifted. On signal, the machine gunners and base-of-fire element displace to join the assault element on the objective.

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