Infantry Drills

F-48: Application of Fire

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F-48. Application of fire consists of the methods the gunner uses to cover an enemy target area. Training these methods of applying fire can be accomplished only after the weapons squad leader and gunners have learned how to recognize the different types of targets they may find in combat. They also must know how to distribute and concentrate their fire, and how to maintain the proper rate of fire. Normally, the gunner is exposed to two types of targets in the squad or platoon area of operation: enemy soldiers and supporting automatic weapons. Leaders must ensure targets have priority and are engaged immediately.

F-49. Machine gun fire must be distributed over the entire target area. Improper distribution of fire results in gaps allowing the enemy to escape or use its weapons against friendly positions without opposition.

F-50. The method of applying fire to a target is generally the same for either a single gun or a pair of guns. Direct lay is pointing the gun for direction and elevation so the sights are aligned directly on the target. Fire is delivered in width, depth, or in a combination of the two. To distribute fire properly, gunners must know where to aim, how to adjust their fire, and direction to manipulate the gun. The gunner must aim, fire, and adjust on a certain point of the target. Binoculars may be used by the leader to facilitate fire adjustment.

Next: F-51: Sight Picture

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