Infantry Drills

F-54: Target Engagements by Types of Targets

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F-54. Gunners engage targets throughout their respective sectors. They must know how to engage all types of targets, either individually or with other gunners.

F-55. Gunners’ targets in combat are normally enemy troops in various formations or displacements, which require distribution and concentration of fire. These targets often have both width, depth, and application of machine gun fire is designed to completely cover the area in which the enemy is known or suspected to be. These targets may be easy to see or may be indistinct and difficult to locate. The size of the target, stated in terms of the number of aiming points required to engage it completely, determines its type.

F-56. When a single gunner is assigned targets he is responsible for covering the entire target. When a pair of gunners engage an enemy target, each gunner normally is responsible for covering one half of the target. The gunners must be prepared to engage the entire target should the other gun go down.

F-57. The machine gun can provide units with a self-defense capability against hostile low-flying, low-performance aircraft. These guns are employed in the air defense role as part of the unit’s local defense. The machine guns are not components of an integrated and coordinated air defense system. Unless otherwise directed, hostile aircraft within range of the gun (about 800 meters maximum effective range) should be engaged. The decision will be made by the commander or leader. Typical targets are surveillance, reconnaissance, and liaison aircraft; troop carriers; helicopters; and drones.

Next: F-58: Engagement and Employment

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