Infantry Drills

F-65: Target Engagement During Limited Visibility

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F-65. Gunners have difficulty detecting and identifying targets during limited visibility. The leader’s ability to control the fires of his weapons also is reduced; therefore, he may instruct the gunners to fire without command when targets present themselves.

F-66. Gunners should engage targets only when they can identify the targets, unless ordered to do otherwise. For example, if one gunner detects a target and engages it, the other gunner observes the area fired upon and adds his fire only if he can identify the target or if ordered to fire.

F-67. Tracer ammunition helps a gunner engage targets during limited visibility and should be used if possible. It is important to note in certain circumstances the enemy will have an easy time identifying the machine gun’s position if the gunner uses tracer ammunition. The need to engage targets must be balanced with the need to keep the guns safe before deciding to employ tracers. If firing unaided, gunners must be trained to fire low at first and adjust upward. This overcomes the tendency to fire high.

F-68. When two or more gunners are engaging linear targets, linear targets with depth, or deep targets, they do not engage these targets as they would when visibility is good. With limited visibility, the center and flanks of these targets may not be defined clearly. Therefore, each gunner observes his tracers and covers what he believes to be the entire target.

Next: F-69: Techniques

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