Infantry Drills

F-71: Overhead Fire

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F-71. Gunners can use overhead fire when there is sufficient low ground between the machine gun and target area of the maneuver friendly forces. A machine gun on a tripod is capable of delivering this type of fire because of the small and uniform dispersion of the cone of fire. Gunners must estimate accurately range to the target and establish a safety limit imaginary line parallel to the target where fire would cause casualties to friendly Soldiers. Gun crews and leaders must be aware of this safety limit. Leaders must designate signals for lifting or shifting fires. Gunners should not attempt overhead fires if the terrain is level or slopes uniformly, if the barrel is badly worn, or if visibility is poor.

Next: F-72: Gunner’s Rule

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