Tracking And Leading Exercises

The gunner normally completes instruction in firing at stationary targets before he receives instruction in firing at moving targets. The technique of engaging a moving target differs from that of engaging a stationary target. The gun must be aimed ahead of the moving target a sufficient distance to cause the bullet and target to arrive at the aiming point at the same time. The distance is measured in target lengths. One target length as seen by the gunner is one lead. Leads are measured from the center of mass. The lead depends upon range, speed, and direction of movement of the target. To hit the target, the gunner aims at a point ahead of the target equal to the estimated number of leads, maintains the lead by tracking the target (manipulating the gun at the same angular speed as that of the target), and then fires. Fire is adjusted by observation of strike/tracer (Figure 5-36).

Figure 5-36. Lead technique.

a. Tracking. Tracking consists of maintaining correct alignment of the sights (with or without a lead) on a moving target by moving the gun at the same angular speed as that of the target.

(1) The gunner is required to aim at a prescribed point (center base to take advantage of the beaten zone) on the target and maintain that aim during uniform movement of the target. As instruction progresses, speeds used should differ for successive runs of the target. The speeds the 10-meter targets should move to represent speeds at various ranges are shown in Table 5-2.

TARGETS SPEEDS IN MILES PER HOUR

TARGET SPEEDS IN INCHES PER SECONDS CORRESPONDING TO-

300 M 6 12 24

500 M 4

900 M

7 1/2

2

15 30

8 15

4 9

Table 5-2. 10-meter moving target.

Table 5-2. 10-meter moving target.

(2) The target handler must have practice in moving the target silhouette across the background at the varying speeds.

b. Leading. Mathematical computation or use of voluminous lead tables to obtain exact leads on a moving target are impractical in combat. The simple lead table shown in Table 5-3 gives the amount of lead necessary to hit a target moving at right angles (90 degrees) to direction to hit at speeds and ranges indicated.

Table 5-3. Lead table.

(1) The gunner must correct the lead as conditions change. If the target speed is 7 1/2 miles per hour, the amount of lead is half that shown in the table; at 30 miles per hour, double that shown, The angle at which the target is moving also alters the amount of lead taken. If the angle between line of fire and line of travel of the target is less than 45 degrees, use half the lead shown in the table.

(2) For targets moving directly toward the gun, the point of aim is placed on the center or the lower edge of the target, when possible. For targets moving directly away from the gun, the point of aim is placed on the center or upper edge of the target. Too much lead is better than too little because the target runs into the fire; also, the observation of strike is easier. Intelligent use of the lead table includes immediate application of fire with estimated lead followed by necessary corrections based upon observation of strike/tracer.

c. Tracking and Leading. Combined tracking and leading exercises at 10 meters are used to gain proficiency in tracking the target. The gunner is required to repeat the tracking exercise while using a designated lead to simulate firing when his sights are properly aligned. As a further exercise in tracking and leading, the gunner may be required to track and lead moving targets at greater ranges. A vehicle can be run at right angles to the line of aim at ranges between 500 and 1,000 yards, and at varying speeds, averaging 15 miles per hour (Figure 5-37).

Figure 5-37. Aiming target used in tracking and leading exercise.

d. Conducting the Lead Exercise (10-Meter). The gunner is required to take a position at the gun, swing through the target's silhouette, and aim at a point ahead of the target equal to the prescribed lead from the center of mass. The gunner then directs the target handler to move the marking silhouette until the center of the target is at the point of aim. He repeats this procedure three times for each target lead announced. The target handler places his marking silhouette on the blank background, traces around it, and holds it in place for the gunner to aim, using the prescribed leads. Following the gunner's instructions, he moves the marking silhouette until the gunner commands HOLD. He then places a pencil dot at this point and returns the silhouette to the original position. This procedure is followed until the gunner has completed three tries for each target lead announced. The three pencil dots for each target should fit within a one-centimeter circle. The exercise should be conducted for varying left and right leads.

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