Combat Factors

The ultimate goal of a unit rifle marksmanship program is well-trained marksmen. In order for a unit to survive and win on the battlefield, the trainer must realize that rifle qualification is not an end but a step toward reaching this combat requirement. To reach this goal, the soldier should consider some of the factors of combat conditions.

• Enemy personnel are seldom visible except when assaulting.

• Most combat fire must be directed at an area where the enemy has been detected or where he is suspected of being located but cannot be seen. Area targets consist of objects or outlines of men irregularly spaced along covered and concealed areas (ground folds, hedges, borders of woods).

• Most combat targets can be detected by smoke, flash, dust, noise, or movement and are visible only for a moment.

• Some combat targets can be engaged by using nearby objects as reference points.

• The range at which enemy soldiers can be detected and effectively engaged rarely exceeds 300 meters.

• The nature of the target and irregularities of terrain and vegetation may require a firer to use a variety of positions in addition to the prone or supported position to fire effectively on the target. In a defensive situation, the firer usually fires from a supported position.

• Choosing an aiming point in elevation is difficult due to the low contrast outline and obscurity of most combat targets.

• Time-stressed fire in combat can be divided into three types:

- A single, fleeing target that must be engaged quickly.

- Area targets that must be engaged with distributed fires that cover the entire area. The firer must maintain sustained fire on the sector he is assigned.

- A surprise target that must be engaged at once with accurate, instinctive fire.

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