The two principal ground mounts used with the caliber .50 machine gun are the tripod mount, M3, and the antiaircraft mount, M63. The tripod mount, M3, is a ground mount designed for use against ground targets. The antiaircraft mount, M63, is a ground mount principally designed for use against aerial targets. Its use against ground targets is limited because the mount tends to be unstable when the gun is fired at low angles.
a. Tripod Mount, M3. The M3 mount is the standard ground mount of the caliber .50 machine gun (Figure 1-6). It is a folding tripod with three, telescopic, tubular legs connected at the tripod head. Each leg ends in a metal shoe that can be stamped into the ground for greater stability. The two trail legs are joined together by the traversing bar. The traversing bar serves as a support for the traversing and elevating mechanism, which in turn supports the rear of the gun. The tripod head furnishes a front support for the mounted gun that is further supported by the short front leg. When the tripod is emplaced on flat terrain with all extensions closed, the adjustable front leg should form an angle of about 60 degrees with the ground. This places the gun on a low mount about 12 inches above the ground. To raise the tripod farther off the ground, extend the telescopic front and trail legs enough to keep the tripod level and maintain the stability of the mount.
(1) To set the tripod trail legs -
(a) Unscrew the leg-clamping handle, press down on the indexing lever, and extend the leg to the desired length.
(b) Align the indexing lever stud with one of the holes in the tripod leg extension.
(c) Release the pressure on the indexing lever, allowing the stud to fit the desired hole. Tighten the leg-clamping handle.
(2) To set the front leg of the tripod-
(a) Turn the front leg clamp handle counterclockwise to loosen the front leg.
(b) Adjust the leg to the desired angle and tighten the front leg clamp.
(3) To secure the tripod legs, stamp the metal shoe on each tripod leg into the ground. Sandbag each leg to stabilize the M2 for firing.
b. Antiaircraft Mount, M63. The antiaircraft mount (Figure 1-7) is a four-legged, low silhouette, portable mount used for antiaircraft fire. Table 1-3 lists the general data pertaining to the M63.
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