Targets And Their Engagement

Targets presented to the machine gunners during combat will in most cases consist of enemy soldiers in various formations, which require distribution and concentration of fire. These targets have width and depth, and the application of machine gun fire is designed to completely cover the area in which the enemy is known or suspected to be. These targets may be easy to see or may be indistinct and difficult to locate.

a. When machine gun fire is under direct control of a leader, he designates the midpoint and flanks or ends of a target unless they are obvious to the gun crew(s). When a target other than a point target is engaged by two gunners, it is always divided. Each gunner applies his fire to that portion of the target corresponding to his position with relation to the other gun. Normally, each gunner engages one-half of the target;

however, gunners must be prepared to engage the entire target if necessary. Gunners continue to fire on the target until it is neutralized or until another signal is received from the leader.

b. The gunner's positions (including vehicular-mounted) should be numbered so each gunner will know which portion of a target he should engage. It should be emphasized that the positions are numbered - not the guns or gunners. To ensure that gunners react quickly and properly when they detect a target or when a target is designated by the leader, standard methods of applying fire to the various type targets are taught. These methods are the same for ground and vehicular-mounted guns. The following are the different types of targets and how they are engaged with the MG.

(1) Point targets are targets that require the use of a single aiming point. Enemy bunkers, weapon emplacements, vehicles, small groups of soldiers, and aerial targets such as helicopters or descending paratroopers are examples of point targets. A point target is engaged with fixed fire. If the target moves after the initial burst, the gun crew(s) keeps fire on the target by following its movement with the gun(s).

(2) Linear targets have sufficient width to require traversing fire and no more depth than can be effectively covered by the beaten zone. Linear targets are engaged with traversing fire.

(a) Two guns, normal division. The target is divided at the midpoint; the right gun engages the right half of the target, and the gun on the left engages the left half of the target. The point of initial lay and adjustment for both guns is at the midpoint of the target. After adjusting on the midpoint, the right gun traverses the right half of the target to include one aiming point beyond the last visible target flank and returns to the midpoint.

(b) Two guns, special division. If one portion of the target presents a greater threat than another, the target can be divided so fire is concentrated on that portion presenting the greatest threat. The special division of the target is accomplished by a subsequent fire command after firing begins. The gunners initially lay at the midpoint, regardless of the special division to be made, thus precluding confusion.

(c) One gun. A single gunner must engage the entire width of a linear target. The point of the initial lay and adjustment is on the midpoint, or that portion of the target presenting the greatest threat. The gunner traverses to either flank and then covers the remainder of the target (Figure 6-6, page 6-10).

(3) Linear targets with depth are targets that have sufficient width to require traversing fire and depth which cannot be covered by the beaten zone. A combined change in direction and elevation (traversing and searching fire) is required to maintain effective fire on these targets (Figure 6-7). Linear targets with depth are engaged with traversing and searching fire. When range is announced, the range to the midpoint is given.

Figure 6-7. Linear target with depth.

(a) Two guns. The method of division, the point of initial lay and adjustment, and the extent of manipulation for both guns are the same as prescribed for linear targets. The gunners, however, apply enough search between each burst to ensure the center of the beaten zone is maintained at the center base of the target (Figure 6-8).

(b) One gun. A single gunner initially lays and adjusts on the midpoint of a linear target with depth unless some other portion of the target presents a greater threat. The gunner traverses and searches to the near flank, then he covers the entire target area (Figure 6-8).

(4) Deep targets have depth but very little width and can be effectively covered by searching fire (Figure 6-9, page 6-12). When the range is announced, it is given to the midpoint of the target.

Figure 6-8. Engagement of linear targets with depth.
Figure 6-9. Deep target.

(a) Two guns. The point of initial lay of both guns is on the midpoint, which is also the point of division. Since enfilade fire is delivered, it is not necessary to adjust on the midpoint of the target because the long axis of the beaten zone will compensate for missing the midpoint. However, should the gunner's beaten zone be out of the lateral confines of the target, it will be necessary to adjust fires into the target area. After the initial bursts, the right gun searches to the near end of the target, and the left gun searches to the far end of the target. Both gunners then reverse their direction of search and return to the midpoint (Figure 6-10).

(b) One gun. A single gunner initially lays and fires at the midpoint of a deep target, unless another portion of the target presents a greater threat. The gunner immediately searches to the near end, then covers the entire target (Figure 6-10).

(b) One gun. A single gunner initially lays and fires at the midpoint of a deep target, unless another portion of the target presents a greater threat. The gunner immediately searches to the near end, then covers the entire target (Figure 6-10).

SINGLE

Figure 6-10. Engagement of deep targets.

SINGLE

Figure 6-10. Engagement of deep targets.

(5) Area targets as discussed in this manual have considerable width and depth, and they require extensive traversing and searching fires. This type target exists when the enemy is known to be in a certain area, but his exact location is not known. A hilltop is a typical area target. The leader designates an area target by indicating to the gun crew(s) the width and depth of the target.

(a) Two guns. The target is divided at the center of mass; the right gun fires on the right half and the left gun fires on the left half. The point of initial lay and adjustment for both guns is on the center of mass. After adjusting on the center of mass, fire is distributed by determining the size of the beaten zones and applying direction and elevation changes that cause the most effective coverage of the target area. Both guns traverse and search their respective halves to the flanks, then return to the midpoint (Figure 6-11).

(b) One gun. A single gunner engages an area target by laying and adjusting on the center of mass, traversing and searching to either flank, then reversing the direction, traversing and searching to the other flank (Figure 6-11).

Greater than 50 mils wide SINGLE

Figure 6-11. Engagement of area targets (objective).

Greater than 50 mils wide SINGLE

Figure 6-11. Engagement of area targets (objective).

NOTE: After the target is engaged in whatever formation it is in, the configuration of that target will change. The gunner must be trained to compensate for this change and still place effective fire on the target.

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