The purpose of crew exercise is to develop precision, speed, skill, and teamwork in examining equipment, placing the gun into action, and taking it out of action. In crew exercise, precision must be stressed. Once that is attained, speed, skill, and teamwork will follow. Duties are rotated during crew exercise to allow each member of the gun crew to become familiar with all the duties. During crew exercise, all oral or visual signals are repeated. When the fire command is completed, the gunner will give the assistant gunner an UP. The assistant gunner will extend his hand and arm into the air in the direction of the leader (to indicate READY) and announce, UP. With the M3 mount, the crew must consist of at least four men, including the leader. There is no designated crew in the TOE for a dismounted caliber .50 MG. The following paragraphs are only suggestions for the breakdown of equipment and member designation that may be established by the commander.
a. Crew Equipment. In addition to individual arms and equipment, crew members carry the following equipment for the tripod-mounted machine gun:
CREW MEMBER SUGGESTED MINIMUM EQUIPMENT
Squad or crew leader. Binoculars, compass, one box of ammunition.
No. 1 Assistant gunner. Tripod.
No. 2 Gunner. Receiver, T&E mechanism attached, and headspace and timing gauge.
No. 3 Ammunition bearer. Barrel, barrel cover, and box of ammunition.
b. Form for Crew Exercise. The crew leader commands, FORM FOR CREW DRILL.
(1) Positions with equipment. The crew forms in column, facing the crew leader with five paces between men (Figure 5-16, page 5-24). They are in the following order: assistant gunner, gunner, and ammunition bearer. When the crew members reach their correct positions, they assume the prone position with equipment arranged as follows:
(a) No. 1: Tripod to his left, trail legs to the rear, front leg uppermost.
(b) No. 2: Receiver across his front, backplate to the right, retracting slide handle uppermost.
(c) No. 3: Barrel to his right, muzzle to the rear, ammunition box to his left front with latch to the right (latch to the front for the new box).
(d) Other members, if present: Ammunition boxes in front, one foot apart, latches to the right (front).
(e) Crew leader: Ammunition box to his right as he faces the crew, latch to the right (front).
(2) Rotation of duties. Duties are rotated to ensure that each member learns and is capable of performing the duties of the other members.
(a) The command to rotate all personnel is, FALL OUT LEADER. At this command, each member of the crew rises, moves forward, and assumes a new duty. The crew leader becomes the ammunition bearer. The assistant gunner moves forward and becomes the crew leader. The gunner moves forward and becomes the assistant gunner. The ammunition bearer moves forward and becomes the gunner.
(b) If the leader is not changed, the command, FALL OUT ASSISTANT GUNNER, is given. At this command, the crew members rise, the gunner becomes the assistant gunner, the ammunition bearer becomes the gunner, and the assistant gunner becomes the ammunition bearer. When the crew members have assumed their new position, they call out their new duties in order, ASSISTANT GUNNER, GUNNER, AMMUNITION BEARER.
NOTE: An additional crew exercise, which the crew maybe required to practice, is the setting of headspace and timing. These procedures are outlined in paragraph 3-6.
c. Inspection of Equipment Before Firing. When the crew is formed with equipment, the command is, INSPECT EQUIPMENT BEFORE FIRING. At this command, the crew proceeds as follows:
(1) The assistant gunner inspects the tripod M3 mount to ensure that:
(a) The indexing levers and clamps on the front and trail legs function properly, and the legs are in the short (low) position.
(b) The front leg and trail legs are closely folded, and the front leg clamp is hand tight.
(d) The pintle bushing is free from dirt and burrs.
(2) The gunner inspects the receiver group to ensure that:
(a) The barrel support and breech bearing are free of dirt.
(b) The gun pintle is free of dirt.
(c) The feed mechanism and bolt switch are properly assembled to feed from left (soldier raises cover for proper inspection).
(d) The striker projects through the aperture in the face of bolt (soldier closes the cover).
(e) The rear sight is set at 1,000 yards (900 meters) windage zero.
(f) The T&E mechanism is securely attached to the receiver.
(g) The traversing handwheel is centered.
(h) The elevating screws are equally exposed (about 2 inches) above and below elevating handwheel.
(i) The backplate is latched and locked in place.
(j) The bolt latch release is locked in the down position by the bolt latch release lock.
(3) The ammunition bearer inspects the barrel and ammunition box to ensure that:
(a) The barrel is clear.
(b) The barrel carrier assembly is securely attached to the barrel.
(c) The barrel threads are free of dirt.
(d) The metallic links are clean (soldier opens ammunition box).
(e) The belt is properly loaded and placed in box with the double-looped end up.
(f) Dummy ammunition is used during crew exercise, and no live ammunition is present.
(g) The box is closed and latched.
(4) When the ammunition bearer completes his inspection, he moves to the gunner's position with the barrel in his right hand and ammunition box in his left hand. With the aid of the gunner, he screws the barrel into the barrel extension (Figure 5-17, page 5-26). The headspace and timing adjustment is made. The ammunition bearer remains on the left and on line with the gunner.
(5) The crew leader examines his ammunition as described in paragraph (3).
(6) At the completion of the inspection, a report is rendered as follows:
(a) The ammunition bearer reports: AMMUNITION CORRECT (or any deficiencies).
(b) The gunner reports: GUN AND AMMUNITION CORRECT (or any deficiencies).
(c) The assistant gunner reports: ALL CORRECT (or any deficiencies).
d. Placement of the Gun Into Action. To place the gun into action, the crew leader commands and signals, GUN TO BE MOUNTED HERE (pointing to the position where the gun is to be mounted), FRONT (pointing in the direction of fire), ACTION (vigorously pumping his fist in the direction of the designated gun position).
(1) At the command or signal ACTION, the assistant gunner grasps the left trail leg near the center with his left hand. Springing to his feet and grasping the tripod head with his right hand, he lifts the tripod across the front of his body with the front leg up, and carries the tripod to the desired location. Upon arrival at the position, he places the trail leg pointing upward. Steadying the tripod with his left hand on the front leg, he loosens the front leg clamp with his right hand (Figure 5-18), positions the front leg with his left hand, and tightens the front leg clamp with his right hand. With his right hand on the tripod head, he slides his left hand down on the left trail leg and with a snapping motion, pulls the left leg (to the left), engaging the sleeve latch (Figure 5-19). He then aligns the tripod for direction, drops the mount to the ground, stamps the right and left trail shoes with his right or left foot, and assumes the prone position behind the mount.
(2) The gunner and ammunition bearer move together. When the tripod is nearly mounted, the gunner and ammunition bearer spring to their feet. The gunner places both hands on the spade grips, the ammunition bearer grasp the ammunition box in his left hand and the gun carrying handle with this right hand. Both men lift the gun from the ground and move rapidly to the gun position. Then the ammunition bearer places the ammunition box on line and in front of the leader's ammunition box. The gunner, assisted by the ammunition bearer, inserts the pintle into the pintle bushing. The ammunition bearer stamps the front shoe into the ground with his left foot (Figure 5-20), releases the carrying handle, lowers his right hand, and lifts the gun pintle lock release cam. When the gun pintle is fully seated, he presses down the pintle lock release cam with his right hand, turns to his left, and returns to his original position.
(3) The assistant gunner holds the left spade grip with his left hand. With his right hand, he lowers the T&E mechanism to the traversing bar, ensuring that the traversing handwheel is to the left and the lock lever is to the rear. He then assumes a semiprone position to the left of the gun with his feet to the rear and his head on line with the feedway. He unlatches and raises the cover of the ammunition box, removes the ammunition belt, inserts the double-looped end into the feedway, and taps the feedway with his right hand to ensure it is closed.
(4) With his right hand palm-up, the gunner grasps the retracting slide handle, vigorously jerks it to the rear, and releases it. The gun is half-loaded (Figure 5-21). He then assumes a prone position directly behind the gun with his legs spread and heels down. His right hand lightly grasps the right spade grip with the thumb in position to depress the trigger. His left hand is on the elevating handwheel (palm down) with his thumb near the traversing slide lock lever. He rests on his left elbow with his head as close as possible to the rear sight (Figure 5-22, page 5-30). He then gives the assistant gunner an UP. The assistant gunner announces UP and extends his hand and arm into the air in the direction of the leader.
e. Removal of the Gun From Action. To take the gun out of action, the command is OUT OF ACTION.
(1) The gunner raises the cover with his left hand, the assistant gunner lifts the ammunition out of the feedway, replaces the ammunition in the box, and closes and latches the box. The gunner closes the cover, pulls the retracting slide handle to the rear with right hand (palm up) and releases it, presses the trigger with his right thumb, and loosens the traversing slide lock with his left hand. He rises to his feet, grasping both spade grips. At this time, the ammunition bearer will arrive at the gun position. With his left hand, the ammunition bearer grasps the ammunition box and places his right foot on the front leg shoe. With his right hand, he reaches down and lifts up the pintle lock release cam and grasps the carrying handle (Figure 5-23).
(2) The gunner and ammunition bearer lift the gun from the tripod, turn right, and carry the gun back to their original position. They set the gun down with the muzzle to the left and the retracting slide handle up. The gunner pulls the retracting slide handle to the rear and aligns the lug on the barrel locking spring with the 3/8-inch hole in the right side of the receiver. The ammunition bearer unscrews the barrel from the receiver, picks up the ammunition box and barrel, moves five paces to the rear, places the barrel to his right with the muzzle to the rear and the ammunition box to his left, and assumes the prone position.
(3) The gunner rotates the bolt latch release lock to the right and releases the bolt latch. He checks his sights to ensure they are properly set.
(4) The assistant gunner assumes a kneeling position behind the tripod and releases the sleeve lock latch with his right hand. He rises to his feet, grasps the front leg with his left hand, and rotates the tripod to a vertical position on the trail legs. With his right hand, he loosens the front leg clamp, folds down the front leg, then tightens the clamp. With his right hand on the tripod head, he rotates the tripod on the right trail leg and releases the sleeve latch. Then he folds the left trail leg against the right with his left hand (Figure 5-24, page 5-32). Holding the tripod head with his right hand, trail legs with his left, he lifts the tripod across the front of his body with the front leg up. He turns to the right and returns to his original position. At this time, the crew leader picks up his ammunition box and faces the crew. The assistant gunner places the tripod on the ground, assumes a prone position to the right of the tripod, and announces UP.
f. Duties of The Crew. To hand-carry the gun and equipment, the command is SECURE EQUIPMENT, FOLLOW ME. At this command,-
(1) The crew leader carries his ammunition box in his right hand.
(2) The assistant gunner carries the tripod over either shoulder.
(3) The gunner carries the receiver on either shoulder with the spade grips to the front.
(4) The ammunition bearer carries his ammunition box in his left hand and the barrel in his right hand with the muzzle to the rear (or on his left shoulder with the muzzle to the front).
g. Relocation of Tripod-Mounted Gun. When the gun is mounted on the tripod, it can be moved for short distances by dragging or by a two- or three-man carry. (In the latter, the men should move in step to make carrying easier.)
(1) Dragging. The gun is dragged when there is limited cover, or when the situation requires the gun to be moved in this manner. The gunner and assistant gunner drag the mounted gun to the desired position (Figure 5-25).
(2) Two-man carry With the gunner on the right and assistant gunner on the left, each grasps the front leg with his forward hand and a trail leg with the other hand, just above the traversing bar (Figure 5-26).
(3) Three-man carry. When the barrel is hot, the gunner gets behind the tripod with a trail leg in each hand. With the assistant gunner on the left and the ammunition bearer on the right, each grasps the carrying handle. In addition, the assistant gunner carries the ammunition in his left hand (Figure 5-27). When the barrel is cool, the ammunition bearer and the assistant gunner each grasp the front leg (Figure 5-28).
NOTE: Carrying the gun by the barrel may cause damage to the barrel support and the barrel extension.
h. Movement of the Gun to Other Mounts. With the mount prepared to receive the gun, the cradle of the mount is placed in a horizontal position. To move the gun to the mount, the gunner carries the right spade grip in his left hand and a box of ammunition in his right. The assistant gunner grasps the carrying handle with his left hand and a box of ammunition in his right hand. When they get to the mount, the gunner and assistant gunner place their ammunition boxes near the mount. The gunner removes the rear mounting (gun-locking) pin with his right hand. The assistant gunner removes the front mounting (gun-locking) pin with his right hand. They place the gun on the mount. The gunner aligns the holes in the rear mounting lugs of the receiver with the rear mounting bracket and inserts the rear mounting pin. The assistant gunner aligns the front mounting hole in the front of the receiver with the front mounting bracket and inserts the front mounting pin. (For use of the sideplate trigger with the M63 mount, see TM 9-1005-213-10.)
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