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The procedures and methods used in Army machine gun marksmanship are based on the concept that soldiers must be skilled gunners who can effectively apply their firing skills in combat. The basic firing skills and exercises outlined in this manual must be a part of every unit's machine gun training program. The soldiers' proficiency depends on proper training and application of basic gunnery fundamental, which are taught in a progressive program to prepare gunners for combat.


Training strategy is the overall concept for integrating resources into a program to train individual and collective skills needed to perform a unit's wartime mission.

a. Training strategies for marksmanship are implemented in TRADOC institutions (NCOES, basic and advanced officer's courses) and in units. The overall training strategy is multifaceted and is inclusive of the specific strategies used in institution and unit programs. Also included are the supporting strategies that use resources such as publications, ranges, ammunition, training aids, devices, simulators, and simulations. These strategies focus on developing critical soldier skills, and on leader skills that are required for the intended outcome.

b. Two primary components compose the training strategies: initial training and sustainment training. Both may include individual and collective skills. Initial training is critical because a task that is taught correctly and learned well is retained longer. Well-trained skills can be more quickly regained and sustained if an interim of nonuse occurs. The more difficult and complex the task, the harder it is to sustain the skill. Personnel turnover is a main factor in decay of collective skills, since the loss of critical team members requires retraining to regain proficiency. If a long period elapses between initial and sustainment training sessions or training doctrine is altered, retraining maybe required.

c. The training strategy for caliber .50 MG marksmanship begins in selected resident training and continues in the unit. An example of this overall process is illustrated in Figure 1-1 and provides a concept of the flow of unit sustainment training. The soldiers graduating from selected resident training courses have been trained to maintain their MGs and to hit a variety of targets. They have learned range determination, target detection, application of marksmanship fundamentals, and other skills needed to engage a target. Task training during these courses may lead to qualification.

d. Training continues in units on the basic skills taught in combat arms. Additional skills, such as suppressive fire and supporting fire, are trained and then integrated into collective training exercises, which include platoon and squad live-fire STXs. (A unit-marksmanship training program is explained in Chapter 5.) The strategy for sustaining the basic marksmanship skills taught in combat arms is periodic preliminary instruction, followed by qualification range firing. However, a unit must set up a year-round program to sustain skills. Key elements include training of trainers and refresher training of nonfiring skills.

e. Additional skills trained in the unit include techniques for employment, suppressive fires, night fire, MOPP firing, and moving targets. Related soldier skills of camouflage, cover and concealment, maneuver, and preparation and selection of a fighting position are addressed in STP 21-24-SMCT, which must be integrated into tactical training.

f. In the unit, individual and leader proficiency of marksmanship tasks are integrated into collective training to include squad, section, and platoon drills and STXs. The collective tasks in these exercises, and how they are planned and conducted, are in the MTP and battle drill books for each organization. Based on the type organization, collective tasks are evaluated to standard and discussed during leader and trainer after-action reviews. Objective evaluations of both individual and unit proficiency provide readiness indicators and future training requirements.

g. A critical step in the Army's overall marksmanship training strategy is to train the trainers and leaders first. Leader courses and unit publications develop officer and NCO proficiencies necessary to plan and conduct marksmanship training and to evaluate the effectiveness of unit marksmanship programs. Training support materials are provided by the proponent schools to include field manuals, training aids, devices, simulators, and programs that are doctrinal foundations and guidance for training the force.

h. Once the soldier understands the weapon and has demonstrated skill in zeroing, additional live-fire training and a target acquisition exercise at various ranges are conducted. Target types and scenarios of increasing difficulty must be mastered to develop proficiency.

i. Initial individual training culminates in the soldier's proficiency assessment, which is conducted on a transition/record fire range. This evaluation also provides an overview of unit proficiency and training effectiveness.

j. Unit training programs maintain the soldiers' proficiency level. The ultimate goal of a unit marksmanship program is to maintain well-trained gunners so a unit can survive and win on the battlefield. The trainer must realize that qualification is not an end, but a step toward reaching this combat requirement. (See Figure 1-1.)

(1) To reach this goal, the gunner must be able to position and use his weapon under the following 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, or 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 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.

• Most combat targets have a low contrast outline and are obscure. Therefore, choosing an aiming point in elevation is difficult.

• Time-stressed fire in combat can be divided into three types: a single, fleeing target that must be engaged quickly; distributed targets engaged within the time they remain available; and a surprise target that must be engaged at once with accurate, instinctive fire.

(2) The unit's program must provide fundamental training to sustain and improve the skills and proficiency the soldier has attained during his basic marksmanship training. Once basic skills have been mastered, these must be improved by conducting new or advanced individual and collective training. The program must develop collective firing skills by incorporating marksmanship into tactical exercises. This training must maintain the soldier's confidence in the weapon and his skills. A soldier's survival may depend on his ability to defend himself or other members of the unit. Therefore, individual and collective firing skills must support the expected battlefield conditions and the unit's combat mission.

survival may depend on his ability to defend himself or other members of the unit. Therefore, individual and collective firing skills must support the expected battlefield conditions and the unit's combat mission.

DETERMINE REQUIREMENTS Plan/Adjust Training Calendar Based on:

»Readiness Levels ►Turnovers • Missions

»Observance of Deficiencies niv:




• Night Fire Skills

• MOPP Skills and Positions •Camouflage, Cover, and


• Employment Techniques

• Modified/Tactical Positions •Assault/Suppressive Fires

• Moving Targets

• Fire and Movement CONDUCT LIVE-FIRE

Assessment of Individual, NBC ,and Night Fire. CONDUCT FTX, STX, and LFX Assessment of Drills.

CONDUCT PMI Identify Tasks. Train/Review (Nonfiring): •Maintenance and Serviceability

• Immediate-Action Drills

• Integrated Fund •Other SM Skills •Evaluation/Remediation

Train/Conduct Initial 10-Meter and Live-Fire Practice:

• Live-Fire Intergration of Basics •Group/Zero Setting

• Evaluation/Remediation •Target Detection and Estimation •Wind/Gravity and Adjusted Aim

• Precise Application of Basics

• Live-Fire Practice at Transition Range with Feedback

• Practice/Qualification Courses

• Evaluation

CONDUCT BASIC RECORD FIRE Commander's Evaluation. Standard or Instructional Courses.

Assessment of Basic Proficiency. Readiness.

Figure 1-1. Unit marksmanship sustainment strategy.

(3) A unit's marksmanship program must be battlefield oriented. It must be based upon several individual combat tasks as well as organizational, operational, or contingency missions. It must have available resources such as ammunition, time, ranges, and qualified trainers. This manual provides the information a unit commander needs to develop an effective marksmanship program for his unit requirements.

(4) General marksmanship, training knowledge, and accurate firing are acquired skills that perish easily. Skill practice should be conducted for short periods throughout the year. Most units have a readiness requirement that all soldiers must zero their MGs within a certain time after unit assignment. Also, soldiers must confirm the zero of their assigned MGs before conducting a qualification firing.

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