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Figuro 117. Com of fko.

tiona in ammunition, and atmospheric conditions which cause the rounds to follow a slightly different trajectory. This group of trajectories formed by a single burst is called the cone of fire (flg 127).

61. Beaten Zone

The beaten zone is an elliptical pattern formed by the cone of fire as it strikes the ground.

a. Effect of Range. As the range to the target increases, the beaten zone becomes shorter and wider.

b. Effect of Terrain. The length of the beaten 2one for any given range will vary according to the slope of the ground. On rising ground, the beaten zone becomes shorter, but remains the same width. On ground that slopes away from the gun, the beaten zone becomes longer, but remains the same width.

Section III.

62. General

Machinegun fire is classified with respect to :

a. The ground.

b. The target.

63. Class of Fire With Reapect to the Ground (Fig 128)

a. Plunging Fire. Fire in which the angle of fall of the rounds, with reference to the slope of the ground, is such that the danger space is practically confined to the beaten zone, and the length of the beaten zone is materially shortened. Plunging fire is obtained when firing from high ground into low ground, when firing from low ground into high ground, and when firing at long rangee.

b. Grazing Fire. Fire in which the center of the cone of fire does not rise more than one meter above the ground. When firing over level or uniformly sloping terrain, the maximum extent of grazing fire obtainable is approximately 1000 meters.

64. Classes of Fire With Respect to the Target (Fig 129)

a. Frontal. The long axis of the beaten zone is at a right angle to the long axis of the target.

b. Flanking. Delivered against the flank of a target.

o. Oblique. The long axis of the beaten zone is at an angle, but not a right angle, to the long axis of the target d. Enfilade. The long axis of the beaten zone coincides or nearly coincides with the long axis of the target. This class of fire is either frontal or fianking and is the most desirable class of fire with respect to the target, because it makes maximum use of the beaten zone.


65. Classes of Fire With Respect to the Gun (Fig 130)

a. Fixed Fire. Fire delivered on a point target. Little or no manipulation is required. After the initial burst, the gunners will follow any change or movement of the target without command.

b. Traversing Fire, Fire distributed against a wide target requiring successive changes in the direction of the gun. When engaging a wide target requiring traversing fire, the gunner should select successive aiming points throughout the target area. These aiming points should be close enough together to insure adequate target coverage, but not so close as to be wasteful of ammunition by concentrating a heavy volume of fire in a small area.

c. Searching Fire. Fire delivered against a deep target or a target that has depth, requiring changes in elevation of the gun. The amount of elevation change depends upon the range and slope of the ground.

d. Traversing and Searching Fire. Fire delivered both in width and depth by changes in direction and elevation. It is employed against a target whose long axis is oblique to the direction of the fire.

e. Swinging Traverse. Employed against targets which require major changes in direction but little or no change in elevation. Targets may be dense, of considerable width, in relatively close formations moving slowly toward or away from the gun, or vehicles or mounted troops moving across the front. The traversing slide lock lever is loosened enough to permit the gunner to swing the gun laterally.

/. Free Gun. Fire delivered against moving targets which must be rapidly engaged with rapid changes in both direction and elevation. Examples are: aerial targets, vehicles, mounted troops, or

Figur« it$. Clots*« of fx* with rttptci to tht ground.

infantry in relatively close formations moving rapidly toward or away from the gun position. To fire free gun on the M8 tripod mount, the gunner disengages the traversing slide lock lever from the traversing bar and pushes the traversing and elevating mechanism up, out of the way.

g. Rate of Fire. When firing swinging traverse and free gun, the weapon is normally fired at the cyclic rate of fire which is in excess of 450 rounds per minute, consuming a large quantity of ammunition. Also, there is no beaten zone as such, as each round seeks It own area of impact.

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