Engagement Of Moving Targets

The fundamentals used to hit moving targets are the same as those needed to hit stationary targets. However, the procedures to engage moving targets vary as the angle, speed, and range of the target varies. Targets moving directly at the gunner are engaged the same as a stationary target; there is no change in the application of the fundamentals. But fast-moving targets at varying ranges and angles do require changes in the application of steady position and aiming. (For aerial targets engagements, see Appendix C.)

a. Leads. To hit a moving target, the machine gun must be aimed ahead of the target far enough to cause the bullet and target to arrive at the same time at the same point. This distance is measured in target lengths. One target length as seen by the gunner is one lead. Leads are measured from the center of mass. Table 4-1 gives the amount of lead needed to hit a target moving at right angles, to the gunner, and at speeds and ranges indicated. The gunner makes adjustments as conditions change. If target speed is 7 1/2 mph, the amount of lead is half that shown on the table; at 30 mph, double that shown. The angle at which the target moves also changes the lead. If the target is moving on an oblique angle, only half the lead is required. For a target moving directly at the gunner, the aiming point is below the center base of the target depending on range and slope of the ground. For a target moving directly away from a gunner, the aiming point is above the center base of the target (Figure 4-7). Too much lead is better than too little because the target moves into the beaten zone, and observation of the strike of the rounds is easier in relation to the target.



15 mph

300 meters

500 meters

900 meters

1/2 X Target length

1 X Target length

2 X Target lengths

Table 4-1. Vehicle lead table.

Table 4-1. Vehicle lead table.

Crew Served Maachine Guns
Figure 4-7. Moving-target aiming points.

NOTE: A soldier carrying a full combat load can run as fast as 8 mph for short distances on the battlefield.

b. Tracking Techniques. The gunner aims at a point ahead of the target equal to the estimated number of leads, maintains this lead by tracking the target (manipulates the weapon at the same angular speed as that of the target), and then fires. Tracking allows the gunner in position for a second burst if the first one misses.

c. Trapping Techniques. The gunner establishes an aiming point forward of the target and along the target path. He pulls the trigger as the target reaches the appropriate point in regard to lead.

d. Position and Aim.

(1) Steady Position. The gunner makes no change in position for targets moving directly toward or away from him. He manipulates the T&E mechanism to obtain the proper lead and sight picture. Some targets at varying speeds, angles, and ranges may require the gunner to reposition when in the prone position. The gunner redistributes his weight to his elbows and toes raising his body directly behind the weapon. He uses the T&E mechanism to traverse on to the target.

(2) Aim. The gunner uses the T&E mechanism to acquire the appropriate sight picture in relation to leading the target. He must quickly determine speed, angle, and range to the target, decide whether to track or trap, acquire lead, and engage the target. He uses the traversing handwheel to maintain lead.

(3) Breath Control. The gunner makes no change, but he must be quick to hold his breath because of the fleeting nature of moving targets.

(4) Trigger Control. The gunner makes no change in applying this fundamental. e. Bipod Techniques. For targets moving to or from a gunner using a bipod, the same procedures are used. From a prone position, the gunner may be required to adjust his position quickly depending on range, angle, and speed of the target.

(1) Steady Position. If appropriate lead cannot be achieved by shifting his shoulders right or left (traverse) or by moving his elbows closer or farther a part (search), the gunner redistributes his weight to his elbows and toes and raises his body off the ground. Using his toes, the gunner shifts his body right or left in the opposite direction of the target and pivots on his elbows until the aiming point is well ahead of the target. The gunner rapidly assumes a steady position, obtains the sight picture, leads and engages the target. Trapping is the preferred technique. In order to apply this method, the bipod legs must move freely. When firing from a fighting position, the gunner must be flexible enough to track any target in his sector. If lead cannot be achieved, he slides the bipod legs in the appropriate direction (left or right) ahead of the target and continues as in the prone position. Trapping is still the preferred technique. If the terrain does not permit sliding the weapon left or right, the gunner lifts the bipod legs off the ground and places them where he can aim ahead of the target, reestablishes a steady position, and continues as before.

(2) Aim. The gunner determines angle, speed, and range quickly; acquires the appropriate lead; and engages the target. He aligns the front sight post in the proper position to lead the target. For targets moving directly away, he places the front sight post above center of mass. For targets moving directly at him, he aligns the front sight post below center of mass. For all other targets, he aligns the front sight with center base of the target applying the appropriate lead.

(3) Breath Control. The gunner must hold his breath quickly because of the fleeting nature of moving targets.

(4) Trigger Control. This is the same as for engaging stationary targets.

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  • teresio
    Is hitting a moving target easier closer or farther?
    3 months ago

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