Applying The Fingermeasurement Method

62mm Machinegun

PURPOSE OF FIRE COMMANDS

A fire command is given to deliver effective fire on a target quickly and without confusion. When the leader decides to engage a target which is not obvious to the gunners, he must provide them with the information they need to effectively engage the target. He must alert the crews, and give a target direction, description, and range; the method of fire; and the command to fire.

There are initial fire commands and subsequent fire commands. Initial fire commands are given to begin firing at a target, and subsequent fire commands are given to adjust direction and elevation, change the rate of fire after a fire mission is in progress, interrupt fire, or terminate the alert.

Elements of Fire Commands. Fire commands for all direct fire weapons follow a pattern that includes similar elements- There are six elements in the fire command for the machinegun: ALERT, DIRECTION, DESCRIPTION, RANGE, METHOD OF FIRE, and COMMAND TO OPEN FIRE. The crew repeats each element of a fire command as it is given.

Alert

This element gets the crews ready to receive further instructions. The leader may alert both crews or only one, depending upon the situation. To alert and fire both guns, the leader announces, FIRE MISSION. If the leader desires to alert and fire only one gun, he will announce, GUN NUMBER ONE (TWO), FIRE MISSION. If he desires to alert both guns but fire only one, he will announce,

FIRE MISSION, GUN NUMBER ONE (TWO). Once alerted, the assistant gunner(s) continuously observes the leader in order to relay instructions.

Direction

This element indicates the general direction to the target and may be given in one or a combination of the following methods:

• Orally- The leader gives the direction to the target in relation to the position of the gun.

• Pointing. The leader can designate a small or obscure target by pointing with his arm or aiming with a gun. When he points with his arm, a man standing behind him should be able to look over his shoulder and sight along his arm and index finger to locate the target. When a gun has been aimed at a target, a soldier looking through the sights should be able to see the target.

• Using tracer ammunition. Tracer ammunition is a quick and sure method of designating a target which is not clearly visible. When using this method, the leader should first give the general direction in order to direct the crew's attention to the target area. To prevent the loss of surprise when using tracer ammunition, the leader does not fire until he has given all of the elements of the fire command except the command to fire. The leader may fire his individual weapon or fire one or more bursts from a machinegun. The firing of the tracer(s) then becomes the last element of the fire command and is the signal to open fire.

Example: FIRE MISSION FRONT

WATCH MY TRACER(S)

• Using reference points. Another method of designating obscure targets is to use easy-to-recognize reference points. All leaders and crews must be familiar with terrain features and the terminology used to describe them (FM 21-26). When using a reference point, the word "reference1" precedes its description. This is done to avoid confusion. The general direction to the reference point should be given.

An example of the use of a reference point is as shown below.

FIRE MISSION, GUN NUMBER ONE FRONT

REFERENCE: LONE PINE TREE

Sometimes a target must be designated by using successive reference points.

Example:

GUN NUMBER TWO, FIRE MISSION RIGHT FRONT

REFERENCE: RE D-ROOFE D HOUSE. LEFT TO HAYSTACK, LEFT TO BARN

Finger measurements can be used to direct the crew's attention to the right or left of reference points-

Example:

FIRE MISSION

LEFT FRONT

RE FE RENCE: C ROSSRO ADS, RIG HT FOUR FINGERS

When the guns are mounted on tripods, lateral distance from reference points can be announced in mils. Lateral distance is assumed to be in mils so the word "mils" is not necessary.

Example:

FIRE MISSION FRONT

REFERENCE: KNOCKED OUT TANK, LEFT FOUR ZERO

Description

The target description is used to create a picture of the target in the min ds of the crew. To properly apply their fire, the crew must know the type of target they are to engage. The leader should describe it briefly. The word "target" precedes the target description, as in TARGET: TROOPS; TARGET: TANKS; TARGET: AIRCRAFT, etc. If the target is obvious, no description is necessary.

Range

The leader will always announce the estimated range to the target. The range is given so the crews know how far to look for the target and what range setting to put on the rear sight. Range is announced in meters. Since the meter is the standard unit of range measurement, the word "meters" is not used. With machineguns, the range is determined and announced to the nearest hundred or thousand fin other words, THREE HUNDRED, or ONE THOUSAND, or ONE ONE HUNDRED).

Example:

FIRE MISSION FRONT

REFERENCE: KNOCKED OUT TANK, LEFT FOUR ZERO

TARGET: TROOPS

THREE HUNDRED

Method of FT re

This element includes manipulation and rate of fire.

Manipulation is used to prescribe the class of fire with respect to the gun. It is announced as FIXED, TRAVERSE, SEARCH, TRAVERSE AND SEARCH, SWINGING TRAVERSE, or FREE GUN.

Rate is used to control the amount of fire. There are three rates which may be announced: sustained, rapid, and cyclic. The rate of fire may be omitted from the fire command; however, when a rate is omitted, the rapid rate is implied.

Example: FIRE MISSION FRONT

REFERENCE: KNOCKED OUT TANK, LEFT FOUR ZERO

TARGET: TROOPS

THREE HUNDRED

TRAVERSE

RAPID

Command to Open Fire

It is often important that fire be withheld so that surprise fire can be delivered on a target, or to insure that both guns open fire at the same time. The leader may preface the command to commence firing with, AT MY COMMAND, or AT MY SIGNAL. When the gunners are ready to engage the target, they report, UP, to the assistant gunners who signal, READY, to the leader. The leader then gives the command, FIRE, at the specific time desired-

Example:

FIRE MISSION FRONT TROOPS 400

AT MY COMMAND or AT MY SIGNAL (Pause until crew members are ready and fire is desired.)

FIRE (or prearranged signal)

If immediate fire is required, the command, FIRE, is given without pause and the gunners fire as soon as they are ready.

Subsequent Fire Commands. Subsequent fire commands are used to make adjustments in direction and elevation, change rates of fire after a fire mission is in progress, interrupt fires, or terminate the alert. If the gunner fails to properly engage a target, the leader must promptly correct him by announcing or signaling the desired changes. When these changes are given, the gunner makes the corrections and resumes firing without further command. When firing under the control of a leader, the assistant gunner observes the leader for instructions which he passes on to the gunner.

Adjustment for direction is given first. (Examples: RIGHT ONE ZERO; LEFT FIVE.) Adjustment for elevation is given next. (Examples: ADD FIVE; DROP ONE FIVE,) These may be given orally or with arm-and-hand signals. Adjustments in direction and elevation with the bipod or vehicular-mounted gun are always given in meters by using one finger to indicate 1 meter. Adjustments in direction and elevation on the tripod-mounted gun are always given in mils; one finger indicates 1 mil.

Changes in the rate of fire are given orally or by arm-and-hand signals.

To interrupt firing, the leader announces, CEASE FIRE, or signals to cease fire. The crews remain on the alert. They resume firing when given the command, FIRE.

To terminate the alert, the leader announces, CEASE FIRE, END OF MIS SION.

Doubtful Elements and Corrections.

When the gunner is in doubt about any

element of the fire command, he replies, SAY AGAIN RANGE, TARGET, etc. The leader then announces, THE COMMAND WAS, repeats the element in question, and continues with the fire command.

When the leader makes an error in the initial fire command, he corrects it by announcing, CORRECTION, and then gives the corrected element.

Example:

FIRE MISSION

FRONT

TROOPS

CORRECTION 600

TRAVERSE AT MY COMMAND

When the leader makes an error in the subsequent fire command, he may correct it by announcing, CORRECTION, and then repeating the entire subsequent fire command.

Example:

LEFT FIVE, DROP ONE CORRECTION

LEFT FIVE, DROP ONE ZERO

Abbreviated Fire Commands. Fire commands need not be complete to be effective. In combat, the leader's fire command will give only the elements necessary to place fire on a target quickly and without confusion. During training, however, he should use all of the elements to get crew members in the habit of thinking and reacting properly when a target is to be engaged. After the crew's initial training in fire commands, they should be taught to react to abbreviated fire com mands, using the various methods of control, as follows:

Oral

The leader wants to place the fire of one gun (on tripod) on an enemy machinegun he has located.

Example:

FIRE MISSION, GUN NUMBER ONE MACHINEGUN 600 FIRE

Range Card

When a range card has been prepared, the leader, by using only the alert, description, and the command to fire, can place fire on targets that the gunner cannot see. The leader describes the target by its number, saying the word "target" before the number of the target.

Example:

FIRE MISSION, GUN NUMBER ONE TARGET NUMBER THREE AT MY COMMAND FIRE

Abbreviated Arm-and-Hand Signals

The leader gets the gunner's attention and then points to the target. When the assistant gunner returns the, READY, signal, the leader commands, FIRE.

Prearranged Signals

If the leader wants to shift fire at a certain time, he gives a prearranged signal, such as smoke or pyrotechnics. Upon seeing the signal, the gunners shift their fire to a prearranged point.

Personal Contact

The leader may also move to the gunner whose fire he wants to shift, get his attention, point out the new target, and command,

FIRE.

Standing Operating Procedures. SOPs for certain actions and commands can be developed to make crews more effective. Some examples follow:

Observation

The crew members continuously observe their sector.

Fire

Gunners open fire without command on appropriate targets that appear within their sector.

Check

While the gunner is firing, the assistant gunner checks with the leader for instructions.

Return Fire

The crews return enemy fire, concentrating on enemy automatic weapons, without order.

Shift Fire

Gunners shift their fire without command when more dangerous targets appear.

Rate of Fire

When gunners engage a target, they initially fire at the rate necessary to gain and maintain fire superiority.

Mutual Support

When two or more guns are engaging th~ same target and one gun stops firing, the other gunner(s) increases the rate of fire and covers the entire target. When only one gun is required to engage a target and the leader has alerted two or more crews, the gun not firing lays on the target and follows the movements of the target so that it can fire instantly should the other gun malfunction or cease fire before the target has been eliminated.

Arm-and-Hand Signals. Battlefield noise and the distance between guns and the leader often make it necessarv to use arm-and hand signals to control fire. When an action or movement is to be executed by only one of the crews, a preliminary signal is given to designate the crew to act- When necessary, all signals are relayed to the gunner by the assistant, gunner- The following are commonly used signals for fire control.

# Ready. The assistant gunner signals that the gunner is ready to fire by raising his right hand and arm above his head toward the leader.

# Commence Firing, or Change Rate of Firing. The leader brings his hand, palm down, to the front of his body, about waist level, and moves it horizontally in front of his body. To signal faster fire, he increases the speed of the hand movement; to fire slower, he decreases the speed of the hand movement.

# Change Direction/Elevation (Tripod-, Bipod-, or Vehicular-Mounted Machinegun). The leader extends his arm and hand in the new direction and indicates, by the number of fingers extended, the amount of change necessary. The fingers must be spread so the assistant gunner can easily see the number of fingers extended. Each finger indicates 1 mil of change for the tripod-mounted gun and 1 meter of change for the bipod- and vehicular-mounted gun- If the desired change is more than 5 mils, the leader extends his hand the number of times necessary to indicate the total amount of change. For example, RIGHT NINE would be indicated by extending the hand once with five fingers showing and a second time with four fingers showing for a total of nine fingers.

ARM-AND-HAND SIGNALS

THE READY SIGNAL

ADJUSTING FIRE WITH THE BIPOD-MOUNTED GUN

M60 Firing Positions

CEASE FIRE

ADJUSTING FIRE WITH THE BIPOD-MOUNTED GUN

CEASE FIRE

COMMENCE FIRING

ADJUSTING FIRE WITH THE TRIPOD-MOUNTED GUN

9 Interrupt or Cease Firing. The leader raises his arm and hand, palm outward, in front of his forehead and brings it downward sharply. The assistant gunner then slaps the gunner on his back to indicate CEASE FIRE.

t Other Signals. The leader can devise other signals to control his guns; for example, signals to change barrels, remove the gun from the tripod, or emplace the gun in a certain position. A detailed description of arm-and-hand signals is given in FM 21-60.

PRINCIPLES OF APPLICATION OF FIRE

Application of fire consists of the methods crews use to get complete and effective coverage of a target area.

Training in the methods of applying fire can be accomplished only after the crews have learned to recognize the different types of targets they may find in combat, how to properly distribute and concentrate their firet and how to maintain the proper rate of fire.

TYPES OF TARGETS

Targets for machineguns in combat will in most cases be enemy troops» Different troop formations will make it necessary to use different classes of Fire distribution. These targets have width and depth, and the fire must thoroughly cover the area in which the enemy is known or suspected to be. The targets may be easy to find or hard to see or find.

Point Targets. These require the use of a single aiming point. Examples of point targets are enemy bunkers, weapons emplacements, vehicles, and troops.

Area Targets. These may have considerable width and depth and may require extensive traversing and searching fire, such as a target where the enemy's exact location is unknown. Area targets are of three major kinds:

METHODS OF APPLICATION OF FIRE

In combat, the size and nature of a target may call for the fire of more than one gun. The method of applying fire to a target is generally the same for either a single gun or a pair.

Area and Point Fire■ Area fire is fire that is delivered in width, in depth, or in a combination of both. To distribute fire properly, gunners must know where to aim, how to adjust their fire, and in which direction to manipulate the gun.

With regard to the point of initial lay and adjustment, the gunner must aim, fire, and adjust on a certain point of the target. It is important that fire be adjusted boldly, rapidly, and continuously. Binoculars can be used by the leader to help adjust fire. The gunner always keeps the center of his beaten zone at the base of the target. This makes the bullets in the upper half of the beaten zone hit the target, and bullets in the lower half of the beaten zone ricochet into the target.

With regard to direction of manipulation, the gunner must move his beaten zone in a certain direction over the target. The direction depends upon the type of target and whether the target is engaged with a single gun or a pair. When engaging area targets (but not point targets) with a pair of guns, the targets are divided. Each gun is given a part of the target so that fire is evenly distributed over the target.

PLACEMENT OF THE CENTER OF THE BEATEN

ZONE ON THE TARGET

UPPER HALF OF CONE OF FIRE PASSING THROUGH TARGET

UPPER HALF OF CONE OF FIRE PASSING THROUGH TARGET

Beaten Zone
LOWER HALF OF BEATEN ZONE RICOCHETING INTO TARGET

Rates of Fire.There are three rates of fire with the machinegun — sustained, rapid, and cyclic. These rates are established as a guide for training and to indicate when a barrel change is desirable. In training, the rate of fire should be announced to aid learning and give the gunners a basis for judging the number of rounds being fired.

Sustained Fire

Sustained fire is 100 rounds per minute in bursts of 6 to 9 rounds at 4- to 5-second intervals. It is directed by announcing, SUSTAINED. (A barrel change is recommended after firing the sustained rate for 10 minutes.)

Rapid Fire

Rapid fire is 200 rounds per minute in bursts of 6 to 9 rounds at 2- to 3-second intervals. It is directed by announcing, RAPID, (A barrel change is recommended after firing the rapid rate for 2 minutes.)

Cyclic Fire

Cyclic fire uses the most ammunition that can be used in 1 minute. The cyclic rate of fire with the M60 machinegun (approximately 550 rounds per minute) is fired when the trigger is held to the rear and ammunition is fed into the gun. (A barrel change is recommended after firing the cyclic rate for 1 minute.)

Ground targets are INITIALLY engaged using the rapid rate (200 rounds per minute) to gain fire superiority. After fire superiority has been gained, the rate of fire is reduced to a rate that is sufficient to maintain fire superiority. This reduced rate of fire is necessary to keep the barrel from overheating and to conserve ammunition.

Aerial targets are engaged using the cyclic rate.

TARGET ENGAGEMENT DIRECT LAY

When 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 crews. In the case of an area target, the gunner on the left applies his fire to the left half of the target, and the gunner on the right takes the right half Each gunner must be prepared to engage the entire target Gunners continue to fire until the target is neutralized or until signaled to do otherwise by the leader.

To aid in fire control, guns employed in pairs are designated number 1 gun (right position) and number 2 gun (left position).

To insure 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 types of targets are used- These methods are the same for bipod-, tripod-, and vehicular-mounted guns.

SPECIAL DIVISION OF TARGETS

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Point targets are engaged with fixed fire (also called "point fire"). If the target moves after the initial burst, crews keep fire on the target by following its movement.

Linear targets are engaged with traversing fire.

Machine guns in Pairs♦ The target is divided at the midpoint with the right gun (normally, No. 1) firing on the right half and the left gun (normally, No. 2) firing on the left half. The point of initial lay and adjustment for both guns is on the midpoint. After adjusting on the midpoint, the right gun traverses right, firing a burst after each change in direction, until it reaches one aiming point beyond the right flank (this insures complete target coverage). The left gun traverses to the left flank in the same way. Both gunners then reverse their directions and return to the midpoint. It is important to select aiming points for each burst rather than "spray" the target area.

If one part of the target is a greater threat, fire can be concentrated on the greater threat by dividing the target unevenly. The special division of the target is done with subsequent fire commands after firing begins. To preclude confusion, the gunners initially lay on the midpoint regard less of the special division to be made.

One Machinegun. A single gunner must engage the entire width of a linear target. The point of initial lay is on the midpoint. The gunner then manipulates to cover the rest of the target.

Hard- to-Identify Linear Targets. If a linear target is hard to identify, the leader

ENGAGING DISTINCT LINEAR TARGETS

y r ■■■^y may designate the target by using a reference point. When this method is used, the leader determines the center of mass of the target and announces the number of mils or fingers from the reference point that will cause each gunner to lay on the center mass. The reference point may be within or adjacent to the target; however, it should be on line with the target for best effect. After the command to fire has been given, the leader maintains and controls the fire by subsequent fire commands.

Example of a fire command with the reference point OUTSIDE the target area:

FIRE MISSION

FRONT

REFERENCE: CHIMNEY, RIGHT FIVE, CENTER MASS

TARGET: TROOPS

TRAVERSE

AT MY COMMAND

FIRE

Example of a fire command with the reference point INSIDE the target area:

FIRE MISSION LEFT FRONT

REFERENCE: BURNED-OUT TANK. CENTER MASS

TARGET: TROOPS EXTENDING LEFT FIVE ZERO, RIGHT FIVE ZERO

TRAVERSE

AT MY COMMAND

FIRE

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