Techniques of Fire During Limited Visibility

LIMITATIONS AND TERMS

This chapter describes machinegun firing techniques during limited visibility. LIMITED VISIBILITY refers to periods of darkness and to daylight when visibility is poor due to smoke, fog, rain, or snow.

During limited visibility, some of the daylight techniques for engaging targets cannot be used.

Information on the use of night vision devices with the M60 machinegun during limited visibility is given in TM 11-5855-203-10.

SECTOR OF FIRE

A sector of fire is an area to be covered by fire that is assigned to an individual, a weapon, or a unit Machineguns are normally assigned two sectors of fire: a primary sector and a secondary sector.

FINAL PROTECTIVE FIRES

Final protective fires (FPF) form an immediately available prearranged barrier of fire designed to stop enemy movement across defensive lines or areas. These fires consist of the fires of machineguns, mortars, and artillery» and include the machinegun final protective line (FPL) and mortar and artillery indirect fires.

FINAL PROTECTIVE LINE

An FPL is a predetermined line along which grazing fire is placed to stop an enemy assault. If an FPL is assigned the machinegun is laid on it except when other targets are being engaged. An FPL becomes the machinegun7s part of the unit's final protective fires. An FPL has the following characteristics:

# It is fixed in direction and elevation; however, a few mils of search must be employed to prevent the enemy from crawling tinder the FPL and to compensate for irregularities in the terrain or the sinking of the tripod rear legs into soft soil during firing.

• Fire can be delivered under all conditions of visibility.

• When two machineguns are employed on the flanks of a platoon, the FPL of each gun SHOULD correspond to the inner limit of its primary sector of fire.

PRINCIPAL DIRECTION OF FIRE

A principal direction of fire (PDF) is a priority direction of fire assigned to cover an area which provides good fields of fire or has a likely avenue of approach. It is also used to provide mutual support to an adjacent unit.

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been assigned. If a PDF is assigned and other targets are not being engaged, guns are laid on the PDF. A PDF has the following characteristics:

• It is used only if an FPL is not assigned; it then becomes the machinegun's part of the unit's final protective fires.

• When the target has width, direction is determined by laying on one edge of the target area and noting the amount of traverse necessary to cover the entire target.

• The gunner is responsible for the entire wedge-shaped area from the muzzle of the gun to the target, but elevation may be fixed for a priority portion of the target.

ENGAGEMENT OF VISIBLE

TARGETS

During limited visibility, it is hard to detect and identify targets. The leader's ability to control the fire of his guns is also reduced, so he may instruct the gunners to fire without command when targets become visible- Gunners should engage targets only when they can identify them, unless ordered to do otherwise. For example, if one gunner detects a target and engages it, the other gunners will observe the area fired upon and add their fire only if they can identify the target or if ordered to fire at it.

Tracer ammunition helps a gunner engage visible targets during limited visibility, and it should be used if possible. Gunners must be trained to fire low at first and adjust upward when visibility is limited. This overcomes the tendency to fire high under those conditions.

W h£7i tWii !)r Tr^nre jrunss »jv i-u**tjus same linear targets, linear targets with depth, or deep targets, no attempt is made to divide these targets as is done when visibility is good- When visibility is poor, the center and flanks of these t argets may not be clearly defined; therefore, each gunner observes his tracers and covers what he believes to be the entire target.

LINEAR TARGETS

The gunner lays on what appears to be the center of mass of the target. With the tripod-mounted gun, he engages the target using swinging traverse fire and keeps his beaten zone on the base of the target. With the bipod-mounted gun. the gunner traverses rapidly back and forth across the target by selecting successive aiming points.

LINEAR TARGETS WITH DEPTH

The gunner lays on the center of mass of the target. He then traverses and searches the target, covering the side closest to his position first. With the tripod-mounted gun, the gunner selects successive aiming points, covering what appears to be the entire target by observing his tracers.

ENGAGING A VISIBLE LINEAR TARGET DURING LIMITED VISIBILITY

ENGAGING A

VISIBLE LINEAR TARGET WITH

LIMITED VISIBILITY

DEPTH DURING

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