To correctly exercise fire control, the gunner must be able to:
• Open fire at the instant desired.
• Adjust fire on the target.
• Regulate the rate of fire.
• Shift fire from one target to another.
Failure to exercise correct fire control results in danger to friendly troops, loss of surprise, premature disclosure of position, misuse of fire on unimportant targets, loss of time in securing adjustments, and waste of ammunition. The main factors to consider for effective fire control are as follows:
a. Sector of Fire. This is an area of terrain that an assigned unit covers. It has specific, designated boundaries. Sectors of fire vary in size but are generally limited areas that can be engaged without movement of the tripod.
b. Rate of Fire. Surprise and shock effect may be obtained by firing all MK 19s at the same time, using the rapid rate for at least the first few bursts. Engage fleeing targets as soon as possible and with all available fire. Use the rapid rate for the initial delivery of fire to make adjustment of fire easier. Also, whenever the rate of fire is not stated, use the rapid rate. In all cases, unless otherwise ordered, fire the first few bursts at the rapid rate; thereafter, use the prescribed rate.
c. Adjustment of Fire. Adjustments may be made before or after firing.
(1) Initial Adjustment. Set the sights on the range to the target, lay on the target, fire an aimed burst, and observe the impact. When the initial burst is correct, continue to fire (manipulating if necessary) until the target is covered. When the initial burst is not correct, determine from its impact the amount of traverse and search required to place the next burst on the target. Manipulate the gun with the T&E handwheels, making large range corrections by resetting the sights and re-laying on the target.
(2) Subsequent Correction and Adjustment. Observation and adjustment of fire is the most important element of fire control. It is continuous throughout the action. The gunner is trained to observe and adjust fire without command and to check the lay of the gun frequently. The gunner is also trained to foresee the action of the enemy after he opens fire, and to shift fire to cover any changes in the formation or location of the target. If the gunner fails to do these things, the leader promptly corrects him by announcing or signaling subsequent fire commands. This responsibility to adjust fire continues up through the chain of command. When subsequent fire commands are issued, the gunner makes the required adjustments. When the gun is fired from the tripod mount, subsequent commands are given as adjustments to the elevation or deflection at which the last burst was fired. The adjustments are given in mils and are announced or signaled as ADD, DROP, RIGHT, or LEFT so many mils. Changes in deflection and elevation such as RIGHT 2 or ADD 5 are made with the T&E handwheels.
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