Target Engagement

The method chosen depends on terrain, target presentation, type of target, and tactical situation.

a. Distribution of Fire. To be effective, fire must be distributed over an entire target. Improper distribution results in gaps between beaten zones and allows some of the enemy to escape or to use guns without effective opposition.

(1) Factors Affecting Distribution of Fire. No fixed rule can be given as to the widest target that a single MK 19 may effectively engage. Ideally, the target should be no more than 100 mils wide. The traversing screw on the T&E mechanism limits the gun's traverse unless the traversing slide lock lever is unlocked. Wider targets require more traversing time, which prevents the gunner from placing a continuous volume of fire on the whole target. The engagement of a wide target by a single MK 19 requires excessive ammunition.

(2) Fire Unit. This consists of a pair of MK 19s. If possible, at least two guns should be assigned to the same mission, although sometimes a single MK 19 may be effective. The assignment of a pair to a single mission ensures continuous fire in case either gun is put out of action. Two guns can provide a great volume of fire on the target, and can reduce the time required to cover it.

(3) Manipulation of the Tripod-mounted MK 19. Traversing fire is moved in 5-mil increments. The MK 19s are fired after each manipulation to ensure the beaten zones overlap. Searching fire is often used on level or evenly sloping ground. When the ground is irregular, however, the amount of search to apply between bursts in order to ensure overlap of the beaten zones is determined by observation.

b. Engagement of Point Target. Any target no larger than the beaten zone is a point target, and is engaged by fixed fire. The command is FIXED. MK 19 crews are trained to follow any movement or change in formation made by the enemy after the initial burst of fire. An example of a fire command for a point target is as follows:

FIRE MISSION.

FRONT.

MACHINE GUN.

SIX HUNDRED.

FIXED.

RAPID.

FIRE.

c. Engagement of Linear Target. There are several ways to engage a linear target. The method used is chosen based on the number of MK 19s available and whether or not the entire target is visible to the gunner.

(1) Linear Engagement with One MK 19. A single MK 19 engages the target the same as either one of a pair. The MK 19 is laid just outside either flank (or on a reference point within the target area) and the gunner adjusts fire on the flank (or point). The gunner traverses back and forth across the entire area until told to cease firing. The leader may designate where he wants initial fire. For example, if he directs a single gunner to engage a target with width he may announce:

FIRE MISSION.

FRONT.

TROOPS EXTENDING FROM DEAD TREE RIGHT 20 MILS.

FIVE HUNDRED.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after the gunners announce "Up").

(2) Linear Engagement with Two MK 19s. A linear target may be engaged two ways when a pair of MK 19s is used, depending on the width of the target in mils.

(a) Target 100 mils or Less in Width. The normal traversing method is used in this case. Each MK 19 delivers the initial burst of fire on its corresponding flank of the target. Fire is adjusted on that point. Each MK 19 is traversed across the target to the other flank, covering the entire target, until the gunners are told to cease firing (Figure 5-11). The command for this type of fire is TRAVERSE. An example of a fire command used for this situation follows:

FIRE MISSION.

RIGHT FRONT.

TROOPS, EXTENDING FROM DEAD TREE RIGHT TO CLEARING.

SEVEN FIVE ZERO.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY SIGNAL.

FIRE (given after the gunner announces "Up").

Figure 5-11. Traversing method, pair of MK 19s, target 100 mils or less in width, both flanks visible.

Figure 5-11. Traversing method, pair of MK 19s, target 100 mils or less in width, both flanks visible.

(b) Target More than 100 mils in Width. In this case, the leader assigns part of the target to each MK 19 (Figure 5-12). One part may be smaller than the other to ensure it receives a heavier concentration of fire. Each gun fires an initial burst on its respective flank, and covers its assigned part of the target as described in subparagraph (a). An example of a fire command follows:

FIRE MISSION.

RIGHT FRONT.

TROOPS, EXTENDING FROM DEAD TREE RIGHT TO CLEARING, ROW.

EIGHT HUNDRED.

NUMBER 1, RIGHT ONE-THIRD; NUMBER 2, LEFT TWO-THIRDS.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after the gunners announce "Up").

Figure 5-12. Traversing method, pair of MK 19s, target more than 100 mils in width.

Figure 5-12. Traversing method, pair of MK 19s, target more than 100 mils in width.

(3) Linear Engagement with Four MK 19s. Four guns may be needed to concentrate a heavy volume of fire into a wide target area. Methods used are similar to the ones described for a pair of MK 19s. The width of the target in mils determines which type of linear engagement is used.

(a) Target 100 to 200 mils in width:

• Each pair of MK 19s engages the whole target (Figure 5-13).

Figure 5-13. Four MK 19s, target 100 to 200 mils in width.

Figure 5-13. Four MK 19s, target 100 to 200 mils in width.

• Each pair of MK 19s engages half the target (Figure 5-14).

Figure 5-14. Two pairs of MK 19s engaging each half of a target 100 to 200

mils in width.

Figure 5-14. Two pairs of MK 19s engaging each half of a target 100 to 200

mils in width.

(b) Target Greater than 200 mils in Width. The leader may assign part of the target to each gun in this case. The target may be divided in half for each fire unit or in four parts, one for each MK 19 (Figure 5-15).

Figure 5-15. Four MK 19s, each pair engaging part of target with extreme width.

Figure 5-15. Four MK 19s, each pair engaging part of target with extreme width.

(4) Linear Engagement with the Flanks of Target Not Identifiable. The target may be located by firing tracers from an observer's gun, laying MK 19s, or using a reference point. The reference point may be in or near the target area.

(a) When a reference point is outside the target area, the leader may direct the gunner to it by announcing the interval (right or left, long or short) between the reference point and the target. With the MK 19 on a tripod mount, the gunner measures the interval right or left between the reference point and the flank of the target by laying on the reference point, with the sights set at the range to the target, and then shifting the MK 19 the designated number of mils. The interval long or short may be measured in mils using the computed search method, or it may be estimated in meters. When the gunners lay each MK 19 on its respective flank, they adjust fire and engage the target.

(b) When a reference point is in the target area, the leader may identify the flanks of an obscure target as extending so many mils from the reference point. In this case, gunners use the swinging traverse. With the swinging traverse each MK 19 is laid on the announced reference point (initial aiming point), adjusted for fire, and traversed the given distance to its corresponding flank and back, firing after each manipulation (Figure 5-16). Each gunner continues traversing back and forth across the entire target until told to cease-fire. Each gunner stops firing while traversing past the reference point. Examples of fire commands that may be used are as follows:

• The leader designates the target by firing one gun:

FIRE MISSION.

LEFT FLANK.

WATCH MY BURSTS (OR TRACERS).

(Lays and fires MK 19 at left flank) LEFT FLANK.

(Lays and fires MK 19 at right flank) RIGHT FLANK.

TROOPS.

NINE HUNDRED.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

• The leader designates the target by using a reference point outside the target area (MK 19s on tripod mounts):

FIRE MISSION.

RIGHT FRONT.

REFERENCE: DEAD TREE.

RIGHT SIX ZERO MILS; DROP THREE FIVE ZERO METERS (or drop so many mils, if using computed search).

TARGET: TROOPS EXTENDING RIGHT FIVE ZERO MILS.

SIX HUNDRED.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after the gunners announce "Up").

Figure 5-16. Two MK 19s, deep enfilade target, ends not visible.

Figure 5-16. Two MK 19s, deep enfilade target, ends not visible.

• The leader designates the target by using a reference point within the target area (MK 19s on tripod mounts):

FIRE MISSION.

FRONT.

REFERENCE: LONE TREE.

TARGET: TROOPS EXTENDING RIGHT TWO ZERO MILS, LEFT, THREE ZERO MILS.

SEVEN HUNDRED.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after the gunners announce "Up).

(5) Linear Engagement with Swinging Traverse. As previously described, a single gun uses this method against massed or rapidly moving targets at short ranges. The leader's fire command for a swinging traverse can be:

FIRE MISSION.

LEFT FRONT.

TRUCKS.

SWINGING TRAVERSE.

FIRE.

d. Engagement of Deep Targets Using Searching Fire. There are several ways for leaders to use two guns to engage a stationary deep target, depending on whether the ends of the target are visible to the gunner. If the target location is unknown, the computed search method may be used to engage the target. A deep target that is stationary or that has limited mobility may be engaged with searching fire.

(1) Target Ends Visible to Gunner. The Number 1 gun is adjusted first on the near end and the Number 2 gun on the far end. Each gunner searches to the opposite end and back again repeatedly, until told to cease firing (Figure 5-17). Target depth is considered in determining sight settings. The command is SEARCH.

Figure 5-17. Two MK 19s, deep enfilade target, ends visible.

(a) Target Less than 200 meters Deep. The leader announces the range to the midpoint of the target for both MK 19s, using the length of the beaten zones to ensure the initial bursts impact on the target. An example of a fire command for this situation follows:

FIRE MISSION.

FRONT.

HALTED COLUMN.

SEVEN HUNDRED (midrange).

SEARCH.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

(b) Target Depth Greater than 200 meters. The leader announces the range to the near end for the Number 1 gun, and to the far end for the Number 2 gun. An example of a fire command for this situation follows:

FIRE MISSION.

LEFT FRONT.

TROOPS ALONG RIGHT EDGE OF WOODS.

NUMBER 1, SIX HUNDRED; NUMBER 2. NINE HUNDRED.

SEARCH.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

(2) Target Ends Not Visible to Gunner. The target may be located by having an observer fire tracers at the target, by laying the MK 19s, or by using a reference point. The reference point must be visible to the gunner and in the vicinity of the target. When a selected reference point is outside the target area, the leader may direct the gunner to the target and announce the interval to the right or left (long or short) between the reference point and the target. If the MK 19 is on a tripod, the gunner lays on the reference point with the sights set at the range to the midpoint of the target; he measures the interval and shifts the appropriate number of mils. Using the computed search method, the gunner may measure the long or short interval in mils, or he may estimate the interval in meters. When the gunners lay their MK 19s on the right or left flank (near or far end), respectively, they adjust fire and engage the target. When the gunners lay their MK 19s on the announced release point (initial aiming point), they set their sights at the range to the reference point, and adjust fire. The gunner on the Number 1 gun searches down the designated number of meters (or mils), firing after each manipulation until the gun is set on the near end of the target. The gunner on the Number 2 gun searches up the designated number of meters (or mils), firing after each manipulation, until the gun is set on the far end of the target. When each gun has reached the near or far end, respectively, the gunners reverse the direction and both search up and down between the two limits, covering the entire target, until told to cease firing.

e. Engagement of Deep Targets Using Computed Search Method. When the depth of a target must be described in mils (search), the leader may compute the depth from the reference point using the computed search method. The leader determines the ranges to the near and far ends of the target and finds the required AE (angles of elevation) in mils for both ranges (Appendix F, Firing Table). The leader then computes the difference between the two. This is the amount of search required when the MK 19 and target are at the same elevation on level ground. If the fire is plunging, the amount of search should be increased. For example, when using M430 ammunition, a deep target has been sighted (the ends of which are not visible to the gunners). A reference point is also visible on the target at a range of 1,100 meters, the depth of the target is estimated at 200 meters, and the reference point appears to be midway between the ends of the target:

200 meters = 100 meters from the reference point to each end of target

1,100 + 100 = 1,200 meters to far end of target 1,100 - 100 = 1,000 meters to near end of target AE 1,200 meters = 175 mils -AE 1,000 meters = 132 mils depth of target 43 mils

43 mils = 21.5 mils from release point to each end of target

To search in 5-mil increments, the gunners cover the target by searching 25 mils long and 25 mils short of the reference point, or a total of 50 mils. The leader describes the target to the gunner as TARGET; TROOPS EXTENDING LONG 25 MILS; SHORT 25 MILS. The following are examples of fire commands:

• Reference point in target area, ends of target not visible to the gunner.

FIRE MISSION.

RIGHT FRONT.

REFERENCE: LONE BUSH.

TARGET: TROOPS EXTENDING SHORT ONE HUNDRED YARDS, LONG TWO HUNDRED YARDS.

SIX HUNDRED (range to reference point).

SEARCH.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up"). • Reference point outside target area, gun on tripod.

FIRE MISSION.

LEFT FRONT.

REFERENCE: DEAD TREE.

RIGHT THREE ZERO MILS; ADD TWO HUNDRED METERS (or add so many mils, using computed search).

TARGET: TROOPS EXTENDING OVER TWO HUNDRED METERS (or long so many mils, using computed search).

NINE HUNDRED.

SEARCH.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up"). f. Engagement of Moving Targets. Due to the slow flight of the MK 19 round, it is not practical to engage moving targets using the track-and-lead methods of engaging moving targets. In order to effectively engage moving targets with the MK 19, use the trapping method of engaging targets. The gunner chooses an aiming point forward of the target and on the target path, and presses the trigger before the target comes into the sights. After starting to fire, the gunner moves the MK 19 slowly toward the target. The target moves into the impact area, and is "trapped." The gunner must begin firing before the target is in the sights or in the impact area (Figure 5-18).

(1) Engagement of Deep Target Moving Away from the MK 19 Position. If the target i s moving rapidly away, both gunners lay their MK 19s on the far end of the target with the range set to that point, and search up.

Figure 5-18. Target-trapping method.

(2) Engagement of Deep Target Moving toward the MK19 Position. If the target is moving rapidly toward the MK 19 position:

(a) One MK 19. The gunner lays the MK 19, adjusts on the near end of the target with a range to the target's midpoint, and searches up and down the entire target. When a reference point within the target area is announced, the gunner lays on it with the range to that point. The gunner adjusts fire and searches up and down the entire target, beginning with the near end, until told to cease firing.

(b) Two MK 19s. The gunners lay both guns on the near end of the target, set the sights on the range to that point, and search down. The manipulation element of the fire command for a rapidly approaching or receding target is BOTH WEAPONS; FAR (NEAR) END; SEARCH.

(c) Four MK 19s. Each pair of gunners engages the target as if they were acting alone. If one pair must be switched to a different target, the other pair continues to cover the original target. A deep target should never be subdivided since the elevating mechanism on the M3 tripod allows enough search to cover any deep target within the maximum effective range for direct lay (1,500 meters).

g. Engagement of Linear Target with Depth Using Traversing and Searching Fire. The method used depends on the number of MK 19s available and whether the flanks of the target are visible to the gunner.

(1) One MK 19, Flanks Visible. The gunner lays initially on the near flank of the target with range set to the midpoint, adjusts fire on the near flank, and traverses and searches back and forth, covering the entire target, until told to cease-fire.

(2) Two MK 19s, Flanks Visible. Gunners use the same method as for engagement of a deep linear target: they must search to keep the center of impact on the target. The leader determines the range for the initial fire command the same as for a deep target (Figure 5-19).

Figure 5-19. Two MK 19s, linear target with depth.

(3) Four MK 19s, Flanks Visible. Gunners use the same method for two pairs as is used for two guns. If one pair must be switched to another target, the other continues to cover the original target.

(4) Flanks Invisible. The leader may designate the target using a reference point. However, a reference point in the target area is not used as an initial aiming pointbecause of the difficulty in describing an oblique target.

(5) Fire Commands. The leader may use the following fire commands for linear targets with depth.

• When the target is not wide enough to require subdivision, is 200 meters or less in depth, and is to be engaged by either one or two MK 19s:

FIRE MISSION. RIGHT FRONT.

TROOPS EXTENDING FROM BLACK STUMP RIGHT TO LONE PINE. SEVEN HUNDRED (midrange). TRAVERSE AND SEARCH. RAPID.

AT MY SIGNAL.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

• When the target is 100 mils wide or less, is 200 meters deep or less, and is to be engaged by four MK 19s:

FIRE UNIT, FIRE MISSION. FRONT.

TROOPS TO THE RIGHT OF RED BANK. SEVEN HUNDRED (midrange). TRAVERSE AND SEARCH. RAPID.

AT MY SIGNAL.

FIRE (given after gunners announce, "Up").

• When the target is wide enough to require subdividing, is more than 200 meters in depth, and is to be engaged by either two or four MK 19s:

FIRE MISSION. FRONT.

TROOPS EXTENDING FROM TRUCK, RIGHT TO BRIDGE.

NUMBER 1 (and 3 if four MK 19s are engaging the target), SEVEN HUNDRED.

NUMBER 2 (and 4 if four MK 19s are engaging the target), ONE THOUSAND.

TRAVERSE AND SEARCH.

RAPID.

AT MY SIGNAL.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

h. Engagement of Target Using Combined Sights. Leaders may choose this expedient way to engage a linear target with depth. They may lengthen the beaten zone of a two- to four-gun fire unit by having gunners set the sights differently on each gun. The leader gives one gunner a setting 150 meters less than the estimated range, and the other a setting 50 meters more than the estimated range. When four guns are used, one pair of gunners sets sights 150 meters less than the range, the other 150 meters more than the range. This technique sacrifices precision for speed, but may be necessary for fast-moving or fleeing targets. A sample fire command for the use of combined sights follows:

FIRE MISSION.

RIGHT FRONT.

TROOPS EXTENDING FROM CROSSROADS TO HOUSE.

1,300 METERS (midrange).

COMBINED SIGHTS; NUMBER 1, 1,350 METERS; NUMBER 2,1,250 METERS.

TRAVERSE.

RAPID.

FIRE (given after gunners announce "Up").

i. Engagement of Area Target. This applies to a target that cannot be covered by either traversing fire, searching fire, or traversing and searching fire. Area target engagement requires that the leader mass fires from four to six guns. Examples of area targets include:

• Large troop or mechanized formations.

• Targets that must be suppressed (if the exact positions are unknown or are not visible).

• Large kill zones or engagement areas for which predetermined fires have been planned.

j. Engagement of Target Using Massed Fires. Leaders can mass fires in both offensive and defensive operations, depending on the time available to plan and conduct the engagement.

(1) Defensive Operations. There are two types of defensive operations.

• Defense, Time Not a Factor. Massing fires into an engagement area has advantages over other types of area fire engagements. Once TRPs are designated, gunners may fire upon them to register or rehearse the MK 19s. After the target has been subdivided and TRPs registered, the gunners traverse, search up, traverse back, and search down through their assigned parts of the target to assure full coverage of the target (Figure 5-20). The same method applies regardless of how many MK 19s are used. If four or six guns are used, the leader must subdivide the target and assign more TRPs than for a pair of MK 19s. An example of a fire command for this situation follows:

FIRE MISSION.

(MK 19s are laid on respective TRPs)

AREA: ENEMY COMPANY ENTERING EA GOLD.

(Range omitted MK 19s on TRPs.)

TRAVERSE.

SEARCH UP 50 MILS.

RAPID.

AT MY COMMAND.

FIRE (given after the enemy is completely within the engagement area and the gunners announce "Up").

• Defense, Time a Factor. Leaders may not have the luxury of registering their MK 19s on TRPs before chance contacts due to time factors or the elements of surprise. However, the lethal effect of massed MK 19 fire on an area target should not be overlooked. Units should develop and practice SOPs that enable them to engage large-area targets on quick notice. For example, the leader may give each MK 19 a section or quadrant for all quick area engagements. He may assign the upper left side of the target to the Number 1 gun, the upper right to Number 2, and so on.

Figure 5-20. Use of massed fires, time not a factor.

(2) Offensive Operations. Massing fires into an area target can also be useful for offensive operations. During a movement to contact or an attack where time is a factor, massed fires may be used to suppress a suspected or actual enemy position, allowing the unit to flank or bypass the enemy. Although fast target acquisition and volume of fire are primary goals, the leader should subdivide the target for control, and adjust fires for greatest effect. Massed fires are especially useful in support of an attack where time is not a factor, which may require the use of overhead fire.

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Responses

  • zac
    Is the m242 more lethal than Mk19?
    8 years ago

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