individual positions, but many positions will be too well
camouflaged to see. However, engaging the whole
target is imperative in order to inflict decisive casualties
and neutralize the fire of the enemy. Pinning down only
the obvious positions and allowing the remaining enemy
to fire unmolested does little good.
Under these circumstances, to apply the proper
fire distribution effectively, the unit leader must
first determine the locations of the flanks of the
Figure 3-68.--Traversing method by section. Both flanks are visible
enemy. The flanks may be obvious and easy to see.
to the gunners. Target is less than 50 mils in width.
They may be limited by natural features, such as
woods, a cliff, or a gully; or they may be
approximately located from the direction and
sound of the firing of the enemy.
After determining the flanks of the enemy, the
squad leader must designate the portion of the
target, whether in part or in its entirety, that he or
she wishes his or her squad to engage. This can best
be done by using tracers fired on either flank. The
squad then opens fire using the normal fire
Figure 3-69.--Traversing method by section. Targets 50 MilS or
more in width. (Each gun assigned a portion of the target.)
Machine Gun Fire
In fire control terminology, target width is
designated in mils. A MIL is a unit of angular
targets with fixed fire. The command for such fire is
measurement; there are 1,600 mils in 90 degrees. Gun
FIXED. Gun crews are trained to follow any
angles of train and elevation are measured in roils. A
movement or change in formation made by the enemy
target width of 50 mils has no relationship to the actual
after the initial burst of fire.
width of the target. This expression simply means that
When sections engage frontal targets that are less
moving the gun through a train (horizontal angle) of
than 50 mils wide and less than the length of the beaten
50 mils will cover the entire target front. Thus, a wide
zone in depth, the leader uses the normal traversing
target could have a target width of 50 mils at long
method. Each gun lays just outside its corresponding
range, while a narrow target would have the same
target flank and traverses across the target front to a
width at much shorter range.
point just outside the opposite target flank (fig. 3-68).
No fixed rule about the maximum width of a
The command for this type of fire is TRAVERSE.
target that a single gun may profitably engage can
When the target measures 50 mils or more in
be given. But preferably targets for light machine
width and is less than the length of the beaten zone in
guns should be less than 50 mils in width. The
depth, the leader assigns a portion of the target to one
section (two guns) is the machine gun fire unit.
gun and the remainder to the other. Each gun lays on
Whenever practical, both guns cover the same
the outside flank of its assigned portion and traverses
target area, although an occasion may arise to use
back and forth across the portion assigned. (See fig.
single guns profitably. Assigning both guns to a
3-69.) The command would be, for example: No. 1
single target area ensures continuous fire should
gun, RIGHT HALF; No. 2 gun, LEFT HALF;
either gun be put out of action, provides a greater
volume of fire on the target, and reduces the time
required to cover the target.
If the flanks of the target cannot be seen, the
Targets having a width or depth no greater than
leader should order each gun to traverse so many
the beaten zone of the weapon engaging them are
roils from a point between the flanks. The
considered POINT targets. You should engage point
designated number of roils should be large enough