For Training Tuesday, we are continuing our discussion on fire control. Specifically, we will be addressing the various fire control methods. The reference for this discussion is FM 3-22.68, dated July 2006. The difference between these fire control measures and the ones we have been discussed previously is these are fire control measures used at the gun-team level generally. The other measures are used both at the gun team level, and at higher levels.
METHODS OF FIRE CONTROL The noise and confusion of battle may limit the use of some of these methods. Therefore, the leader must select a method or combination of methods to accomplish the mission.
Oral: The oral fire control method can be effective, but sometimes the leader may be too far away from the gunner, or the noise of the battle may make it impossible for the gunner to hear. The primary means of the oral fire control method is the issuance of a fire command.
Arm-and-Hand Signals: Arm-and-hand signals are an effective fire control method when the gunner can see the leader. All gunners must know the standard arm-and-hand signals. The leader gets the gunner’s attention and points to the target. When the gunner returns the READY signal, the leader commands, “FIRE.”
Prearranged Signals: Prearranged signals are either visual or sound signals such as casualty-producing devices (rifle or Claymore), pyrotechnics, whistle blasts, or tracers. These signals should be included in SOPs. If the leader wants to shift fire at a certain time, the leader gives a prearranged signal such as obscurants or pyrotechnics. Upon seeing the signal, the gunner shifts fire to a prearranged point.
Personal Contact: In many situations, the leader must issue orders directly to individual Soldiers. Personal contact is used more than other methods by Infantry leaders. The leader must use maximum cover and concealment to keep from disclosing the position or himself.
When using the range card method of fire control, the leader must ensure all range cards are current and accurate. Once this is accomplished, the leader may designate certain targets for certain weapons with the use of limiting stakes or with fire commands. The leader also should designate no-fire zones or restricted fire areas to others. The vital factor in this method of fire control is gunners must be well-disciplined and pay attention to detail.