Tag Archives: Machine Guns

Fire Control for Machine Guns

We are continuing our discussion on Fire control for machine guns. Specifically, we are addressing what fire control is, and what methods are available to the Paratrooper. The reference for this discussion is ATP 3-21.8 dated April 2016. Fire control includes all the actions the Paratrooper does in planning, preparing, and applying fire on a target. Generally, it is a team or squad leader who does this, but based off the nature of the Airborne, a paratrooper needs to have an understanding of fire control so as to make it more effective. Fire control is organized by whether it is terrain-based or threat-based. The team or squad leader designates targets, identifies their midpoint, ends, or flanks, and lets the gun teams know what rates of fire and classes of fire to use. The Gunner (or team) then engages on the Squad or team leaders’ signal, adjusts rates of fire, shifts, and lifts fires, all based off fire control measures. The noise and confusion of battle can limit the effectiveness of some of these methods, therefore, the Paratrooper needs to use multiple methods to ensure the signals are sent at the appropriate times. the methods are illustrated above. For today, we

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Machine Gun: Ammunition Planning

We are continuing our discussion on machine gun theory, specifically we are addressing an oft overlooked thing for support by fire: Ammunition planning. I know most of us thought we were joining the military and we wouldn't have to do math anymore, but we were wrong. Ammunition planning is in doctrine in the ATP 3-21.8 dated April of 2016. The first thing you must know is what the rates of fire are for your specific weapons system. Pictures one and two illustrate the sustained, rapid, and cyclic rates of fire for our machine guns. Once that is done, as a part of the mission planning process, the weapons squad leader needs to identify key events, allocate ammunition to each event based off SOP, some units want 15 seconds of rapid rate to establish the support by fire or when shifting fires. Others want 30. The Weapons Squad Leader takes that into account and gets the total figures needed per gun. The Weapons Squad Leader then analyzes this amount and adjusts if necessary. The main planning point with this is knowing your rates of fire. Sustained should be approximately nine rounds per burst with a four to five second pause in between. That

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