Tag Archives: Paratrooper

Fire Commands

We are going to address something that is common for machine guns and AT weapons to need to know; fire commands. The reference for this is FM 3-22.68 Dated July 2006. A fire command is a command given to deliver effective fire on a target quickly and without confusion. There are six elements to a fire command: the Alert that the guns are going to fire, a cardinal direction to the target, along with an estimated range, a description of the target, the Method of fire, and the command to fire. We will discuss each of these elements separately. The alert lets the gun teams know which guns will be engaging the threat: Gun 1, Gun 2, or both. The direction can be done one of three ways: by speaking, pointing (either with a hand, or with a laser), with tracer fire, or with reference points. The description gives the gunners a visualization of what the target is, if they cannot see it clearly (or at all, in the case of defilade fires). The range is an estimation by the weapons squad leader. A technique that can be used is to take the laser range finders that are a part

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More Zeroing With Boresight

We are going to continue our discussion on the Laser Boresight. Specifically, we are going to talk about how to zero the enabler with a zeroed LBS. The reference for this is TM 9-5860-226-13&P dated August 2007. To learn how to zero the Laser Boresight, and why it is important to do this, reference the TTP Thursday post from last week. Now that we have established a good solid zero for the boresight, the next task we will conduct will be zeroing the weapon. To do that, we start with as solid a position as possible. There are three people involved in this process: the Weapon man making corrections to the optic, the Target man who has secured the appropriate offset to the wall, and the Paratrooper whose weapon is being zeroed. The Paratrooper assumes a very stable position. The prone supported with a sand sock if possible is ideal. Bench rests or a gun vise are an excellent method of securing the weapon as well. The Paratrooper acquires their sight picture with their optic, and as soon as their dot is on the dot at the center of the target, they call out ‘mark.’ The Target man looks at

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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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Calling the Shot

We are continuing our discussion on the functional element of control. Specifically we will be discussing ‘calling the shot.’ The reference for this is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. Calling the shot, is when the Paratrooper notes where the sights or reticle is when the weapon discharges. This is essential so that the Paratrooper can perform a shot-by-shot analysis of their groups. This expression is usually given in a clock direction and inches from their desired point of aim. If the Paratrooper is on target, then the call is ‘center-hold.’ If the Paratrooper is honest with themselves at the beginning, there will be very few center calls. This also means that the Paratrooper is responsible for every call, both bad and good. This reinforces in the Paratroopers’ mind that they are the primary safety of the weapon, and responsible for knowing their target, what’s in front of, around, and behind it. When the shot is called, a Paratrooper can diagnose bad habits. For example, if the paratroopers keeps jerking their trigger, and they are right handed, they will notice the sights will be right of the target when the trigger breaks. Calling the shot carries over from the

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Functional Element Of Weapon Control

We are continuing our discussion on the functional element of control. Specifically, we will be addressing workspace management. The reference for this study is TC 3-22.9 dated January 2017. TC 3-22.9 defines the workspace as a spherical area, approximately 12-18 inches in diameter centered on the Paratrooper’s chin and about 12 inches in front of it. In this space is where the majority of weapons manipulations take place. The picture below illustrates what this zone looks like. The reason we use the workspace is so that the Paratrooper can maintain their eyes oriented towards the threat and still be able to conduct critical weapons tasks that require hand/eye coordination. In so doing this, the Paratrooper creates efficiency in their movements, getting the weapon fully operational in the shortest amount of time. Keep in mind, the location of the workspace will vary depending upon the firing position being used. The only way to determine what is efficient for the Paratrooper is for them to actually get into the positions and attempt to manipulate the weapon through the dry-fire drills. Many different techniques can be employed to make the workspace more efficient. An example is the placement of the buttstock, some prefer

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Conflicting SDZ’s

We’re continuing our discussion on Surface Danger Areas (SDZ's). Specifically, we will be discussing how they conflict with each other. I will be using Macridge impact area here on Fort Bragg, NC for our discussion. Delta company, 2-505 PIR occupied range 44 on the eastern side of the impact area. When they briefed range control during the range conference the week prior, they said the were only firing the M3 MAAWS. The day of the range, they decide to do some familiarization training with the M2A1. 50 caliber Machine gun. Meanwhile, Charlie company 2-504 PIR is over on range 66E (highlighted in blue on the left side of the picture). They are using the range as a known-distance range, and have personnel in the pits operating the manual target lifters while they are zeroing the M150 RCO at 100 yards. Distance X on the M33 ball ammunition being fired from range 44 is 6500 meters. This means that soldiers on range 66E are in jeopardy of being hit by projectiles from range 44. This is why it is essential for units to only conduct training they have briefed to range operations. While you may not see it right away, there

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How To Zero The Laser Boresight To A Weapon

We're going to do a talk through on how to zero the laser boresight to a weapon. If you have any questions on what this piece of kit is, and why it is important, check our TTP post from before. The Laser Boresight can be used with regular 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50 caliber weapons, sniper weapons are excluded due to the nature of the rifling of their barrels. This system is unique compared to bullet-type lasers, in that it is zeroed to the individual weapon's barrel. This means that you get closer to the true line of bore for that weapon. To zero it, you will first select and screw in the appropriate mandrel by hand. Do not tool tighten the mandrel, as it will crack the nut loose from its polymer case, and then you have an LBS paperweight. You will then place it in the barrel of the weapon until the mandrel is snug against the crown of the barrel. Then you will ensure the weapon itself is stable. A rock-solid bench-rest type of position is preferred for the weapon, so that the soldier need not hold it at this point. Once that is complete, you will begin

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SDZ’s Continued

We are continuing our discussion on Surface Danger Zones or SDZ's. This is important to know, because to get certain range concepts approved by your range officer at range operations, you will have to show that you have done the due diligence and can execute the training safely. Reference our discussion from last week if you have any questions on the SDZ terms are, and where they can be found in DA PAM 385-63, dated April 2014. So for those of you trying to do this at home, if you were trying to put together a reflexive fire range for an M4 firing M855A1 on Fort Bragg, you would reference table 4-8 of DA PAM 385-63 (found on adobe page 48). You can find it in the 'current publications' folder in the learn more tab at the top of this page. Table 4-8 tells me.that Distance X (also known as the gun target line) is 3,521meters at the elevation for Fort Bragg ( a little above sea level). If you are looking at the table, you'll notice that as the elevation increases, distance X increases. At 7,000 feet elevation (easily achievable in Afghanistan) distance X has added on 800 meters

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Integrated Weapons Training Strategy (Continued)

We are continuing our discussion on how to resource training utilizing the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy. The reference for this post is TC 3-20.0 dated July 2015. at T-4, the instructors need to be certified, the prerequisite training for them needs to be conducted (e.g. Location Of Miss And Hits (LOMAH)/ Tower operations certification). If dummy rounds are being used for Table III, it needs to be drawn from the Training Aid SC at this time. At T-3 Rehearsals for the conduct of the range will be held, these should consist of a Terrain walk of the ranges being used, and key leaders talking through their points. For some ranges on Fort Bragg, this needs to be conducted no later than T-4, as the Range Manager needs to see the concept of operations and verify that it can be done on the facility. An example of a range like this on Fort Bragg would be Range 62. At T-2, the administrative support requirements should be finalized. The Deliberate Risk Assessment Worksheet ( the DRAW is the replacement of the Risk Assessment, the form is: DD 2977) should be updated and signed by the appropriate approval authority. The Intermediate Planning Review

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Machine Gun Classes Of Fire

We're going to continue our discussion of Machine Gun Theory. Specifically, we will discuss what the classes of fire are, and discuss them each in order. The old mnemonic device had the classes of fire ‘good to go’: FM 3-22.68, dated July 2006 lists the classes of fire as with respect to the Ground, Target, and Gun. The classes of fire with respect to the ground are two-fold: grazing and plunging. Grazing fire is achieved with the machine gun when the center of the cone of fire does not rise more than one meter above the ground. This also means that there is danger space generally between the muzzle and the threat. This class of fire is primarily used as a final protective line (FPL) in the defense. The maximum distance for light and medium machine guns (M249/M240) is 600 meters. Plunging fire occurs when there is little to no danger space between the muzzle of the machine gun and the threat. This means that the trajectory of the projectiles from the machine gun rises more than 1.8 meters (average height of a standing soldier) from the ground, allowing for potential movement of enemy or friendly forces between the gun

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