Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 6 – Fighting Positions

Chapter 6

Fighting Positions

Whether your unit is in a defensive perimeter or on an ambush line, you must seek cover from fire, and concealment from observation. From the time you prepare and occupy a fighting position, you should continue to improve it. How far you get depends on how much time you have, regardless of whether it is a hasty position or a well-prepared one with overhead cover (OHC). This chapter discusses–

  • Cover and concealment.
  • Sectors and fields of fire.
  • Hasty and deliberate fighting positions.


6-1. To get this protection in the defense, build a fighting position to add to the natural cover afforded by the terrain (Figure 6-1). The cover of your fighting position will protect you from small arms fire and indirect fire fragments, and place a greater thickness of shielding material or earth between you and the blast wave of nuclear explosions.

6-2. Three different types of cover-overhead, frontal, and flank/rear cover-are used to make fighting positions. In addition, positions can be connected by tunnels and trenches. These allow Soldiers to move between positions for engagements or resupply, while remaining protected. (Chapter 5 discussed cover in general.)


6-3. Your completed position should have OHC, which enhances survivability by protecting you from indirect fire and fragmentation.


6-4. Your position needs frontal cover to protect you from small arms fire to the front. Frontal cover allows you to fire to the oblique, as well as to hide your muzzle flash.


6-5. When used with frontal and overhead cover, flank and rear cover protects you from direct enemy and friendly fire (Figure 6-2). Natural frontal cover such as rocks, trees, logs, and rubble is best, because it is hard for the enemy to detect. When natural cover is unavailable, use the dirt you remove to construct the fighting position. You can improve the effectiveness of dirt as a cover by putting it in sandbags. Fill them only three-quarters full.


6-6. If your position can be detected, it can be hit by enemy fire. Therefore, your position must be so well hidden that the enemy will have a hard time detecting it, even after he reaches hand-grenade range. (Chapter 5 discussed cover in general.)


6-7. Natural, undisturbed concealment is better than man-made concealment. While digging your position, try not to disturb the natural concealment around it. Put the unused dirt from the hole behind the position and camouflage it. Camouflage material that does not have to be replaced (rocks, logs, live bushes, and grass) is best. Avoid using so much camouflage that your position looks different from its surroundings. Natural, undisturbed concealment materials–

  • Are already prepared.
  • Seldom attract enemy attention.
  • Need no replacement.


6-8. Your position must be concealed from enemy aircraft as well as from ground troops. If the position is under a bush or tree, or in a building, it is less visible from above. Spread leaves, straw, or grass on the floor of the hole to keep freshly dug earth from contrasting with the ground around it. Man-made concealment must blend with its surroundings so that it cannot be detected, and must be replaced if it changes color or dries out.


5-20. When building a fighting position, camouflage it and the dirt taken from it. Camouflage the dirt used as frontal, flank, rear, and overhead cover (OHC). Also, camouflage the bottom of the hole to prevent detection from the air. If necessary, take excess dirt away from the position (to the rear).

  • Too much camouflage material may actually disclose a position. Get your camouflage material from a wide area. An area stripped of all or most of its vegetation may draw attention. Do not wait until the position is complete to camouflage it. Camouflage the position as you build.
  • Hide mirrors, food containers, and white underwear and towels. Do not remove your shirt in the open. Your skin may shine and be seen. Never use fires where there is a chance that the flame will be seen or the smoke will be smelled by the enemy. Also, cover up tracks and other signs of movement. When camouflage is complete, inspect the position from the enemy’s side. This should be done from about 38 feet (35 meters) forward of the position. Then check the camouflage periodically to ensure it is natural-looking and conceals the position. When the camouflage no longer works, change and improve it.


6-9. Although a fighting position should provide maximum protection for you and your equipment, the primary consideration is always given to sectors of fire and effective weapons employment. Weapons systems are sited where natural or existing positions are available, or where terrain will provide the most protection while maintaining the ability to engage the enemy. You should always consider how best to use available terrain, and how you can modify it to provide the best sectors of fire, while maximizing the capabilities of your weapon system.


6-10. A sector of fire is the area into which you must observe and fire. When your leader assigns you a fighting position, he should also assign you a primary and secondary sector of fire. The primary sector of fire is to the oblique of your position, and the secondary sector of fire is to the front.


6-11. To be able to see and fire into your sectors of fire, you might have to “clear a field” of vegetation and other obstructions. Fields of fire are within the range of your weapons. A field of fire to the oblique lets you hit the attackers from an unexpected angle. It also lets you support the positions next to you. When you fire to the oblique, your fire interlocks with that of other positions, creating a wall of fire that the enemy must pass through. When clearing a field of fire–

  • Avoid disclosing your position by careless or excessive clearing.
  • Leave a thin, natural screen of vegetation to hide your position.
  • In sparsely wooded areas, cut off lower branches of large, scattered trees.
  • Clear underbrush only where it blocks your view.
  • Remove cut brush, limbs, and weeds so the enemy will not spot them.
  • Cover cuts on trees and bushes forward of your position with mud, dirt, or snow.
  • Leave no trails as clues for the enemy.


6-12. The two types of fighting position are hasty and deliberate. Which you construct depends on time and equipment available, and the required level of protection. Fighting positions are designed and constructed to protect you and your weapon system. Table 6-1 shows the characteristics and planning considerations for fighting positions.

Table 6-1. Characteristics of individual fighting positions.


6-13. Hasty fighting positions, used when there is little time for preparation, should be behind whatever cover is available. However, the term hasty does not mean that there is no digging. If a natural hole or ditch is available, use it. This position should give frontal cover from enemy direct fire but allow firing to the front and the oblique. When there is little or no natural cover, hasty positions provide as much protection as possible. A shell crater, which is 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 1 meter) wide, offers immediate cover (except for overhead) and concealment. Digging a steep face on the side toward the enemy creates a hasty fighting position. A small crater position in a suitable location can later develop into a deliberate position. A skirmisher’s trench is a shallow position that provides a hasty prone fighting position. When you need immediate shelter from enemy fire, and there are no defilade firing positions available, lie prone or on your side, scrape the soil with an entrenching tool, and pile the soil in a low parapet between yourself and the enemy. In all but the hardest ground, you can use this technique to quickly form a shallow, body-length pit. Orient the trench so it is oblique to enemy fire. This keeps your silhouette low, and offers some protection from small-caliber fire.

6-14. The prone position is a further refinement of the skirmisher’s trench. It serves as a good firing position and provides you with better protection against the direct fire weapons than the crater position or the skirmisher’s trench. Hasty positions are further developed into deliberate positions that provide as much protection as possible. The hole should be about 18 inches (46 centimeters) deep and use the dirt from the hole to build cover around the edge of the position (Figure 6-3).


6-15. Deliberate fighting positions are modified hasty positions prepared during periods of relaxed enemy pressure. Your leader will assign the sectors of fire for your position’s weapon system before preparation begins. Small holes are dug for automatic rifle bipod legs, so the rifle is as close to ground level as possible. Continued improvements are made to strengthen the position during the period of occupation. Improvements include adding OHC, digging grenade sumps, adding trenches to adjacent positions, and maintaining camouflage.


6-16. Prepare a two-man position in four stages. Your leader must inspect the position at each stage before you may move to the next stage (Table 6-2).

Table 6-2. Construction of two-man fighting position.

Parapets Overhead Cover
Enable you to engage the enemy within your assigned sector of fire. Provide you with protection from direct fire. Construct parapets–Thickness: Minimum 39 in (1m, length of M16 rifle) Height: 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters, length of a bayonet) to the front, flank, and rear. Protect you from indirect fires. Your leaders will identify requirements for additional OHC based on threat capabilities. Thickness: Minimum 18 inches (46 cm) (length of open entrenching tool) Concealment: Use enough to make your position undetectable.

Note: If assigned an M4 rather than an M16-series weapon, add 7 inches (18 centimeters) to each dimension, on all positions that refer to the M16, or to two and a half M4 lengths.

Overhead Cover

6-17. Overhead cover may be built up or down.

Built-Up Overhead Cover

6-18. Built-up OHC has cover that is built up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) to maximize protection/cover of the fighting position.

Stage 1

6-19. Establish sectors and decide whether to build OHC up or down. Your leaders must consider the factors of mission, enemy, terrain, troops and equipment, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC) in order to make a decision on the most appropriate fighting position to construct. For example due to more open terrain your leader may decide to use built-down OHC (Figure 6-4 and Figure 6-5):

  1. Check fields of fire from the prone position.
  2. Assign sector of fire (primary and secondary).
  3. Emplace sector stakes (right and left) to define your sectors of fire. Sector stakes prevent accidental firing into friendly positions. Items such as tent poles, metal pickets, wooden stakes, tree branches, or sandbags will all make good sector stakes. The sector stakes must be sturdy and stick out of the ground at least 18 inches (46 centimeters); this will prevent your weapon from being pointed out of your sector.
  4. Emplace aiming and limiting stakes to help you fire into dangerous approaches at night and at other times when visibility is poor. Forked tree limbs about 12 inches (30 centimeters) long make good stakes. Put one stake (possibly sandbags) near the edge of the hole to rest the stock of your rifle on. Then put another stake forward of the rear (first) stake/sandbag toward each dangerous approach. The forward stakes are used to hold the rifle barrel.
  5. Emplace grazing fire logs or sandbags to achieve grazing fire 1 meter above ground level.
  6. Decide whether to build OHC up or down, based on potential enemy observation of position.
  7. Scoop out elbow holes to keep your elbows from moving around when you fire.
  8. Trace position outline.

9. Clear primary and secondary fields of fire.

Note: Keep in mind that the widths of all the fighting positions are only an approximate distance. This is due to the individual Soldier’s equipment such as the IBA and the modular lightweight load-carrying equipment.

Stage 2

6-20. Place supports for OHC stringers and construct parapet retaining walls (Figure 6-6 and Figure 6-7):

  1. Emplace OHC supports to front and rear of position.
  2. Ensure you have at least 12 inches (30 centimeters). which is about 1-helmet length distance from the edge of the hole to the beginning of the supports needed for the OHC.
  3. If you plan to use logs or cut timber, secure them in place with strong stakes from 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 centimeters) in diameter and 18 inches (46 centimeters) long. Short U-shaped pickets will work.
  4. Dig in about half the height.
  • a.
    Front retaining wall–At least 10 inches (25 centimeters) high. (two filled sandbags) deep, and two M16s long.
  • b.
    Rear retaining wall–At least 10 inches (25 centimeters) high, and one M16 long.
  • c.
    Flank retaining walls–At least 10 inches (25 centimeters) high, and one M16 long.

5. Start digging hole; use soil to fill sandbags for walls.

Stage 3

6-21. Dig position and place stringers for OHC (Figure 6-8, Figure 6-9, and Figure 6-10):

  1. Ensure maximum depth is armpit deep (if soil conditions permit).
  2. Use spoil from hole to fill parapets in the order of front, flanks, and rear.
  3. Dig walls vertically.
  4. If site soil properties cause unstable soil conditions, construct revetments (Figure 6-11) and consider sloping walls.

  1. For sloped walls, first dig a vertical hole, and then slope walls at 1::4 ratio (move 12 inches [30 centimeters] horizontally for each 4 feet [1.22 meters] vertically).
  2. Dig two grenade sumps in the floor (one on each end). If the enemy throws a grenade into the hole, kick or throw it into one of the sumps. The sump will absorb most of the blast. The rest of the blast will be directed straight up and out of the hole. Dig the grenade sumps as wide as the entrenching tool blade; at least as deep as an entrenching tool and as long as the position floor is wide (Figure 6-12).
  3. Dig a storage compartment in the bottom of the back wall; the size of the compartment depends on the amount of equipment and ammunition to be stored (Figure 6-13).
  4. Install revetments to prevent wall collapse/cave-in:

  • a. Required in unstable soil conditions.
  • b. Use plywood or sheeting material and pickets to revet walls.
  • c. Tie back pickets and posts.
  • d. Emplace OHC stringers:
  • e. Use 2x4s, 4x4s, or pickets (“U” facing down).
  • f. Make OHC stringers standard length, which is 8 feet (2.4 meters). This is long enough to allow sufficient length in case walls slope.
  • g. Use “L” for stringer length and “H” for stringer spacing.

9. Remove the second layer of sandbags in the front and rear retaining walls to make room for the stringers. Place the same sandbags on top of the stringers once you have the stringers properly positioned.

Stage 4

6-22. Install OHC and camouflage (Figure 6-14 and Figure 6-15):

  1. Install overhead cover
  2. Use plywood, sheeting mats as a dustproof layer (could be boxes, plastic panel, or interlocked U-shaped pickets). Standard dustproof layer is 4’x4′ sheets of ¾-inch plywood centered over dug position.
  3. Nail plywood dustproof layer to stringers.
  4. Use at least 18 inches (46 centimeters) of sand-filled sandbags for overhead burst protection (four layers). At a minimum, these sandbags must cover an area that extends to the sandbags used for the front and rear retaining walls.
  5. Use plastic or a poncho for waterproofing layer.
  6. Fill center cavity with soil from dug hold and surrounding soil.
  7. Use surrounding topsoil and camouflage screen systems.
  8. Use soil from hole to fill sandbags, OHC cavity, and blend in with surroundings.

Built-Down Overhead Cover

6-23. This should not exceed 12 inches (30 centimeters). This lowers the profile of the fighting position, which aids in avoiding detection. Unlike a built-up OHC, a built-down OHC has the following traits (Table 6-3, Figure 6-16, and Figure 6-17):

Table 6-3. Specifications for built-down overhead cover.

Maximum 12 inches (30 centimeters) High

• You can build parapets up to 30 centimeters. Taper the overhead portions and parapets above the ground surface to conform to the natural lay of the ground.

Minimum Three M16s Long

• This gives you adequate fighting space between the end walls of the fighting position and the overhead cover. This takes 2.5 hours longer to dig in normal soil conditions.

Firing Platform for Elbows

• You must construct a firing platform in the natural terrain upon which to rest your elbows. The firing platform will allow the use of the natural ground surface as a grazing fire platform.


6-24. Sometimes you may have to build and occupy a one-man fighting position, for example, an ammunition bearer in a machine gun team. Except for its size, a one-man position is built the same way as a two-man fighting position. The hole of a one-man position is only large enough for you and your equipment. It does not have the security of a two-person position; therefore, it must allow a Soldier to shoot to the front or oblique from behind frontal cover.


6-25. Construct fighting positions for machine guns so the gun fires to the front or oblique. However, the primary sector of fire is usually oblique so the gun can fire across your unit is front. Two Soldiers (gunner and assistant gunner) are required to Soldier the weapon system. Therefore, the hole is shaped so both the gunner and assistant gunner can get to the gun and fire it from either side of the frontal protection. The gun’s height is reduced by digging the tripod platform down as much as possible. However, the platform is dug to keep the gun traversable across the entire sector of fire. The tripod is used on the side with the primary sector of fire, and the bipod legs are used on the side with the secondary sector. When changing from primary to secondary sectors, the machine gun is moved but the tripod stays in place. With a three-Soldier crew for a machine gun, the (ammunition bearer) digs a one-Soldier fighting position to the flank. From this position, the Soldier can see and shoot to the front and oblique. The ammunition bearer’s position is connected to the gun position by a crawl trench so the bearer can transport ammunition or replace one of the gunners.

6-26. When a machine gun has only one sector of fire, dig only half of the position. With a three-man crew, the third Soldier (the ammunition bearer) digs a one-man fighting position. A one-man position is built the same as a two-man fighting position. The hole of a one-man position is only large enough for you and your equipment. Usually, his position is on the same side of the machine gun as its FPL or PDF. From that position, he can observe and fire into the machine gun’s secondary sector and, at the same time, see the gunner and assistant gunner. The ammunition bearer’s position is connected to the machine gun position by a crawl trench so that he can bring ammunition to the gun or replace the gunner or the assistant gunner.

Stage 1

6-27. Establish sectors (primary and secondary) of fire, and then outline position (Figure 6-18):

  1. Check fields of fire from prone.
  2. Assign sector of fire (primary and secondary) and final protective line (FPL) or principal direction of fire (PDF).
  3. Emplace aiming stakes.
  4. Decide whether to build OHC up or down, based on potential enemy observation of position.
  5. Trace position outline to include location of two distinct firing platforms.
  6. Mark position of the tripod legs where the gun can be laid on the FPL or PDF.
  7. Clear primary and secondary fields of fire.

Note: The FPL is a line on which the gun fires grazing fire across the unit is front. Grazing fire is fired 1 meter above the ground. When an FPL is not assigned, a PDF is assigned. A PDF is a direction toward which the gun must be pointed when not firing at targets in other parts of its sector.

Stage 2

6-28. Dig firing platforms and emplace supports for OHC stringers, and then construct the parapet retaining walls:

  1. Emplace OHC supports to front and rear of position.
  2. Center OHC in position, and place supports as you did for Stage 2, two-man fighting position.
  3. Construct the same as you did for Stage 2, two-man fighting position.
  4. Dig firing platforms 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) deep and then position machine gun to cover primary sector of fire.
  5. Use soil to fill sandbags for walls.

Stage 3

6-29. Dig position and build parapets, and then place stringers for the OHC (Figure 6-19):

  1. Dig the position to a maximum armpit depth around the firing platform.
  2. Use soil from hole to fill parapets in order of front, flanks, and rear.
  3. Dig grenade sumps and slope floor toward them.
  4. Install revetment if needed.
  5. Follow same steps as for two-man fighting position.
  6. Place stringers for OHC.
  7. Follow same steps established for two-man fighting position.
  8. Make stringers at least 8 feet (2.44 meters) long.

Stage 4

6-30. Install overhead cover (OHC) and camouflage (Figure 6-20):

  1. For a machine gun position, build the OHC the same as you would for a two-man fighting position.
  2. Use surrounding topsoil and camouflage screen systems.
  3. Ensure no enemy observation within 115 feet (35 meters) of position.
  4. Use soil from hole to fill sandbags and OHC cavity, or to spread around and blend position in with surrounding ground.


6-31. The following paragraphs discuss close combat missile fighting positions for the AT4 and Javelin:


6-32. The AT4 is fired from the fighting positions previously described. However, backblast may cause friendly casualties of Soldiers in the position’s backblast area. You should ensure that any walls, parapets, large trees, or other objects to the rear will not deflect the backblast. When the AT4 is fired from a two-Soldier position, you must ensure the backblast area is clear. The front edge of a fighting position is a good elbow rest to help you steady the weapon and gain accuracy. Stability is better if your body is leaning against the position’s front or side wall.


6-33. The standard Javelin fighting position has cover to protect you from direct and indirect fires (Figure 6-21). The position is prepared the same as the two-man fighting position with two additional steps. First, the back wall of the position is extended and sloped rearward, which serves as storage area. Secondly, the front and side parapets are extended twice the length as the dimensions of the two-man fighting position with the javelin’s primary and secondary seated firing platforms added to both sides.

Note: When a Javelin is fired, the muzzle end extends 6 inches (15 centimeters) beyond the front of the position, and the rear launcher extends out over the rear of the position. As the missile leaves the launcher, stabilizing fins unfold. You must keep the weapon at least 6 inches (15 centimeters) above the ground when firing to leave room for the fins. OHC that would allow firing from beneath it is usually built if the backblast area is clear.


6-34. A range card, a rough plan of the terrain around a weapon position, is a sketch of the assigned sector that a direct fire weapon system is intended to cover. Range cards are prepared immediately upon arrival in a position, regardless of the length of stay, and updated as necessary. Two copies of the range card are prepared. One copy stays at your position and the other is sent to the platoon headquarters.


6-35. A range card is comprised of the following.

Sectors of Fire–A sector of fire is an area to be covered by fire that is assigned to an individual, a weapon, or a unit. You are normally assigned a primary and secondary sector of fire. Fire into your secondary sector of fire only if your primary sector has no targets, or if ordered to do so. Your gun’s primary sector includes a FPL and a PDF.

Principal Direction of Fire –A PDF is a direction of fire assigned priority to cover an area that has good fields of fire or has a likely dismounted avenue of approach. The gun is positioned to fire directly down this approach rather than across the platoon’s front. It also provides mutual support to an adjacent unit. Machine guns are sighted using the PDF if an FPL has not been assigned. If a PDF is assigned and other targets are not being engaged, machine guns remain on the PDF.

Final Protective Line–An FPL is a predetermined line along which grazing fire is placed to stop an enemy assault. Where terrain allows, your leader assigns an FPL to your weapon. An FPL becomes the machine gun’s part of the unit is final protective fires. The FPL will be assigned to you only if your leader determines there is a good distance of grazing fire. If there is, the FPL will then dictate the location of the primary sector. The FPL will become the primary sector limit (right or left) closest to friendly troops. When not firing at other targets, you will lay your gun on the FPL or PDF.

Dead Space–Dead space is an area that direct fire weapons cannot hit. The area behind houses and hills, within orchards or defilades for example, is dead space. The extent of grazing fire and dead space may be determined in two ways. In the preferred method, the machine gun is adjusted for elevation and direction. Your assistant gunner walks along the FPL while you aim through the sights. In places where his waist (midsection) falls below your point of aim, dead space exists. Arm-and-hand signals must be used to control the Soldier who is walking and to obtain an accurate account of the dead space and its location. Another method is to observe the flight of tracer ammunition from a position behind and to the flank of the weapon.


6-36. To prepare this range card–

  1. Orient the card so both the primary and secondary sectors of fire (if assigned) can fit on it.
  2. Draw a rough sketch of the terrain to the front of your position. Include any prominent natural and man-made features that could be likely targets.
  3. Draw your position at the bottom of the sketch. Do not put in the weapon symbol at this time.
  4. Fill in the marginal data to include–
  5. Gun number (or squad).
  1. Unit (only platoon and company) and date.
  2. Magnetic north arrow.
  3. Use the lensatic compass to determine magnetic north; and sketch in the magnetic north arrow on the card with its base starting at the top of the marginal data section.
  4. Determine the location of your gun position in relation to a prominent terrain feature, such as a hilltop, road junction, or building. If no feature exists, place the eight-digit map coordinates of your position near the point where you determined your gun position to be. If there is a prominent terrain feature within 1,094 yards (1,000 meters) of the gun, use that feature. Do not sketch in the gun symbol at this time.
  5. Using your compass, determine the azimuth in degrees from the terrain feature to the gun position. (Compute the back azimuth from the gun to the feature by adding or subtracting 180 degrees.)
  6. Determine the distance between the gun and the feature by pacing or plotting the distance on a map.
  7. Sketch in the terrain feature on the card in the lower left or right hand corner (whichever is closest to its actual direction on the ground) and identify it.
  8. Connect the sketch of the position and the terrain feature with a barbed line from the feature to the gun.
  9. Write in the distance in meters (above the barbed line).
  10. Write in the azimuth in degrees from the feature to the gun (below the barbed line).

Final Protective Fires

6-37. To add an FPL to your range card (Figure 6-22):

  1. Sketch in the limits of the primary sector of fire as assigned by your leader.
  2. Sketch in the FPL on your sector limit as assigned.
  3. Determine dead space on the FPL by having your AG walk the FPL. Watch him walk down the line and mark spaces that cannot be grazed.
  4. Sketch dead space by showing a break in the symbol for an FPL, and write in the range to the beginning and end of the dead space.
  5. Label all targets in your primary sector in order of priority. The FPL is number one.

Primary Direction of Fire

6-38. To prepare your range card when assigned a PDF instead of an FPL (Figure 6-23):

  1. Sketch in the limits of the primary sector of fire as assigned by your leader (sector should not exceed 875 mils, the maximum traverse of the tripod-mounted machine gun).
  2. Sketch in the symbol for an automatic weapon oriented on the most dangerous target within your sector (as designated by your leader). The PDF will be target number one in your sector. All other targets will be numbered in priority.
  3. Sketch in your secondary sector of fire (as assigned) and label targets within the secondary sector with the range in meters from your gun to each target. Use the bipod when it is necessary to fire into your secondary sector. The secondary sector is drawn using a broken line. Sketch in aiming stakes, if used.

Data Section

6-39. The data section (Figure 6-24) of the range card lists the data necessary to engage targets identified in the sketch. The sketch does not have to be to scale, but the data must be accurate. The data section of the card can be placed on the reverse side or below the sketch if there is room. (Figure 6-25 shows an example completed data section.) Draw a data section block (if you do not have a printed card) with the following items:


  1. Center the traversing hand wheel.
  2. Lay the gun for direction.
  3. When assigned an FPL, lock the traversing slide on the extreme left or right of the bar, depending on which side of your primary sector the FPL is on.
  4. Align the barrel on the FPL by moving the tripod legs. Do not enter a direction in the data section for the FPL.
  5. When assigned a PDF, align your gun on the primary sector by traversing the slide to one side and then move the tripod to align the barrel on your sector limit. Align the PDF by traversing the slide until your gun is aimed at the center of the target.
  6. Fix the tripod legs in place by digging in or sandbagging them. Once you emplace the tripod to fire into the primary sector, leave it there–do not move it.

Read Direction to Target

  1. Lay your gun on the center of the target.
  2. Read the direction directly off the traversing bar at the left edge of the traversing bar slide.
  3. Enter the reading under the direction column of your range card data section.
  4. Determine the left or right reading based on the direction of the barrel, just the opposite of the slide.
  5. Lay your gun on the base of the target by rotating the elevating handwheel.
  6. Read the number, including a plus or minus sign, except for “0” above the first visible line on the elevating scale. The sketch reads “–50.”
  7. Read the number on the elevating handwheel that is in line with the indicator. The sketch reads “3.”
  8. Enter this reading under the ELEVATION column of your range card data section. Separate the two numbers with a solidus, also known as a slash (“/”). Always enter the reading from the upper elevating bar first. The sketch reads “–50/3.”
  9. Enter the range to each target under the appropriate column in the data section.
  10. Enter your ammunition type under the appropriate column in the data section.
  11. Describe each target under the appropriate column in the data section.

Complete Remarks Section

  1. Enter the width and depth of linear targets in mils. The “-4” means that if you depress the barrel 4 mils, the strike of the rounds will go down to ground level along the FPL.
  2. When entering the width of the target, be sure to give the width in mils, and express it as two values. For example, the illustration shows that target number three has a width of 15 mils. The second value, L7, means that once the gun is laid on your target, traversing 7 mils to the LEFT will lay the gun on the left edge of the target.
  3. Enter aiming stake if one is used for the target.
  4. No data for the secondary sector will be determined since your gun will be fired in the bipod role.


6-40. The purpose of this card is to show a sketch of the terrain a weapon has been assigned to cover by fire. By using a range card, you can quickly and accurately determine the information needed to engage targets in your assigned sector (Figure 6-26 for a completed range card). Before you prepare a range card, your leader will show you where to position your weapon so you can best cover your assigned sector of fire. He will then, again, point out the terrain you are to cover. He will do this by assigning you a sector of fire or by assigning left or right limits indicated by either terrain features or azimuths. If necessary, he may also assign you more than one sector of fire and will designate the sectors as primary and secondary.

Fighting Positions

6-41. TRPs are natural or man-made features within your sector that you can use to quickly locate targets (Figure 6-27). TRPs are used mainly to control direct fire weapons. However, TRPs should appear on the company target list.

Maximum Engagement Line

6-42. The maximum engagement line (MEL) is a line beyond which you cannot engage a target. This line may be closer than the maximum engagement range of your weapon. Both the terrain and the maximum engagement range of your weapon will determine the path of the MEL.


6-43. Draw the weapon symbol in the center of the small circle.

Sector Limits

6-44. Draw two lines from the position of the weapons system extending left and right to show the limits of the sector. The area between the left and right limits depicts your sector of fire or area of responsibility. Number the left limit as No. 1, number the right limit No. 2, and place a circle around each number. Record the azimuth and distance of each limit in the data section. Determine the value of each circle by finding a terrain feature farthest from the position and within the weapon system’s capability. Determine the distance to the terrain feature. Round off the distance to the next even hundredth, if necessary. Determine the maximum number of circles that will divide evenly into the distance. The result is the value of each circle. Draw the terrain feature on the appropriate circle on the range card. Clearly mark the increment for each circle across the area where DATA SECTION is written. For example, suppose you use a hilltop at 2,565 yards (2,345 meters). Round the distance to 2,625 yards (2,400 meters) and divide by

8. The result is 300, so now each circle has a value of 300 meters.

Reference Points

Draw all reference points (RP) and TRPs in the sector. Mark each with a circled number beginning with 1. Draw hilltop as RP1, a road junction as RP2, and road junction RP3. Sometimes, a TRP and RP are the same point such as in the previous example. When this happens, mark the TRP with the first designated number in the upper right quadrant, and mark the RP in the lower left quadrant of the cross. This occurs when a TRP is used for target acquisition and range determination.

Road Junction–For a road junction, first determine the range to the junction, then draw the junction, and then draw the connecting roads from the road junction.

Dead Space–Show dead space as an irregular circle with diagonal lines inside. Any object that prohibits observation or coverage with direct fire will have the circle and diagonal lines extend out to the farthest MEL. If you can engage the area beyond the dead space, then close the circle.

Maximum Engagement Line

6-45. Draw the MEL at the maximum effective engagement range for the weapon, but draw it around (inside) the near edge of any dead spaces (Figure 6-28). Do not draw the MEL through dead spaces.

Weapon Reference Point

6-46. Show the WRP as a line with a series of arrows, extending from a known terrain feature, and pointing in the direction of the weapon system symbol (Figure 6-29). Number this feature last. The WRP location is given a six-digit grid. When there is no terrain feature to be designated as the WRP, show the weapon’s location as an eight-digit grid coordinate in the Remarks block of the range card. Complete the data section as follows:

Position Identification–List primary, alternate, or supplementary positions. Alternate and supplemental positions must be clearly identified.

Date–Show date and time the range card was completed. Range cards, like fighting positions, are constantly updated. The date and time are vital in determining current data.

Weapon–The weapon block indicates weapon type.

Each Circle Equals ____ Meters–Write in the distance, in meters, between circles.

NO (Number)–Start with L and R limits, then list TRPs and RPs in numerical order.

Direction/Deflection–The direction is listed in degrees. The deflection is listed in mils.

Elevation–The elevation is listed in mils.

Range–This is the distance, in meters, from weapon system position to L and R limits and TRPs and RPs.

Ammunition–List types of ammunition used.

Description–List the name of the object (for example, farmhouse, wood line, or hilltop).

Remarks–Enter the WRP data. As a minimum, WRP data describes the WRP and gives its six-digit or eight digit grid coordinate, magnetic azimuth, and distance to the position. Complete the marginal information at the top of the card.

Unit Description–Enter unit description such as squad, platoon, or company. Never indicate a unit higher than company.

Magnetic North–Orient the range card with the terrain, and draw the direction of the magnetic North arrow.

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