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Fire Direction





A company that cannot start firing or stop firing, that cannot fire
faster or slower, that cannot distribute equally its fire over an
opposing target, that cannot switch its fire from one place to another
and make bull's-eyes, would be as unsuccessful in battle to-day as
Harvard's football team would be, without practice, in its final game
with Yale. The team work in no department of athletics is as necessary
or vital as that of a military force, the teamwork of a military
machine. The first is a sport, a limited time being involved. The second
is a question of life and death to the nation.

It requires a nice and cool judgment, under actual conditions of war, to
point out and distribute properly the target to the different groups, to
find the exact range, and give all these instructions (directions) that
will be necessary to produce an effective fire upon the enemy. Who is
responsible for giving these instructions (fire direction), and exactly
what are all the conditions that must be fulfilled in order that each
individual on the firing line may know exactly where and how to fire?

The captain (company commander) is responsible for all. In the military
world there is no such thing as shifting responsibilities. The commander
assumes full responsibility, whether things go right or wrong. He must
handle his job through his subordinates (platoon leaders). 1st, He
points out the target to his platoon leaders. 2d, He assigns a part of
the target to each platoon, in such a manner that the entire target
(objective) will be covered (fired upon). 3d, He determines and gives
the men the distance to the objective (range). 4th, He indicates the
kind of fire to be employed (that is, whether each man will fire as he
pleases, fire five shots and then stop, et cetera). 5th, He indicates
when the company is to commence firing. 6th, Thereafter the captain
observes what effect his company's fire is producing, and corrects
flagrant (material) errors. He prevents the exhaustion of his ammunition
and distributes such extra ammunition as may be received from the rear.





Next: Fire Control

Previous: Fire Superiority



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