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Instl'tlct!)rs Reading this Docun1cnt ,
stTl3JECT: Jmployment of Marching Fire.
Table of Contents
(1) Staff Memorandum Report Proper
(2) 'fab A: Description, Marching Fire :Bm,plo1ft\ent
. (3) Tab:8: Technique of Marching Fire and Assault Fire, for
Training and Instruction.
MarvinA. Krltdberg
Lt. Col. In!.
HQ, 2nd Command Class,
Fort Leavenworth. Kansas
6 June 1946
File No.
SU!JEOT: _layment ofMarching Fire.
TO: Director, Second Command Class
1. Problem: Should small infantry unit tactical training and doctrine be 80
moditiedthat marching fireia made a part of the tactical trainingof t:he in-
fant17 soldier and i.included. in the accepted tactical ooncepts of fire and maneuver?
2. DlsCt18S1on: Marching fire isanattack method whereby the atta-ck:ing unit, be
it squad, platoon or ,coJrpaI11', walks forward to closewith the eneJDT, maintaining a
continuous volume of fire from allavalla'ble weapons during tha. t ad_nee. The last
30 to 50 yarde of marching fire develop into assault fire, whioh 18 deliveredata
run. weapons tired. from the hip as described inpar. 155, JIM 7-10. Marching fire i.
employed to continue neutr,alization of ene., small arms fireafter our own support-
ing fires have lifted, or to keep attacking un!te erect and moving when cover 1.
not available. Further description of marching fire inaction and an elaboration
of its technique are in!abs Aand B.
Varching fire is not new. The Germans emplo7ed itearly inWorld Wa.r II. It Jm1st
not be confused. however, with the Japanese "J3anzai" attack wherein there was mass
marching, but no appreciable ftre volume. United States infantry successfUlly e2;Per-
1mented with marching :tire first in 8ic1l7. then in Italy.General Patton &ave both
impetus and publicity-to 1ts employment when he prescrt bed marching fire for infan-
tr7uni ts of his Third ArrJJ.7 before and during the campaign in Earope.
Reaction of ground commander. to this new. to them, concept oftactiC8pro-
gressed from in!tlalamazement, d.oubt, and disbelief to later extr, and
vehement inei*8tenee that itwas the only way. This earlY' distrustTand laterun-
qualifiedacce,ptanceof fire failed to consider the basic strengths and
weaknesses ot this method which must be analyzed to establish marching
fire a8 an acceptable part of tactical doctrine.
Limiting factors or weaknesses of marching fire include:
(1) The atta.cker met be 8uperior in 8tre:ogth and firepower to the defending
whose positions shouldnot be well fortified or supported b7 appreciable
concentrations ot artilleryand already registered in. Enemy fire must be
such that 1t can be Bucce8stull,. comlatted by the attacker. Marching fire cannot
be used against artillery0000 yardS, w:lJ-
(2) Troops using marching fire must be well trained in its employment or they
will e1ther forget to fire. thereby exposing themselves to enemy fire. or they
will fire haphazardly and recklessl1, thereby ez:posillg themselves to their own fire.
Marching fire, used. has certainundeniable advantages:
(1) The attacker. keeping the initiativewhich he must have, advances allhis
attacking'Un!ta withinassault range of the enemy with minimum waite of time.
(2) The increased volume of fire. sinceau weapons of tho attackun! t.keep
firing. bas a demoralizing effect on the enemy who 1s disturbed and disconcerted
by riecocheting "shorts" and twanging "overs" as much as he is by' accu.rate "hi ts".
The morale effect on the defender 1s depressing.
(3) Attack units, by keeping erect and moving inthe fa.ce of _.11arm. fire.
whichi. relativelr harmless, avoidartilleryand mortar firewhich are 80 quickly
brought on motionles reeu.mbent infantrY'. Thereby is forestalled one ot the most
overworked and mythical conditions reported in the lastwar: If'fhe pinned down -
unable to a.dvance" condition.
(4) The morale effect on the attacker 1. excellent. There isan emotional
exhileration i,n movement Just ,BS there i. an emotional depression in b1tting the
ground and atayiDg there.
APpraisal indicates that under conditions favorable to itsu8s,.rohing fire
enables the attacker to closewith the enenv faster and with fewer casualties than
by the 1 reand movement methods preser:1bed inpar. 153. iii 7-10.
2. Recommendations: It18 recommended that marching fire be'accepted. a8 a
variant method of attack: for small infantry unite, and that 1M 7-10. I'M 23-6. FM
23-15, and other pertinent field anuals be revised to incorporate tactical and
technical instruction in this method of
APPENDI eES: TAJ3 A: Description, Marching Fire Employment.
TAll :B:
Suggested Training Technique. . . Q 1/ .. "I.I
Marvin A. In!.
It should be understood that marching fire 1s not a contravention
of fireand movement. It.!!fireand movement; 1t simply makes the
base of tirea moviM base.
Marching fire should take full advan ageofallavailable cover and
conc_lment. as rock., trees, hedges. walls, hillocks. tanks etc.
Troops moving forward inmarching fire _at be tully deployed as
skirmishers, withat least five lards between men and preferably ten
yards. It net not legenerate into massed waves of infantrymen such
as the Germans employed inWorld War I, or like the Japanese ":Banzai"
attacks inWorld War II.
It i8 nonsensical and inexcusable to move a platoon over exposed ,
.op.terrain, covered bT hostileautomatic fire, when covered approaches
areavailable. It is justas inexcusable not to use a_tIable supporting
fire of heavy machine guns, mortars, and artillery, where such fires are
necessarT to -cover infantrymen moving to close with the enemy. Itmust
never be assumed thatmrobing fire needs only to be elD.Rloyed inany
attack for the defense to crumble as the wa,lls of Jerico".
Marching tire can and generaJly should be 1nt tlatedpromptlywhen
the terrainno longer affords cON'er:e4 approaches to the ene.'s position
and when it1s reasonablY' believed s fire is inferior to our
The distance over which be employed maY' vary- from
100 to 1000 1'ards. Un! ts employed'must be deployed as aJd;rmshers along
a front sufficient unto the zone a8s1gned. Innorml frontages theusual
pIatoon torationwould be two squads up on the line, one following.
Rifles. :BAR'., light machine guns, carbines, sub:ma.chine guns, and
even 1:azookas eanbe employed inmarching fire. ComDBnders ofunits
employing marching fire must maintain con8tant, active control of
uni ts from positions immediate11 behind their men. The assault which
ea.lminates the arching fireattack, should begin withingrenade distance,
(about 3) Tards) of the eneDl7 post tion.
1. PURPOSE: The purpose is to teach recruits the technique of marcbing
fireandassault fire for the M1 Rifleand the :Browning AutoIQ9.tic
Rifle. (:BAR)
2. BmOlE: lM 23-15, pare. 63.67. 1.84; D 23-6, Par. 138; JM '-10,
par 153, 155. (no other references yet available)
3. J'ACILITIllS: Bange With four firing stations, eachwide enough for
one infantry squad (12:men) andpossessing sufficient depth for train-
ing missions described below.
4. J!J(.UIPMENT: Forty (40) JWttSt forty-e1ght (48) Par magazines.
boards, chalk. cleaningand preserving mterials, one rifle (M 1) per:an.
5.AMMDNITIOI: (suggested) per recMt
a. .lO. caliber, ball
'b. .30 caliber. blank
a.Four officers. one, eachat Stations It II, III, IV.
b.Five non-commissioned officers, one eaCh at Stations, I, II, III,
IV, and one extra for coordination.
7.ORGANIZATION: Bange should be organized into four stations.
(1) Station It JAR hip assault fire, from 8tat1on&r,y position.
TwelVa rounds ball per recruit ; one officer and one non-
commissioned instructor
(2)Station II, M1, Biflehip and fire, from statio!18.17
position. Sixteen (16) rounds Mllper recruit. One officerand
one non-commissioned officer instructors.
(3)Station III, Ml, Rifle, marching fire. Eight (8) rounds blaHs
per recruit. One officer and one non-commissioned officer,
(4) Station IV. M1 and BAR. marching fire. Sixteen (16) rounds
1:811 fireper It-l R1ne. and twelva (12) round. ball per J3A.R.
One officerand onenon-commissioned officer instructors.
8. PROOEDURF4aPlatoons will be organized insquad firing orders (lS:;men)
Orders not assigned to stations will, when awa1ting their turn, be
given concurrent training in comlat formations. field cleaning of rifle
and BA:R, etc.
b .AmmunlttoJl'] will be issuedat each firingpoint, extra clips to be
carried in the riflebelt.
c. Non-commissioned officer squad leader will march his squad, in
co1'un ottwo'S, to 8uccess!ve stations at conclusion of respective exer-
d. All firing stations will be kept filleduntilall orders have com-
pleted firing at all s"atla1s.
e. Ooncealed targets will be scoredafter each order.
f.BalOaets will be fixed on M1 Rifles for all firing.
g.Uniforms will include comlatie:Jc sit. ck I
a. Maxi1llU1ll of six squads (two rifleplatoons) will report to station
for preliminary orientation.
b. Orientation will include a conference and delOOnstration of hip
assault fire for M1 Rifleand'BAR, and of shoulder marching fire for
M1 Ritle.
r (1) Conference _ marching fire 1s firedelivered by a un!. t to
a88ist itsadvance to the as.ultofan eneIq' position.
Riflemen. with myonets fixed. BAR men, sometimes bazooka men
and light _chine gunners, taking fulladvantage ofavailable
covert as tree, hillocks, walls, hedges, tanks, etc.* walk to-
ward the eneDl1' and fireas they advance. atareas known or be-
lieved to be occupied by ell8!D1'. Marching fire1s\\4 to pre-
vent or neutralize enezqy fire by' 8ubmerging him ina properly
distri buted volume of fireafter our supporting fire has lifted
orwhen terrain doesnt t affordany cover whichwill enable the
attacker to get close to the enemy without exposing himself.
Marching rifle fire is delivered from the shoulder with the
soldier ata halt, aiming his sho:l18 at suspected enemy locations
to his immecU.ate front. Inorder to keep the flow of fire con-
tinuous, all even numbered men in the squad continue walking for-
ward when' allodd numbered men halt to f1t'e. When even numbered
men halt to fire, the odd numbered men continue to walk forward.
Use of thel'buddy system" for adJoi.ning men in the squad will
facilitate this kind of fireand movement.
(2) :BAR men are scattered through the squads. firing from post tions
you will see demonstrated in Just a fw minutes.
(3) Assault fire, iship fire, used in the final stage of marching
firewhen you are close enough\,to the'en8JD1 post 'bion to over-
rt11'1 i t- inone last, quiek 'lByonet charge. Du.ringthe charge
TOU move'at a run, firing from- the hip as you go. and ifyou
need to, some ofyou will be throwing grenades.
(4) Lt. (Sgt.) will show you how the M1 Rifie '.a carriedin
When contact with the enemris not imm1D:mt.70u will
uaual1;r carry' your rifleslung - like this. t is easier
to carry itso. When lOU expect to run into enemy any' minute,
you carry the rifleat the ready or "Low Port" posl tion. As you
see, that means that the rifleis held in front of the bod7, the
right hand grasping the at the most comfortable point for-
ward of the balance, Which, for most men, 18 just in front of the
lower lBnd. .When marching fire isused, the riflei8 brought
to the .houlder and isfired from the standingposition. In
. assault fire, the position of the rifle1s about the same as in
the short prdbayonet position. Whmyou'tire the rifle from the
hip, remains jammed against the hip. Your left hand con-
trols the aim by elevating, depressing or traversing the rifle.
l'oral1ymen bave a tendency to fire high from the hip" so re-
member to fire low. Look at your targetand the dust your shot
kickS" up to tellwhether you are firing too high. too low, teo
right or too left.
(5) The :BAR in both marcb1ng fireand assaul t fire i8heldwi th
themt,&; j'ammed against the body. under the right arm. The sling
adjusted to it.full length. 18 passed over the head and put on
the left shoulder 80 that it11as smoothly' over the shoulder and
across the 1::ack. With the right hand, loop the slingunder and
around the outside of the stock. With the left hand between the
slingand f6rsrm of the BAR, grasP the forearm near the center
so the sling lies smoothly along the back of the hand and wrist.
Watch your target and the dust from your burst; keep your eyes
AU.. the :BAR
c. Itation It Hip Fire.
(l)J,oi arrival ef each firing order, instructor will demonstrate
apinbrieflY' the position of the BAS" and will givea
orientationon pro cedure at this station. All members of the
squad will then be issued :BARs and willadjust slings. Target
area will then be pointed out to the squad. '.largets (manually
operated) Will appear wi thout command and remain for three
(3) seconds. While targets are exposed firing order willuse
semi-automatic fire on targets. Several "dry runs" for each
order willprecede "wet run". AmDlWli tion be issued Just
before "wet run". On completion of' "wet run instructor will
critique firing and squad will rotatewith squad at Station II.
When the two squads have both completed station. I and. II, .they
march to Station III.
d. Station II - MI Rifle Assault (hip) Fire.
(1)0..arrival of filing order there will be a quick orientation
and of the short guard position and procedure
at this station. The twelve men of the firing order will be
shown target areas at 25, 50, and 75 yards.. When 75 yards
appear,'men will fire from Shpulder; atnearer targets
men will fire from hip. Targe's will resinup for three sec-
onds. Several dry runs willprecede wet run. Men will be in-
structed to fire to their front only. When "wei" firing is
completed squad will rotate with'squad of station I. and then
to station III.
e.Station III: M-l Rifle Marching Fire (blank ammunition)
(1) On arrival firing orders at this a short orienta-
tion will be held on procedure. Course should be at least
60 yards wide and 100 yards deep. Targets should be concealed,
but their general location indicated. Squad will count otf one
through twelve. To maintain eontinueu.. firing, even numbered
men will fire their filst round after advancing about f1ve
paces, and odd numbered men will fire after walking an addition-
alfivepaces. Thereafter each group will fire intiJrnafter
advancing five to ten paces. Blank ammunition will be used.
!heassault will begin on whistle or signal from officer
or 1'00 Assault will be deliveredat a run, blanks
stillbeing firedand dummies EByoneted whenever found.
(2) BAR's will not be used at this station, since theywill not
operate with blank ammunition.
f. Station IV: Rifle and :BAR marching fire and As sault fire:
(1) M-l Bifleand BAR. Two firing orders will report to this sta-
tion at the same time. Orientation on stationprocedure will
be brief. Station mu8t be atleast60 yards by 100 yard.s,
target area. at far side, will be coneealed btlt general
locationw111 be pointed out. Odd and even numbered men will
leap-frog their movements, firing as suggested in above.
Additional procedure as at Station III, except that ballammuni-
tion will be used.
(2) :BAR fire: Procedure same as for M-1 Riflea'bove
except that all
men inorder will fire :BAR as directed in 9c. above.
(3) Note 1: It1s real!zed that in the heat of battle men will forget
to count steps, bu.t in training. untilfire becomes instinctive,
some artificial means such. as steps, must be employed to insure
a continuous flow of fire.
lOa Safety Precautions: Omitted.