Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tanker's Final Exam, Part 5, .50 Cal. Machine Gun, 1200 meters

The commander's cupola with the M85 .50 Caliber Machine Gun is on top of the turret.  

As we rolled away from engagement 6, firing the main gun at a moving tank, next up was firing the .50 caliber machine gun a "truck" target.  Actually a plywood panel.  The target was almost 1,200 meters away.  My loader, Gene Pierce, spotted the target first on a rise to the left of the tank trail.  As we rolled from the last firing point, I made sure the commander's machine gun was in line with the main gun.

When we spotted the target, having the guns lined up meant I could swing the turret with the commander's override and be close to the target.  When the main gun was on target, my .50 cal. machine gun would be close to the target, so I could drop down into the turret and fire as soon as possible.

When I looked through the 1 to 1 sight, I saw the target, so I grabbed the cupola controls and got the gun on target.  I had spent a lot of time zeroing the machine gun on the static range.  And even when I could have shot "cowboy" not using the sights I made myself drop down in the turret and practice with the sights.  A 1,200-meter shot needs the sights.  The other reason I needed the sights was the limited ammo capacity of the cupola.  I had 100 rounds for two engagements.  That's enough if I am on target, but not enough to shoot with my head out.

I squeezed the trigger.  Pierce called hit on the second burst.  I put two more bursts in the panel and said, "Driver move out!"

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