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M60 7.62mm Machine Gun

The M60 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt-fed, automatic machine gun that fires from the open-bolt position. It has a maximum rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute. Ammunition is fed into the weapon using a disintegrating metallic split-link belt, feeding from various containers, such as a 100-round bandoleer. The weapon has an integral, folding bipod and can also be mounted on a folding tripod. It can be fired from the shoulder, hip, or underarm position; from the bipod-steadied position; or from the tripod-mounted position. It can also be pintle mounted on various vehicles and helicopters.

The M60 fires the standard NATO 7.62 mm round and is used as a general support crew-served weapon. It has a removable barrel, which can be easily changed to prevent overheating. The M60 has a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. The M60 machine gun can use several different types of 7.62mm standard military ammunition. Soldiers had to use only authorized ammunition that was manufactured to US and NATO specifications. The ammunition is issued in a disintegrating, metallic, split-linked belt. The preferred combat ammunition mix for the M60 is a 4-ball (M80) and one-tracer (M62) mix. The 4-1 mix allows the gunner to use the tracer on target (TOT) method of adjusting fire to achieve target kill.

Rounds authorized for the M60 include M61 armor piercing, M62 tracer, M63 dummy, M80 ball, and M82 blank cartridges. The M61 armor piercing cat ridge is for use against lightly armored targets. The M62 tracer cat ridge is for observation of fire, incendiary effects, signaling, and training. The M63 dummy cartridge is used during mechanical training. The M80 ball cartridge is used against light materiel targets and personnel, and for range training. The M82 blank cartridge is used during training when simulated live fire is desired. A blank firing attachment must be used to fire the M82 cartridge.

The ammunition is stored under cover. If ammunition is in the open, it must be kept at least 6 inches above the ground and covered with a double thickness of tarpaulin. The cover must be placed so that it protects the ammunition yet allows ventilation. Trenches are dug to divert water from flowing under the ammunition. Ammunition should not be removed from the airtight containers until ready for use. Ammunition removed from the airtight containers, especially in damp climates, may corrode.

The M60 machine gun supports the rifleman in offense and defense. It provides the heavy volume of close and continuous fire the rifleman needs to accomplish his mission. The M60 is used to engage targets beyond the range of individual weapons, with controlled and accurate fire. The long-range, close defensive, and final protective fires delivered by the M60 form an integral part of a unit's defensive fires.

Application of fire consists of the methods the gunner uses to cover a target area. Training these methods of applying fire could be accomplished only after the soldiers have learned how to recognize the different types of targets they may find in combat, how to distribute and concentrate their fire, and how to maintain the proper rate of fire. Normally, the gunner was exposed to 2 types of targets in the squad or platoon sector: enemy soldiers and supporting automatic weapons. These targets had priority and were to be engaged immediately.

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