• Based on where and how he wants to focus and distribute direct fires, the commander can establish the weapons ready postures for company elements as well as triggers for initiating fires. He must evaluate the risk of fratricide and
establish controls to prevent it. Fratricide prevention measures include designation of recognition markings, weapons control status (WCS), and weapons safety posture.
• Having determined where and how he will mass and distribute direct fires, the company commander orients platoons so they can rapidly and accurately acquire the enemy. The commander anticipates how the enemy will fight. He gains this anticipation through a detailed war-game of the selected course of action. With this war game, he determines probable requirements for refocusing and redistributing fires and for establishing other necessary controls. Also during the troop-leading procedures, the company commander plans and rehearses direct fires (and the fire-control process) based on his analysis.
• The company commander continues to apply planning procedures and considerations throughout execution. When necessary, he must also apply effective direct fire SOPs.
Direct Fire Control procedures are a key component for an organization's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). A well-rehearsed direct fire SOP enhances direct fire planning and ensures quick, predictable actions by all members of the company. The Infantry company commander bases the various elements of the SOP on the capabilities of his force and on anticipated conditions and situations. SOP elements should include standard means for focusing fires, distributing their effects, orienting forces, and preventing fratricide. The commander should adjust the direct fire SOP whenever changes to anticipated and actual factors of METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Weather, Troops and Support Available, Time Available, Civil Considerations) become apparent.
The following direct fire elements are to be included in the SOP.
1. FOCUS FIRES - One technique is to establish a standard respective position for TRPs in relation to friendly elements and then to consistently number the TRPs such as from left to right. This allows leaders to quickly determine and communicate the location of the TRPs.
2. DISTRIBUTE FIRES - Two useful means of distributing the effects of the company's direct fires are engagement priorities and target array. Engagement priorities, by type of enemy vehicle or weapon, are assigned for each type of friendly weapon system. The target array technique helps in distribution by assigning specific friendly elements to engage enemy elements of approximately similar capabilities.
3. ORIENT FORCES - A standard means of orienting friendly forces is to assign a primary direction of fire, using a TRP, to orient each element on a probable (or known) enemy position or likely avenue of approach. To provide all-round security, the SOP can supplement the primary direction of fire with sectors using a friendly based quadrant. The following sample SOP elements show the use of these techniques.
• The front (center) platoon's primary direction of fire is TRP 2 (center) until otherwise specified; the platoon is responsible for the front two quadrants.
• The left flank platoon's primary direction of fire is TRP 1 (left) until otherwise specified; the platoon is responsible for the left two friendly quadrants (overlapping with the center platoon).
• The right flank platoon's primary direction of fire is TRP 3 (right) until otherwise specified; the platoon is responsible for the right two friendly quadrants (overlapping with the center platoon).
4. PREVENT FRATRICIDE - The SOP must address the most critical requirement of fratricide prevention. It must direct subordinate leaders to inform the commander, adjacent elements, and subordinates whenever a friendly force is moving or preparing to move. One technique is to establish a standing WCS of WEAPONS TIGHT, which requires positive enemy identification prior to engagement. The SOP must also cover means for identifying dismounted Infantry squads and other friendly dismounted elements. Techniques include using arm bands, medical heat pads, or an IR light source, as well as detonating a smoke grenade of a designated color at the appropriate time.