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Direct fire

Definition Direct fire in military operations refers to the firing of a weapon directly at a visible target, within the shooter’s line of sight. The weapon’s trajectory is primarily influenced by direct aim and sight. This term is most commonly used in the context of artillery and firearms. Key Takeaways Direct fire refers to firing […]


Direct fire in military operations refers to the firing of a weapon directly at a visible target, within the shooter’s line of sight. The weapon’s trajectory is primarily influenced by direct aim and sight. This term is most commonly used in the context of artillery and firearms.

Key Takeaways

  1. Direct fire refers to firing of a weapon system directly at a visible target, within the line-of-sight of the user. Unlike indirect fire, which needs a spotter to identify and locate the target, direct fire implies immediate target engagement.
  2. In military operations, direct fire is generally used for immediate suppression or destruction of enemy forces. It is typically used in close combat scenarios where prompt target engagement is necessary for the success of a mission.
  3. Direct fire weapons can range from small arms, like rifles and machine guns, to larger systems like tanks and anti-tank missile systems. The effectiveness of direct fire largely depends on the user’s ability to accurately aim at the target.


Direct fire refers to the firing of a weapon system directly at a visible, identified target, where the trajectory of the projectile is manually controlled by the operator.

This term is of crucial importance in military operations due to its tactical implications.

It lays the foundation for precision strike capabilities, allowing military units to selectively neutralize specific threats on the battlefield, thereby reducing collateral damage and increasing operational effectiveness.

The ability to wield direct fire not only provides an immediate response to impending threats, but also enhances the situational awareness of military personnel, improving their ability to make decisive actions under complex and rapidly changing combat scenarios.


Direct fire refers to a method of firepower delivery that is primarily used in close combat scenarios. Its main purpose is to offer specific, accurate, and rapid firepower, often utilized when visibility and target acquisition are not a problem.

Therefore, direct fire is commonly used when both the shooter and the target are within visual range. This gives the operator complete control over the delivery of firepower, allowing them to change their tactics instantly if needed.

This technique is often employed when there is a need for immediate and direct engagement with enemy forces. It is used in a variety of situations, such as neutralizing an immediate threat, covering the movements of friendly forces, or when suppressing enemy troops or defenses.

The main advantage of direct fire is the immediacy of the target’s reaction, enhancing the shooter’s ability to adjust firing and ensuring quick results. It is a crucial technique in the military field, especially in infantry, armor, and artillery units.

Examples of Direct fire

The Battle of Gettysburg: In the American Civil War, this battle saw soldiers using direct fire techniques extensively. Those in infantry and cavalry units aimed their muskets and rifles directly at enemy troops within their line of sight in an attempt to inflict maximum damage.

World War II D-Day Landings: During the D-Day landings, tanks and infantrymen used direct fire against enemy fortifications on the beaches. The tanks and infantry directly saw and then targeted specific enemy positions. This was a key tactic in overcoming the German defenses and gaining a foothold on the French coast.

The Battle of Mogadishu: Present in modern military history, often referred as “Black Hawk Down,” was an operation that involved direct fire. The U.S. soldiers were involved in intense urban combat, often shooting directly at enemies who were within their direct line of sight. Additionally, the helicopter pilots and gunners often had to use direct fire while supporting ground troops in their operations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Direct Fire

What does Direct Fire mean?

Direct fire refers to the launching of a projectile directly at a target within the line-of-sight of the user. This is different from indirect fire, which relies on external information like coordinates to target an enemy.

What is the purpose of Direct Fire in military operations?

Direct fire is commonly used in military operations for immediate suppression and to defeat visible enemy targets on the battlefield. It allows a high degree of accuracy in a combat scenario, especially at close ranges.

What types of weapons are commonly used for Direct Fire?

Several types of weapons are typically used for Direct Fire, including but not limited to: small arms such as rifles and pistols, anti-tank weapons, certain types of artillery and tanks fitted with direct fire artillery.

Do soldiers require specific training for Direct Fire?

Yes, soldiers need specific training for direct fire. Training usually involves mastering the tool or weapon, understanding the principles of direct fire, and learning tactics for the most effective use in different combat scenarios.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Combat Operations
  • Casualty Report
  • Military Tactics
  • Ground Warfare
  • Line of Sight

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Army Homepage: The official site of the United States Army often provides detailed information about warfare tactics and terms.
  • U.S. Navy Homepage: The official site of the United States Navy. Although the navy primarily focuses on naval warfare, the site contains a glossary that can still be helpful with understanding certain military terms.
  • Britannica Homepage: Britannica, an online encyclopedia, offers a huge number of general-interest and detailed entries, likely including explanation and context of military terms like direct fire.
  • Federation of American Scientists (FAS): FAS is an organization devoted to providing analysis and policy recommendations on national and international security matters. It’s a good resource for understanding terms and terminology used in the field.

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