first published on January 2, 2017 by Josh
Enfilade fire with machine guns is achieved when the long axis of the target coincides or nearly coincides with the long axis of the beaten zone. It is known as every machine gunner’s targeting dream come true. When achieved, a target in enfilade should be quickly cut down and destroyed by a skilled marksman using a minimal amount of time and ammunition. In short, this type of fire should decisively end a gun fight between two opposing groups almost instantly.
This type of fire is commonly found during the exploitation phase of an assault, when the enemy is in full retreat. The chaos of defeat, and being pushed out of position, often causes under-trained troops to disregard tactics and common sense in the chaos of the moment. This chaos and total disregard for security and basic tactical movement often leads retreating troops to fall-back out of their position like ducks in a row. Movement like this places them in enfilade, and gives the assaulting unit the perfect opportunity to cut down the retreating enemy.
When the Islamic State accomplishes the first part of their attack, and successfully pushes their enemy into a full retreat, we see just how much they actually suck at combat operations. Instead of capitalizing on the exploitation phase of combat, they uselessly shoot rifles and RPGs at an enemy who is retreating at the speed of smell. Even though the retreating force is in almost perfect enfilade to Islamic State fire, they manage to fail at getting a decisive victory against the retreating force out of the sheer lack of marksmanship abilities, allowing almost 3/4 of the retreating force to survive their literal walk to safety where they surely prepared and mounted a successful counter-attack.