4. Small arms fire against aircraft is obviously effective. A quick review of the record
shows this to be true.
In the Korean War, our Air Force lost 259 jet aircraft and 285 other aircraft to combined small
arms and air defense fire, which is nearly five times as many aircraft that were lost in air-to-air
In South Vietnam only, we lost 410 fixed-wing aircraft, and 2,100 helicopters. In the Mideast War
36 Arab aircraft were shot down by ground fire.
Once again, fighting back is active air defense, but it is not undertaken as a one-on-one activity;
that is, one soldier acting independently against one aircraft. It is a coordinated group response
undertaken on command and executed according to previously learned techniques. If you do not
coordinate your small arms fire, you may as well save your ammunition.
5. Engage Aircraft With Volume Fire. Small arms fire against aircraft is obviously effective.
To engage aircraft effectively, you must follow some basic rules. The first rule to follow is to use
a technique known as "volume fire". The key idea is to fill the air in front of the enemy aircraft
with as many bullets as possible; accuracy is not important. If everyone fires at once, you increase
the chances of hitting the aircraft. Even if you do not hit the aircraft, you may cause the pilot to
miss the target or climb to a higher altitude where he is less effective and subject to air defense
weapon systems (Figure 25).
Figure 25. Volume Fire
Let's make one of the most important points about volume fire clear right now. Once you estimate
the lead distance, aim at the estimated aiming point and fire at that single point until the aircraft
has flown past that point. Maintain the aiming point, not the lead distance. Once you start
firing, do not adjust your weapon. The rules for selecting aiming points are simple, logical, and
easily learned and retained.