Suppressive fire is a military tactic mostly used on enemy ground troops. It is used to, destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy in such a way that it will be effective in combat. The first army credited with using suppressive fire would be the British Commonwealth Armies. NATO however was the first to offically define the term as suppressive fire.
Suppressive fire is most common with group troops, however it can be used by air forces and commonly with naval forces. Suppressive fire is used with large amounts of troops and threatens the enemy of taking high casualties if cover is not taken, the objective is to halt all military activities in that area by performing the maneuver. Suppressive fire was commonly used during the Vietnam war by helicopter gunners and was effective for the most part. Artillery is helpful in the event of suppressive fire and can create bombardments at different times, the Second Battle of Passchendaele is probably one of the best examples of a combination of artillery fire and machine gun fire in order to cover British troops heading towards the German lines.
Many different positions can be taken in preparation for suppressive fire. Fire distribution should be evenly put and should focus on all positions rather than one, a good tactic is to have multiple gunners fan out into a half a circle in order to make sure all positions are secured. If steps are not taken to perform this task correctly, the enemy will have a greater chance of firing back or overtaking the allied position. Enfilade fire should not be used unless a large team of infantry is performing the maneuver.
Artillery must first have a large area to focus on for suppressive fire to work correctly, the fire must be strained and must be fired evenly at first in order to ensure a blanket of shells is thrown upon the enemy in order to keep them trapped. After that the artillery must fired at different times in order to keep the enemy from escaping at the smallest window of opportunity. If troops are to make an advance on the enemy position, make sure the attack is timed correctly and communications are going well, if not the troops themselves are put at risk.
Armored Vehicles Edit
A variety of armored vehicles can be used to perform suppressive fire, the best choice for performing such an operation is either a large concentration of tank or an armored car with a heavy weapon mounted on it, such as a minigun. The large concentration of tanks should be used in an open area, not an urban area or a forest. A hilltop is a good area to perform suppressive fire if hostile forces are approaching, the firing should be evenly distributed and should not stop very often until the enemy has been destroyed or the objective completed. However, the armored vehicle works well in many areas and should distribute the fire on a wide scale if needed, the objective should be easily completed.