While watching 13 Hours: the secret soldiers of Benghazi, I heard the following:

[Tyrone] Oz? This is where we make our stand!

[Oz] Guys, let's set sectors of fire with overlapping coverage.

It occurs at 1:28:04 in the movie.

GRS operatives at the moment are positioned at 4 corners of the compound with the advantage of high-ground.

To me it was obvious what he was talking about, but I am wondering if the jargon hasn't changed since I was in the service (prior to 1975).

I'm pretty sure we used to say "overlapping fields of fire"...

The area which a weapon or a group of weapons may cover effectively with fire from a given position. (US DoD)

"Overlapping" means to set up at least two defensive positions creating a "beaten zone" by establishing arcs of approximately 30 degrees which intersect. enter image description here Squad Automatic Weapons [SAW] were normally assigned one to to a fire team, but if there was a second .30 cal. (7.62mm NATO) M-60, M14 or FN-FAL available, it would be possible to create "overlapping fields of fire" or whatever they call it now...in a pinch, M-16s would do.

Has the jargon changed, or was this an example of inter-service cross-interpretation something or other? Or is it just Hollywood stuff?

  • I have no idea of what actual people say, I try to avoid situations where this technique is useful. But the longer one is an awful mouthful, jargon tends to shorten rather than lengthen (witness all the opaque military acronyms you just used like we know what they are). So my expectation is that it is screenwriter stuff.
    – Mitch
    Feb 8, 2019 at 14:35
  • Sorry @Mitch...I was a little hammered when I wrote this. I have tried to to make it less opaque by adding links to the acronyms. Feb 8, 2019 at 19:53
  • 1
    Cascabel: haha that came out wrong, I thought I was saying that the acronyms were a sign of what would be the natural tendency to go the other direction from what the screenwriters did. But the links are great.
    – Mitch
    Feb 8, 2019 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Is "sectors of fire with overlapping coverage" the current jargon for "overlapping fields of fire"?

overlap TFD

  1. In naval mine warfare, the width of that part of the swept path of a ship or formation that is also swept by an adjacent sweeper or formation or is re-swept [overlapped] on the next adjacent lap.

field of fire OED

... to make it easier to handle and give a wider field of fire.

Both terms are used to describe weaponry and usage. The 13 hours film uses poetic license, as is their right. I think both are acceptable and neither has preeminent jargon. We too (assuming military experience) were taught the value of setting up fields of fire to maximize coverage onto the enemy.


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