Fire Control

Effective Dragon fire requires well-planned and executed fire-control measures. Proper fire control ensures that Dragons engage targets at the best possible times. Leaders should never endanger Dragon gunners by ordering them to fire prematurely. Firing at a target traveling out of range offers little chance of success. So would firing when, for any reason, a target offers little chance of a first-round kill. Leaders should employ only the Dragon best sited to hit the target. Lack of fire control reduces a unit's antiarmor capability. Under ideal conditions, Dragons dispersed as far apart as 1,600 to 2,000 meters can concentrate their fires on the same group of targets (Figure 8-20).

Figure 8-20. Dragon dispersion.

a. Fire Control Methods. Effective fire control methods prevent the wasteful firing of more than one Dragon missile at the same target, and they prevent premature firings. Unnecessarily firing a Dragon may disclose the location of the defensive position to the enemy. Dragon fire control methods include sectors of fire, TRPs, engagement priorities, fire patterns, and fire commands.

b. Sector of Fire. A sector of fire refers to an area limited by boundaries and assigned to a unit or weapon to cover by fire (Figure 8-21). The gunner or unit assigned a sector of fire may fire only within that sector. Leaders make sure that sectors overlap in order to cover all areas and so that the Dragon gunners do not hesitate when enemy vehicles come into range.

Figure 8-21. Sector of fire.

c. Target Reference Point. By definition, a TRP identifies an easily recognizable, natural or man-made point on the ground. Each gunner in the unit's sector must know how to identify all TRPs visually or by locating them on a map. TRPs offer a great way to define visually a gunner's sector of fire.

d. Engagement Priorities. Engagement priority means the order in which Dragons engage the various types of vehicles in an enemy formation. Because many enemy tanks have improved armor, Dragons have the best chance of killing command and control vehicles and APCs. If the unit has TOWs and tanks, it should use those weapons to kill enemy tanks. The warning or OPORD lists the engagement priority, which includes as its main priority the completion of the mission. The engagement priority (Figure 8-22) lists C2 vehicles first, because the enemy relies heavily on its leaders for combat operations. Eliminating leadership will cause confusion and disrupt the enemy's mission.

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