Preparation Of Fighting Positions

The enemy must not learn the true location of the Dragon. Clearing away loose debris behind the launcher, wetting down the backblast area, and covering the ground with shelter halves reduces the Dragon's launch signature (backblast). To prevent detection, soldiers move only in and around the position. As long it can see the target clearly, the unit can use indirect fires (HE, smoke, and WP) and small-arms weapons to distract the enemy. Other deception measures include preparing partly visible dummy positions to draw enemy fire away from the actual positions, then positioning Dragons on less obvious firing positions. The Dragon fighting position offer have unobstructed fields of fire, mask clearance (minimum dead space that could hide targets in the sector), and a clear backblast area. Just as it can do with other weapons organic to the platoon, the unit can employ the Dragon either from hasty or improved positions. Soldiers situate and orient a fighting position to cover a sector of fire.

a. After receiving a sector of fire and firing location from the leader, the gunner constructs the Dragon position to cover the sector. He clears only what he must clear for effective fields of fire. He camouflages the position using available materials and improves the position as time permits.

b. Leaders must consider the backblast and the muzzle blast when employing the weapon. To prepare a Dragon fighting position, the gunner follows these guidelines:

(1) When the gunner fires from an improved position, the muzzle end of the launcher must extend 15 centimeters (6 inches) beyond the front of the hole. The rear of the launcher must extend out over the back of the hole. As the missile leaves the launcher, the unfolding stabilizing fins require at least 15 centimeters (6 inches) of clearance above ground. The position should offer protection to the front (a parapet) or other natural or man-made cover.

(2) Gunners clear the ground in front of and behind the position. They remove rocks, sand, and debris. This prevents a dust cloud from forming when the gunner fires. Dust would obscures a gunner's vision and marks the location for enemy observers. When the gunner must fire in only one direction, a one-person fighting position works best (Figure 8-4, following; and Figure 8-5, page 8-5).

Constructing Hasty Fighting Positions







Figure 8-4. Construction of a one-person fighting position.

Frontal Fire
Figure 8-5. Construction of overhead cover.

(3) The gunner should be positioned to fire obliquely. This protects the gunner from frontal fire while he engages the target from the flank. If necessary, the gunner can fire to the front as well as to the oblique from a one-person fighting position.

(4) The wedge shape of the two-person fighting position gives the gunner frontal protection. It also allows the gunners to engage their targets from the oblique or flank. The team constructs the position as follows:

(a) Trench. Construct the trench position the length of three M16s, in an inverted "V." Dig it waist-deep. Make the trench waist-wide plus about 15 centimeters (6 inches) (A, Figure 8-6, page 8-6).

(b) Front Parapet. Construct the front parapet as long and as wide as the length of an M16. Build it up until it measures two helmets high (B, Figure 8-6, page 8-6). Build the front parapet in front of the trench.

(c) Grenade Sump. Make a grenade sump as long as an entrenching tool, and as wide as its blade. Dig the floor of the main trench such that it slopes gently downward from each end toward the center of the position, and so that it slopes gently downward from the rear to the front (C, Figure 8-6, page 8-6).

(d) Overhead Cover. Construct overhead cover at each end of the trench large enough to protect one soldier and extra rounds. It should measure 31 centimeters deep by 1 meter wide (12 inches deep and 3 feet wide). It should extend 46 centimeters (18 inches) over each side (D, Figure 8-6, page 8-6).

(e) Flank Parapet. Construct a flank parapet at each end of the trench. The width of each should measure the same as the length of an M16, as high as two helmets, and a length sufficient to provide good flank protection. To increase overhead protection, build flank parapets are built on top of the overhead cover (E, Figure 8-6, page 8-6).

(f) Bipod Trench. Dig a bipod trench for each sector of fire. The back of the bipod trench should measure 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) forward of the main trench. Make the bipod trench two helmets long, one helmet wide, and 15 centimeters (6 inches) deep (F, Figure 8-6).

Machine Gun Position
Figure 8-6. Construction of a two-man fighting position.

(g) Front Cover. Sometimes the gunner can fire only in one direction. If so, construct front cover so the gunner should engage targets from the flank (G, Figure 8-6). Also construct cover and concealment from other directions (Figure 8-7).

Range Card
Figure 8-7. Fire in one direction.


A range card consists of a sketch of the terrain that a specific weapon system covers. The range card contains information that helps in planning and controlling fires, in quickly detecting and engaging targets, and in orienting replacement personnel or units. Using a range card, a gunner can quickly find the correct information he needs to engage targets. In order to engage targets rapidly in all visibility conditions, gunners need range cards. They also need them so another soldier could continue the mission if the gunner can no longer fire. For this reason, after he prepares the Dragon for firing, the gunner prepares a range card in duplicate for each position. That is, for each position, he makes one to keep at the position and another for the leader. The two types of range cards are standard (DA Form 5517-R) and field-expedient.

a. Information Provided on All Range Cards. All range cards must show the following:

• Weapon symbol, position, or both.

• Maximum engagement line.

• Range and azimuth TRPs.

• Distance and azimuth from a known point (gunner reference point).

• Magnetic north arrow.

b. Standard Range Card. Once the leader provides the necessary information, the gunner prepares a standard range card in duplicate (Figure 8-8, page 8-8).

c. Field-Expedient Range Card. Because he may not be able to find any standard range cards in a combat situation, the gunner can draw one on anything available. He prepares a field-expedient range card the same as he would any other range card, except that he uses the weapon symbol to show only the location of the weapon system (Figure 8-9, page 8-9).

Crew Serve Weapons Range Card
Figure 8-8. Example completed DA Form 5517-R, Standard Range Card.






Fighting Positions Army
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