Selection Of Fighting Positions

The two main factors in positioning the Dragon include gunner protection and effective use of the weapon's capabilities. The gunner must remain exposed while tracking his targets. When firing at a target at maximum range, he remains susceptible to counterfires for as long as 12 seconds. The gunner avoids positions that would force him to fire into the sun, which could affect his ability to track the target. Many of the steps for protecting gunners also make the most of the Dragon's capabilities. Gunners can enhance mission accomplishment by following some basic rules when selecting positions:

a. Use natural cover and concealment. Choose positions where the terrain provides cover from enemy fire and concealment from enemy ground and aerial observation (Figure 8-2).

b. Try to choose positions where the gunner can engage the enemy's flank or rear from behind frontal cover. A gunner firing obliquely should do so from beneath the protection of a parapet or natural cover. Dragon missiles probably will not defeat a tank hit in the frontal 60-degree arc. You will also find other armored vehicles easier to kill from the flanks and

Figure 8-2. Use of natural cover and concealment.

rear. The enemy has a tougher time tracing the origin of a Dragon round fired from his flank than one fired head-on.

(1) From an oblique weapon position, a gunner can provide frontal cover to protect against direct suppressive fires. An oblique position also helps to conceal his location from the view of any person or vehicle approaching from the front (A, Figure 8-3).

(2) In the attack, a tank orients firepower and observation mainly to the front. This helps keep the tank from detecting the launch site (B, Figure 8-3).

c. Avoid using Dragon positions that must engage targets from the front (especially tank targets).

Figure 8-3. Engagement of the enemy with flank or rear shots.

d. Position Dragons so they can provide mutual support. Ideally, position them 300 meters apart. This helps protect the gunners by ensuring continuous coverage of enemy armored vehicles. To do this—

(1) Employ Dragons so their fires interlock with and support other Dragons, TOWs, or tanks. Ensure that sectors of fire overlap. Cover each sector with more than one antiarmor weapon.

(2) Position Dragons to engage any enemy armored vehicles that assault another Dragon, TOW, or tank position.

e. For security, integrate Dragon gunners with nearby infantry. Leaders should provide local security for any Dragon gunner employed away from the squad or platoon such as a Dragon team or armor-killer team.

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