Vulnerable Points Of Armored Vehicles

After the gunner decides that he can engage a target, he should try to hit it at its weakest points. Leaders can help by positioning Dragons where the gunners can take advantage of those weak points.

a. To do so, the gunners must know the weak points of each type of enemy armored vehicle. An enemy armored vehicle usually has the most armor protection on its front glacis (slope). It has less on its flanks, and still less on its top, back, and belly. Any armored vehicle's weakest areas include its internal fuel tanks, ammunition storage areas, and engine. Destroying the engine not only immobilizes the vehicle, but may ignite ruptured fuel lines, causing a fire or explosion.

b. Gunners have a better chance to get a kill with oblique or flanking shots. They must keep themselves ready for opportunities. For example, a potential target may expose its flank when it tries to bypass an obstacle or evade an oncoming ATGM. Gunners produce more mobility kills with flank and oblique shots. However, they can do so even if they only hit the vehicle's wheels, track, or suspension system (Figure 8-19). Flank shots deflect off armor less often than oblique shots. The top or bottom (belly) of an enemy armored vehicle may show briefly, while the vehicle breaches an obstacle or antitank ditch, fords a river with steep banks, or traverses a shallow valley. By carefully analyzing the terrain in the assigned sector of fire, the gunner can determine where approaching armor units will expose their weaker armor.

Figure 8-19. Flank and oblique target shots.

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