3-164. Vehicles use natural cover and concealment in hide positions initially to increase survivability. As time, assets, and situations permit, positions are prepared using organic excavation equipment or engineer support. Priority is given to those vehicles containing essential equipment or supplies. Crews use these fighting positions for individual protection as well.
3-165. Parapets positioned at the front of or around major weapon systems provide improved protection from direct fire and from blast and fragments of indirect fire, artillery, mortar, and rocket shells. At its base, the parapet should be at least 8 feet thick. The parapet functions as a standoff barrier for impact-detonating direct fire high explosive antitank and ATGM projectiles. The parapet should cause the fuzes to activate, thereby increasing survivability for the protected vehicles. If the enemy uses kinetic energy, direct fire armor-piercing, or hypervelocity projectiles, it is impractical to construct parapets thick enough for protection. To protect against these projectiles, deep-cut, hull defilade, or turret defilade positions are prepared. Fighting and protective positions for essential vehicles should be constructed no larger than needed.
3-166. Success in the area of operation requires maneuver between fighting positions between main gun firings. Maximum use of terrain is required to conceal fighting vehicles maneuvering between fighting positions. After a major weapon system fires its main gun, the vehicle should move concealed to another position before firing again. If the major weapon system immediately reappears in the old position, the enemy knows where to fire his next round.
3-167. Hasty fighting positions for combat vehicles, to include armored personnel carriers and mortar carriers, take advantage of natural terrain features. These positions are prepared with at least construction effort. A frontal parapet, as high as practical without interfering with the vehicle’s weapon systems, shields the position from frontal attack and provides limited concealment if properly camouflaged. Protection is improved if the position is made deeper and the parapet extended around the vehicle’s sides. Parapets provide a false sense of security against kinetic energy and hypervelocity projectiles; therefore, hasty vehicle fighting positions with parapets are not recommended for vehicles Hasty fighting positions offer protection from HE antitank projectiles and provide limited concealment if properly camouflaged. As the tactical situation permits, hasty positions are improved to deliberate positions.
3-168. Deliberate fighting positions must protect a vehicle from kinetic energy and hypervelocity projectiles. The position is constructed in four parts: hull defilade, concealed access ramp or route, hide location, and turret defilade. (See figures 3-17 and 3-18.)
Figure 3-17. Developing deliberate fighting positions
Figure 3-18. Top view of Y-shaped fighting position
POSITIONS FORMED BY NATURAL TERRAIN
3-169. Positions formed by natural terrain are usually best because they are easy to modify. If preparation is necessary, extensive engineer support is required. Each position is camouflaged with either natural vegetation or a camouflage net, and the spoil is flattened out or hauled away. All fighting positions for fighting vehicles (tanks and BFVs) are planned as deliberate positions. Since the lack of time usually does not allow full construction of a deliberate position, only some parts of the position are prepared. For example, the complete fighting position for a BFV requires the construction of a hull defilade, turret defilade, concealed access ramp or route, and hides location all within the same position. The maneuver team commander uses organic and engineer earthmoving assets and usually constructs part of the fighting position.
3-170. Digging hide locations and concealed routes between fighting positions is normally not practical due to the lack of engineer assets and time. Engineer assets are used to dig the hull and turret defilade positions. The ramps and concealed routes require only partial clearing and leveling with blade tanks or engineer equipment because natural concealed routes and hide locations are used. If time permits, the commander expands the fighting position to all four parts, to include a hide and turret defilade location. The access ramp from the hide location to the hull defilade position usually provides turret defilade for a vehicle at some point on the ramp. This location can be marked with engineer tape and a chemical light so the driver knows when to stop.