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Construct Vehicle Fighing Positions

Introduction, Planning, Positions, Sequence of Construction

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Sequence of Construction

NOTE: References are FM 5-10,FM 5-34,

FM 5-102, and FM 5-103

Construct Vehicle
Fighting Positions

Survivability positions are key to surviving any battle on today’s modern battlefield. This is especially true where there is a lack of vegetation and natural hiding positions. The TF engineer must know the following information to start planning:


Number of positions: primary, alternate, and supplementary

Type of positions: hull-down, turret-down, or hasty

Weapons and vehicles priorities

Battle- position and EA priorities

Unit priorities


Once the TF engineer determines the number of positions required, then the number of positions that can actually be put in is determined. The engineer unit’s capability is based on the following factors:


Ten-hour days for soldiers

Fifteen-hour days for equipment

Time available (days)

Number of blade teams (BTs) available. BTs must include one dozer or ACE.

Work rates


For work rates, use the planning factor developed for your area of operations. If rates are unknown, use the following as a guide:

One hull-down position takes 1.5 BT hours

One turret-down position takes 3.5 BT hours

Fifty meters of ATD takes 1 BT hour


A variety of variables may increase or decrease the time required to dig a vehicle fighting position or ATD. These variables include, but are not limited to, local soils and terrain, operator experience, additional maintenance down time, and the tactical situation.


The difference of blade widths may also affect work rates. The M9 ACE has a shorter blade width than the D7 dozer and requires a minimum of two passes to cut the same width.


Survivability assets should be massed on the commander’s number one priority. This focuses the survivability effort and allows the TF engineer to monitor construction progress. It also reduces the C2 burden on the engineer platoon and facilitates rapid transition to changing priorities.


The following equations can be used to determine the number of HDPs and TDPs and the length of ATDs that can be emplaced:

HDP=(#BTs)x(1HDP/work rate)x(#days)x(15hrs/day)

TDP=(#BTs)x(1TDP/work rate)x(#days)x(15hrs/day)


Meters of ATD=(#BTs)x(ATD m/work rate)x(#days)x(15hrs/day)

Note: Fm 5-103(Survivability) have the work rates used for the planning process of vehicle fighting positions and

FM 5-102(Countermobility) for ATDs


Coordination between the operator of engineer/equipment and the maneuver element is critical to ensure the proper placement of positions. without effective coordination, much valuable time is wasted redigging positions. The maneuver element, preferably the gunner or TC, must tell the engineer/ operator the following:


Type of position (deliberate or hasty)

Gun target line

Sector of fire



In heavy units, initial vehicle-fighting positions construction starts with the M9 ACE. The ACE has different digging capabilities than the dozer. In many cases, divisional ACEs start hasty positions, which are then upgraded to improved positions as time allows. Also, the ACEs may start work before cops-level dozers arrive to augment the dig effort.


In this situation, the ACEs would dig the hasty positions and the dozers would improve them. The platoon must plan for this augmentation to efficiently integrate corps assets into the construction effort. In heavy units, the company commander must integrate corps assets; however in light units, it is the platoon leader.

Sequence 0f construction

Step 1- Hull Defilade

Step 2- Concealed Access Ramp/Rte

Step 3- Hide Location

Step 4- Turret Defilade

Sequence 0f construction

———————— Line of Sight ——————————–

Hull Defilade

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