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M-109 Self Propelled 155mm Artillery


In 1952, the U.S. Army decided to upgrade the aging M-44, a 155mm self propelled artillery unit. In 1959, the M-109 self propelled howitzer design provided many significant improvements. First, it was powered by a standardized Detroit Diesel 400 hp engine boosting its power and operating range to 250 miles at speeds up to 35 mph. It also provided for its crew of (6), a protective turret from enemy fire and is provided with a .50 caliber machine gun for increased protection. In addition, it had a infra-red driving system and a inflatable amphibious system allowing the M-109 to cross shallow streams and rivers. Since 1962, over 4,000, M-109 units have been produced for the U.S. Marines or U.S. Army operating during the Vietnam War with reliable and accurate performance.
While under development during the 1950's, the M-109's selection of the 155mm or 6.1 inch artillery caliber was essential in complying with the NATO standards. The 155mm caliber is very versatile and hurls a 95 lb high explosive projectile at 2,100 feet per second, with a maximum effective range of 19,600 yards. In addition the 155mm caliber allows the firing of illuminating, smoke or tactical nuclear rounds. The M-109 itself carried up to (28) projectiles and charges, its turret commands a 360 degree swing and up to 75 degree elevation. Normal firing rate is 1 round per minute, but can maintain 3 rounds per minute for short periods of time. Upgraded versions utilize a computerized fire control system with manual over-ride controls.


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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net