A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Jan 7, 2023

The Reason A 60 Year Old US Howitzer Is Wreaking Havoc For Ukraine Against Russia

It's durable, reliable, accurate out to 42 miles,  there are thousands in service which means there are plenty of spare parts - and lots of available ammunition, making it a kind of heavy artillery version of the AK-47. JL 

Sofrep reports:

Western allies have supplied Ukraine with 50 M-109s, more than any other 155mm NATO-standard self-propelled gun given to Ukraine up to now. The first M-109 used in the U.S. in 1963, (but) updated versions are still being produced. Hundreds of second-hand units are available, which makes it a good option to reinforce Ukraine. Its maximum range extends to 42 miles and is noted for its reliability and abundance of spare parts. The M-109’s reliability and suitability for the task instead of more modern tools ensure  best outcomes.

Ukraine’s latest type of howitzer has recently become the spotlight this week, while the M-109 cannon has remained relatively unknown.

Even though the exact quantity is not yet known, it is estimated that Western allies have supplied Ukraine with about 50 M-109s, which is thought to be more than any other 155mm NATO-standard self-propelled gun given to Ukraine up to now. However, even though the M-109s are being utilized in great numbers, more needs to be said about how well this comparatively archaic self-propelled gun is doing on the battlefield. Consequently, the M-109 deserves more focus.

The M-109 self-propelled 155mm gun is receiving little recognition in Ukraine. Despite being overshadowed by more advanced weaponry, the M-109 is still fighting against Russia in the shadows. It should be getting more recognition due to the fact that the amount of M-109s given to Ukraine by Western democracies is believed to be around fifty, which is more than any other 155mm NATO-standard self-propelled gun that has been provided to Ukraine thus far. Still, there is very little information on how well the “old-fashioned” self-propelled gun performs in the war zone.

Ukraine usually stays quiet regarding combat information, which explains why there is so little news about how the M-109 guns. People may think it needs to be updated and more impressive than the more contemporary howitzers in Europe. While it is true that the first M-109 was already used in the U.S. in 1963, the updated versions are still being produced. This artillery system has been used in different wars, and hundreds of second-hand units are available, which makes it a good option to reinforce Ukrainian attacks and be a major part of the fighting in Ukraine. Despite this, there is not much being said about it. It is understandable why the M-109 is not the most remarkable weapon; it is only used to launch 155mm shells from a distance of 13 to 25 miles. It is not as powerful as the 55-ton PzH 2000 155mm gun from Germany nor as agile as the 18-ton CAESAR 155mm gun. It is just a modification of the artillery used during World War II.

 

The M-109 is an amalgamation of various proven design concepts. It is not particularly notable, and its maximum range only extends to 42 miles in contrast to the PzH 2000’s capacity to conduct long-range strikes. In addition, it is a slow-moving platform with a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, meaning it is significantly slower than the French-made CAESAR. Despite the fact that Ukraine is experiencing issues with keeping the PzH 2000 in use and the CAESARs are being used up, the M-109 is going unnoticed. This is likely due to its reliability and abundance of spare parts. While the PzH 2000 and CAESAR have both been damaged in combat, the M-109, which has a shorter-range gun, has been exposed to more danger on the conventional battlefield and has been hit by Russia, with at least two being destroyed.

The AHS Krab 155mm self-propelled guns, which have a similar purpose to the M-109, have also been significantly impacted, with 6 out of 18 destroyed and two damaged. Unfortunately, even though these middle-weight 155mm self-propelled guns face high losses, there is no media attention on them. Again, this could be due to the M-109’s lack of modern features and capacity to get the job done.

Consider the M-109’s reliability and suitability for the task instead of the more modern tools to ensure the best outcomes. This could require changes in operational practices and increased spending on spare parts inventories, which may influence Ukraine’s decisions on the type of artillery they choose to use in the future.

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