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Old but mighty: The US is sending M109 Paladin howitzers to Ukraine

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The U.S. is supplying Ukraine with vast amounts of weaponry and ammunition, including some of its best high-tech weapons, and training for the Ukrainian military, to fight Russia. It is sort of a morbid game of Keeping Up With the Joneses. Now, the U.S. will also provide 18 M109 Paladin to the beleaguered nation following other European countries.

Some factors that are important in an artillery piece are its size (the diameter size of the bore of the canon or howitzer), minimum and maximum range, and speed of mobility which helps it survive. The M109 is a 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. It has a range of 15 miles firing regular rounds and approximately 19 miles firing assisted ones. It can fire within one minute of moving into position.

Many experts agree that it is an artillery-fought war with each side trying to seize and secure dominion from the other by pounding it into the Sam Hills of Timbuktu. Joking aside we are certainly experiencing an artillery duel and the U.S. has already supplied Ukraine with other artillery pieces.

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The M109 Paladin has been raining steel for 70 years!

M109 Paladin howitzer
An M109 Paladin is an armored, self-propelled howitzer that launches 155-millimeter, high explosive projectiles as far as 23 miles, 1981, Ft. Carson, CO. (Courtesy of author)

The mighty M109 Paladin war horses have served America for 72 years along with some dozen other countries. Like John Mosses Browning’s 50 caliber machine gun, the howitzer was designed and built at an era when honorable Americans prided themselves on building quality products that endured time and tide. The M109 Paladin saw service beginning in the 1960s with the Vietnam War. It continued to serve the U.S. in all major conflicts around the world.

I grabbed some old photos I took from 1981, my first year in the Army. At the time, I was in a Mechanized Infantry unit, meaning all of our maneuver elements were on tracks or wheels. I never knew how good I had it back then; the most marching we ever did was to march to the motor pool, get in our armored gun tracks, and drive away.

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To me, the Paladin is the forgotten self-propelled 155mm howitzer. It is a bit of a rarity and although it is old its performance is still good and no country has replaced it. And I’m happy and proud to see that the venerable M-109A7 is being sent to help Ukraine against Russia along with all the other sporting nations’ kings of battle!

Now, it will just take a little love, petrol, a good swift kick, and an order forward. M-109/SPs at a route step forward… HARCH!

By Almighty God with Grace and with Honor,

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Feature Image: U.S. Soldiers from Battery A, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct live-fire exercises using the M109 Paladins at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, March 14, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Major Patrick M. Connelly)

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George Hand

Master Sergeant US Army (ret) from the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, The Delta Force. In service, he maintained a high level of proficiency in 6 foreign languages. Post military, George worked as a subcontracter for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the nuclear test site north of Las Vegas Nevada for 16 years. Currently, George works as an Intelligence Analyst and street operative in the fight against human trafficking. A master cabinet-grade woodworker and master photographer, George is a man of diverse interests and broad talents.