The story of the M109 begins during the late stages of the Cold War, it would be designed due to a need from the American army to completely replace their aging fleet of M44 self-propelled howitzers. The American army wanted several improvements from the last vehicle they wanted to replace, mainly they wanted the new vehicle to be somewhat mobile and have a bigger caliber. The M109 was equipped with a diesel engine, which although it would prove to give less output compared to other choices, it was much more reliable so breaking down would not become a common occurrence. It would first officially enter service inside the American army by 1961, and would prove to be quite effective inside of the battlefield. Italy comes into play as post war they had to rebuild their armed forces so the united states would be generous enough to supply the Italian army with the M44 platform, however for the same reason the American army had phased the M44 out of service, the Italian army also looked for a replacement. Besides wanting to put out of service the M44, it was also due to them looking for a heavy SPH that would be mobile enough and be able to be operated in multiple types of environments. Eventually after a lot of discussions, the first batches of M109 is would be acquired by the Italian army in 1962. Initially part of the deal with Italy included M109G’s which would all be equipped with 155mm M126 cannons. As the years went by some of the original M109’s Italy had in service would later got upgraded by OTO Melara to the M109L standard, in which Italy would order 280 units. It’s main defining feature was the new Otobreda 155mm 155/39 cannon, which was capable of firing FH-70 projectiles to a maximum range of 24,000m. The first batch of 32 M109Ls would be completed in 1986 and final deliveries were made in 1992. Italy also improved combat effectiveness of their M109L’s by adding a ‘rammer’ which heavily reduced operator fatigue while also increasing the rate of fire of the vehicle. According to the Italian army website the M109L was able to fire the following rounds: HE LI5A1 – DM 106 coal gas – DM 105 smoke gas SIMEL Society and SNIA/BPB – M107 (SNIA-BPB). In terms of survivability the M109 is not the most armored vehicle there is, but it is said that it could withstand the majority of small arms fire and shell splinters that may happen to hit the vehicle when an enemy performs a counter artillery attack. However that said even the weakest HE or HEAT rounds would make short work of the M109, and unlike most modern MBT’s, most of the vehicle houses live munitions so it safe to say that it would not be able to hold its own against most ground vehicle threats. In terms of mobility, (depending on the version) most M109’s can reach the speeds of up to 35km an hour, with an overall range of 216 miles. It is powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V71T engine which produces 450hp. In terms of service, the M109 has been combat proven in many theaters of war all around the world, The Italian army would mostly use the M109 for various missions and safekeeping operations, for example during the Kosovo war, where it provided much needed artillery fire for the troops on the ground. Most sources however state that the majority if not all M109’s that the Italian army had used, have been phased out during the early 2000’s for the more modern and stronger artillery piece known as PzH 2000. Besides the upgrades done by the Italian army, Leonardo have created an upgrade for the M109 which allows for existing users to modernize their M109’s by giving them access to a new cannon able to fire projectiles at a longer range, alongside with the integration of the new Italian made Vulcano munitions. Most if not all M109L’s were sold to Pakistan, Djibouti and more recently the remaining ones left in Italy were all revisioned and donated to Ukraine.
Armament and Equipment
x1 Otobreda 155mm 155/39 (able to fire HE LI5A1 – DM 106 coal gas – DM 105 smoke gas SIMEL Society, SNIA/BPB – M107 (SNIA-BPB))
x1 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Why it should be added in the game
I think the M109L should be added into the game because Gaijin has recently added a ton of M109 variants and since Italy has a more unique variant it would be good to have as the next researchable vehicle after the M109G in the tech tree. It wouldn’t take a long time to add and wouldn’t be overpowered.
OTO Melara M109 Brochure
RIVISTA MILITARE 2000 N.4
RAPPORTO ESERCITO 1987
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