Some background. I was a M109A3-A5 cannon crewmember from 1998 to 2008, having been in the driver, #1 cannon crewmember, Ammo Team Chief, Assistant Gunner, and Gunner positions. During my time, more than 10k rounds were fired in the howitzers I was on.
There is a huge difference in layout of the M109 series of howitzers and the M109A1-A5. The barrels are different; the interior layout is different; sighting devices; and physical dimensions are all different. Even the National Stock Numbers (NSN) are different and the Army is bad about using the same NSN for two similar but different items. This vehicle shows a complete lack of any real research on this vehicle. Please Gaijin, fix this. You have crammed two completely different vehicles that had two separate production runs; into one vehicle.
Now, the issues. The M109A1-A5 variants are a multi piece ammo, meaning the shell, powder, and fuse are all separate until they are placed on the loading tray for ramming into the breech. For HE, there are two main fuses that are used for either PD or VT but its not VT. It Mechanical timed (MTSQ) and set at or prior to the shell/fuse combination being rammed. But, I can understand that Gajin did this for simplicity sake.
Second, M109A1s only had a stowage capacity of 28 rounds. A2 and on had room for 36 rounds. In both cases, 22 rounds are stored in the bustle rack, located at the rear of the turret. Not sure where Gaijin got 16 in the first stage?
Third, M109A1 where did the devs come up with 5 cannoneers in the turret? There are 4. On the left side, as seen from the back, there is the Gunner. They are responsible for the azimuth controls of the turret. Think moving the turret left to right. DIRECTLY behind the gunner is the Loader or #1 crewmember. They are responsible for loading the shell/fuse combo and powder. On the right side, opposite the breech of the gunner is the Assistant Gunner (AG) not the machine gunner. There is no machine gun at that station. They control the elevation of the gun barrel. And behind the AG is the Gun Chief. There is a #2 crewmember position, but this is not located in the gun during firing.
IF someone sat behind the gun breech, as shown in game, they would be killed when the gun is fired. The reason is due to the fact that when the gun is fired, the breech recoils back about .5 m or about 36 inches. It recoils with such force; it would make that crewmember apart of the bustle rack or a permanent stain on the inside of the turret.
Fourth, the semi-autoloading. There is nothing semi or auto about the loading. All loading is done by the #1 man. There is a ramming assembly that seats the round in the breech, but that is the extent of any “auto” or semi-autoloading. The hydraulic rammer is actuated by the #1 cannoneer once the chief gives the order to ram the round.
Fifth, christ did the devs even try with this vehicle? The bustle rack location in the upper turret is WAY OFF. I thought you guys only built vehicles as accurately as you could with substantiated information? There is no way to put 9 shells below the turret floor. Thats where the suspension, fuel tanks and sprockets are located. The radio is located up by the “Commander” not in the way of the tunnel for the driver. And technically, the A1s didnt have radios. Also, where the powder charges are located is completely wrong.
M109 w/ no bustle rack
M109A1-A5 bustle rack
Items 21 are the bustle rack doors which hold the 22 rounds of “first stage” rounds.
Sixth, the max rate of fire by doctrine is 4 rd/min, but I have been on crews that could do a sustained ROF of 5-7 rd/min. A new crew, yeah 13 sec reload is decent, but for an expert crew, 8.5 sec was not unheard of.
Seventh, the aiming sight for the gunner has an actual shield around it. Not some door that opens and closes. The ballistic glass in the shield is about 4 inches thick and can easily withstand 12.7mm round, but the rest of it wont…lol Im not sure what model you based this vehicle off of, but not a single M109A1 has this “door” over the gunners sight. And I love how you didn’t even model in the Assist Gunners aiming device. The M109 (Non A version) had that weird door, but it also had a much shorter barrel. Not the same vehicles.
Please do better. There are THOUSANDS of pictures online of the M109A1-A5. The TMs are all declassified as the US Army no longer uses the A1-A5 variants. Hell, the last time the US Army updated the TM was in 1994.And before anyone loses their minds over the TM isn’t declassified, it specifically states on the title cover of the manual
“DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.”
Why didn’t Gajin use it as ATLEAST a guide? I mean, CTFO (come the F*** on).