FM 6-70 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for
M109A6 HOWITZER (PALADIN) OPERATIONS


CHAPTER 2

DUTIES OF KEY PERSONNEL

 

The duties and responsibilities of key personnel assigned to the Paladin (M109A6) firing battery are discussed in this chapter. These responsibilities are in addition to those duties listed in FM 6-50, Chapter 1. The duties of the Battalion Commander and his staff have not changed significantly as covered in FM 6-20.

 

2-1. Duties of the Battery Commander

a. General Duties:

The battery commander (BC) is responsible for all aspects of the operations of the battery. He is the senior trainer and is responsible for the professional development of the platoon leaders and fire direction officers. The BC establishes training standards for the battery and ensures that those standards are achieved and sustained. His specific tactical duties include those discussed below.

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Command and control the Paladin battery and supervise the operations of the platoons. To the maximum extent possible, maintain a presence in the position area and in the POCs, teaching, supervising, and ensuring adherence to established standards.

(2) Conduct general reconnaissance and select a series of position areas.

(3) Directly coordinate with other units positioned in his assigned battery area to provide for mutual defensive support and to resolve any land management conflicts.

(4) Coordinate with the battalion S3 and reconnaissance and survey officer (RSO) for survey requirements including navigation update points. (See Chapter 3.)

(5) Obtain survivability move criteria from battalion and provide to platoon leaders. This guidance is based primarily on the anticipated level of threat and the terrain available IAW the factors of METT-T and the unit's tactical standing operating procedures (TSOP). (See paragraph 3-4.)

 

c. Equipment Requirements:

The battery commander must continue to be mobile on the battlefield. Paladin tactics require the BC to have a combat vehicle, driver, secure GPS/PLGR, and 2 long range radios.

2-2. Duties of the First Sergeant

a. General Duties:

The firing battery first sergeant (1SG) is the principal enlisted assistant to the battery commander. He is the primary trainer for enlisted personnel. Additionally, he supervises all administrative and logistical support requirements. His principal assistants include the battery supply sergeant and the maintenance contact team chief. The 1SG's duties include the following:

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Coordinate battery supply, maintenance, and food service operations.

(2) Maintain a presence in the position area supervising the platoon sergeants, gunnery sergeants, and Paladin section chiefs.

(3) Ensure platoon sergeants establish adequate security for their elements.

(4) Develop and supervise the security plan as appropriate.

c. Equipment Requirements:

A Paladin Battery 1SG must have a HMMWV, driver, secure GPS/PLGR, and 2 long range radios to accomplish his general and specific duties.

2-3. Duties of the Platoon Leader

a. General Duties:

(1) The platoon leader (PLT LDR) is the tactical commander of the Paladin platoon and therefore remains with the platoon during tactical operations. He is responsible for all actions of the platoon to include movement, night and degraded operations, defense, communications, individual training and enforcement of battery standards.

(2) The platoon leader relies heavily on the platoon sergeant to supervise the firing element and on the gunnery sergeant to conduct reconnaissance, selection, and occupation of the position (RSOP).

(3) The platoon leader moves throughout the platoon area as his duties require. During battle preparations or lulls in combat, the platoon leader coordinates with the POC to obtain class V and III updates, issue orders, and coordinate for future operations.

(4) During offensive operations, he must position himself to facilitate command and control of his platoon. For example, during a movement to contact, the platoon leader could be at a critical terrain choke point and may need to coordinate with maneuver elements to facilitate passage through a minefield.

(5) In the defense, he could be located in an overwatch position monitoring survivability moves or key avenues of approach. In addition to the responsibilities of commanding the platoon, the Platoon Leader must be prepared to assume the duties of the platoon fire direction officer (FDO).

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Plan, coordinate, supervise, and direct Paladin platoon operations. For example:

(a) Plans and issues platoon operations/movement orders.

(b) Conducts in-depth platoon rehearsals.

(c) Updates platoon on tactical situation and survivability movement criteria.

(d) Plan and supervise platoon tactical moves.

(2) Verify database in AFCS during initialization or otherwise required.

(3) Manages combat service support (CSS) for the platoon and tracks the ammunition status.

(4) Ensures AFCS and lightweight computer unit (LCU) databases are input correctly and that independent secondary checks are made of all entries.

(5) Ensures an independent secondary check of all survey data.

(6) Ensures verification of howitzer location and direction (See Chapter 7).

c. Equipment Requirement:

The platoon leader must have a dedicated vehicle in order to accomplish his duties, and execute battle command of his platoon. A combat vehicle is required for the platoon leader to include a driver, two radios, and a secure GPS.

 

2-4. Duties of the Platoon Fire Direction Officer

a. General Duties:

The platoon fire direction officer (FDO) is responsible for the training and supervision of the POC personnel. He must also be familiar with the duties of the platoon leader, as he may be called upon to assume these duties in addition to his own. Additional duties of the FDO include the following:

(1) Supervises the establishment, verification, and maintenance of the platoon computer data base, ensuring that all reports are received, recorded, and processed, as required by the unit TSOP.

(2) If required, verify database in AFCS during initialization.

(3) Provide tactical fire direction.

(4) Supervise the overall conduct of fires.

(5) Review FM:CFFs, as necessary, and select the shell-fuze and propelling charge for each howitzer in order to decrease the fire mission processing time at the howitzer and to achieve optimum effects on target commensurate with ammo on hand.

(6) Track ammunition count and usage; recommend ammo distribution plan to the platoon leader.

(7) Inform section chiefs of the overall tactical situation and provide guidance on positioning. Ensure howitzers do not emplace in areas just vacated and susceptible to counterfire.

(8) Report platoon logistical and administrative requirements to 1SG as appropriate.

(9) Control the fires of an adjacent Paladin platoon as required.

(10) Exchange key POC database information with "sister" POC.

(11) Maintains capability of computing the technical firing solution for any degraded howitzers.

 

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Verify the technical data bases for AFATDS, BCS and AFCS, specifically:

(a) Howitzer location, azimuth of fire, and powder temperature.

(b) MV files, target files, ammunition files.

(c) Verification mission to validate initial data base and changes to data base.

(d) Application of registration corrections, and current meteorological (MET) data.

(2) Ensure secondary check is made of all entries into the AFATDS/LCU.

(3) Verify target plots before processing fire missions, and ensure the target location does not violate fire support coordinating measures (FSCM).

(4) Ensure the dissemination of the following:

(a) Required TSOP reports to higher headquarters.

(b) Required data base information to the battalion tactical fire direction system and the adjacent platoon BCS.

(c) Tactical and technical fire control measures, based upon commander's guidance, including howitzer movement.

(5) Control howitzer movement and positioning, and track using howitzer tracking chart.

(6) Verify situation map is updated.

 

2-5. Duties of the Fire Direction Chief

a. General Duties:

The fire direction chief is the technical expert on technical/tactical fire direction and operation of AFATDS/LCU. He is the platoon FDOs principal enlisted assistant.

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Verify AFATDS/LCU initialization information.

(2) Ensure secondary check is made of all entries into the AFATDS/LCU.

(3) Ensure the current met, MVVs and registration data are entered into the BCS data base. Ensure this information is transmitted to the Paladins, using a HOW;REQUEST message (See Chapter 7 and Appendix B).

 

(4) Verify data base information for each howitzer.

(5) Ensure all information received is properly posted and verified on situation overlays, status charts, and howitzer tracking chart.

(6) As directed, assume the duties of the FDO.

(7) Shift supervisor during continuous operations of the POC.

 

2-6. Duties of Fire Direction Computer

The fire direction computer operates and maintains the LCU. He inputs, updates, and deletes data base information as directed. He relays information reported by the howitzers to the FDO or fire direction chief for verification.

 

2-7. Duties of Fire Direction Specialist

The fire direction specialist posts the situation maps and maintains the howitzer tracking chart, data base charts, and files as directed (for example, howitzer locations, ammunition status, met data, and MVVs). He maintains and operates AFATDS, radio equipment, command post carrier, and ancillary equipment.

 

2-8. Duties of the Platoon Sergeant

a. General Duties:

The platoon sergeant (PLT SGT) is the primary enlisted assistant to the platoon leader, he must be prepared to assume the platoon leader's duties. Normally, he is the senior NCO in the platoon area during firing, moving between the howitzers and the POC to perform his duties. Other responsibilities include the following:

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Train and supervise the howitzer section chiefs.

(2) Verify database in AFCS during initialization or as required.

(3) Plan, coordinate and conduct Paladin platoon occupations and displacements. Ensure Section Chiefs know alternate positions throughout the platoon area.

(4) Conduct independent secondary check of all survey data.

(5) Ensure verification of howitzer location and direction (See Chapter 7).

(6) Coordinate and supervise ammunition distribution plans.

(7) Verify howitzer calibration and ensure muzzle velocity (MV) readings are provided to the POC.

(8) Determine platoon requirements and coordinate with the platoon leader and 1SG for all logistical activities for the platoon.

(9) Plan and supervise the security of all elements within the platoon, and coordinate with the battery 1SG.

(10) Enforce navigation updates as required.

(11) Verify the confidence test on the howitzer as required (Refer to TM 9-2350-314-10).

c. Equipment Requirements:

PLT SGTs must have a dedicated vehicle and driver, secure GPS/PLGR, and a long range radio in order to accomplish his duties. The platoon leader, gunnery sergeant, and platoon sergeant must have separate HMMWVs to maximize their collective ability to "fight a Paladin platoon."

 

2-9. Duties of the Gunnery Sergeant

a. General Duties:

The gunnery sergeant (GSG) is the primary reconnaissance expert for the platoon. Additionally, he assists the platoon sergeant and must be prepared to assume many of the duties of the platoon leader. His primary responsibilities include the following:

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Perform in-depth reconnaissance of route and platoon position areas selecting multiple howitzer or pair locations for possible use. This is made easier by use of the global positioning system (GPS). As a minimum he should:

(a) Verify the position area location and transmit the location (easting, northing, and altitude) and radius per pair (if operating in paired howitzers) to the POC.

(b) Coordinate with the battery commander (BC) and survey team for emplacement of survey control points (SCPs).

(c) Select location of SCPs, release points, and rally points as required.

(d) Verify that SCPs are properly marked and conduct independent secondary check of all survey data.

(2) Assist and advise the battery commander during battery RSOP planning.

(3) Select the location for the POC and make a radio check with battalion to ensure radio communications capability.

(4) As required, reconnoiter possible logistical resupply point (LRP) locations within or close to the position areas ensuring areas selected do not compromise platoon positions.

(5) Initiate the platoon security plan as a part of his detailed RSOP.

(6) Identify the location of any friendly elements within or adjacent to the area of operation.

c. Equipment Requirement:

He is the primary reconnaissance expert for the platoon and spends the majority of his time away from the platoon and must have his own combat hardened vehicle with a driver, long-range radio, and secure GPS/PLGR.

 

2-10. Duties of the Paladin Chief of Section

a. General Duties:

The Paladin Chief of Section (CS) is responsible for all operations of the Paladin section. He normally positions himself at the Display Unit during firing and movement.

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Initialize and operate the AFCS with a secondary check of all procedures.

(2) Monitor AFCS during navigation.

(3) Select firing positions within assigned fire area.

(4) Select hasty occupation firing positions for the Paladin while conducting tactical movement.

(5) When using GPS/PLGR unaided, to track distance traveled after initialization of the Modular Azimuth Positioning System Hybrid (MAPS-H), ensure that no more than 16 miles (27 kilometers) is traveled between each navigation update.

(6) Performs zero-velocity updates (ZUPT) when prompted unless otherwise directed.

(7) Ensure digital and voice communications are established and maintained.

(8) Plan and coordinate for the security of the howitzer section as designated by the PLT SGT (The senior CS is responsible for security in multi-howitzer operations).

(9) Direct personnel rotations between the howitzer and the CATV. Cross-train crewmen in all section duties. Special emphasis will be placed on training the gunner and ammunition team chief in the operation of the AFCS.

(10) Ensure that all required reports are submitted to the POC in an accurate and timely manner.

(11) Coordinate logistical support and maintenance requirements with the FDO, PLT SGT, GSG, or platoon leader.

(12) Supervise PMCS and other maintenance as directed by applicable technical manuals on the section M109A6 and CATV.

(13) Maintain ammo accountability for both his howitzer and CATV.

 

c. Duties before firing:

(1) Ensures that the AFCS is properly initialized/updated/checked at an established SCP. Operates or supervises the operation of the AFCS in both operational and degraded modes. Monitors and verifies all data input into the AFCS.

(2) Selects a suitable firing position.

(3) Designates the position for the CATV.

(4) Operates the AFCS, radios, and hydraulic control box.

(5) Directs the driver to orient the howitzer on the general direction of the azimuth of fire provided by the POC.

(6) Commands "PREPARE FOR ACTION."

(7) Supervises the conduct of prefire checks.

(8) Assists the driver with the travel lock.

(9) Verifies the position location by use of a GPS/PLGR aiding, independent GPS/PLGR, a survey control point, adjacent howitzer with good location, or map spot. Map spot is the least reliable but most readily available method when not GPS/PLGR aiding.

(10) Records position data.

(11) Determines site data as part of position improvement.

(12) Determines maximum tube elevation.

(13) Sends piece status. (At this point, the howitzer is considered "ready to fire").

(14) Establishes a distant aiming point (DAP) if available.

(15) Ensures that the ammunition data for the howitzer and CATV are correct, accurately input into the AFCS, and updated after each fire mission.

(16) Ensures an accurate powder temperature is input in the AFCS and is updated as required.

(17) Ensures that the gunner verifies boresight.

d. Duties upon receipt of fire mission: IAW with chapter 2-15 of TM 9-2350-314-10.

e. Preparation for movement:

(1) Commands "MARCH ORDER."

(2) Gives movement instructions to the ammunition team chief (ATC).

(3) Normally, the section moves on its own (for survivability moves) based on guidance received from the POC and under the direction of the senior CS.

(4) Transmits a piece status upon completion of the move.

2-11. Duties of the Gunner

The gunner must be aware of the status of the section and prepared to assume the duties of the CS or the ATC to facilitate 24-hour operations. He operates the AFCS as directed by the CS.

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Unlocks turret lock, secures ballistic shield, and releases spade pins as required .

(2) Assists with determining mask data by sighting through the bore and directing the CS's movement of the tube.

(3) Conducts pre-fire checks as directed by the Chief.

(4) Establishes an alternate aiming point using a DAP (if available) or emplaces the collimator (as required). Records data to the alternate aiming point.

(5) Reports the temperature of the propellant being fired (on-board howitzer, CATV, or outside cache) to the CS every 2 hours or as required by TSOP/ POC.

b. Duties upon receipt of fire mission:

(1) Assists the CS in conducting safe howitzer operations.

(2) Announces the propellant and charge, prepares charge, loads charge, closes breech and ensures unused increments are stowed in propellant canister.

(3) Verifies firing data on display unit by checking for the following: lay key is backlit, actual and commanded QE and DF are equal, and the prompt, "warning tube is not in laid position" is not displayed. If data is not verified or data is incorrect, he announces "CHECK FIRING."

c. Preparation for movement:

(1) Locks the turret lock and secures the ballistic shield.

(2) Notifies the CS that the howitzer is ready to move.

(3) Monitors and reports AFCS data to CS during movement.

2-12. Duties of the Number 1 Cannoneer

a. Duties before firing: IAW with chapter 2-15 of TM 9-2350-314-10.

b. Duties upon receipt of fire mission: IAW with chapter 2-15 of TM 9-2350-314-10.

c. Preparation for movement: IAW with chapter 2-15 of TM 9-2350-314-10.

 

2-13. Duties of the Howitzer Driver

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Records mileage after last navigation update. Reports to CS when howitzer approaches 16 miles (27 Km) since last update.

(2) Conducts prefire checks.

(3) Closes the driver's hatch.

(4) Sets the throttle to 1000-1200 revolutions per minute (RPM).

(5) Operates the remote travel lock and commands ELEVATE.

(6) Scans his sector defined by the chief and reports any unusual activity.

b. Duties upon receipt of fire mission:

(1) Ensures driverís hatch is closed, and remains in the driver's compartment and monitors instruments.

(2) Records firing data on DA Form 4513 (Record of Missions Fired).

(3) Scans his immediate front and reports any unusual activity.

c. Preparation for movement:

(1) Maintains DA Form 4513 IAW FM 6-50.

(2) Operates the travel lock.

 

2-14. Duties of the Ammunition Team Chief (ATC)

The ATC must be proficient in mounted land navigation; he must be prepared to assume the duties of the gunner or CS during 24-hour operations. He supervises the cannoneers assigned to the CATV and must be capable of operating the AFCS.

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Positions the CATV as directed.

(2) Commands "PREPARE FOR ACTION."

(3) Starts the auxiliary power unit (APU) and positions conveyor.

(4) Reports the current ammunition inventory and powder temperature to CS as needed.

b. Duties upon receipt of fire mission:

(1) Maintains DA Form 5969-R.

(2) Verifies shell, charge, and fuze setting (when firing off the CATV), and reports powder temperature as required.

c. Preparation for movement: The ATC secures the conveyor and shuts down the APU.

2-15. Duties of the Ammunition Vehicle Driver

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Positions the CATV as directed by the ATC.

(2) Sets the brakes.

(3) Remains in the driver's compartment, monitors the instruments as required, and scans his sector as defined by the ATC.

b. Duties during firing: The driver performs duties as directed by the ATC.

c. Preparation for movement: The driver releases the brakes and prepares to move.

 

2-16. Duties of the Number 2 Cannoneer

The Number 2 cannoneer is normally the second senior soldier on the CATV. He must be prepared to assume the duties of the ATC during continuous operations.

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Opens the lower rear door and extends the conveyor for operation, assisted by the Number 4 cannoneer.

(2) Connects communications between the CATV and the howitzer as required.

(3) Places the powder thermometer in the powder charge, prepares powder charges for firing and reports powder temperature to the ATC.

(4) As directed by the CS, helps the gunner emplace the collimator (for mated operations).

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Prepares powder charges.

(2) Carries ammunition to the howitzer if required.

c. Preparation for movement:

(1) Disconnects communications between the howitzer and the CATV.

(2) Retracts the conveyor and closes the rear door.

 

2-17. Duties of the Number 3 Cannoneer

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Prepares the conveyor for operation.

(2) Prepares ammunition for firing.

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Places the projectile on the conveyor dead-end section.

(2) Operates the conveyor controls.

c. Preparation for movement: Assists the Number 2 cannoneer in retracting the conveyor.

 

2-18. Duties of the Number 4 Cannoneer

a. Duties before firing: Prepares the conveyor for operation, assisted by the Number 2 cannoneer.

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Prepares ammunition for firing.

(2) Carries ammunition to the howitzer as directed.

c. Duties after firing: Returns ammunition to the stowed configuration.