ST 6-50-60 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for
M109A6 HOWITZER (PALADIN) OPERATIONS


CHAPTER 2

DUTIES OF KEY PERSONNEL

 

The tactical responsibilities of the Paladin (M109A6) firing battery key personnel are discussed in paragraphs 2-1 through 2-7. Duties of the howitzer section are covered in paragraph 2-8 and 2-9. These responsibilities are in addition to the duties of key personnel in a platoon-based battery listed in FM 6-50, Chapter 1. Duties of the Battalion Commander and battalion personnel have not changed as covered in FM 6-20. The Battalion S-3 is responsible for determining movement criteria.

 

2-1. 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 maintained. 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 firing platoon positions.

(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 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 (factors of mission, enemy terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) and the unit's tactical standing operating procedures (TSOP). (See paragraph 3-4.)

c. Vehicle Requirements.

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

NOTE: The battalion commander(FSCOORD) requires a combat tracked vehicle and a tactical vehicle(HMMWV).

2-2. FIRST SERGEANT

a. General Duties:

The firing battery first sergeant (1SG) is the principal enlisted assistant to the battery commander. As such, he is the primary trainer for the enlisted soldiers in the battery and assists the battery commander in commanding and controlling the battery. In addition, he supervises all administrative and logistical support. The 1SG's principal assistants in executing the administrative and logistics function are the battery supply sergeant and the maintenance contact team chief. The 1SG's principal duties include the following:

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Coordinate battery support activities such as battery supply, maintenance, and food service operations.

(2) Supervise the platoon sergeants, gunnery sergeants, and Paladin section chiefs, and whenever possible, maintain a presence in the position area.

(3) Ensure platoon sergeants establish adequate platoon defenses.

(4) Develop and supervise the battery defense, as appropriate.

c. Vehicle Requirement:

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

2-3. PLATOON LEADER

a. General Duties:

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

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 platoon position (RSOP).

The platoon leader moves throughout the platoon area as his duties require. During battle preparations or lulls in combat, the platoon leader can go to the POC to obtain class V and III statuses, issue orders, or coordinate for future operations.

During offensive operations, he must position himself where he can effectively command and control his platoon. For example, during a movement to contact, the platoon leader could be at a critical terrain choke point to facilitate passage, passage points through minefields, critical check or coordination points with maneuver, and if required position himself in a combat vehicle during extended movements.

In the defense, he could be located in an over watch position monitoring survivability moves; at a platoon passage point, or with the platoon monitoring a pair of howitzers. 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 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) Oversee the critical CSS for the platoon.

a. Tracks the ammunition status for the platoon.

c. Vehicle 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, TC, two radios, and a secure GPS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2-4. PLATOON FIRE DIRECTION OFFICER

a. General Duties:

The platoon fire direction officer 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) Supervise establishing, verifying and maintaining the platoon computer data base and that all reports are received, recorded, and processed as required by the unit TSOP.

(2) Supervise the overall conduct of fires. Provide tactical fire direction as required.

(3) 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.

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

(5) 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.

(6) Provide firing limits to the howitzer section chiefs before firing using SYS;PTM voice or written instructions.

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

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

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

b. Specific Duties:

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

- Howitzer location, azimuth of fire, and powder temperature.

- MV files, target files, ammunition files.

- Dry fire or AMC missions to validate initial data base and changes to data base.

- Application of registration corrections, and current meteorological (MET) data. (See Chapter 7, paragraph 7-6, and Appendix B, paragraphs B-3 and B- 11.)

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

(3) Compute safety data for all ammunition.

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

(5) Ensure the dissemination of the following:

- Required TSOP reports to higher headquarters.

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

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

(6) Control howitzer movement and positioning.

(7) Verify situation map is updated.

 

2-5. 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) Plan, coordinate and conduct Paladin platoon occupations and displacements. Ensure Section Chiefs know alternate positions throughout the platoon area.

(3) Coordinate and supervise ammunition distribution plans.

(4) Verify howitzer calibration and ensure muzzle velocity (MV) readings are provided to the POC. Ensure that fire control alignment checks are performed as required.

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

(6) Supervise the platoon defensive plan, and coordinate with the battery 1SG.

(7) Enforce navigation systems updates as required.

c. Vehicle Requirement:

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

 

2-6. GUNNERY SERGEANT

a. General Duties:

The gunnery sergeant (GSG) is the primary reconnaissance expert for the platoon. In addition, he helps the platoon sergeant perform his duties, he 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. Determine the worst case XO's MIN QE along the center sector of fire for the center of the new position area and transmit to the POC for use in the howitzer's move orders.

c. Coordinate with the battery commander (BC) and position and azimuth determining system (PADS) team for emplacement of SCPs.

d. Track cumulative howitzer mileage and select location of survey control points (SCPs) and rally points as required. Verify that SCPs are properly marked.

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

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

(4) Reconnoiter possible logistic resupply point (LRP) locations within or close to the platoon areas ensuring areas selected do not compromise platoon position.

(5) Begin preparation of the platoon defense diagram and position area map as a part of his detailed RSOP. Plot the location of any friendly elements within or adjacent to the platoon position area on the position area map.

c. Vehicle 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, TC, long-range radio, and secure GPS.

 

2-7. FIRE DIRECTION CHIEF

a. General Duties: The fire direction chief is the technical expert on tactical fire direction and operation of the battery computer system or lightweight computer unit (BCS/LCU). He is the platoon FDOs principal enlisted assistant.

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Verify BCS initialization information.

(2) Ensure secondary check is made of all entries into the BCS/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) Compute safety data for all ammunition separately from the FDO.

(6) Ensure all information received is properly posted and verified on situation overlays or status charts.

(7) Assume the fire direction duties of the FDO as directed, and act as shift supervisor during 24-hour operation of the POC.

 

2-8. PALADIN CHIEF OF SECTION:

a. General Duties: The Paladin Chief of Section (CS) is responsible for all operations of the Paladin section. He normally occupies a position at the Display Unit during firing and movement.

b. Specific Duties:

(1) Monitor AFCS during navigation, and select firing positions within assigned fire area.

(2) Select hasty occupation firing positions for the Paladin while conducting tactical movement. Receive and record firing safety limits provided by the POC before firing.

(3) Monitor the time when traveling after initialization or navigation update of the modular azimuth positioning system (MAPS) at an SCP to ensure that a zero- velocity update (ZUPT) is conducted every 10 minutes (when directed by the PLT SGT or PLT LDR) and that no more than 16 miles (27 kilometers) are traveled between updates.

(4) Ensure digital and voice communications are established and maintained with the POC and the other gun section in the pair (if applicable).

 

(5) Plan and coordinate for the defense of the howitzer section as designated by the PLT SGT. (The senior CS is responsible for defense in paired howitzer operations.)

(6) Direct personnel rotations between the howitzer and the field artillery ammunition supply vehicle (FAASV). 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.

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

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

 

(9) Verify that fire control alignment checks are performed by the howitzer crew at appropriate intervals.

(10) Supervise preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) on the section M109A6 and FAASV.

(11) Maintains ammo accountability for both his howitzer and FAASV.

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 firing position that provides intervisibility with at least one other Paladin to allow for reciprocal laying (degraded operations), verification of azimuth of fire, mutual support with direct fire weapons.

(3) Designates the position for the FAASV.

(4) Operates or supervises operation of 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, or chooses the most likely azimuth of fire for his current position if an azimuth is not provided. (Occupation Time Starts)

(6) Conducts prefire checks.

(7) Assists the driver with the travel lock.

(8) Commands PREPARE FOR ACTION.

(9) Verifies the position location by use of a global positioning system, a survey control point, adjacent howitzer with good location, or map spot. Map spot is the least reliable by most available method. An independent verification is done by platoon leader/platoon sergeant and/or POC.

(10) Ensures direction is verified.( M2 Compass method, tube to tube, or other approved methods in FM 6-50).

(11) Determines a one line entry site data using azimuth, range, and elevation. Verifies data are correctly input in the AFCS.

(12) Inputs maximum tube elevation if default value is not used.

(13) Inputs load elevation as directed by POC.

(14) Records firing limits as transmitted SYS;PTM by POC.

(15) Verifies firing limits received from POC. At this point, the howitzer is considered ready to fire.

(16) Establishes an alternate aiming point; DAP, collimator and/or the aiming posts may be used.

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

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

(19) Ensures that the gunner checks boresight with the M140 alignment device.

d. Duties during firing:

(1) Issues and verifies fire commands to the howitzer crew, including correct shell-fuze combination, fuze setting, and powder charge.

(2) Performs duties as the primary operator of the AFCS.

(3) Verifies that the howitzer is correctly laid for deflection and quadrant for each round fired. Ensures that the actual and commanded deflection and quadrant are the same, lay key is backlit, and warning prompt tube not in lay position is not displayed before firing the howitzer.

(4) Supervises all members of the section as they prepare ammunition, load and fire the howitzer.

(5) Physically checks charge and time fuze settings for each round fired. Validates (after ram) that actual and commanded data on the AFCS match.

(6) Commands # 1 man to prime, hook-up, and fire the weapon.

(7) Ensures accurate ammunition accountability by using DA Form 5969-R (Section Chiefs Report) and DA Form 4513 (Record of Missions Fired).

(8) Ensures that propellant temperatures are updated every 2 hours, whenever significant changes in climatic conditions occur, or as directed by TSOP or the POC.

(9) Between missions, supervises position improvement.

d. Duties after firing:

(1) Commands MARCH ORDER.

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

(3) Notifies the POC when the section is moving. Normally, the section moves on its own (for survivability moves) based on guidance received from the POC.

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

 

2-9. GUNNER

The gunner must be constantly aware of the status of the section and prepared to assume the duties of the CS or the ATC if necessary to support 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 the CS in verifying direction, If using M2 Compass method, he exits the howitzer and verifies direction to within 100 mils. If using tube to tube, he directs movement of the tube and sites through the tube verifying direction to within 10 mils.

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

(4) Conduct pre-fire checks as directed by the Chief.

(5) Establishes an alternate aiming point using a DAP (if available) or directing emplacement of the collimator (as required), and records data to the alternate aiming point.

(6) Emplace the powder thermometer. Reads the temperature to the CS every 2 hours or as required by TSOP or by the POC when the section is firing on-board ammunition.

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Helps the CS ensure safe conduct of fire and howitzer operation.

(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. Duties after firing:

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

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

(4) Monitors AFCS during movement.

 

2-10. Number 1 Cannoneer

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Conduct pre-fire checks as directed by CS.

(2) Emplaces the collimator as directed.

(3) Inspects breech, cannon tube, and loader rammer.

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Announces the shell-fuze type, and any fuze setting to the CS.

(2) Verifies, loads and rams the projectile when the CS announces shell/fuze combination. If fuze requires a time setting, then he rams upon verification of fuze time setting.

(3) Upon command to prime, places the primer in the primer vent.

(4) Upon command to hook-up, hooks the lanyard to the firing lock, and upon command, fires the weapon.

c. Duties after firing:

(1) Ensures the bore is clear, inspects and swabs the powder chamber and obturator spindle group, verifies the bore is clear, closes the breech, and cleans the primer vent.

(2) Recovers the collimator (if used).

(3) Stows unused projectiles, fuzes, and primers.

 

2-11. Howitzer Driver

a. Duties before firing:

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

(2) Closes the driver's hatch.

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

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

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

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Ensures drivers 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.

b. Duties after firing:

(1) Helps the CS with the travel lock.

(2) Drives the howitzer off the spades (if necessary).

 

2-12. Duties of FAASV Personnel

(1) Ammunition Team Chief (ATC):

The ammunition team chief 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 FAASV and must be capable of operating the AFCS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Positions the FAASV as directed by the CS or the Number 1 cannoneer.

(2) Commands PREPARE FOR ACTION.

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

(4) Verifies and reports the current ammunition inventory by type, lot, square weight, and quantity to the gunner or CS and to the PLT SGT. Reports powder temperature.

b. Duties during firing:

(1) Maintains DA Form 5969-R.

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

c. Duties after firing: The ATC secures the conveyor and shuts down the APU.

 

(2) Ammunition Vehicle Driver:

a. Duties before firing:

(1) Positions the FAASV 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. Duties after firing: The driver releases the brakes and prepares to move.

 

(3) Number 2 Cannoneer:

The Number 2 cannoneer normally is the second most senior soldier on the FAASV. 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 FAASV 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. Duties after firing:

(1) Unhooks communications between the howitzer and the FAASV.

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

 

4. 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. Duties after firing: Helps the Number 2 cannoneer retract the conveyor.

 

(5) Number 4 cannoneer:

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

b. Duties during firing:

(1) With the Number 3 cannoneer, prepares ammunition for firing.

(2) Carries ammunition to the howitzer as directed.

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

 

 

 

2-13. Duties of Fire Direction Section

 

(1) 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) 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 radio equipment and the command post carrier.