169th Field Artillery Brigade
The mission of the 169th Field Artillery Brigade is to command and control one to five General Support or General Support Reinforcing Field Artillery Battalions and/or a Target Acquisition Battery.
The Brigade has two subordinate battalions headquartered in Longmont (1/157th FA BN) and Colorado Springs (2/157th FA BN) comprising a third of the Colorado Army Guard strength.
These artillery units, known as the "King of Battle", are equipped with the M109A5 Self-Propelled Howitzer. The primary tool in the Colorado Army National Guard's Field Artillery arsenal is the M109A5 Self Propelled Howitzer. This 26-ton monster of mayhem fires a 155mm cannon with a 22,000 meter range. The weapon fires a variety of munitions including High Explosive, Illuminating, Smoke and Chemical. It can carry 22 rounds of separate loading 155mm ammunition and 500 rounds of machine gun ammo for the .50 caliber (M2) mounted on top. The M109 has a maximum road speed of 35 mph, with a driving range of nearly 220 miles without refueling. It normally has a crew of 6. The M109 is used extensively by NATO forces and other countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. This bad-boy howitzer is scheduled to be replaced by the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). The M109A6 Paladin is another artillery variant built on the same chassis with basically the same mission - raining steel on the enemy.
The M548 is a tracked vehicle that carries the ammo for the mighty howitzers. With a crew of three, this trusty vehicle follows the M109s everywhere. A .50 caliber is mounted on top of the cab for air and perimeter defense. The M548 is scheduled to be replaced by FASV (Field Artillery Support Vehicle), which goes hand-in-hand with the Paladin.
Artillery units also make extensive use of the M998 or "Humvee" (Highly Mobility, Multi-Purpose, Wheeled Vehicle). "Hummers", as they are also known, can be set-up in over a dozen variations including two and four litter ambulances, "pick up" trucks, communication "rat rigs", and TOW missile launchers. Hummers have a maximum speed of 65 mph, weigh in at over 5,000 lbs and are full time four wheel drive. They are powered by a 6.2 diesel engine and the body panels and glass can be interchanged with "bullet-proof" replacements. The Humvee makes the "Jeep" of old completely obsolete.
The artillery inventory also relies on a small fleet of 2 1/2 and 5 ton trucks. Known as M35s and M925s respectively, these go anywhere, haul anything, heavy trucks carry the necessary supplies and miscellaneous materials the "King of Battle" requires to maintain their effectiveness. The "Deuce-n- Half" is powered by a Caterpillar 8.0 liter diesel engine, while the 5-Ton utilizes a Cummins 8.3 liter turbo after-cooled engine. The new 900 series trucks (and the M35A3) have user-friendly automatic transmissions.
The M908 Expandable Truck is a mobile headquarters built onto a 5-ton truck's chassis. These "Expando Vans" are used at the Brigade level as the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). By setting up these trucks in tandem, the Brigade HQ is able to control up to five Field Artillery Battalions, or approximately 2500 troops and 95 howitzers spread across a Corps-area supporting maneuver elements.
The M88 is a medium armored recovery vehicle. It's crew of 4 has the mission of recovering damaged and disabled Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs). The diesel engine in the M88 develops up to 750 blown horsepower at only 2400 rpm, thus giving it the strength it needs to pull a larger tracked vehicle and gives the vehicle a longer operating range of 280 miles. The vehicle has two winches, a full range of tools, auxiliary fuel pump, and even an "A-frame" to remove and change major components such as complete turrets. Armed with a .50 caliber machine gun, the M88 is one mean tow truck.
The M1070 Palletized Loading System (PLS) is an ammunition re-supply vehicle. It is used to haul M109 ammo long distances and faster than the M548. It has a two-man crew. The palette uses hydraulics to completely unload a full pallet of ammo in a manner of minutes and go back for more. It is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment, making use of central-tire inflation system, 10-wheel drive, and a heavy duty engine tied to a heavy duty transmission.
Another important vehicle in the Field Artillery is the M577. It is the Command vehicle and each Artillery Battery (typically, a battery consists of six howitzers and approximately 100 men) has at least three. The 577 has a crew of two men, but holds up to 10 more. The hull is armored and the vehicle is fully amphibious. Road speed is 42 mph, range is 300 miles. The M577 Command Vehicle and the M548 Cargo Carrier are based on the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier.
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