Defence Europe Global News Military Russia Ukraine War

Offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Russia is Losing Divisions of Artillery

The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to advance in several directions at once, while successfully suppressing the firepower of the Russian army, helping the attack aircraft to move forward. In June, Ukrainian artillery destroyed a record number of artillery pieces and installations of the Russian army this year. Despite the fact that the aggressor country surpasses Ukraine several times in terms of the number of guns and shells, Donbaas.Realii writes.

Howitzer M777. Ukrainian positions. Avdiivka

Avdiivka. The Russian army has been actively advancing here since July last year. Until now, he is trying to surround the city, because he cannot be taken. This is a great merit of Ukrainian artillerymen.

“They have a lot of equipment and they really need our work and our support. There are a lot of groups, if they specifically start to climb there – go on the offensive, this offensive does not last long. Because we, our colleagues in the area, work well. We work fast. It takes 5-10 minutes, maybe a little more. They had a lot of fun there. They have a lot of burnt equipment. But in general, we work when they climb, because they climb very often, ”says Anton , a soldier of a separate motorized infantry brigade .

Comparing the M-777 and Soviet counterparts, Ukrainian artillerymen choose a Western howitzer. It is light, mobile, better in accuracy and range. With a standard high-explosive fragmentation projectile, it hits 22.5 kilometers.

“In terms of range – this is the time. She has a plus or minus pointing accuracy better. the panorama itself. Since on the Soviet ones, as we worked, all the marks must be very clearly set there so that it all beats clearly there. It’s much faster here. Here is the dial. You screwed yourself up, set it up a little, aimed at the compass (a device used in artillery to determine magnetic azimuths and directional angles – ed. ). All is ready. And there you need to play a little with the divisions, which are hard to see. It’s especially hard at night. It works 24/7. We can shoot more than 120 per day,” says a soldier of the 59th separate motorized infantry brigade with the call sign “Spark”.

When firing from the M 777, Ukrainian artillerymen use both the old M 107 shells and the new M 795 shells. The latter have one and a half times more explosive than the Soviet 152 mm caliber. They also have other advantages.

“We came under enemy fire and we had 155 caliber ammunition. They don’t detonate, they don’t explode. And it helped a lot. If we had 152 calibers, they would detonate. It’s just been checked, ”says Roman , a soldier of the 59th separate motorized infantry brigade .

The Russian army cannot mass-produce Western artillery with its own. Therefore, it actively uses Lancet kamikaze drones against howitzers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“The Russians, somewhere in the autumn of 22, they realized that their artillery was less effective than the Ukrainian one, and therefore they relied on precisely the strikes of these Lancets. They had quite a lot of “lancets” and they used, for example, up to three for one self-propelled unit. The “Lancet” has a greater range than artillery, it is driven by another drone, and until our military has figured out what means to fight them – these are active and passive. Passive ones are well-known anti-lancet nets, and active ones are the use of electronic warfare equipment, the so-called trench ones. But so far, the Lancets have done the most damage to Ukrainian artillery, ”says military expert Mikhail Zhirokhov .

The M-777 can only be destroyed by a direct hit from a heavy projectile. And even then not always – say the fighters

“I got a little under fire, besides, I got under another fire, she was on fire. Nothing. Replaced quickly and everything works great. It is made of titanium,” says Roman.

Losses of Russian artillery

According to the Oryx project , which calculates the loss of equipment from photos and videos, since the beginning of June, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed, sometimes damaged, more than 60 units of field and rocket artillery of the Russian army. This is about seven percent of all artillery installations that Russia has lost.

“These are whole divisions. Artillery battalions. It’s a lot. Imagine even if you take the battery. Several guns. 5-6 guns. This is a big power. And we must understand in terms of space and time. In relatively limited areas – because Ukraine does not act entirely along the entire front, but there are several directions of strikes. Plus, in just a few weeks. If we take the indicators of the loss of artillery, then this is 1-3 in favor of Ukraine. This can only be explained by one thing – the counter-battery fight in Ukraine is much better, incomparably better than in Russia, ”says Israel Defense Forces officer, military analyst Yigal Levin .

“In military science, there are two points – either look for a weak spot in the enemy at the front and direct the main blow there, or form this weak spot on your own, that is, with these constant blows to knock out artillery on a certain sector of the front. This section cannot be large, it is not a thousand kilometers, not on the entire front, somewhere around 20-25 kilometers, I mean in width, and that’s where the enemy’s artillery is knocked out, the maximum is knocked out. And after that, offensives go into this area. There are questions about minefields, there are questions about others, but the tactics of using artillery is exactly like that, ”adds Mikhail Zhirokhov.

Armored howitzers are now the most modern self-propelled guns in the Ukrainian army. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have been actively using them in the Bakhmut direction for more than a year. During this time, the gunners managed to appreciate the convenient control system, automatic aiming, the circular rotation of the tower, and armor.

“Comfort is a big plus. We worked on the “Peonies”, it is clear that heavy shells [should] be carried. All on the street. Rain, swamp. We need to dig ourselves some holes for shelter. And in principle, if there is some kind of shelling, then it withstands fragments a little there. Shells fell five meters away. She’s a little shabby. Here are the shells, there are still a few traces. That is, you can hide inside. What from cluster, what from fragmentation … ”- says the artilleryman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexander .

The main advantages of the German self-propelled guns, which distinguish it from Russian counterparts, are accuracy, range and rate of fire. “Panzer-howitzer” works on the principle – shot – run. That is, it is designed for a quick salvo and the same quick change of position. This tactic gives an advantage in an artillery duel, the fighters say.

“The coordinates of the target come to us from the senior boss. I give to the gun in the form of a UTM coordinate system. They clog them up for themselves, leave, aim, report to me about the installations. I [check] with my calculated settings, if everything matches, I give the command for the first shot. After the first shot, a gap is detected. And regarding the gap, I give proofs – we work further, ”says the artilleryman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Aleksey .

“Panzer-howitzer” has a wide range of projectiles to destroy different targets. Here, in the Bakhmut direction, where the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now actively advancing, smoke charges are used, among other things, to provide infantry cover.

“Very effective against infantry. There are air blasters working for the infantry, for the trenches, for fortifications. There are concrete, there are high-explosive. They also work on dugouts in trenches. The projectile explodes a few meters before it hits the ground and strikes manpower with shrapnel. They don’t like it, I think. And after our work, there can be such a lull. The fire ceases, and ours on the front can continue to work, ”says Nikolai, an artilleryman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine .

The priority task of the “Panzer-howitzer” is the destruction of artillery and tanks. At such targets, the German cannon also fires high-precision “Smart” projectiles. The effectiveness of such a correctly adjusted ammunition is almost 100 percent – in some places they destroyed 3-4 tanks or self-propelled guns per day, gunners say.

“In the projectile itself, there are two, let’s say, demolition men, descend on a parachute at an average height of 200 meters. Looking for their purpose. Hot metal, let’s say, then hit this target. That is, the projectile explodes, the “Smart” projectile itself at an altitude of 200 meters above the target. These two fuses descend on parachutes and strike accordingly, ”says Alexander.

“Obviously, these weapons are very expensive. Quite expensive and are not transferred by our Western allies by the thousands. At best, hundreds. We understand that in the conditions of a thousand-kilometer front, this is a drop in the ocean, and therefore the commanders of artillery brigades, let’s say, do not use these shells very actively. They are used exclusively to destroy the goals of the senior boss, that is, some goals that have value precisely in the strategic plan, ”says Mikhail Zhirokhov.

Russia has been preparing for months to repel the future Ukrainian offensive in the south: several lines of defense have been dug out, routes have been completely mined, positions have been prepared for both artillery and equipment, brought forward only when necessary. Therefore, now the Ukrainian artillery has many targets. There is also a flurry of fire from the Russian side.

“We can compare the intensity of the work of artillery simply by the number of shots, or we can compare by concentration – how much was concentrated. And imagine that you have several hundred kilometers of front, and he is silent. But self-propelled artillery was concentrated in one area, it inflicted a fire defeat, it was very intense, it destroyed many targets, and then it just roamed and left. Like the same “Caesars” all sorts and others, ”says Yigal Levin .

For several months, the Armed Forces of Ukraine accumulated ammunition. As The Wall Street Journal wrote in early spring , they produced more than 90,000 155 mm shells every month, and this was a total economy. After all, the head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Alexei Reznikov, then asked the EU for a quarter of a million such ammunition every month. Now what they have accumulated is intensively spent.

“Enough” is the end of the war. Because shells are a consumable. We cannot say that Ukraine needs half a million shells, a million shells, a million and a half shells – these will be erroneous figures. Enough until the end of the war. The norm should be such that there really should not be a shortage in those areas of the breakthrough, where Ukraine is advancing, there should not be a situation where you have to choose when you have an enemy headquarters vehicle, a tank and artillery weapons. And you only have one Excalibur. You must choose what to spend it on: a tank, headquarters or artillery weapons of the enemy. You should have 4 projectiles for 3 such enemy objects. Another spare. If the West can provide it, then yes. If he can’t provide it, then… No matter how you talk about some of the capacities of Ukraine or some reserves, because this is not there, ”

In the war of artillery, quantity does not always mean quality. The advanced technologies of the West allow the Ukrainian army to hit more accurately, at a greater distance and more efficiently. At the same time, for the further successful liberation of its territories, Ukraine still needs more self-propelled guns, howitzers, MLRS, and most importantly, shells for them. What the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny said in an interview with The Washington Post . If the offensive of the Ukrainian army is long, the issue of the supply of ammunition may again become relevant.

Source : ru.krymr