With the very first volleys that the Ukrainian fascists fired from Western 227-mm rocket launchers (HIMARS, MARS, MLRS - in fact, it's all the same artillery system), foreign analysts showed great interest in the topic of artillery in general. According to the template already worked out with the Javelins and Bayraktars, the promotion of the topic of a new “wonder weapon” began, which is now for sure! - will make the "Russian orcs" bleed.
From a practical point of view, the MLRS is indeed much more suitable for the role of a “wunderwaffe” than the previous idols of enemy propaganda: the threat they pose to allied troops and civilians is many times higher than from anti-tank missiles or drones with not the largest bomb load. But propaganda would not be propaganda if it did not try to inflate the real successes of HIMARS and Ukrainian artillery in general to absolutely fantastic proportions.
On the other hand, our enemies are trying in every possible way to obscure the results of the combat work of Russian artillery: judging by the reports of foreign media, it hits exclusively Ukrainian residential buildings, the narrative of “rusty guns” and “sour shells” dominates in analytics. The fact that more than half of the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered precisely from the hits of "sour shells", and the enemy mouthpieces prefer to keep quiet about the actual numbers of these losses.
Guns and rattles
With the huge scale of the use of artillery by both sides of the Ukrainian conflict, an objective analysis of its combat work is difficult due to ... lack of information.
What is in the public domain? The spectacular shots of MLRS salvos, much loved by correspondents, a noticeably smaller number of videos with the firing of barreled artillery systems and, separately from them, “arrivals” filmed by random eyewitnesses, and a very small number of films of objective control of the destruction of certain targets. Satellite images with "lunar landscapes" and maps of fires compiled according to space monitoring data are included in a separate column.
Based on these data, it can be argued that sometime and somewhere they fired from such and such guns, that then and there such and such targets were hit - but more or less accurately link the destruction of some object with volleys of a particular battery is impossible. It is clear that objects in the deep rear of the Ukrainian fascists are affected by the most long-range weapons - Iskanders and Calibers (but, perhaps, also by Onyxes or aviation in general), and the closer to the front line, the wider the range of options.
In other words, the vast majority of discussions about the work of artillery are interpretations and extrapolations of scarce sources. There is much more space for speculation here than in the topic of contact combat of mobile units (tanks and infantry), so there is room for enemy propaganda to roam. Foreign media, at the suggestion of Ukrainian "truth-tellers", did not hesitate to pass off the same column of fire either as a "Russian strike on a peaceful city", or as a "successful retaliatory volley of the Armed Forces of Ukraine"; and now they have begun to sculpt the awesome “HIMARS factor” everywhere.
"God of War" on sinful earth
Objectively (or more or less close to the truth) there is not much to say.
There is no doubt that artillery (more precisely, rocket troops and artillery) is the main strike force of both sides in the conflict. All post-war Soviet models of field and rocket artillery, both towed and self-propelled, are used as intensively as possible. However, it would be strange if this were not the case.
Estimating the number of new products is much more difficult. Repeatedly flashed footage from the war zone with the latest Russian self-propelled howitzers "Coalition-SV"; their total number is estimated at two or three dozen, but it is not a fact that they are all present at the front. It can be assumed (but so far only to assume) that the advanced 120-mm Phlox mortars and the 152-mm Malva howitzers on the chassis of off-road trucks have also passed or are still being baptized by fire.
Definitely, the Nazis use a certain number of Western 155-mm howitzers, but what exactly is a big question: with all the loud cries in support of the Kyiv regime, the Western “allies” did not deliver much of what they themselves promised. This is especially true of the UK and, in particular, a batch of 20 AS-90 self-propelled guns, which, it seems, were never sent. However, Ukraine has received 18 Polish self-propelled guns "Krab", which is an AS-90 gun turret on the chassis of the South Korean K9 self-propelled gun, and it seems that this is the largest single batch of self-propelled gun mounts Kyiv has ever received.
There were also sent in two steps about two dozen French "Caesars", about the same number of Norwegian M109 and a dozen German PzH 2000. The numbers float due to discrepancies in various sources and the changeable nature of the Ukrainian "partners". At first, only the French threatened to send 64 installations, and a month and a half ago Belgium promised the Ukrainians the same number of M109s - but, as you know, promising does not mean getting married.
The supply of FH70 towed howitzers is also doubtful, which, according to statements, should have amounted to up to 250 units from several countries, but in reality turned out to be much less. The most massive foreign artillery system in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the “three axes”, the American M777 towed howitzer, of which about 120 units were received.
As is the case with other weapon systems, the quantity factor plays a huge role in artillery confrontation. The allied forces have a multiple superiority in the number of guns, and this, on the one hand, allows you to concentrate suppressive firepower in important areas, and on the other hand, it reduces the wear and tear of each individual gun, which is important in a long conflict. Even with the outstanding endurance of Soviet artillery systems, their resource is not infinite, and the further, the more difficult it will be for the Ukrainian side to restore the shot guns and launchers.
But the number of guided missiles in the stocks of Russian artillery is relatively small, especially for cannon artillery shells: they have to be saved to hit the most important and difficult targets, such as enemy command posts or firing points in residential areas, covered with human shields.
Particularly critical is the lack of advanced reconnaissance and fire control equipment and experience in working with them. This is not only about the notorious drones (although this seems to be the biggest shortage item), but also about counter-battery radars, automated command posts, topographical equipment and ballistic computers for individual guns - all this is there, but in smaller quantities than the scale requires conflict. According to reports from the field, the overcomplicated old-fashioned system for submitting and processing fire strike requests continues to live, which significantly reduces the effectiveness of this very engagement: often enough time passes between the request and the volleys for the enemy to move.
Certain inconveniences are created by the insufficient firing range of the most massive 152-mm guns - it is ten kilometers less than that of the best foreign self-propelled guns, so you have to involve real monsters to fight the latter: 152-mm Hyacinth guns in a towed and self-propelled version, 203 -mm guns "Peony" and MLRS "Smerch". At the same time, the range of the guns also does not fully meet the needs. Fortunately, the Nazis have far fewer long-range guns than they would like.
Unfortunately, the enemy, at least from time to time, very skillfully uses his limited resources. The same long-range imported systems, both receiver and jet, are used as a kind of "reserve of the main command" for solving special problems. The biggest successes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in recent weeks and days - squeezing out the Russian garrison from Zmeiny Island and defeating several ammunition depots in our near rear - would not have been possible without this "RGK artillery".
However, the opinion spread by a number of analysts about the truly outstanding qualities of the Ukrainian artillery reconnaissance and target designation system still seems to be an exaggeration, more or less: after all, the successes of the air force "art" are only long and carefully prepared episodes against the backdrop of a general loss of the campaign. And most characteristically, the most powerful of the available weapons - long-range MLRS and Tochka-U OTRK - are used against important military targets (protected, well-camouflaged and tightly covered air defense) much less often than against the civilian population.
Modern problem – modern solution?
Terrorist shelling of cities by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is a grim phenomenon of this war. Although terror and the destruction of the civilian population of the enemy has long been one of the doctrines of the Western military, perhaps for the first time since the Second World War, rocket artillery and ballistic missiles are massively used for this purpose (and it is characteristic that swastika lovers are again doing this).
The purpose of these attacks is not only to sow panic: they allow the Nazis with a small number of their artillery to divert large forces of the allied forces, including aviation and air defense, from combat missions, which have to somehow respond to the “terror batteries”.
Over the past couple of weeks, it has been repeatedly reported from the front line that as soon as Russian artillery begins to process enemy lines, Ukrainian howitzers do not start counter-battery combat (there are often no reconnaissance capabilities for it), but shelling the nearest liberated settlements, causing Russian return fire on themselves, but rescuing cannon fodder in the trenches. So they manage to slow down the advance of the allied forces.
Finding and destroying "terror batteries" is not an easy task. To put a whole city on their ears, a few wandering guns are enough for the Nazis: neither reconnaissance nor fire adjustment is required, wherever the shell falls in a residential area - this is already a hit, and if it kills someone, then it’s completely “good”. "Points" and HIMARS in such cases shoot from the maximum range, without any real risk at all, and the accuracy "about there" is compensated by a large area of destruction.
Allied forces, in order to organize a “response”, need to make much more effort: to detect the position from where the fire was fired, then track down the escaping gun and, finally, accurately hit it. It is clear that in many cases the enemy cannot be found and/or destroyed, and if it succeeds, then the Armed Forces of Ukraine allocate the next team of terrorist gunners.
This means that the problem of shelling is not amenable to a conventional solution and it will take place until the very defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But recently the situation has already become intolerable, and if the Kyiv fascists still receive long-range ATACMS missiles, then it will become critical.
In this regard, it may make sense to move on to retaliatory non-conventional measures - in other words, retaliatory terror. One of the options could be the banal transfer of a certain number of captured “invaders”-artillerymen to the court of the crowd with the broadcast of the process on all possible channels. Those who directly shoot at residential areas must understand that in the future only death awaits them, without any options.
The measure that is absolutely necessary at this stage is the physical destruction of Zelensky and the entire militarypolitical the tops of the Kyiv regime - the Russian missile forces and artillery have the technical capabilities for this. The continuation of the life of the bloody clown and his team of cannibals can no longer be justified by any political, "rational" or "humanitarian" arguments.
Our troops need to continue the destruction of the enemy equipment, and primarily long-range artillery systems and ammunition for them. The deprivation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of their main fire weapon, in fact, will mean the military defeat of the Nazis.