God of War: How Russia Uses Howitzer Artillery

God of War: How Russia Uses Howitzer Artillery

it has been said without exaggeration that the russian army is an artillery army with a lot of tanks few other combat arms have earned the moniker god of war and russian military units have among the highest concentrations of artillery in the world at the core of this force are its 152 millimeter self-propelled artillery pieces which provide tactical and operational fire support to mechanized forces chief among these are the 2s19 mosta s and upgraded 2s33 musta sm modern self-propelled howitzers whose first variants were introduced immediately before the collapse of the soviet union in this video we’re going to take you through the capabilities of the musta how it’s used on the battlefield and how their units are structured but first i’d just like to thank the brigade who allows to make videos even if youtube’s algorithm doesn’t like it i’m happy to announce that in september we’re going to be giving a portion of our revenue to fisher house a charity that provides free housing for military families when their service member is in the hospital so if you’d like to help us do that just keep watching or sign up over at patreon.com battle order but back to the topic at hand the musta s and upgraded musta sm are self-propelled versions of the toad 2a65 musta b howitzer unlike the musta mostabi which only serves in higher level artillery brigades the mosta s also serves in maneuver brigades and divisions as their primary tactical artillery option in this role the musta s serves concurrently with the 2s3 akatsiya 152 millimeter which it directly superseded as well as the 2s1 gwazdika 122 millimeter which also serves as regimental artillery the musta s is more capable than both by a fair margin the new 2s35 colicia is also something to watch out for but as of right now only one colitsia battalion is in service under moscow’s second guard’s tammon motor rifle division so that’s perhaps a conversation for another day the platform itself is based on a t80 tank chassis but with a v12 diesel engine like those on the t72 and t90 combined with lower ground pressure means the musta has great cross-country mobility at the same time however it’s also far less armored at only 15 millimeters all around mainly protecting against small arms fire and artillery shrapnel meaning it can’t be put in harm’s way like a tank the musta with its 47 caliber 152 millimeter howitzer can reach out to a maximum of 29 kilometers or 18 miles although this depends on the type of ammunition compare this to the american m109 paladin which has a range of 37.5 kilometers with the excalibur extended range guided artillery shell or the korean canine thunder and german panzerhaubitza 2000 which can reach 40 kilometers with base bleed ammunition the workhorse round for the musta s is its high explosive fragmentation the maximum range of 29 kilometers can be achieved via its basebleed he frag round while its conventional viceroy he frag round can reach 24.7 kilometers other options provide control ability such as the krasnopol m similar in function to the american m712 copperhead the krasnopol m can be guided by an observer on the ground with a laser designator out to 25 kilometers these are more suitable for destroying point targets such as armored vehicles bridges fortifications and similar a range of other shells exist including active radio jammers smoke illumination cluster munitions heat and others but perhaps the most notable is the 3bv3 nuclear projectile this round is a relic of the cold war although intended to be taken out of service two decades ago it’s uncertain how many remain in service our guess is that they may still have some but not with maneuver units and with abysmal readiness rates with a maximum yield of 1 to 2.5 kilotons of tnt this projectile is at best 1 15 to 1 6th the power of the little boy dropped on hiroshima the exact ammo loadout used in combat depends on the circumstance but the musta carries a total of 50 rounds on board generally 39 to 47 he frag rounds 3 to 7 guided projectiles and 6 specialty rounds is a good rule of thumb in addition to its main armament the musta s is equipped with an nsvt 12.7 millimeter heavy mg for anti-aircraft defense for this weapon it carries 300 rounds on board in terms of what musta s units look like it of course starts with the spg and its crew each musta is crewed by a commander ranking sergeant gunner ranking euphrater and mechanic driver ranking private behind the gunner and commander are two loaders while the musta s’s auto loader can automatically load projectiles charges have to be selected and put in the feed tray manually by a loader before being rammed into battery by the auto loader each artillery piece also has two external loaders who ride in battery trucks and help with loading projectiles from outside the musta up the chain three musta s’s form a platoon take two platoons and you got the firing component of a howitzer battery controlling the fire of these platoons are two elements a battery command outpost under the battery commander ranking captain and the fire direction center under the battery senior officer ranking senior lieutenant the former consists of a 1v14m artillery command and reconnaissance vehicle based on the mtlbu and a 6×6 truck this element is the battery’s ford observation component typically co-located with a maneuver company or battalion command post which they are supporting this means that generally the commander is the one observing and relaying fire missions to their battery back at the battery the battery senior officer mans the fire direction center which consists of a 1v13m armored fire control vehicle and a truck this element stays with the battery and converts orders for fire into fire solutions for the howitzers although the battery only has this one fdc compared to american batteries which have an fdc for each firing platoon russian batteries are still capable of split battery fires whereby they conduct fire missions against multiple targets at once in addition to these elements batteries part of army level artillery brigades which can be attached to lower units as needed have a supply section with three trucks for carrying ammo likely because these types of independent units need a little bit more of their own supply support three batteries combined make a house or battalion which is commanded by a headquarters and control platoon and supplied by a material support platoon the support platoon comes under the command of a proper chick a russian warrant officer and is further split into a maintenance squad transport section refueller section and mess section the battalion control platoon meanwhile is essentially a strengthened version of the battery’s hq like the battery commander the battalion commander ranking lieutenant colonel commands and observes from the front usually co-located with the command post of the maneuver battalion they’re supporting they do this from a 1v15m arty command vehicle supported by a five-man fire control section accompanied by the control platoon commander who can set up a dismounted command post a prp-4m argus armored reconnaissance vehicle based on the bmp-1 is also allocated to the battalion able to provide protected forward observation with or forward of the battalion commander meanwhile the battalion chief of staff frankie major mans the fire direction center back of the battalion from a 1v16m in terms of fire control each musta s is connected to their battery hq outpost and fdc while each battery fdc is connected to the battalion hq and battalion fdc while the battery hq is only connected to hq to give a practical example say an infantry platoon commander sees a target and wants already dropped on it their request for fire is forwarded to the battery command post supporting their company the call for fire is then forwarded to the battalion command post further back if they decide they need multiple batteries to fire the battalion commander will order fire from the battalion fdc who will calculate fire missions and pass it on to the battery fdcs will give their individual howitzers what they need to engage but if they just need one battery to fire the battalion command post passes the order onto the fdc who computes the missions for individual howitzers two of these howitzer battalions are allocated to each brigade artillery group and divisional artillery regiment this is an addition to a truck-borne rocket artillery battalion from the brigade level russian artillery units receive more advanced target acquisition support under artillery command this includes counter battery and ground surveillance radars and sound triangulation as an example of capability the brigade’s one zoopark counter battery radar can allegedly track 12 targets simultaneously enemy field artillery can be detected 15 kilometers away compared to 20 kilometers for mortars 30 kilometers for rocket artillery and 40 kilometers for tactical missiles meanwhile the brigade’s two snar-10 ground surveillance radars can detect personnel 15 kilometers away and tanks 35 kilometers away they can also detect shell impacts to correct friendly fire out to 10 kilometers brigade uavs also support russian artillery with short-range uavs attached to ford command observation posts and medium-range uavs attached to unit fire direction centers this means that ground observers don’t need to physically see targets to order and correct fire this was the case before the 2014 zalenopilia rocket attack where several halted ukrainian mechanized and air mobile battalions were periodically observed by russian orlan 10 uavs before being hit by a rocket barrage although howitzers weren’t involved in that incident the type of uav used was a medium range type typically attached to howitzer battalion fdcs in terms of use there are four broad categories of indirect fire mission for howtzers harassment suppression destruction and annihilation harassment is the least severe rather than trying to pin down or destroy the enemy harassment keeps the enemy on their toes and can degrade combat effectiveness over time so make them on edge deprive them of sleep that sort of stuff this usually involves a small number of tubes and typical targets are enemies occupying defensive positions and known assembly in control nodes in rear areas by contrast suppression is meant to temporarily reduce the enemy’s ability to maneuver or defend themselves or in other words to pin them down a decent chunk of the enemy’s equipment might be destroyed in the process but that isn’t the main focus of suppression after suppressive fire is over the enemy can typically continue to resist with minimal reconstitution efforts destruction and annihilation meanwhile are essentially the same thing but to different degrees destruction saturates the enemy with so much fire that they can only pose sporadic resistance afterwards unless significant time passes rather than just fixing them in place or temporarily reducing combat effectiveness the idea is to destroy the unit but given enough time the unit can be reconstituted and fight another day annihilation meanwhile leaves an enemy unit completely desolated unable to be reconstituted or pose any resistance whatsoever this requires the highest concentration of fire of the four missions as a secondary role musters are also employed in the anti-tank defense the russians heavily layer their anti-tank contingencies so as such howitzers can be placed along likely avenues of enemy armored breakthrough with the intention of utilizing direct fire against those penetrations this tactic would especially be relevant when a unit is encircled in a brigade defense hauser’s primary mission is to stop the enemy attack whether the enemy is a ways out still on the march deploying before the attack or actively attacking hitting the enemy the furthest distance away is the most preferable as it can cause premature deployment and make them reveal the location of their artillery before they plan to the two howitzer battalions would primarily be located two to four kilometers from the front line behind the first echelon battalions but ahead of the brigade reserve one primary and two or more alternate firing positions would be prepared for each unit which can facilitate retreat survivability moves firing on targets out of range of the primary firing position or hiding the primary firing position’s location harassing fires are usually conducted from temporary firing positions to deceive the enemy and never from primary firing positions meanwhile during a brigade offensive tube artillery would usually be located one to four kilometers from the leading edge of the attack in this scenario the hauser’s main job is to support the first echelon battalion’s attack by carrying out destruction and suppression missions attacks are usually preempted by heavy preparatory fires which first attempt to destroy the enemy’s own artillery and then forward defensive positions as the first echelon maneuver battalions advance housers advance by battery or battalion so they can continue to target the enemy’s new defensive lines and rear areas but both of these scenarios are very positional two contiguous lines friend and foe smashing into each other a more likely scenario in the modern day and one favored by the russians due to its focus on mobility is the meeting engagement meeting engagements are essentially two moving forces running into each other unexpectedly rapid achievement of fire superiority is key in the meeting battle since they’re fast-paced affairs and the enemy can gain initiative if friendly forces hesitate or take half measures at first artillery fire might be more defensive in nature laying down barriers of fire to create separation and prevent the enemy from quickly overwhelming friendly forces when possible preemptive strikes are preferable but are only achievable if friendly forces detect the enemy early this requires aggressive reconnaissance which picks up the enemy a fair ways ahead of the friendly main body while remaining concealed so as to not give away their intentions if in the course of the meeting battle the enemy is weakened to the point where friendly forces can attack through them artillery fire would likely transition to more in line with a conventional attack in these ways artillery facilitates the success of mechanized maneuver forces if you enjoyed this video on russian artillery check out this video where we take a deep dive into motor rifle companies russia’s mechanized infantry capability we’ll see you over there
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God of War: How Russia Uses Howitzer Artillery

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