Australian-supplied artillery is playing a key role in the fight against Russia, a region Putin needs to protect, and his army is failing badly.
Artillery supplied by Australia began to arrive at the forefront of Ukraine. Now he is helping to accomplish what Russian weapons have failed to do: forcing his opponents to retreat.
President Vladimir Putin it withdrew its battered forces, unifying them for a “firm” push on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
But progress, once again, has been unexpectedly slow.
Indeed, Ukrainian forces appear to be regaining as much territory on the one hand as they are losing on the other.
And one of the reasons he was able to do this is because he now has Western artillery in his possession.
The United States is supplying 90 towed M777 howitzers. Most of these have already arrived. Australia sent six moreand Canada four.
These “could successfully push Russian forces out of reach of Kharkiv’s guns in the next few days”, evaluates the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Artillery was to be Russia’s trump card.
It has long been an integral part of the Kremlin’s battle strategy – barrage barrages of intense firepower, behind which its tanks and troops advance undisturbed.
But it didn’t work out in the first months of the invasion of Ukraine.
Now analysts are explaining why Western artillery is having such an immediate effect.
Battle for Kharkiv
The West is unwilling to engage its troops in the struggle in Ukraine. But he offers weapons as a reward.
It seems to have an impact.
A Ukrainian army claimed that “NATO-supplied anti-tank missiles slowed the Russians, but what killed them was our artillery. This is what broke their units.”
He was talking about how the Russian forces were pushed back from Kiev.
Now that same artillery holds the line around the city of Kharkiv.
“The fighting in the Donbas will depend heavily on what we call long-range fires, especially artillery,” a senior US defense official said recently. “That’s why we’re focusing them on getting them artillery and tactical UAVs.”
Now Russia is struggling to keep territory north of the Donbass region. He is believed to be amassing troops on the side of the border in Belgorod in preparation to prevent Ukrainian forces from advancing further.
But its forces in the vicinity of the critic Ukrainian border town of Kharkiv they are failing in their efforts to repel. Perhaps because the Ukrainians, who previously used the same equipment as the Russians, can now shoot without being hit by themselves.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Ukraine is “in particular recapturing territory along a wide arc around Kharkiv rather than focusing on a narrow thrust.”
A question of scope
Russian artillery comes in a wide variety of sizes and types. Each often has their own specific style of ammunition. Each has a particular role to play in a complex and layered doctrine.
The awkward-looking Russian armored rocket launcher, the TOS-1, carries an intimate range of rockets. But it can only reach 3.5 km. Russia’s main self-propelled howitzer, the 2S19 Msta, can fire cannon shells up to 29km.
But US-built weapons now active around Kharkiv can reach nearly double that.
The M777 towed cannon can fire at targets up to 40km away. The self-propelled howitzer Caesar extends for 46 km.
Guided ammunition, such as Excalibur shells delivered to Ukraine, push these ranges further while providing pinpoint accuracy.
And the difference between blanket barrages and precisely guided long-range attacks could be what keeps the city of Kharkiv safe.
Whenever Russian tanks, trucks, and troops move out into the open to gather for an assault, they are found by stray drones and hit by long-range guns.
This means they have to retreat to find a safer place to gather.
When every shot counts
NATO armies have long standardized on a single 155mm barrel. This is large enough to accommodate a wide variety of advanced projectiles to design, each with a different role.
“In this situation, the artillery, while requiring more advanced training and more than one person to operate, has a greater range than traditional ammunition and can help Ukraine continue to wear down Russian forces, which still outnumber them. number, “says George Mason University researcher Giordano Cohen.
The United States builds the 155mm M777 towed howitzer. Germany produces the 155 mm PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. France has the 155mm truck mounted Caeser howitzer.
Everyone can share the same ammo.
Each cannon, therefore, can change its role in an instant. It can fire a GPS-guided M829 Excalibur bullet at any designated position of 2m by 2m. It can then switch to firing a projectile that targets a laser designator (often carried by a drone), pinpointing a specific target, such as a commander’s armored vehicle.
And the Franco-British joint BONUS artillery shell needs no help. Eject two “smart” warheads when it arrives in the general area of an enemy position. These use their own sensors to identify and target enemy tanks.
Given the greater range of Ukraine’s new weapons, Russia must rely on its combat helicopters and attack aircraft to negate this threat. And neither has proved particularly effective, taking heavy losses by attempting such strikes in the past week.
“International military support for Ukraine prevents Russia from holding land and establishing air superiority. If this continues, Russia will have to find a different way to make war, ”concludes Cohen.
Originally published as Russia loses control in Kharkiv as Putin faces another failure