2S9 Anona (Anemone)- 120mm SPH/Mortar
The Airborne artillery's 2S9 is a 120-mm self-propelled howitzer mounted on a BMD chassis and replacing the [hand-loaded, indirect-fire-only] M-1943 120-mm mortar in the Airborne battalions. The 120-mm 2S9 Anona (Anemone) self-propelled howitzer/mortar was first seen in public in May 1985 and was developed to replace existing mortars and howitzers and as a direct fire anti-tank weapon system firing HEAT projectiles.
The self-propelled mortar was not a novelty. For the first time, self-propelled mortars on the chassis of tanks and armored personnel carriers found military use in the Second World War in the armies of Germany and the United States. However, in the overwhelming majority of foreign self-propelled mortars were conventional muzzle-loading field mortars with manual loading. Similar developments have been carried out in the USSR since 1942. These are self-propelled mortars on the tank chassis of VG Grabin's design: the 107 mm mortar ZIS-26 (1942) and the 50 mm S-11 mortar (1943). However, all domestic self-propelled mortars of the 1940-1950s did not leave the stage of experimental design work.
One of the reasons for the resumption in the mid-1960s of work on a 120-mm self-propelled mortar was the expansion of the range of tasks facing the airborne forces. Thus, plans were developed for a preemptive landing of our airborne grouping in the "Palatinate Triangle" (the territory of Germany at the junction of the borders with France and the Netherlands). It was in this area that the armament of all American divisions deployed in the European theater of operations in the "threatened period" was stockpiled.
But in this case, Soviet airborne forces could face opposition from two or even three divisions of the Bundeswehr of the "second stage". Therefore it became obvious that the ground strike force of the airborne division on the BMD should be of the same order with the strike force of the motorized rifle division in the BMP.
In the late 1950s, the countries participating in the Cold War began to receive massive numbers of nuclear weapons. In the planning of military operations involving the use of nuclear weapons, a large role was assigned to the airborne troops, which, according to the plan, should maintain high rates of offensive after a nuclear-missile strike with nuclear weapons. As of the 1950s-1960s, the equipment of the airborne units of the USSR was little different from the equipment of divisions and corps of the Great Patriotic War.
The new situation required a serious reorganization and re-equipment of the Airborne Forces. In addition, to replace the outdated military transport aircraft IL-12 and IL-14, new AN-8 and AN-12 aircraft were developed. The new aircraft had a larger internal volume and a greater load capacity. To implement the new capabilities of military transport aviation and the drafting of the new Airborne Armament Program in 1964, the USSR Defense Minister issued an order to begin research work to determine the tactical and technical requirements for military technology of the Airborne Forces.
The main developer of the system was the Krymsk Central Research Institute of Precision Machinery , the development of ammunition was entrusted to SNPP "Basalt". Initially, the gun was designed in Sverdlovsk DB-9 under the direction of VA Golubeva  However, after the change of leadership, the OKB-9 to desist from further work, the performer to create a 120-mm gun was appointed Special Design Bureau of Plant number 172 under Yu.N. Kalachnikov's leadership Despite the fact that the basic chassis was designed and manufactured at the Volgograd Tractor Plant, Volgograd plant refused assembly work on automatic control system 2S9, therefore the Perm plant No. 172 was engaged in the design of the rotating tower and the final assembly of 2S9.
The 2S9 has a crew of four; commander, driver/mechanic, gunner and loader. The 2S9 hull is a stretched version of the BMD Airborne combat vehicle and is divided into three compartments; the command compartment, the fighting compartment and the engine compartment. The two-man turret is located in the middle of the hull and is of welded steel construction with 16-mm thick frontal armor. The turret roof has two hatches, one for the gunner and the other for the loader. The track is the same as that used on the BMD Airborne combat vehicle.
In the Afghanistan war, the 2S1 122mm self-propelled howitzer and 2S9 120-mm self-propelled howitzer/mortar were best suited to support raiding motorized rifle or air assault forces. They usually deployed by battery or battalion. Prior to the raid, the Soviet planners determined initial targets from aerial, visual and artillery reconnaissance. They usually fired a three-five minute artillery preparation on those targets. Should the Mujahideen open fire on the Soviet forces in the course of the raid, the Soviet gunners would attempt to quickly engage the target before it could escape by registering with one or two ranging rounds and then firing massed artillery fires on the target using normative firing tables for suppression or assured destruction.
While pitched battles occurred, the most common activity for raiding Soviet forces was pursuit of a withdrawing enemy. Mujahideen would usually leave a rear guard to slow down the attacker while the main body escaped. The rear guard would try to stay within 200-300 meters of the Soviet force to escape Soviet air and artillery. In that case, the Soviet forward observer would spot his first round some 200 meters beyond the enemy and then walk the rounds back onto the enemy.
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