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Artillery is the god of war
– Stalin

Rocket and Artillery Troops

Towed Artillery Self-Propelled Artillery
Samohodnaya Artilleriyskaya Ustanovka
Artillery Rockets Atomnaya Artilleriya

In Russia, the artillery is often called 'the God of War' [Bog Voyny]. It was not without reason that Stalin called artillery "the God of War." Many analysts considered the old Soviet Army an "artillery army with a lot of tanks". The Soviet and Russian Armies have long given special emphasis to the "God of War" - the artillery.

Stalin paid close attention to all sectors of the defense industry. For example, the aviation industry, he worked on a daily basis. The industry was led by AI Shakhurin, who visited him more than any other commissars, one might say, almost every day. Stalin studied the issue daily summaries of aircraft and aircraft engines, demanding explanations and action in each case of deviation from the schedule, examined in detail the issues related to the development of new aircraft and the development of the aviation industry. The same can be said about his involvement in addressing the work the tank and military shipbuilding industries.

In the introduction to his book, The Red God of War, British military analyst Chris Bellamy vividly describes some of the effects of massive artillery barrages. Basing his description on eyewitness reports from several wars, he recounts the "sheer horror" and the "sense of hopelessness" artillery barrages create among those on the receiving end. For soldiers subjected to massive artillery barrages, artillery is a "monstrous, apparently unstoppable machine, slicing mechanically through earth, rock, flesh, bone and spirit." The "psychological effect multiplies its cold lethality many times." Bellamy continues: "Artillery oppresses, jars, stuns and disorientates the enemy and lifts the morale of its own troops. Artillery and rockets provide the greatest firepower and sear a path for infantry, mechanized forces and armour both physically and spiritually. Throughout the centuries, no army has understood this better than the Russian."

Since its introduction into Moscow in the fourteenth century, artillery has arguably been the centerpiece of Russian combat power. According to medieval records, the Russians first used guns to defend Moscow against the Mongols in the late summer of 1382. Based on this chronicled date, in 1982 the Soviet Army celebrated the 600th anniversary of Russian artillery with great fanfare.

The Tsar-Cannon in the Moscow Kremlin is a memorial of ancient Russian artillery and founding art, a piece of ordnance of the biggest caliber in the world. Master of the Cannon-yard Andrey Chokhov cast it of bronze in 1586. The length of the cannon is 5,34 m, the caliber is 890 mm, the thickness of the barrel is 15 cm, and it weighs 40 tons. In the XVI-XVIl centuries the cannon was placed in Kitay-Gorod for defense of the Kremlin and the passage across the Moskva-river. However, the Tsar-Cannon has never shot. The decorative gun-carriage and empty-bodied cast-iron cannon-balls lying at the foot of the cannon were cast in 1835.

Generally, tactical Soviet field artillery weapons may be classified as cannon, small and large free-flight rockets, and guided missiles. Cannon includes all tube weapons such as mortars, guns, gun/howitzers, and howitzers. Rockets are either the smaller varieties fired from multiple launchers or the larger versions similar to the Honest John. Tactical guided missiles are classified as those with maximum ranges up to 700 nautical miles.

Artillery forces were the main element of firepower in the Soviet concept of combined arms combat. This conclusion was as true ina the 1980s as it was when M.V. Frunze first enunciated the following precept as a cornerstone of Soviet military doctrine: "Fire constitutes the decisive factor and main force in modern combat." Throughout the history of the Red Army, the shock, surprise, responsiveness, and destructive power of the Field Artillery arm has been without equal in Soviet panoply of ground forces.

All Soviet artillery assets presented a possible threat to US Field Artillery systems. However, Soviet long-range artillery normally received the specific mission of neutralizing enemy fire support organizations, especially those equipped with nuclear capable weapons. Dal'noboynaya artillerya or long-range artillery, traditionally included field guns, self-propelled guns, and some multiple rocket launchers. This category of weapons saw some of the greatest improvements over the 1980s. In addition to neutralization of enemy fire assets, long-range artillery has responsibilities to attack enemy reserves, command and control elements, communications stations, buildings, and fortifications.

In the field gun arena, US Field Artillerymen were most familiar with the M46 130-mm field gun. Originally introduced in the early 1950s, the M46, with its maximum range of 27,490 meters, had the distinction of outranging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) artillery until the fielding of the M107 175-mm self-propelled gun in 1963. The M46 is a rugged system that is well suited for employment in demanding terrain like the Middle East. What's more, its accuracy has been praised by those who have fired the system in combat. Available ammunition includes fragmentation-high explosive, armor piercing capped-tracer (APC-T), illumination, and chemical.

In the 1980s, the introduction and modernization of cannon and rocket systems capable of delivering munitions of vastly increased destructiveness magnified this potential threat to US artillery units. In some cases the introduction of these new systems was also complemented by organizational and doctrinal changes.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union shifted its strategic focus to a nuclear-free battlefield, further strengthening the construction of heavy artillery units. Since 1985, the Soviets resumed the establishment of heavy artillery brigades and heavy artillery divisions, using heavy artillery units intensively to enhance the ability of fire assaults. The Soviet heavy artillery brigade consists of two 2S7 type "peony" 203 mm self-propelled cannons (6-8 per battery) and two 2S4 "tulip" 240 mm self-propelled mortars (6 to 8 per battery) In the composition, some artillery brigades have also strengthened the installation of a BM-27 "Hurricane" 220mm self-propelled rocket launcher (6-8 per battery). The Soviet heavy artillery division consists of two 2S5 "hyacinth" 152mm self-propelled cannon brigade (48 to 64 vehicles per brigade, 8 companies), and 2 2S3 "Acacia" 152mm self-propelled grenade brigade (48 per brigade) 64 vehicles, 8 companies), 1 BM-27 "Hurricane" 220mm self-propelled rocket launcher (72 vehicles per unit, 8-12 batteries) and 1 set of 36 AT-5 "shoulders" BRDM-3 The anti-tank missile launch vehicle consists of anti-tank regiments. Both the artillery brigade and the artillery division have achieved full self-defense, with strong operational tactical maneuverability and nuclear strike capability.

Soviet long-range artillery was not without its flaws. The limited number of charges available along with system elevation restrictions (guns are not capable of high angle fire and rockets are limited to less than 50° elevation) made it extremely difficult for these weapons to engage targets in built-up areas or deep defilade. And although the towed systems display inherent mobility limitations, even the self-propelled systems lacked armor and nuclear, biological, and chemical protection for crews during firing operations. Consequently, while in firing position, many Soviet systems will be vulnerable to accurate hostile counterfire.

The concept of placing 120-millimeter guns on the chassis of the truck is a completely new solution for the Russian army. The Airborne Forces and the Ground Forces are armed with the tracked self-propelled guns "Nona", "Khosta" and "Vienna", there is also a towed 120-mm mortar "Sani". Even with a very well-trained calculation, about five minutes was needed to deploy to battery. And then the same: fold it and put it back in the truck, while it weighs quite a lot (about 200 kg - TASS approx.), and leave the position. "

A complex with the working title “Highlander” was created on the basis of the “Sani” towed infantry mortar “Sani”. Practical shooting showed high prospects for this system. It is known that for the first time the “Highlander” on the chassis of an armored car “Tiger” was demonstrated at the closed exposition of the forum “Army-2016”, and a year later it was already presented to the general public at the scientific and technical forum of the security forces in Krasnoarmeysk near Moscow.

The 120-mm self-propelled Vienna artillery and mortar installation, based on the BMP-3 tracked chassis, is similar to the Phlox. It was also first introduced at IDEX in the UAE - only in 1997. In 2007, the machine passed state tests, and three years later the first batch entered service with the Russian army.

Such self-propelled mortars today can be quite in demand. For example, in the mountains it is simply impossible to fight without a mortar. Troops can’t carry it on yourself too far. Therefore, light wheeled artillery systems are very necessary here. The nature of modern armed conflicts is changing dramatically and the times of large-scale wars are over, so these machines are particularly relevant when conducting modern counter-terrorist operations, like in Syria.

Such mortars are capable of raising the barrel in the range from –2 to +80 ° C. They not only hit targets at a distance of tens of kilometers like howitzers, but also throw mines almost vertically, so they are able to destroy the enemy in ravines and trenches. The "flower" series is in the final stages of testing. It is expected that very soon self-propelled artillery will begin to replenish the units of the Russian army, seriously increasing firepower and increasing their mobility.

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Page last modified: 16-02-2021 19:36:54 ZULU