Military Guns and Ammunition

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Ukraine weapons thread   General Military Discussion

Started 24/2/22 by gatnerd; 213803 views.
Mr. T (MrT4)

From: Mr. T (MrT4)


The anomaly of artillery usage in the Russia-Ukraine war | Opinion

Guest author, former IDF artillery officer Zvi Koretzki, says that “the obligation to end the war lies with the stronger side and when it doesn’t, we will see a massive use of artillery that allows both sides to appear as if they are doing ‘something’, while not serving any real goal”

IsraelDefense | 22/08/2022 Contact author?

The anomaly of artillery usage in the Russia-Ukraine  war | Opinion

The premises of the city hospital after a fire caused by the shelling of Russian artillery in Kharkiv, August 1st 2022. Photo by Mykhaylo Palinchak / SOPA Images/Sipa USA via REUTERS

I will start with stating that in this article I will criticize the use of artillery in this war, by both sides, but will not support either side of this conflict. Being a military officer for many years, I believe a war is (sometimes) a necessary evil and all sides should make sure it is as short as possible and try to minimize casualties, military and civilian alike.

Since the start of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine we have witnessed massive usage of ATGMs and artillery. Talking about artillery, we saw many western countries send massive supply of artillery platforms into Ukraine, following their request and due to shortage in artillery ammunition.

Ukraine’s military is currently using almost all the available types of NATO 155mm artillery guns and the HIMARS as a guided rocket system. And the role of artillery is highlighted and praised by the Ukrainian army.

Observing the massive use of artillery in the invasion, I remembered an old article I wrote in 2014 about one of the IDF operations in the Gaza strip and the massive use of artillery in the 2nd Lebanon war in 2006, declaring that massive use of fires is not necessarily a sign of good practice but rather a sign of misuse of military power.

During the 2nd Lebanon war in 2006, the IDF fired more artillery shells then during the First Lebanon war. In 2006 there was a massive use of artillery, although the IDF maneuvered only a few kilometers with three divisions versus 1982, when they made it all the way to Lebanon’s capital city Beirut, more than 60 km away, using five divisions.

This phenomenon of using massive amounts of artillery, is visible in every armed conflict that doesn’t involve, determine and objective directed maneuvers. To explain this phenomenon, we need to understand why armies are maneuvering and what they are trying to achieve while using their forces.

There are two main conditions that can lead a country to utilizing military power. First, when trying to achieve a diplomatic/policy goal and second, when protecting their country from someone else that is trying to achieve his goals – a combination of Clausewitz's "War is the continuation of policy with other means" and Patton's "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his".

If we take this to the current war, we can say that the Russians sent their army in order to achieve some diplomatic/policy goal that was not achievable via talks and negotiations and the Ukrainians sent their army in order to prevent the Russians from achieving these goals.

As we can understand from reports and media, the next thing that happened was, that the Russian army tried to achieve its mission, the Ukrainian army defended its territory. But without any will or power to win this battle, the war entered a stage where it treaded water and where armies on both sides didn’t have a plan on how to win their mission and an attrition war started, resulting with firing of ten of thousands of shells by both sides

At this stage armies don’t maneuver and if they do, it is minimal, close range and short maneuvers, mainly to destroy micro-tactical threats and to flex their muscles.

Because nothing happens in the battlefield at this stage, the vacuum, crated by the non-maneuvering forces, is filled with non-line-of-sight artillery fire.

The ease of using this and the low personal risk while using artillery, leads to inefficient and sometimes wasteful use of this fire. In some places it even leads to expressive use of fires (the use of artillery fire, or military force, not in order to achieve a military mission in an instrumental way but rather as a way to express anger or national feelings).

I am not referring to an individual soldier firing around but to a political decision to "do something" in retaliation or an act of governments needing to present some "we are doing something in retaliation for this terror attack" while not really trying to achieve something productive with this show of force.

Now let’s talk about the moral side. I am sure it will sound strange to many readers, but one of the moral missions of the strong side in a war is to win the war and dictate the losing side the terms of surrender.

Fighting LICs (low intensity conflicts) with terror organizations in the last decades have faded this insight. If the strong side doesn’t use its power to end the war, be assured that the weak side will make sure it goes on forever... and wars that go on forever are a bad thing because they prolong suffering and lead to the loss of lives on both sides.

Therefore, the obligation to end the war lies with the stronger side and when it doesn’t do it, we will see massive use of artillery that allows both sides to look as if they are “doing something”, while not serving any real goal.

And now for artillery. The main use of artillery should be to supply close support for the maneuvering element and to destroy targets that are supporting the ability of the enemy to control and support these maneuvers.

When there is no maneuvering, the artillery becomes the only thing that an army can do in order to look as if he is doing something- it is cheap, easy to use, doesn’t risk lives… a perfect weapon for a lazy warlord.

We can understand the massive use of artillery in the Russia-Ukraine war as follows:

  1. The Russians have no will to end this war- although it's their moral obligation.
  2. The Ukrainians cannot defeat the Russians.
  3. Becoming an attrition war, RIU sees massive use of inefficient artillery fire used, partly, as an expressive use of military force.
  4. The continuous flow of artillery platforms and ammunition
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From: schnuersi


Intresting and very pointed text.

I argee to most parts. With one major difference. The indiscriminate use of artillery to prented to be doing something is what the Russian side does. The UA has only limited capability to do so in the first place. What they do is try to prevent the Russians from doing it by counter battery operations. It also makes little sense for UA to bombard their own town into rubble.

It is pretty obvious that we a currently in a attrition phase. But now time works for UA. The influx of more equipment and additional trained troops makes them stronger over time. We are allready seeing the first results with counterattacks. In the next weeks or month we will propably see larger operations by the UA with the aim to regain significant territory and liberate occupied towns.


From: renatohm



A2AD plus problems like bad coordination and lack of PGM have turned air assets of both sides in a mere shadow of what Allied airpower was during Allied Force and Inherent Resolve.

Despite the Ukrainian gag order due to OPSEC, Russians in Telegram are saying that Ukraine is laser focused on counter battery fire, in addition to the (now well stablished) tactic of attacking logistical nodes.

That's exactly what they should do - they know they can't force Russians out unless they get out of the only thing they have that actually works, their artillery. If/when Russians have to cut down on their arty OPTEMPO, Ukrainians will maul them.

Mr. T (MrT4)

From: Mr. T (MrT4)


Will see in couple ofdays after the fog clears .If they manage any gains or they just wasted a lot of manpower and armor ,

What OPSEC , they were literally boasting of this offensive for 2+ months , in meantime Russians reinforced their positions in Kherson in anticipation of the offensive. So literaly no element of suprise at all ,not only that 2 months of talking about it enabled Russians to transfer some 30BTG into Kherson. 

Offensive on Kherson pressers :

August 29 - '' AFU offensive operations in the southern direction began after consultations with the US military, who helped the AFU determine offensive scenarios that could lead to success''

September 1 -'' Zelensky launched an offensive in the southern direction, contrary to the opinion of the military.''

Victory has many fathers, defeat is always an orphan.

Where did you find any statments to indicate that.? What would Ukrainian gag order mean to anyone let alone Russians talking on Telegram?

renatohm said:

Despite the Ukrainian gag order due to OPSEC, Russians in Telegram are saying that Ukraine is laser focused on counter battery fire, in addition to the (now well stablished) tactic of attacking logistical nodes.


From: gatnerd


I believe the ‘gag order’ is a request for citizens / press / internet  war autismos to refrain from sharing any time sensitive  news and especially photos/videos of the offensive which could reveal troop movements or target locations via geolocation.

I’ve seen several mentions to that effect on various Ukraine following sub Reddit’s; I’m not sure how ‘official’ this request is but some at least appear to be following it.


From: EmericD


Mr. T (MrT4) said:

What OPSEC , they were literally boasting of this offensive for 2+ months , in meantime Russians reinforced their positions in Kherson in anticipation of the offensive. So literaly no element of suprise at all ,not only that 2 months of talking about it enabled Russians to transfer some 30BTG into Kherson

Maybe some answers here?


From: DavidPawley


Shorter @MrT4: Russia stronk.


From: schnuersi


Wanted to reply but watched the video EmericD postet befor. I wanted to make some points that are brought up in the video too.

Mr. T (MrT4) said:

So literaly no element of suprise at all ,not only that 2 months of talking about it enabled Russians to transfer some 30BTG into Kherson.

Which might be exactly what the Ukrainians want. The region around Kherson is basically a Salient. If the UA manages to strangle the Russians supply routes, and from the information we have it seems they focus exactly on that, the Russian forces there might become trapped.
The problem RU now faces is long front lines and long and vulnurable supply routes. At the same time they are running out of troops and equipment. This puts them in a very difficult position. Their two best options would be to either resume offensive opperations immediatly to get into a better position or fall back to shorten the front line and get into a better defensive position. It seems they lack the resources for the former and the latter is not an option for their political leadership.
I have such strange feelings of déjà-vu when looking at the state the conflict is currently in.

While it is true that UA will not have strategical supprise they might achieve operational and tactical is allways possible. As mentioned it is entirely possible that the loud anouncement to retake Kherson is part of a plan. It might be a ruse. Or the intention is to attract RU reinforcements to the region and by this releasing pressure on other regions. Maybe the goal is to trap them there. Which certainly is a gamble but if it works the payoff will be massive.

  • Edited 02 September 2022 7:17  by  schnuersi

From: gatnerd


Peter Zeihan has some nice maps and interesting theories as pertains to the counter offensive starting at the 7 minute mark:

He's not sure how the counter offensive will go, but geographically, it couldnt be better for Ukraine.

He believes that due to the damage the 2 bridges have received via HIMARS/other strikes, they can only support light civilian transport and not heavy military vehicles. This means that re-supply will be very hard for the RU forces who have crossed the river, and most importantly in his view, if the RU forces have to retreat, they will have to leave behind their heavy military vehicles. 

In Zeihans view, the potential to capture large stocks of increasingly irreplaceable soviet erra equipment is the biggest potential upside of the counter offensive. 

Mr. T (MrT4)

From: Mr. T (MrT4)


Indeed Kherson's north bank is a rather exposed position to hold , i am somewhat surprised that Russians chose to hold the whole of Kherson region vs only east bank of Dnieper and indeed might be the best place to try and force a mayor break through, but many of these U-tube generals seem to not be looking at the maps in too much detail. Kherson's line of contact has been stationary for the past 3-4 months and much of its is runing along 2 smaller rivers , which means the attacking forces need to utilize pontoon bridges to cross and maintain lines of communication. Pontoon bridges don't last long after they are discovered and if in range of artillery.

I am also not to convinced that cost of gear and manpower lost would justify war booty being a mayor objective . That is kinda wishful thinking, they are getting eastern and western armor delivered daily free of charge and here they are losing a lots of men and gear, it definitely not about gear and supplies. Ukraine simply needs to show it can actually take any ground before sponsors decide it can't.

One thing that could be noted in this offensive that HARM launches in weeks and days ahead had some effect as the SAM coverage over Kherson was spotty enough for Bayraktar to make an appearance after a considerable time of absence on front lines due to not being survivable in contested airspace.

Too early to tell if any terrain could be taken and held. Ukrainan MOD is not reporting on Kherson 'reconcqista' victories ,only about depots and command centers destroyed. 

This is the only major breakthrough in lines to be seen so far and even this bridgehead seems to have been reduced in size since yesterday, note its facilitated by 3 pontoon bridges so its quite precarious and in danger of being cut off.

Who would have taught that one month training is not enough for combat use