Ukraine reports no artillery shortages for first time in war, says Zelenskyy

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier this week that Ukraine’s forces had reported no shortages of artillery shells for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Kyiv Independent reported.
“For the first time during the war, none of the brigades complained that there were no artillery shells,” Zelenskyy said on May 16.

According to reports, the refreshed artillery is now helping to blunt Russian advances around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

In sharp contrast to battles in January-April, during which the US halted all military assistance to Ukraine, Ukrainian soldier and milblogger Stanislav Osman, author of the popular Hovoryat Snaiper channel, observed that Russian forces attacking in the Kharkiv sector have been facing punishing artillery fire and even attack helicopter strikes, The Kyiv Post reported.”

“Despite this, Russian artillery will likely outmatch Ukraine’s for most of 2024, officials and analysts told Foreign Policy.”

America’s ‘God of War’ is now many decades old. The US Army can’t replace it

“Forget the tank, the fighter jet and even the drone. Artillery is the most important weapon on the modern battlefield, just as it was 100, 200 or even 300 years ago. It was not for nothing that Stalin dubbed artillery the ‘God of War’.

So it’s extremely problematic that the world’s leading army, the US Army, can’t manage to develop a new howitzer. Trying and failing three times in a generation to acquire new heavy artillery, the Army is stuck with upgraded versions of the same howitzers it’s been using for 61 years.”

Russia has Ukraine outgunned 10 to 1 on artillery, and 30 to 1 on its airforce, Zelenskyy says

“Ukraine’s president said that Russia is now firing 10 times more artillery shells than his country is able to, and has 30 times more aircraft, in a worrying sign for Ukraine’s ability to sustain its military efforts.”

How the Czech Republic has just stopped Putin cold and saved Ukraine

“Ukraine began running out of ammo because that’s what Trump wanted. And because a European Union project to manufacture a million shells for Ukraine was six months late for its 2023 deadline, Ukraine’s daily artillery usage fell from 10,000 rounds to just 2,000 rounds, while Russia’s own usage remained elevated thanks to a huge ammo consignment from North Korea.
By mid-February, the Russians were on the march in and around Avdiivka. The ammo-starved Ukrainian garrison retreated – and kept retreating as the Russians’ momentum carried them farther and farther west.

But then, on Feb. 18, Czech defense policy chief Jan Jires shocked his audience when he announced – at a Munich security conference – that his government had identified 800,000 artillery shells “sitting in non-Western countries.” Those countries apparently include South Korea, Turkey and South Africa.

The shells could be had for $1.5 billion, Czech officials said.

“Most of these countries [are] unwilling to support Ukraine directly for political reasons so they need a middleman,” Jires said, according to Politico reporter Paul McLeary and other sources. The Czech Republic would be that middleman, if Ukraine’s allies – other than the USA, of course – would help to pay for the ammo.

Belgium, Canada, Denmark and The Netherlands quickly signed up. Soon, another 13 countries joined the Czech artillery club. In three weeks, Jires and his colleagues collected all $1.5 billion. Shells were on their way within weeks.

With months’ worth of shells on the way, Ukrainian brigades no longer had to conserve what little ammo they’d been saving for emergencies. In early March, Ukraine’s batteries opened fire.

Five miles west of Avdiivka, Ukrainian troops halted their retreat, turned and counterattacked. Finally enjoying something approaching adequate artillery support, they stopped the Russian offensive dead in its tracks in villages with names like Berdychi, Orlivka and Tonen’ke.

Artillery – a shortage of it – is the main reason the Ukrainians nearly lost a whole eastern oblast to the Russians this winter and spring. And artillery – a million shells brokered by a tiny Eastern European country – is the main reason the Ukrainians didn’t lose that whole oblast.

If artillery is the king of battle, the current kingmaker is … the Czech Republic.”

Exclusive: Russia producing three times more artillery shells than US and Europe for Ukraine

“Russia appears on track to produce nearly three times more artillery munitions than the US and Europe, a key advantage ahead of what is expected to be another Russian offensive in Ukraine later this year.”

Army putting popular howitzer back into production

“The lightweight howitzer system is easy to tow and transport, with six howitzers fitting into a C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane. However, the M777’s reduced mobility compared to self-propelled howitzers makes it more vulnerable on the battlefield. Spotter drones used by both Russia and Ukraine make it easier to zero in on established artillery positions when they fire and employ counter-battery fire against them. As a result, many of Ukraine’s M777s have been damaged or destroyed.

With advanced air defense systems on both sides of the conflict, the use of fires in the Russo-Ukrainian War has fallen mostly to artillery. The Army’s move to acquire more M777s will replenish its stocks and ensure that the force is equipped to fight a similar war. BAE noted that total orders for the M777 currently exceed 1,200.”

For 250 years, US troops could tow their cannons around the battlefield. The war in Ukraine shows they won’t have that luxury in the future.

“As the Ukraine war has proven, the effectiveness of artillery rests on more than its range or the destructive power of its shells.
The mobility of a howitzer — its capacity to “shoot and scoot” — can make the difference between living to fight another day and being destroyed by the enemy. That’s why the US Army is pondering whether hauling guns by truck is still a viable option.

For towed artillery, “10- or 15-minute displacement time is not going to work against a good enemy,” Gen. James Rainey, head of US Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference, held this month in Washington DC.”