As the Russian offensive on Ukraine draws to a month, the war has not only remained inconclusive, but deadlier with each passing day. In the face of fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops and civilians, the Russian military resorted to the use of artillery bombardments on key towns, which according to reports include civilian areas.
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Ukrainian forces also made notable use of artillery throughout the current war. As EurAsian Times reported earlier, Ukrainian artillery ambushed a column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles heading towards kyiv and forced them to retreat.
As both sides make extensive use of artillery to suppress the enemy position, the deadliest gun in each side’s arsenal is the Soviet-era 2S7 203mm self-propelled howitzer, which is also believed to be the deadliest gun. most powerful in the world.
On March 21, Ukrainian forces published a video of their 2S7 gun in action at an unspecified location.
Analysts geotagged this video to an area Where is from the Donetsk frontline suggesting that the footage could have been recorded in the early days of the war in late February before Russian forces advanced towards this position.
The 2S7 Howitzer combines a 203mm 2A44 cannon with a tracked chassis featuring fully welded steel armor. The design came from the Kirov factory in the 1960s and it entered service with the Soviet Army in 1976.
It was initially known as ‘Pion’ (Russia for peony, a type of flower), but following improvements to the chassis, engine, ammunition loading system and fire control in 1983, the gun has was renamed 2S7M ‘Malka’.
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The 2S7’s first combat deployment was during the Soviet-Afghan War and later Russian forces used it in the First and Second Chechen Wars. The Georgian army also deployed a battery of six 2S7 guns during its conflict with Russia in 2008, but these were all captured by Russian troops who destroyed five while retaining one.
Some of the main ammo fired include high-explosive fragmentation and rocket-assisted projectiles. The first weighs 110 kg and contains 17.8 kg of projectiles while the second projectile weighs 103 kg and contains 13.8 kg of explosives.
Without any type of rocket assistance, the 2A44 cannon can hit targets at a interval of 37.5 km (about 23 miles) while rocket-assisted projectiles can reach a range of 47.5 km (about 29 miles).
Eight projectiles can be carried in the 2S7M version of the vehicle with auxiliary vehicles holding more ammo inside, which is then delivered using handcarts. The ammunition handling system can provide a rate of fire of 2.5 rounds per minute.
The gun can also fire anti-concrete, nuclear and chemical shells and is equipped with a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system.
Return to active duty
The Russians eventually put a large part of their approximately 300 2S7s into storage. The Ukrainians who inherited a hundred 2S7s from the Soviet Union also did the same.
Ukraine was forced to reactivate his 2S7s in 2014 after his forces were hammered by Russian separatist artillery fire in the Donbas region. Reports suggest the Army pulled at least 13 2S7s from storage and sent them to the Shepetivka Repair Plant in Rivne for overhaul.
Meanwhile, Russian forces also appear to have commissioned their own 2S7s in Russia’s Belgorod region possibly operated by the 45th Artillery Brigade near the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine as well as in Crimea
Military Balance said in 2018 that the Russian artillery was armed with 60 Malka guns, which according to reportshave undergone major improvements.
The new guns are fitted with digital electronics to integrate them with the army’s sophisticated fire control system. This system combines drones and ground-based radars and wiretaps to pinpoint targets and transmit coordinates to guns.
These upgrades are said to help Russian gunners shoot new targets faster than their Ukrainian counterparts.
For example, in February 2015, during a brutal clash over the town of Debaltseve in the Donetsk region, Russian 2S7s shelled Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian soldiers claimed that for every salvo they fired, they received 10–15 salvoes in return.
“Tales of Ukrainian soldiers being targeted by artillery, mere seconds after being spotted by a drone or after using their phones, were numerous during the battle,” said Small Wars Journal. Noted.
Last week, a video released on social media claimed show an ammunition depot near Kharkiv destroyed by a Russian strike. It is believed that the 2S7 Malka was used in this assault.
Moreover, in December 2021, the Russian army has received a batch of 2S7s that may have undergone another round of upgrades by Uralvagonzavod, a subsidiary of state-owned Rostec.