As partners and allies intensify, Ukraine’s long list of arms requests has become shorter over time and has been reduced to one last request in the last two weeks: MLRS, MLRS and MLRS. This is not to say that they do not need everything else and more, but long-range artillery has been Ukraine’s last missing element in creating an army that will not only detain Russia, but also exclude it. Ukraine.
The MLRS is a ‘multi-launch missile system’ or missile artillery, and as I have written several times, I did so for three years in the army. MLRS. And specifically, I managed the MLRS wire, leading the fire missions and, more importantly, its logistics – fuel, water, food, ammunition (for the three M270 launchers) and mechanics for all the damaged items. There were about 60 vehicles in my puzzle that supported nine launchers, and it was rare for all nine to work. I read somewhere that the MLRS unit has the highest logistics cost per mile in the entire army. And although I haven’t verified this “fact,” my experience certainly supports an extremely challenging operational challenge. I am appalled by the idea that Ukraine needs to deal with this kind of logistical and mechanical problem in the middle of the war without an NCO corps with MRLS experience. An alternative, wheeled, simplified version of the M270, the M142 HIMARS, is an objectively better solution. And that is what the United States will send to Ukraine.
Here are three recommended threads if you want to learn more about HIMARS (and MLRS):
Theiner was an artillery officer in the Italian army and clearly knows his shit. This second thread is just as good:
Then this is Mark Hertling, a retired American general and former commander of the US Army in Europe.
Hertling agreed with my assessment of HIMARS vs MLRS:
Oh well, the swivel mechanism has been upgraded since my time, that’s great. The US says it will be possible to train Ukrainians on HIMARS in two weeks. Crowd of maintenance / mechanics, there will not be enough time. But the guys in the cabin? They can train them in one day. I was shooting in the direction, but I got to sit on the M270 and shoot the missiles several times, for fun, and it was the computer, type in the coordinates and press a button. That was all. I cannot imagine that things have become even more complicated in the last 30 years. The biggest training task is loading the launcher, so it can take a day or two with the guys in the ammunition truck. Easy enough. They will receive them on the front line in a short time.
Let’s talk about the range using the standard charges that are most common on the battlefield. Specially extended range layers are rare and expensive.
Russian D30: 9.5 miles (9 miles)
Russian 2S19: 25 km (16 miles)
NATO M777: 29 km (18 miles)
RUSSIAN GRAD (MLRS): 45 km (28 miles)
Russian SMERCH (MLRS): 70 km (43 miles)
NATO M142 HIMARS: More than 70 km (43+ miles)
As far as I can guess, there are not many SMERCH systems in Ukraine and they are nowhere near as mobile and flexible as HIMARS (read Theiner’s thread above). Theiner also points out that HIMARS has a larger range than the official figures. During my time, our fire direction computers allowed us to display targets outside the nominal range for tracking.
As you can see above, the M777 howitzers that entered Ukraine have already overtaken everything except the Russian missile artillery. With HIMARS, no Russian artillery will be safe. No delivery depot will be secure (Kupianska, which supplies the entire northern Donbass front, is in range!). No advance from Russia will be safe.
There is the The potential role of the M270 MLRS if the US decides to phase out early versions of an outdated system – urban protection. Place the wire, three M270 launchers, somewhere on the outskirts of frequently targeted cities such as Sumy, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, in an abandoned barn. Accurately identify the source of any incoming artillery, knock it out, shoot the volleyball, then have it roll into a neighbor’s barn (in case Russia opposes long-range ballistic missiles). As long as the M270 doesn’t have to move much, they can hold up well enough as a semi-fixed local protection.
Let’s look at the battlefield. As you read this, Russia can take full control of Severodonetsk.
I spent too much time (here, here and here) wondering why Ukraine would try to keep a city surrounded on three sides, far from the support of Ukrainian artillery, without strategic value if there was a much more defensible position literally over Ukraine. river. Ukraine seems to have had the same idea, and it has retreated from the city in the last few days.
Lisičanska ir everything you want to be in a defensive position.
Not only is the city protected beyond the river, Russia has so far proved unable to cross, but the network of cliffs and hills overlooks Severodonetsk and the river between them, offering effective firing positions for any direct approach. The mountains on the southern edge of the city make it difficult for anyone to break out if Russian forces ever break out of the Popasna region.
In that regard, the last thing I saw from Popasna were the accounts of the pro-Russian Telegram, which shouted that Wagner’s mercenaries had been destroyed in an attempt to break out of the pocket to the north and that they were forcing the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) troops to occupy the avant-garde. It didn’t seem too promising to them, if it really was. What we to do I know for sure that Russia is trying to move forward three in different directions from Popasna, if you think Russia has finally learned to concentrate its forces.
Returning to Lysichansk, its supply lines are threatened by Russian artillery, but they remain open. And in the west there are many friendly areas for artillery. It’s still tiring, but it’s much more protective. HIMARS will soon offer even more dramatic coverage of all of this area.
A well-stocked battery of nine launchers could easily cover the entire Donbass front, or even a group of three, with a steady stream of rockets wherever Russia tried to move forward. Ukraine is not lying, saying it will change the game, and Russia really cannot afford further impoverishment.
The Russian Battalion Tactical Group (BTG) is expected to have 800-1000 troops each. Mark said yesterday that Russia is starting to run out, but it still has bodies to throw in the meat grinder until it is done. At some point, the tap will leak.