A primer on the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS – TTG


The US has two multiple launch rocket systems: M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS. Both have a crew of three, both fire the same missiles, both do not need a Fire Direction Center to compute their missions. The M142 HIMARS exists in only one version. No updates so far – this version is called M142A0. The M270 MLRS exists in three versions:

• M270A0

• M270A1

• M270A2

The M270A0 can only fire the M26 series, M28 series training rockets, and M39 rocket. As of 2022 no country fields the M270A0. The M270A1 can fire all current missiles, but its processing power is too slow to fire the future PrSM missile. Therefore Lockheed Martin is currently overhauling and upgrading 160 stored M270A0 with new engines, transmissions, launcher-loader modules, and the new Common Fire Control System (CFCS) – this version will be known as M270A2. These 160 new M270A2 will equip the currently active ten US Army and US Army National Guard artillery battalions, which all use the M270A1.

When these 160 M270A2 have been delivered Lockheed will begin to overhaul and upgrade the existing fleet of 225 M270A1 launchers to the new M270A2 standard. Once the overhauled M270A1 leave the Lockheed facilities as M270A2 the Army will raise new artillery battalions and increase the number of launchers per battalion. All this means that Ukraine can only get either M142 or M270A1 launchers, because the M270A0 can’t fire the GPS guided GMLRS missiles in the US inventory, while the M270A2 is the pinnacle of US military tech and its CFCS is top secret. This leaves the M270A1 as only possible M270 variant, and luckily Lockheed is right now delivering the first M270A2 to US Army artillery units, which are concurrently retiring their M270A1. As for the M142: more than 540 have been produced so far and the US Army and Marine inventory is around 450 systems, with approximately 335 in active units.

In short: the US could donate a lot of either system to Ukraine, as of both 100+ are available and as both systems can be replaced by the US defense industry. The main difference between the two systems is that the M142 carries only one missile pod. As pods contain the same 6x missiles (either 6x M30A1, 6x M31, or 6x M31A1) this somewhat limits an artillery commander’s options… unless he has two M142 loaded with different missiles. The M270A1 carries two pods and so can fire unitary warheads (M31/M31A1) and alternative warhead (M30A1) rockets in the same fire mission. Both systems can fire a LOT more missions per hour than Russian systems. As mentioned in my earlier tweet it takes 20+ minutes to reload the Uragan  and 40+ minutes to reload the Smerch. M142 and M270A1 reload time: 5 minutes.

Then the Russians have to measure and set up their firing positions, plot a fire mission with their outdated maps, sight their launchers optically (photo) – this and their slow reloading time mean that the Russians can fire one volley per hour at best. The M142 and M270A1 need 1 minute to stop, set up and fire their missiles: drone spots a Russian target – sends GPS coordinates to the M142 – gunner enters GPS coordinates into the UFCS – launches missiles – moves on. A M142 or M270A1 can fire 5-6 volleys per hour (!).

Not only are M142 and M270A1 faster to reload, quicker to fire, and massively more accurate than Russian rocket launchers – their missiles also fly further than Russian missiles. Officially GMLRS missiles have a range of 70 km… I can tell you that this is not true. Just how much further their real range is I cannot disclose, but the Russians are about to make painful discoveries soon.

We now know which launchers and missiles Ukraine will receive… now let’s look at how these missiles will deliver a lot of hurt to the Russians. Let’s look first at the Kherson front. I used @Nrg8000‘s brilliant maps for these:

In the 1st image I added two blue circles with the range of M777 howitzers with M795 projectiles. In the 2nd image I added a yellow circle with the “official” range of a M31A1 rocket. Just one M142 or M270A1 can not only fire at almost every Russian position in Kherson Oblast, it can also hit the choke points of Russia’s two supply lines:
• the Antonovskiy Bridge near Kherson and
• the Kakhovka Dam near Nova Kakhovka

Send up a drone:

• find Russian supply point – hit it with a M30A1

• find a Russian command post – hit it with a M31A1

• find a Russian battery – give it a taste of both

• find Russian infantry – one M30A1 will hit them with 160,000 scorching hot, Mach 3 fast shrapnels

Now let’s look at Kharkiv. In blue the range of a M777 with M795 projectile, and in green the range of a self-propelled CAESAR howitzer. In yellow the “official” range of where a M270A1 or M142 can make the Russian’s life hell. The entire Russian supply line using the railway from Vovchansk to Kupiansk is in range. The Russian supply point at Kupiansk, which supplies the Russian salient at Izyum is in range. And there is no need to worry about counter battery fire: M142 and M270A1 fire their missiles so quickly that whatever Russia fires in return will hit long after both vehicles are gone.

The M142 crew doesn’t even have to get out of their vehicle to reload. The only risk to them are drones. So both vehicles need air defense close by. If a Russian battery or air defense system is spotted deep behind Russian lines – drive closer to the frontline, fire the missiles, move back out of Russian artillery range. Then reload and repeat. M270A1 and/or M142 are definitely going to change the dynamics of this war. Every Russian attack will get smitted, every Russian supply point will get destroyed. And we already know that Russia can’t move further than 80-90 km supply points.

But Ukraine needs a lot of M270A1 or M142. As @nicholadrummond already said: 48x launchers is the minimum. Plus lots and lots of missiles, and drones to spot every Russian position. Send this to Ukraine NOW and we can wrap this war up before Ukraine’s independence day.

Comment: This is the system Ukraine should soon be getting. Whether it’s the tracked M270 or the wheeled M142 is immaterial. Why not both? As the author suggested, Ukraine needs lots of them now along with lots and lots of rockets. They don’t need the ATACMS surface to surface missile with a stated range of 190 miles or the, yet to be fielded, precision strike missile with a range of over 300 miles. I believe this is what Biden was referring to when he said he will not supply Ukraine with long range rockets that can hit Russia. But either MLRS system will be capable of firing those two missiles. Poland is asking for 500 of these launchers. I’m sure that will cause a lot of hysterics in Moscow and will put a damper on Russian plans to denazify NATO. That Ukraine will have these systems in their post-war arsenal is certainly not what Moscow envisioned.

The author seems to know what he’s talking about. Perhaps he worked with the MLRS while in the Italian Army. Anyways, it’s pretty obvious where his sentiments lie.

“Thomas Theiner is a former member of the Italian Army, who has lived and worked in Kyiv since 2009. Theiner is an expert on NATO Cold War land forces and NATO Cold War defense strategy. A contributor to Euromaidan Press during Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution and the following Donbas war Theiner currently resides in Austria and works on Cold War documentaries. Theiner has been analyzing and reporting on open source intelligence and conflicts in the former Soviet Union since the Russian takeover of Crimea.”




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97 Responses to A primer on the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS – TTG

  1. cobo says:

    Don’t hold anything back, they, there, are our front lines. But I’ve got to say, ever since I saw the original Russian MLRS, they scare the sh out of me – and the thermobarics are just more hel raining down on human life.

  2. Babeltuap says:

    Half of the CCP and Russia are the only things stopping a one world government. I say half of the CCP because the other half wants globalism. Not many understand planetary tyranny will be the worst event that ever happened. Far worse than any regional conflict or any war for that matter.

    • TTG says:


      Who’s supposed to lead this one world government? There’s not one coalition in the world that isn’t barely holding together from Washington to Moscow to Beijing.

      • Babeltuap says:


        Two competing factions:

        Guild I: 30 members of NATO and counting.

        Guild II: Brazil, Brunei, Namibia, Bangladesh, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran and likely Venezuela. Basically BRICS and some friends.

        Guild II just shot down new International Health Regulations and don’t like Guild I so much if you haven’t noticed yet.

        As for who takes the crown? We will find out together.

    • Al says:

      Oh my, the “one world government” rises from the fantasy land of decades ago.
      Back then when I was working in northern Michigan we had these “militia” yahoos running thru the woods playing soldiers to fight the “blue helmets” that soon would be invading!

    • Bill Roche says:

      Has any one explained that to the Ukrainians?

    • Klapper says:

      I wouldn’t call it “one world government” yet, but the process of centralizing authority is well underway. The latest installment is the proposed World Health Organization treaty on pandemic control which would transfer local authority to the UN during times of pandemic.

      The proponents justify this centralization as needed to make a safer, healthier, cleaner, more equitable world. The tradeoff will be a reduction in individual freedom, which the proponents think is necessary to solve global issues like climate change.

      Russia is resistant to this process of gradual assimilation of national autonomy. Of course as we know from Brexit, so are other countries. However unlike the UK, Russia is “backward” on social issues, energy issues, and they got on the “wrong” side in various middle east conflicts. This is upsetting for the Davos/WEF/UN/EU crowd and for them the Ukraine war is an opportunity to weaken, ideally balkanize Russia.

      The fact that the Ukraine leadership has acted, both before and after the start of the war, in profoundly undemocratic ways is of no real concern to the proponents of globalism; they’re not really in favour of democracy anyway. To them the election of Trump was proof that democracy needed to be “managed”.

  3. Worth Pointing Out says:

    Out of a morbid sense of curiosity, how is the HIMARS guided to the target when/if GPS is being spoofed or jammed?

    • joe90 says:

      They should have INS which at the low end will give a CEP of 28 meters at 70km, which is good enough. High end none secret will do 4cm per km so 3m at 70km, which is also good enough to hit a tank or at least grave it. The shockwave that close will kill everyone inside and probably make the tank fly.

      The 30-45km rockets are dumb, cheep, rocket that drop hundreds of airburst submunitions, only the 70km one has GPS/INS. Which is as it should be as they are meant for area bombardment.

      Russia´s Pantsir-S1 can shoot those rocket down but I doubt they could intercept more than 2-3 from a volley of 12, which frankly makes no difference. You have 5k instead of 6k bomblets to survive.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        So if the Russians jam the GPS then the margin of error blows out from 3m to 28m.

        What if they spoof the GPS signal instead?

        Won’t that mean that the rockets will land within a 3m radius of what they think is *here* but is actually *there*?

        Indeed, won’t that mean that the drone will be reporting incorrect GPS co-ordinates of the target back to the HIMARS operators?

        In which case wouldn’t the INS be useless, since they will be aiming the rockets at the wrong place?

        • joe90 says:

          No, it depends on how accurate the INS is and the distance to the target. The error rate increases with distance travelled for INS.

          The M31 has a single warhead so that´s the one I assume has GPS in it and if you spoof that then it may/will miss depending on target size and how good the INS is. Again also distance, at 15km a low end INS will still get you within 6 meters, worse than GPS but you will still hit a house.

          Yes, wrong target data means you hit the wrong target.

          • TTG says:


            The M31 unitary warhead and both M30 warheads, the Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) and its replacement, the alternative warhead (AW)) are also GMLRS rounds. The older non-GPS enabled rounds are no longer fielded. There is also an extended range GMLRS round has recently been fielded. Over 50,000 GMLRS rounds have been produced. Could the GPS guidance be jammed or spoofed? Sure, but the Russians would have to work awfully fast to detect the rocket, then jam or spoof it. Even their counter-battery radar haven’t proved all that effective in the last three months.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            Maybe I’m completely wrong about this, but at the ranges that you mention the HIMARS crew are not going to know that there is a target out there unless something else tells them about it.

            I have assumed that the likely tattletale is a Ukrainian drone that is relaying targeting coordinates back to the HIMAS crew, who then input those coordinates into their system and hits the Big Red Button.

            But if the Russians are able to spoof the GPS receiver on an incoming rocket then they are going to be able to spoof the GPS receiver in a Turkish-built drone.

            This is why I simply don’t understand TTG’s comment below about having to “work awfully fast to detect the rocket, then jam or spoof it”.

            Well, no, they only need to spoof the drone, which then sends spoofed coordinates to the HIMAS crew, who will then input that into their computers and subsequently lay waste to some poor unfortunate duck pond.

            Or am I missing something obvious?

          • TTG says:

            Worth Pointing Out,

            Your suggestion is theoretically possible. However, the same applies to all artillery. The guns do not see the target. Drones are used extensively and their targeting often leads to direct hits on targets. Whatever the Russians have as a spoofing capability is either not working or not being used. It won’t be any different for the HIMARS.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            Thanks for the reply, TTG.

            Are there documented instances of Ukrainian drones directing artillery or Tochka missiles against moving targets via GPS?

            I know of many situations over the last eight years where Ukrainian artillery or missiles were fired against cities and villages: in that situation the location of the target can be found in any atlas.

            I’m also sure the Ukrainians can fire on moving targets if the drone overhead shows a nearby landmark: again, all the drone operator needs is a good map resting on his knee and a keen eye for detail.

            But GPS isn’t a factor in either of those circumstances, and is quite unnecessary.

            The article you have referred to makes much of HIMAS being able to take GPS coordinates supplied by drone and feed that into its GPS-guided rockets. Which, obviously, is an altogether different method of directing fire.

            Your statement that Russian GPS jamming “is either not working or not being used” seems to me to be a very unwarranted assumption.

            For all I know Russian GPS jamming has been very successful and much-used, but it can only be effective in suppressing fire against them if that enemy fire is reliant upon GPS.

            And so far that doesn’t appear to be the case.

            Or, more correctly, I don’t know of circumstances where the Ukrainians have been using GPS to accurately launch attacks upon Russian forces.

            I’m happy to stand corrected on this matter, if you can share some examples.

          • joe90 says:


            They have air defence systems that can shoot down the rockets so their computers are fast enough. My understanding is the the jamming/spoofing is area based not object based. I´m not convinced of the point of GPS for DPICM rounds( I suppose it´s cheap enough now so why not) as INS is good enough and can not be spoofed. The UK still uses or at least has the old rounds.

            I am not there so how good the CBR is up for debate but it´s the Ukraine that is begging for more artillery. It´s also the Ukrainians constantly talking about Russian artillery, the Russians don´t seem too concerned with Ukrainian artillery so you are getting everything reversed from reality.

          • joe90 says:

            Worth Pointing Out

            TTG will be TTG, everyone has their own view.

            The Turkish drone´s are not very effective, the Turks insist on selling them and the Ukrainians simply haven´t bought enough (30-50) to make a difference given the size of the area they are operating in. Also the Russians are quickly shooting them down, I believe it was last weekend or Monday that they shot down 3 in 1 day. They should have been re-ordering every week. They can´t because their economy is in free fall, paying for everything with new debt. The money printing phase will probably start within the next 5-10 days.

  4. Worth Pointing Out says:

    ” As mentioned in my earlier tweet it takes 20+ minutes to reload the Uragan and 40+ minutes to reload the Smerch. M142 and M270A1 reload time: 5 minutes.”

    Odd that he doesn’t appear to know about the 9A52-4 Tornado, which is in widespread use in the Russian armed forces and has a reload time of 8 minutes.

    Time to setup and fire is 3 minutes, and the rocket can be guided by GLONASS.

    If/when the USA supplies HIMARS to the Ukrainians then the Russians can deploy Tornado to counter them. They are roughly comparable, but the Russians have much more experience in their system than the Ukrainians will have had in the American gear.

    So it may not be the game-changer that everyone assumes.

    • Jimmy_w says:

      Russia is mostly using Grad and Uragan. They seem to have deployed a lot of Smerch, too, but the main rocketry is Grad and Uragan.

      When HIMARS gets in, if Russia is smart, they’ll switch out their launchers for the modular ones.

      • joe90 says:

        That is a whole lot of big assumption. Why would they be smart in doing what you suggest?

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        Sure, the Russians are content to use their older stuff inside Ukraine because
        (a) it is good enough and
        (b) they may as well use up their old stuff first.

        But if the USA hands over some shiny-new toys to the Ukrainians then the Russians can – and will – move their shiny-new equivalent in to counter it.

        This article ignores that altogether and insists on comparing the shiny-new American weapon against Russia’s last-generation stuff and – surprise, surprise – announces that the new stuff is much, much better.

        No doubt it is.

        But anyone who insists that HIMARS will be a game-changer is ignoring that this is a game where the Russians also get their turn to roll the dice: they’ll swap out their old stuff and replace it with their new gear.

        • TTG says:

          Worth Pointing Out,

          The Russians are already using their good stuff. As it gets blown up, they’re replacing it with older stuff. They’re had their hypersonic missiles, which were supposed to cow the entire world into submission, since day one. Their use to date hasn’t been very successful. More hype than effectiveness.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “Their use to date hasn’t been very successful. ”

            As in: they miss the target?
            As in: they are being intercepted?
            As in: what, exactly, is your criteria for “success”?

          • joe90 says:

            They are using new stuff and old stuff, that is to say, using the right stuff for the job at hand.

            It seems you have been mislead, the Russians are not using the “Game changing” Javelin, Stinger or HIMARS.

          • TTG says:


            No shit. I said we provided THE UKRAINIANS with Javelins, M777s and, soon HIMARS.

      • PeterHug says:

        I have to assume that the Russians are not pulling their punches at this point. (And by extension, they haven’t been since they invaded, either.)

    • joe90 says:

      The setup time is mainly important if your worried about CBF but if that´s the case then you move to your new firing location then reload there.

      Oh and it´s not a game change, it´s not even a free kick. Brandon can send 500+ of them plus the support vehicles and rockets but without trained crews, they stay in Poland. With trained crew´s, the Russians will use their Su-34 en masse and that will be an end to the question “who wins, Artillery vs Air”. NATO should and does know this.

  5. OIFVet says:

    Yes, the HIMARS is the wunderwaffe that will finally drive the Russians behind the Urals. It consists of equal parts hopium and copium, with a pinch of hubris for spice.

  6. Jovan P says:

    Don’t seem like genuine game changers, but the deep state is definitively doubling down. Guess the Russians will also have to double down. Sadly this is not blackjack, but war.

    Yesterday, Zelensky ,,admitted” that Ukraine is having – 60-100 soldiers per day as killed in action and around 500 soldiers as wounded in action.

    • Fred says:

      Jovan P,

      That would be 30,000 to 50,000 causalties to date, more or less. That’s a whole lot more than has been reported previously.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Actually I read a reported conjecture of 60k casualties for the Ukrainian side today but it was admittedly guesswork at an upper limit. I wonder if these rocket launchers will cause the Russians to alter the skittish behavior up to now of their air forces. My layman’s understanding or lack thereof has me thinking fighter-bombers are an answer to this development. But that could be part of the plan here – to flush out the Russian Air – as a side effect of the deployment.

        • borko says:


          GPS is being actively jammed on Ukrainian battlefields. This might interfere greatly with these launchers’ ability to quickly and precisely target Russian units.

          • joe90 says:

            I doubt that, The British Army is trained to fire using basic maths and physics, I can´t imagine US training has got so lackadaisical as to ignore that and the Ukrainians were said to trained to NATO standard. Well, said to rank better than most NATO armies in training and much better in equipment, though I suspect that has already been quietly memory holed.

  7. plantman says:

    I think you need to go back and reread Kissinger’s comments from last week’s WEF conference…

    Beating Russia and killing more Russian servicemen is not in America’s interests. It does NOT move the ball down the field for America, and, frankly, that’s all I care about… America.

    You continue to insist that this is about “brave Ukrainians” and highfalutin weapon systems that kill alot of Russians. But that completely misses the point. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by pursuing this lunatic policy.

    Our basic strategy is to “weaken” Russia, “isolate” Russia, sever Russia’s economic ties with Europe and then move on to China.

    That is the wrong policy. That is a policy that hurts America, not helps America. That is what Kissinger was saying.

    What we don’t want to do –above all- is create a situation where Russia’s vast natural resources become linked to our real adversary (China) making it more difficult to contain China’s development.

    The current policy forces Russia to strengthen its relations with China, which is to say, It forces the exact outcome we should be trying to avoid at all cost.

    That’s what made Kissinger’s statement so powerful, because he “gets it”.

    If you disagree with that, you should present your views in a post where your critics don’t have to argue with a straw man about goofy weapons systems that have nothing to do with America’s vital strategic interests.

    • Pat Lang says:


      I agree that “weakening Russia” has always been a bad policy as was eastward expansion, but the die is cast and abandoning NATO and Ukraine are impossible.

      • joe90 says:

        Why is it impossible. The US walked away from Vietnam and Afghanistan and Ukraine isn´t even in NATO! Anyway the Russians are not asking for permission, they are creating facts on the ground. So the question now is How, not Will. Of course the most pertinent question is Where, as in where is the line at which Russia stops. If we here the words “Phase 3” then the answer is probably, Poland´s border. Though that raises an uncomfortable question.

    • Datil D says:


      Excellent comment, much expert analysis of weapon systems and military tactics appear on the blog but disregard the political context.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Datil D
        Winning comes before all. TTG and I know a lot about international politics. Do you? If you lose in actual war, you lost. Ask “b” about that. He is still smarting abt WW2.

  8. Donald Schmeling says:

    This fellow thinks they will make little difference.
    So far his posts have been bang on.


    • Fourth and Long says:

      His critique makes sense. The US weapon systems are designed to be used under conditions where the user has absolute air superiority. Doesn’t pertain here.

  9. Barbara Ann says:

    Paul Nakasone has just said that CYBERCOM are conducting “offensive” operations against Russia in support of Ukraine. The DIA is doing Ukraine’s targeting in the war. The US is at war with Russia now and it is surely only a matter of time before it escalates to a level when Russia takes offensive action of some kind against the US (cyber attack, satellite shoot down, whatever). So sure, send the MLRS’s and everything else, but I don’t understand Biden’s reticence about sending weapons that can hit Russia (the overlapping gray areas in the maps above are Russia).

    How is this different to previous proxy conflicts (say between the US & USSR) you may ask. Well in my estimation Putin is being truthful when he says he believes Russia is in an existential war with the West. In 2018 whilst unveiling Russia’s new doomsday weapons Putin said “Why would we want a world without Russia?”. If we truly believe we can defeat Russia in an existential war then let’s quit fooling ourselves that this can be accomplished without it leading to MAD. We’ve had a good run, I wish the cockroaches well.


    • Leith says:

      Barbara Ann –

      Putin’s hackers in February conducted cyber attacks on ViaSat, a US company. Turnabout is fair play.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Can you point me at an article quoting the head of the Russian equivalent of CYBERCOM claiming credit for that attack? I thought a key advantage of offensive cyber ops – and rule governing proxy war fighting in general – was deniability. Nakasone does not seem to understand that.

        • Leith says:

          Barbara Ann –

          Putin or his underlings would not overtly claim credit for that attack. He would just give a sly smile while Lavrov denied it.

          However it happened on 24 February the day Putin’s invasion started. And the day before the invasion massive distributed-denial-of-service attacks shut down websites of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet, and Parliament; and the MoD and MoI (police) websites had serious delays and interruptions.

          Nakasone to my knowledge has not claimed credit for any specific cyber attacks, only generalizations of both offensive and defensive cyber – and “hunt forward ops” whatever that is.

    • Fred says:

      Barbara Ann,

      “…it is surely only a matter of time before it escalates to a level when Russia takes offensive action …”

      Putin defeated Obama/Biden in the 2016 elections, didn’t you hear about that? Speaking of Russian’s hacking elections, did you hear that Dominion election servers have software vulnerable to hacking?
      “Federal cybersecurity officials have verified there are software vulnerabilities in certain ballot-marking devices made by Dominion Voting Systems, discovered during a controversial Georgia court case, which could in theory allow a malicious actor to tamper with the devices, according to a draft analysis reviewed by CNN.”

      You need access though, kind of like an open door in a school. Never happen, trust the federal investigators with an office at Perkins Coie. So when this year’s $5 gas, double food prices and open Southern border causes a 40-100 seat loss in the House for the party of the biggest ballot getting president in history, just remember: Putin did it. And don’t bother asking CNN why that Georgia case that proved the vulnerability is ‘controversial’.

  10. Tidewater says:

    Rishi Sunak, a member of parliament and now Chancellor of the Exchequer, has, in past, written about internet security. One article was “Undersea cables: indispensable, insecure” which I think was published by Policy Exchange on December 1, 2017. This can be googled if my link doesn’t work. It’s very interesting…


  11. d74 says:

    it’s too little, too late.
    We can see that the recent Ukrainian pseudo-offensives are failing with heavy losses. This means that the Ukrainian army has lost its freedom of action. It has lost its ability to maneuver at divisional level.
    Ukrainian forces are reduced to equipping and statically holding strong points, with no hope of using them as a springboard for an offensive.
    So, they will line up these weapons to inflict losses on the Russian army without exploiting the hole in the enemy line and its rear.

    All these primitive tactics imposed by the superiority of Russian fire are reminiscent of the long German retreat from the summer of 1944, on the Eastern Front. Frederick II: the history of fortresses is the history of defeats.

    For these calamities to turn into victorious battles, one or more new events are needed. Since Nato insists on its comfort and claims that it will not intervene, such changes are unlikely.
    At this point in the war, there are no miracle weapons.

    It would be better for Ukraine to deal with it before it loses its industry, its rich agricultural land and its Black Sea ports.

  12. joe90 says:

    “Theiner is an expert on NATO Cold War land forces and NATO Cold War defense strategy. A contributor to Euromaidan Press during Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution and the following Donbas war Theiner currently resides in Austria and works on Cold War documentaries. ”

    Well OK. So stuck 30 years in the past with an inability to understand/remember logistics. Personally I think this is Brandon trying some PR and only at most a handful (enough for the photo-op) if any M270s will ever cross the border into Ukraine.

    “Not only are M142 and M270A1 faster to reload, quicker to fire, and massively more accurate than Russian rocket launchers – their missiles also fly further than Russian missiles. ”

    Only 1 of those 4 statements is factually correct, the least important one.

    “Both systems can fire a LOT more missions per hour than Russian systems.”

    Only if you have the ammo, The M270 system comes with 2 carriers per launch vehicle. Which needs to travel to where for reloads? Poland? A big ammo dump nearer? Is NATO going to throw in some air defence with those convoys? Is the plan to just use the railway system? How exactly are those ammo convoys meant to survive?

    “The only risk to them are drones. So both vehicles need air defense close by. If a Russian battery or air defense system is spotted deep behind Russian lines – drive closer to the frontline, fire the missiles, move back out of Russian artillery range. Then reload and repeat. ”

    Well OK, except that Russia has the 500km, 2,000 m/s 9K720 Iskander which has a CEP of 5m, the 400km S-400 Triumf ADS and a working air force. Also CB Radar that is networked so it is not the furthest CBF art you need concern yourself with but the nearest.

    “we can wrap this war up before Ukraine’s independence day.”

    That would be August 24. Sounds right, I´m sticking with July though as the over/under.

  13. Leith says:

    There has been some chatter on twitter from a former GI who had operated the M270 MLRS that it was a maintenance nightmare. But I expect he was talking about the early M270A0 version. Hopefully it’s not a problem with any that are sent to Ukraine.

    Regarding HIMARS versus the Tornado, it looks like HIMARS is outranged by 20km. Or by 50km for the new Tornado-S version which reportedly has a range of 120km (72 miles). They could keep the -S versions on the Russian side of the border and strike deep into Ukraine. But you have to wonder how accurate and how robust it is considering the corruption of Putin’s oligarch cronies feeding at the trough of Russia’s defense industry. And with the Tornado’s 8×8 suspension it would do better in the mud than HIMARS in the spring Rasputitsa, or even in the event of a rarer fall Rasputistsa (it started in early October of 1941 and saved Moscow).

    The GPS on the M31 GMLRS rockets supposedly have a built in anti-jamming capability. Time will tell how well that will work. But even if Russian GPS turns out to be effective, there are workarounds. Why not depend on the old fashioned fire control solution and shut off the GPS guidance? Although not pinpoint accuracy, it has been depended on for 80 years by rocket artillerymen.

    • joe90 says:

      You do realise that Russia is aware of the weather in Russia and understand that it may have to fight in adverse weather conditions?. Do you think the Russian General Staff sit around saying “better hope no one invades when it is muddy”? Anyway it´s summer now.

      • Leith says:

        joe90 –

        Ukraine is not in Russia.

        But I’m sure both the General Staffs of Russia and Ukraine are acutely aware of the “Rasputitsa” seasons, which are spring for sure and sometimes in the fall. Putin and his KGB buddies were not so aware back at the end of February. Or they ignored and overruled the cautious ones who advised them to wait until summer. Hence the bogging down in quagmires of hundreds of armored vehicles that became sitting ducks for the Ukrainians to either destroy or capture.

        Same thing happened to Hitler in 1941 and Napoleon in 1812. Putin does not even know his own country’s history. Yet some of his Fanbois in the west still claim he plays four dimensional chess. But at least some of the Russian people are now starting to catch on to his stupidity.

    • Jimmy_W says:

      Because GMLRS is a unitary warhead to please all the Euro anti-submunition ostriches. So, without GPS guidance, GMLRS has the same effectiveness as an 8-inch round. A lot of boom, but limited to a small area.

      • TTG says:


        In addition to the unitary GMRS rocket, there is an alternative warhead GMLRS rocket with the benefits of cluster ammo without the danger of unexploded bomblets. Both have airburst options obviously.

      • Jimmy_W says:

        Lockheed and Army are fooling their customers by saying the GMLRS AWP tungsten pellets are anywhere near as effective as DPICM. For one, DPICM is “Dual-Purpose”.
        The liberals need to get over their silly arms control treaties if they are really serious about defense.

    • joe90 says:

      “Why not depend on the old fashioned fire control solution and shut off the GPS guidance?”

      Well I suspect for cost reasons (comparison of dumb vs smart) that can´t be done but they have an INS system which can´t be spoofed and that is the anti-jamming system they are talking about, for reasons it´s hard to build a GPS that can´t be jammed. Also at 70km it´s probably as accurate. Though you do need to know where you are as well as the target, so GPS is preferable as you only need to know “am I in range?”

      • TTG says:


        GPS still works in Ukraine. It’s still in use with drones and artillery. A lot of GPS can be jammed, but the Russians haven’t effectively done so in three months of war. GPS enabled guidance works very well. As long as GPS continues to work, why not use it?

        • joe90 says:

          GPS works in some areas of the Ukraine, NATO says it is being jammed in others. Ukraine is around 600,000 km2.

      • Leith says:

        joe90 –

        I don’t understand why you say it can’t be done for cost reasons. Is there a source or is it speculation?

        I’m glad to hear those rockets have INS.

        But in any case it does not matter as TTG outlines below, Putin’s jamming of GPS in Ukraine has not been effective.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “Also at 70km it´s probably as accurate.”

        Only if the HIMAS crew are fed accurate targeting information from the Ukrainian drones that are flying 70km ahead.

        But how do the drones provide that accurate targeting information if their own GPS is being jammed/spoofed?

        Do they swoop down and read the road signs?

        • Pat Lang says:

          Countermeasures do not always work. And, DIA is feeding target intel directly to Ukrainian arty. This is real-time stuff.

          • jld says:

            ” And, DIA is feeding target intel directly to Ukrainian arty. This is real-time stuff.”

            Does not this means that the US is ACTUALLY at war with Russia even if not physically present on the battlefield?

          • TTG says:


            Our continued intel support to Ukraine doesn’t place in a state of war with Russia any more than our supplying Ukraine with Javelins, M777s and now HIMARS. Those are actually blowing apart and burning to a crisp actual Russians every day.

          • jld says:

            “burning to a crisp actual Russians every day”

            What an interesting view for a Catholic.
            Wouldn’t it be good enoughto just kill them?

          • TTG says:


            You don’t know what happens on the ground in war, do you? Soldiers don’t lay down and die in a telegenic manner.

          • jld says:

            What I mean is that you seem to relish the “crisp”. >:(

          • TTG says:


            Just acknowledging the reality of modern warfare. It doesn’t take seeing a lot of blown apart and burned to a crisp bodies to know there is nothing to relish about it.

          • Leith says:

            There are millions out there that think the Unknown Soldier is only unknown because he lost his dogtags.

  14. Jimmy_W says:

    Theiner got close to the truth, but he did not complete his train of logic. HIMARS will help. However,

    1. Reloading time is irrelevant if logistics cannot keep up. US MTOE had 1 HEMTT and trailer for each launcher, for 8 reloading pods in the trains. Last I heard, trucks are short in Ukraine, and America is not advertising their HEMTT shipments.

    1a. Ammunition resupply will be critical targets. And Russia has already targeted some of the Ukrainian ammo depots.

    2. Reloading time is less relevant if they are shooting and scooting, and they will if they’re smart. It is basic math.

    3. Russia can deploy enough Grads and Uragans to counter HIMARS/MLRS’s reloading advantage, just shuttling them through. GPS guidance is less relevant when you can shoot DPICMs. And Russia can probably find enough Refuseniks to drive the launchers.

    Theiner’s thread is overoptimistic cheerleading. It would be excusable only if he wrote in Ukrainian. Analysis requires a logical head.

  15. Lars says:

    I am grateful that I have no knowledge about most of the military matters frequently mentioned, but as a retired builder, I do know something about putting things together. If you are building something, like a house, and you run out of nails, or saw blades, or any other necessary component, things crawl to a stop. I see some similar dynamics at play regarding Russia’s efforts at warfare. I realize that Russia is a bigger country, but that in itself does not matter all that much. History is full of examples to prove that point. Even Lenin started out as a minor loudmouth agitator.

    I think that the outcome of this war is still uncertain as much as it is complex. I do know, and I agree, that Putin never imagined that his action would be seen as an existential threat to Europe. Not seen since 1939. For my native Sweden to give up it’s cherished neutrality is a major development and for Finland, again rising to the rise of the threat from the east, is also a game changer. What should bother Russia, is that they have been working on that problem for a long time and now Russia has to increase their military posture in their north west. Which will not be cheap and will require very specialized troops.

    I think we are seeing the biggest mistake since Hitler decided to direct military action, with the difference that the results will arrive much sooner. What will eventually defeat the Russian efforts is the Internet. With apologies to Sir Winston Churchill, but seldom has so much been told to so many, impacting so few.

  16. Al says:

    As these newly provided systems will be located quite a distance from front lines, it would seem to me that via the CIA or DoD there might well be USA technical “advisors” participating as they are fired.
    Your take on that possibility?

    • TTG says:


      I doubt it. Any advising/training could be easily done in Poland, Romania or elsewhere in Europe. It’s a risk without a lot of gain. The Ukrainians are fully capable of operating these new systems with minimal training. Multiple rocket launchers are not new to them. If anything, the HIMARS will be easier to operate and maintain than what they already have.

      • joe90 says:

        “minimal training”

        That equals minimal competence.

        • TTG says:


          The Ukrainians already have competent, battle tested artillerymen. They’ve also been using their own MLRS since the Soviet days. All they need is transition training.

        • PeterHug says:

          I know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. Give me a different one, and I’ll be driving it in under 90 seconds.

  17. Leith says:

    I stand corrected on my earlier comment at 3:33. Tornado will NOT outrange the HIMARS if the reports are true that the extended range GMLRS-ER munition is being sent to Ukraine. Its range is 150km/93mi, which is 30km more that the Tornado-S.

    • joe90 says:

      Those report are incorrect, NATO is only sending the normal M31 GMLRS. The USA, UK and Germany have each agreed to send 4 HIMARS systems for a total of 12, or as like to think 3 photo-ops. So the handwashing of Ukraine has begun.

      • Leith says:

        You could be right Joe. It was a Jamestown Foundation twitter account that reported the Extended Range versions going to Ukraine. Perhaps they they were ‘priming-the-pump’ with a strawman, instead of having an inside view of what is being sent?


        On the other hand if Lockheed is selling the the ER versions to Finland, then why not Ukraine?


        Regarding your numbers: are they sending four HIMARS, or four batteries of four HIMARS each? In any case my understanding is that they may send more later after this initial phase.

        • joe90 says:

          1 battery of 4 HIMARS each, 12 launchers plus stuff. They wont, assuming it not just digital PR as I do, be sending more as this is already to little to late.

          Finland can wait a couple of years for it´s order to be filled, the Ukraine cannot. Lockheed won´t do a rush job without confidence of being paid. The US DOD could easily use it´s own supplies, like with the Javelin & Stinger, for Ukraine and re-order but it has not. Handwashing time.

      • Leith says:

        Joe –

        Germany is sending their M270 variant, the MARS II, and not HIMARS. But Chancellor Scholz has been dragging out other military shipments to Ukraine, so he may do the same with the MARS2.

        The UK will also send M270s. If the UA uses them en masse as a battery of four that would be 48 rockets in a salvo. There is a reason they call it the Grid-Square-Removal-System.

        UA training on the US HIMARS has already started.

        They may not be a game-changer as you say. But add those to the 40 older Grads MLRS delivered earlier by Poles and Czechs. Add in the 125 towed 155mms and a couple of dozen donated 122mm and 152mm. Plus the 78 self propelled howitzers already delivered (I’m a fan of that French Caesar 155, longer range and extremely fast in shoot&scoot mode). And don’t forget Ukraine’s existing arty inventory and those captured from Putin.

  18. jim ticehurst says:

    So…They are Worried about a Borrowed American Missile Flying off into a Russian forest..Killing A Red Cow…
    But..on Our Memorial Day…Monday May 30th…On Russian News.TV Talk Show..Rossiya 1 Channel….There were Two Speakers…Alexi Zuravlev and
    Yevgeny Popov…They Said that Putin Can Destroy the United States.. in One Day..With Four Russian RS 28 Sarmat “Satan 2” Missiles…at 208 Tons..15 Warheads each…Flying ay 16,000 MPH.. Two to Take Out The East Coast…and Two to take Out The West Coast..
    And in other News..POTUS Biden will Stop All School shootings by Elimination of all 9mm Weapons and Ammo…And Turdeau will do the same..
    So…Enland is going to be a Toxic Soup too
    Happy Birthday…Queen Elizabeth…Make it a Good One..Hip Hip..

    • James says:

      The gun laws in Canada as they pertain to handguns are pretty strict. I have know three people in my entire life here in Canada who owned handguns.

      Technically handguns are only permitted in Canada for target shooting. When they are stored in your home they have to be locked up – and if you get caught with and handgun in your car and you are not on the shortest path between your home and your shooting club you will be facing severe criminal penalties.

      I personally think that allowing citizens to own hunting rifles but not handguns is a good tradeoff – and if I might be so presumptuous, I think it is more in line with what the US founding fathers hand in mind.

      • Bill Roche says:

        J. the 2nd amendment has nothing to do w/hunting. It is to protect citizens from their own gov’t. That is what the founders (at least the Anti-Federalists) had in mind.

        • Steve says:


          I think you’ll find the 2nd amendment was to raise militias to put down rebellions in the absence of a standing army. Or at least that’s strongly suggested by the tone of the amendment and increase in rebellions at the time.

          The only part that pushes back at that is the word “right” but I’m sure a good lawyer could argue why that was inserted in place of “responsibility”.

        • TTG says:

          Bill Roche,

          True. The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It also has nothing to do with protecting citizens from their own government. According to the Constitution, the well regulated militia was to be organized, trained and maintained by the states as directed by Congress. Congress had the power to call up that militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions. Still, the Supreme Court has since established precedent by its rulings that the right to bear arms exists outside any militia, well organized or otherwise, and so it stands today. Of course, the Court is also establishing that precedent means nothing.

          • Al says:

            SCOTUS really contorted the English language found in the 2A.
            “Regulated militia” is the governing part of the 2A, per established English grammar of the Colonies.

  19. Christian J. Chuba says:

    And we were furious with Iran for helping native born Iraqis construct IED’s to kill someone born 6,000 miles way from invading their country.

  20. Al says:

    Looks like there will be less Russian Generals to hit with those new rockets:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin fired a slew of generals earlier this week as Moscow continues to experience losses among its top officers and generals during its invasion of Ukraine.

    Five top generals — Maj. Gens. Vasily Kukushkin, Alexander Laas, Andrey Lipilin, Alexander Udovenko and Yuri Instrankin — in addition to Police Colonel Emil Musin were fired by the Russian president on Monday, the Russian newspaper Pravda reported, citing a decree extract, which a source close to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia confirmed the authenticity of to the news outlet.

    Pravda, citing Russian media organization RBC, noted that a standard employee reshuffle procedure accounted for why the top officials had been fired.

    But the development comes as officials have noted that Russia has suffered an unprecedented loss of top officers and generals.

    “In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals. … Here, on the Russian side, in a two-month period, we’ve seen at least a dozen, if not more, Russian generals killed,” former supreme allied commander of NATO, Retired Adm. James Stavridis, told John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM in an interview early last month.

    • Fred says:


      The last US gernal killed in combat was in Afghanistan. A war we won.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      Fred, care to define the word “fired” in this circumstance?

      To my – admittedly simple – mind the word “fired” suggests that they are no longer soldiers in the Russian armed forces.

      Yet here we have this being described by the very source of the story as “a standard employee reshuffle procedure accounted for why the top officials had been fired” which to my mind makes the very use of the word “fired” rather questionable.

      Generals get shuffled around various positions in the Pentagon all the time. That is not at all unknown, or even unusual.

      Some even get shuffled around because, you know, they are getting a “promotion”.

      If Kukushkin, Laas, Lipilin, Udovenko and Instrankin are still sitting in desks at the Kremlin, and are still holding their ranks as Generals then I would not be at all quick to accept The Hill’s claim that they have been “fired”.

      As for the dozens – dozens, I tell you!!! – Russian generals that have been killed inside Ukraine, well, I gave up believing that when I saw a video of one of them – Mordvichev – rising from his grave to greet Ramzan Kadyrov after the fall of Mariupol.

      Back from the grave! A miracle!

      The Russians have admitted to two of their generals being killed – Sukhovetsky and Frolov – and I suspect that they are simply having a good laugh over all the other names that are constantly being bandied about in the media.

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