“… Himars rockets that can devastate huge areas in one blast.”

The big circle is the kill zone 0f the new munition

“… the new M30A1 rocket contains 182,000 tungsten ball bearings specially designed to cover a much larger area.

Images on Twitter from the Ukraine Weapons Tracker site showed pods of M30A1 rockets in Ukraine. Markings on the base of the missiles show the correct manufacturer and lot numbers for the new variant.

Ukrainian forces are likely to have requested the weapon as they continue to push back Russian units from the north-east and southern fronts.

In recent weeks, Kyiv’s troops advancing east from Kharkiv have largely bypassed concentrations of Russian firepower, preferring to race around Moscow’s forces whilst staying out of weapons-range, in a bid to cut off and slowly strangle the defensive positions.

Comment: Nasty business. These will chop new Russian troops into mincemeat. pl

Ukraine’s newest weapon: special Himars rockets that can devastate huge areas in one blast (telegraph.co.uk)

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52 Responses to “… Himars rockets that can devastate huge areas in one blast.”

  1. valuenotfound says:

    If you don’t want to read the Telegraph article, for purposes of comparison, the largest red circle has a radius of 85m. The smallest red circle is 20m.

    Nasty business indeed. There was condemnation for Russian using thermobaric warheads. Would these be considered on-par? Better, worse or just c’est la guerre?

    • Leith says:

      Value NotFound –

      85m radius = ~22700 sq meter area or just over five & a half acres. A photo online shows a mix of pellets, some buckshot size, but others only beebee size. So I don’t think the Telegraph is correct in calling it a it a ‘Kill Zone’. Maybe that is a British Army term. In the US we formerly used the term ‘lethal zone’ for exploding projectiles used against personnel; and it was meant as a measure of the casualties produced, wounded as well as killed.

      Regarding thermobarics: Not primarily used on troops in the open or in trenches, it is more likely to be used against buildings or bunkers. Kind of like what was used by the DPR in the Olenivka POW prison massacre that burned alive over 50 Ukrainian POWs back in July. If you or I had to die, would we rather it be by a 2,500-3000′ Celsius plasma cloud accompanied by 1000 lb/ sq in overpressure? Or be hit by some tungsten ball bearings? I know what my druthers would be.

  2. Mike G says:

    M30A1 rocket contains 182,000 tungsten ball bearings specially designed to cover a much larger area. ” These will chop new Russian troops into mincemeat. pl”
    How does that compare with the killing power of a small nuclear weapon? Effectively, are they any different as weapons of mass destruction? Might the use of these weapons allow Putin to argue that it is the West/NATO/USA that is escalating the conflict and that a nuclear response would be justified and appropriate? Might he see in the use of the weapons a justification for “retaliating” with nukes? Understand me – I am not arguing for some sort of effective appeasement, and indeed not for not using M30A1 weaponry – I am all for their use – but a chess player does need to think several moves ahead.

    • blue peacock says:

      Nuclear is a different threshold. Any use leads to MAD.

      These types of conventional weapons are no different in use than conventional ballistic missiles that the Russian military continues to use. Note that the the US has not armed Ukraine with conventional ballistic missiles or aircraft.

    • cobo says:

      Chess is based on vibrations in the rear… (couldn’t resist) This is poker, now. No matter which modern weapon, it’s all bad. ~85% of those Russian soldiers are guys I’d like to have a beer with and see a Metallica concert. As long as they’re killing our guys, mincemeat. Will the human ever get past war, be careful what you wish for. The reality is domination and subjugation. And some will never be subjugated. I don’t have a problem with empire, as long as I’m the beneficiary.

      • Pat Lang says:

        “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Get over your childish fantasy of human nature…

        • Barbara Ann says:


          Moltke the Elder’s version of Santayana’s aphorism is my favorite.

          “Perpetual peace is a dream, and it is not even a beautiful dream. War is an element in the order of the world ordained by God. In it the noblest virtues of mankind are developed; courage and the abnegation of self, faithfulness to duty, and a spirit of sacrifice: the soldier gives his life. Without war the world would stagnate, and lose itself in materialism.”

          • Not Fourth but Long Enough. says:

            War is hell. And it’s prophet is the Devil.

            — Satan

            Fixed your spelling, Barabaraiyana

          • Barbara Ann says:


            War may be hell but a world without it would be worse because it would either mean we are all dead or that the transhumanists have won (effectively the same thing). These dreamers are working to realize the world imagined by Lennon; a world without countries, without religion and one in which the atomized & technologically-enhanced inhabitants (I will not call them people) will be engineered/programmed/drugged so they have nothing to fight and die for. The age of Aquarius. But this must also be a world in which there is nothing worth living for – a sterile inhuman world from which the passions have been forever expelled. This is what true evil looks like – Huxley’s world, a nightmare.

        • cobo says:

          Thank you Colonel.

        • Bill Roche says:

          Santayana or MacArthur?
          As to human nature, it is animal nature w/hopefully a grain of the divine.

    • Leith says:

      Mike G –

      No comparison between this and a nuke or any other WMD. And RU have used something similar but much cruder, not as many fragments, nowhere near the accuracy.

  3. SRW says:

    Scary stuff. I would not like to be a Russian soldier in Ukraine right now and would be thinking of a way out. This of note from The Economist.
    The Economist on the gas situation in Europe:
    “the main weapon Mr Putin has deployed against Europe so far—a throttling of gas exports—seems to have misfired. Europe’s gas shortage remains serious, but its governments have promised to spend some $500bn to insulate citizens from price spikes. The continent’s gas storage is more than 89% filled, which is above average for this time of year. A new terminal for gas imports has already opened in the Netherlands; two more are due to open in Germany later this year.”

    • Fred says:


      The Economist forgot that the EU sanctioned Russian gas? The EU is going to resolve that by devaluing their own currency even further by increasing spending? Good luck with that in the long term.

  4. Leith says:

    It appears to be more lethal than cluster bombs. And leaves no UXO on the ground that could later be a danger to civilians.


    • Jimmy_w says:

      No, much less lethal than DPICM. Cluster warheads will always cover more area than ball bearings.

      • Leith says:

        Jimmy W –

        You may be right. Although I thought the US and NATO destroyed all of the old M26 MLRS rockets. Do you have any data on how far & wide DPICM bomblets spread? Does HIMARS have a new DPICM round? And I read somewhere that the M30A1 with Alternative Warhead was specifically developed to be as capable or better than the DPICM rounds.

      • Jimmy_w says:

        Supposedly there are no M26s left.
        The rule of thumb was that 12 M26s cover 1 square kilometer, I think.

        The people selling the Alternative Warheads were all lying, and the Clinton/Obama crew wanted to believe. It was simple physics.

  5. Whitewall says:

    Mad Vlad does not mind wasting so many young men for his fever dreams. But then no autocrat ever does I guess. Shades of monstrous egos from WW1 and other times.

  6. Bill Roche says:

    “When the enemy revealed himself and approached en masse I directed the artillary to send into them cannisters of grape. The carnage was awful but their advance was immediately stopped”. One could have read these words written in a hundred stories of war. The business doesn’t change but technology makes it more awful.
    This unpleasant business sometimes has to happen. In this case it need not. I know I am a “lonely cannon” on your post but I continue to believe the cause is not 2014, Minsk, or Luhansk and Donetsks, but the Russian world of 1914. Russian victory (whatever shape it will take) in Ukraine will encourage a repeat in Estonia. They know they’re next. One of your esteemed correspondents will write, “I will not risk civilization for a single Stone!” Putin is engaging in nuclear terrorism; no different then any other terrorist in the world

    • Peter Hug says:

      I knew a guy who once said “If they ever order you to load a flechette round, that is just about the time to grab your kit and run.” I think he knew whereof he spoke – he was in Vietnam.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Peter Hug
        He was stupid. I would not want to serve with him. The kind of ass who will get you killed. Weapons are weapons. If he means their use was a sign of desperation, he was wrong. We used them routinely. I have seen many “dinks” with their arms pinned to their ribs and hanging on the concertina wire. On occasion we went out and pried their arms loose before the medics carried them off.

  7. Lars says:

    I don’t know if the Russian officers have figured out that they no longer can concentrate troops with this weapon available. That could weaken defensive positions. I happen to think that they are in big trouble anyway from all the reports that I have seen. They are now entering into the famous zone about insanity. Something bigger will break and there are indications that it may happen in Moscow. Having both external and internal problems can easily overwhelm, especially an autocrat.

    • Pat Lang says:

      I have nothing against Putin. IMO he is the logical product of Russian history, but the best ending for all this is for him to go. Failing that the war will go on indefinitely. The Ukrainian seniors were Soviets once. They have experienced a transformation that makes them seem like proteges of someone like von Manstein. Amazing.

      • Lars says:

        If the Ukrainians act like proteges of von Mainstein, then the Russians are more like von Munchhausen. At some point, a lot of dead bodies will matter and the Ukrainians seem to produce more of them.

      • Not Fourth but Long Enough says:

        JFK did not last long past the missile crisis. Neither did Krushchev who didn’t need to be shot because they didn’t do elections (John Kennedy would have won in ’64). Bobby didn’t make it to ’68 to most likely win. He negotiated the missile crisis.

        • Pat Lang says:

          The Bay of Pigs was nearly two and a half years before the assassination. Get your facts straight.

  8. Jovan P says:

    I find it hard to believe in Wunderwaffen. If this is one of them and the Ukrainians got it, then why send waves on infantry on Russian defences around Kherson and Zaporozhye? Are they going the fight like the Vietkong in a sense that their losses don’t matter?

  9. drifter says:

    Tactical nuclear weapons are even more effective than the most powerful HIMARS munitions when attacking area targets. Moreover they can be used to address one of the Russian’s primary strategic concerns – the overland supply of military equipment from the U.S. to Ukraine.

    A package of 200 or so tactical nukes could be used to crater and irradiate all roads and railroad lines coming into Ukraine from the West using ground bursts. Admittedly the fallout would be a little rough on Poland, but c’est la vie. Humanitarian concerns would require the Russia to open humanitarian corridors for the millions of Ukrainians seeking to escape starvation.

    A feature (not a bug) is that the detonations will be far from Russian Federation territory and the prevailing winds are to the West. Another feature is that Galicians will disproportionately impacted (ouch!).

    • Pat Lang says:


      Yes, and maybe after that there is no Russia.

      • drifter says:

        And maybe after the HIMARS there’s no USA. You guys are not thinking clearly.

        • Pat Lang says:

          You remind of what is said of comptrollers “Know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”

          • drifter says:

            I don’t know everything, but it’s often helpful to know the cost of a thing when determining its value. Certainly in this case.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Which is why, “some things are worth fighting for, and some may be worth dying for”. I’m convinced the person w/no soul will never understand that. All is measured by length of life, no more.
            As to Drifter’s comments, any good accountant will admit that cost and value are two different things.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            100%. The whole WEF project, which has hijacked politics throughout the Anglosphere and much of the Western world, is run by utterly soulless managerial types who would need Horatius’ motivations to be explained them via a 50 slide PowerPoint presentation. I am convinced they honestly think that a life of telos-free consumerist hedonism is all people want from life. Brave New World for them is not a warning, but an instruction manual.

    • Leith says:

      drifter –

      Putin’s style would be more to boobytrap the Zaporhizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant if the UA gets near to liberating it. He and his western fanboys will then claim it was all Ukraine’s fault. Or maybe he will trick Little Kim into nuking Seattle.

      Anything to give him deniability. KGB standard operating procedure. Don’t be conned.

    • TTG says:


      A likely answer to your “package of 200 or so tactical nukes” would involve massive strikes against any Russian war making capability in range of Ukraine. Every ship and aircraft in the Black Sea Fleet, at least, would be gone. Russia would be incapable of sustaining their current invasion of Ukraine or of trying again for the foreseeable future. Belarus may be spared if she quickly stands down. This answer may not involve nuclear weapons at all, but the first use of 200 tactical nukes would be almost begging for it. Beyond this, it would be nuclear Armageddon.

    • Jimmy_w says:

      VX remains the best choice for persistent area denial. Better than nuclear, it will contaminate all passing cargo.

  10. Worth Pointing Out says:

    “, in a bid to cut off and slowly strangle the defensive positions.”

    Has there actually been a confirmed occasion in this war where the Ukrainians have been able to cut off and destroy a Russian formation?

    • Pat Lang says:


      Yes. There are survivors in many cases but there are always survivors who are no longer a capable unit.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        Care to name the Russian units that where cut off and destroyed?

        Because I’ll be honest, I don’t know of any.

        The Urkainians talk often of this or that Russian force that has been effectively destroyed, sure, but never on the basis that they trapped the Russians in a pocket.

  11. Al says:

    BTW: here are 2 Russians that will not have to face those “steel ball bearings”. They took a small boat 300 miles across to a small USA/Alaskan island to escape Putin.

    • TTG says:


      I’ve been looking for details of this escape. At least one of the two was a Yupik. The romantic in me wishes for the journey to have been made in a skin-covered kayak or umiak powered by paddle and sail, but the reality probably involves a more modern vessel.

  12. Sam says:

    LNR Ambassador to #Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, claimed that over 10,000 #Ukrainian troops have amassed west of Kreminna, and that #Russian forces have largely lost contact with Svatove and Kreminna.


    It appears the Ukrainian army is preparing a significant assault in Luhansk. For now at least they seem to have the initiative and don’t seem to be letting up across multiple regions.

  13. Al says:

    Sam, I read that near Luhansk a rail line was blown up about same time the bridge to Crimea was hit.

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