“The king puts the balls where the queen wants them” Any old infantry sergeant

Infantry is the queen of battles but artillery is the king

“Stalin called artillery the “god of war”.

The physical and psychological damage caused by the sudden arrival of high explosive rounds can shatter military formations.

Defended positions and attackers alike can be devastated in a few seconds of chaos and carnage.

As the war in Ukraine moves away from the urban areas of Kyiv and other cities towards the more open areas of the Donbas, artillery will once again become a dominating feature.

The topography of the Donbas is likely to allow Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles the ability to use their firepower and mobility to much better effect than they have been able to so far in this war.

Travelling at up to 30mph across broken ground – faster still on paved surfaces – tanks can fire accurately at dug-in Ukrainian positions from a mile away and be on top of them in less than two minutes.

Anti-tank weapons will be useful in this fight, but reaction times and the ability to fire accurately will be severely tested, when tank shells are bursting around defenders’ heads.

Artillery – or indirect fire to use the correct military term – will be critical in breaking up these assaulting formations before the Ukrainian positions are overrun.

Nicholas Drummond, a defence analyst, says artillery is still “king of the battlefield”.

“It always was and in Ukraine it has shown why, more than ever,” he told The Telegraph.

“Everybody thinks it’s all about destroying tanks in Ukraine. To a certain degree that’s true, but what really inflicted damage on the Russians and killed their combat power was artillery.”

He’s not the only one to say so.

A recent paper by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), quoted a senior adviser to General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Anti-tank missiles slowed the Russians down, but what killed them was our artillery,” he said. “That was what broke their units.”

Artillery fire is so devastating because “it comes out of nowhere,” Mr Drummond said, catching troops in the open or suddenly introducing vehicle casualties, leading to confusion and loss of momentum in the attack.

Defending forces use artillery to break up attacking formations. Assaulting forces use the same systems to “creep forward” as their forces advance.

“The last hundred metres is the most hotly contested area in warfare. Any advance needs to be covered.””

How Western-supplied artillery can help Ukraine prevail in the Donbas (telegraph.co.uk)

Artillery – Wikipedia

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9 Responses to “The king puts the balls where the queen wants them” Any old infantry sergeant

  1. Degringolade says:

    Be interesting to see how this shakes out. I agree completely that Arty rules the roost.

    But, not to be a negative Ned, no one ever accused the Russians of not knowing a thing or two about artillery.

    I would love someone giving me an idea of how the counterbattery game is going right now. But all the data I can dig up is cheerleading one side or another.

    Also, logistics have to be taken into careful consideration. Feeding the cannon cockers ammo is a full time job.

    • Pat Lang says:

      The Russians have typically gone in for “grand battery” fires. I wonder if they still do that.

    • Leith says:

      Degringolade –

      OSINT sources compile equipment losses for both the Russian and Ukrainian sides based on imagery and videos. Are they biased? Maybe, but they seem to be careful in ruling out duplicates or bogus fakes. Here is their latest compilation on destroyed, damaged, abandoned, & captured Russian artillery assets:

      Twelve 120mm mortars,
      58 towed howitzers various caliber up to 152mm,
      103 self-propelled artillery various caliber up to 152mm,
      63 Multiple Rocket Launchers including Grads, Uragans, Tornados, & Tos-1A,
      and more importantly
      Seven 1V13 battery fire control centers,
      Four 1V14 battery command and forward observer vehicles,
      Seven 1V119 artillery fire direction vehicles,
      Two 1L261 Zoopark-1M counter-battery radars (no info on the more modern Penitzillin counter-battery system just recently developed).


      They count Ukrainian losses also. https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-ukrainian.html

      Forbes claims that Russia has been exaggerating Ukrainian military losses.

    • JohninMK says:

      From what I read Ukrainian counter battery fire is very effective. Whether that will be enough to stop the Russians is a different matter.

      • Christian J. Chuba says:

        >>Ukrainian counter battery fire is very effective.<<
        Suicide drones, like the Switchblade, have an an advantage to conventional mortars / artillery. Counter-battery fire is not possible. Not saying that drones could or should replace artillery, just that it should be common to have suicide drone units in whatever sized fighting unit that includes mortars.
        Regarding artillery, a ferocious weapon, on top of everything else they are loud. I hate loud noises, I don't think I could ever get used to hearing shells explode near me.

  2. Jovan P says:

    It seems that on the eastern front, currently most damage is done by artillery. The interesting and sad part is that seems that the Ukrainian side doesn’t bother burying their dead. Dead bodies are left en masse, there are even videos of booby-trapped corpses. The fallen are not mentioned, except sometimes in German MSM where the Ukraine army ,,found 1000 corpses after the Russians withdrew”…

    On the other side, although the Russians are not reporting on their losses (LNR and DNR losses also), they seem to extract the bodies of their fallen from the combat zone, transport them to their home towns and arrange funerals. There is even a pro-Ukraine twitter account named necro mancer, finding information from Russian sources (pictures from funerals, official local government notices of death, fb profiles of relatives, etc) about the identity of fallen Russian soldiers, and mocking their death. I didn’t found no evidence of mobile crematoriums, TTG wrote about.

    After almost 70 days of combat in Ukraine, seems like most western leaders are dead set to fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian. Tragic.

  3. p s c says:

    Col. Lang, excuse me for being off topic. An obit in local paper may be of interest to you as he served with DIA after being a POW in N Vietnam for a long stretch. Brigadier General Jon A Reynolds USAF.

    Further off topic, did you know John Dramesi USAF POW and like Gen Reynolds a native son of Philadelphia? Dramesi was from South Philadelphia. For those unfamiliar with Dramesi, he was a pillar of resistance to his North Vietnamese captors at the Hanoi Hilton and other places.

  4. Matthew says:

    Does any one have a real estimate of Ukrainian losses of men, planes, armor and artillery?

    • Leith says:

      Best count I’ve seen. Probably lower than actual. But it is dynamic and changes hourly.
      men: no clue
      planes: 20 fixed wing, 5 helicopter, 25 UAV
      armor: 145 tanks, 335 assorted IFV, APC, AFV, ETC
      artillery: 53 assorted mortars & howitzers, plus 16 MRLS Grad & Uragan

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