So Much for Counter-Battery Fire: Ukrainian Howitzers Are Surviving to Have Their Barrels Wear Out
RU arty has underperformed expectations but maybe we're to blame for having them
The artillery the West has provided Ukraine is “breaking” the NYT says:
Time for everyone rooting for Russia or against the West to open the champagne?
A barrel wears itself out over time. That’s a normal thing. But that Ukrainian howitzers are living long enough for their barrels to wear out tells us that they’re mostly not being taken out by Russian counter-battery fire.
By late October Ukraine had received 1.1 million 155 mm shells. The majority of these have been expended, fired by just 350 155-mm weapons in Ukrainian hands. That Ukraine successfully fired off around a million shells is another indication Ukrainian artillery isn’t being suppressed.
This is different from pre-war expectations when Western analysts believed that “Russia’s predominance in self-propelled howitzers and ISTAR will prove decisive and may have strategic outcomes.” It was expected that Ukrainian artillery would have to keep its head down and be extremely selective of when to risk firing:
“All of this together heightens the task facing the UAF: they must carefully manage and preserve their limited resources, choosing opportune moments to fight counter-battery battles that will impact the outcome of the war.”
Instead, we’re seeing a situation where Ukraine will fire up to 6000 shells daily to Russia’s ceiling of 20000. There’s a Russian artillery superiority, but not of the sort that would silence Ukrainian guns. The biggest hard limitation on Ukrainian fires is simple ammunition availability.