The main source of the "partisan" Gradov can be organized according to Russian technologies in the production of enterprises in Donetsk. At least, this was mentioned by the representative of the ATO Andrei Zarubin. In general, the mere presence of single-barreled rocket artillery in no way contradicts the Minsk agreements concerning the ban on RZSO. The tactic of using the Guerrilla was to cover the barrel self-propelled artillery of the 2C3 “Acacia” type, as well as self-targeted point strikes, especially effective in urban areas.
Systems of remote clearance of various classes in the armed forces of the militia of Donbass
It is not at the intended purpose, but the UR-77 "Meteorit" remote mine clearance installation is used very effectively by the militia. Of course, such equipment is difficult to attribute to the category of “pocket artillery”, but it is impossible to ignore it. The elongated charge of such "Serpents of the Gorynych" has a length of 93 meters, the mass of explosives in it 725 kg and the launch range to 500 meters. In particular, three “Meteorite” installations at the same time worked on one of the terminals of the Donetsk airport. Totally, the order of 2175 kg of explosives was detonated, which is equivalent to a good bombing airstrike. The origin of such a formidable technology in the ranks of the Donbass militia is still not clearly defined: the Ukrainian side points to Russia, and self-defense claims that they seized the equipment from the APU a couple of years ago. Similarly, Soviet remote mine clearance installations are used by government forces in the Syrian conflict.
Result of work of UR-77 on the terminal of the Donetsk airport
In the category of "pocket artillery" the most significant place is occupied by mortars in the range of calibers 60-120 mm. In service with the APU are 120-millimeter "Nona", 2С12 "Sledge", PM-38, and 82-millimeter 2B9 "Cornflower", 2B14 "Tray" and BM-37. In this sector, Ukraine has a considerable reserve of its own production. In the 1998 year, they began to produce automatic “Cornflowers”, and a year earlier they even created their own 82-mm CBA-48М1 mortar. This is an improved version of the Soviet 2B14-1, the weight of which is reduced immediately by 7 kilograms due to the use of titanium alloys. For a long time, this mortar lay in the vaults until it was put on production in the 2016 year (according to other sources, in the 2014 year).
82-mm CBA-M1 on exposure and in operation
120-mm mortar "Hammer" and its dual-loading protection device, which does not always work
More powerful weapons is the infamous 120-mm mortar "Hammer", created on the basis of 2B11. The gun is equipped with a NATO MUM-706M sight and protection against double loading. Such a mortar weighs about 210 kg, accelerates a mine to 211 m / s at a distance of up to 7 km. The manufacturer is Kiev "Mayak". On paper with this mortar, everything is fine, but the real tests and troop exploitation revealed a lot of flaws. In the summer of 2016, a mortar exploded for the first time at a position at the Wide Lan proving ground, killing a soldier and wounding eight more soldiers. Two years later, at the Rivne training ground "Hammer" already claimed three lives of soldiers of the 128 th separate mountain infantry brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (9 were injured). At the end of September, 2018, the next “self-explosion” of the Ukrainian mortar took place during the shooting of the 72-th separate mechanized brigade. One of the reasons for the Ukrainian side is double loading, which indicates a low level of training for the personnel of mortar crews, as well as outright dampness of the “Hammer” design. In total, of the recorded twelve “self-explosions”, seven were precisely for this reason, and in other cases the mortar exploded due to the premature actuation of the munition.
A definite plus can be put to the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for their tactics of “wandering batteries” consisting of three mortar calculations with trucks (pick-up trucks) and a covering group armed with AGS-17. Quadrocopters from China “Phantom” are usually used as spotters, with the help of which operators evaluate the results of a mortar strike and search for new targets. Strikes with such batteries occur in the same scenario: after the search for the target, the subunit quickly advances to the enemy, mines the enemy within 12-15 minutes and, without waiting for an answer, is promptly removed to the place of deployment. That is why now in the land forces of Ukraine special emphasis is being placed on increasing the mobility of the “pocket artillery”. Often, sabotage groups move in civilian cars in the rear of the LDNR, without attracting the special attention of local residents. And in Donetsk for this purpose garbage trucks equipped with mortars were used. The idea of "roaming batteries" is not the absolute know-how of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - in this manner Soviet and German mobile artillery units worked during the Second World War. Effectively use similar tactics militants and government troops in Syria.
Self-propelled mortar BTR-3М1
Self-propelled mortar BTR-3М2
Innovations in the Ukrainian military industry were self-propelled mortars on the BTR-3 platform. The artillery part of the mortars was developed by specialists of the state-owned enterprise “Design Bureau“ Artillery Armament ”from Kiev. Mortars were given the names BTR-3М1 (82-mm) and BTR-3М2 (120-mm) and were supplied to the National Guard in unit quantities. For self-propelled 120-mm mortar found export use - for example, the Thai army bought a lot of these machines.
Ukroboronservis has developed a much more modern Bars-8MK armored vehicle, introduced in the 2016 year. The 120-mm mortar on such a “Bars” is called the UKR-MMC and is equipped with a computerized guidance system. The crew of a self-propelled mortar consists of three people. Data on the adoption of weapons and broad supplies to the APU yet.
Spaniard in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
The idea of Ukraine purchasing several Alakran cars in March 2017 in Spain looks a bit absurd. Obviously, the military industry of Ukraine is unable to cope with the independent development of such a "complex" technology. The Spaniards developed the “Alkaran” with a 120-mm mortar relatively recently (2015 year) and adapted to equip highly mobile rapid response units. The base can serve as foreign jeeps (Toyota Land Cruiser 70, Land Rover Defender, Jeep J8 and Agrale Marrua), as well as any Ukrainian light-class armored car. The Spanish system is capable of receiving information both from unmanned aerial vehicles and from counter battery systems.
60-mm mortar for special forces KBA118 "Tuning fork"
A certain innovation of the war in the Donbas was the widespread use of 60-mm mortars. The KBA118 mortar “Kamerton” was developed and put into service, which are used by the special forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It shoots about 1500 meters and has a unique weight for mortars of only 12,5 kg. Such a “kid” is produced at the Mayak plant in Kiev since 2016. Data on mines for the "Tuning fork" differ - according to one source, they are still being imported from abroad, according to others - they have established their own production.
To be continued ...