Military Review

Insatiable shell hunger: the production of shells specifically for Ukraine

25
Insatiable shell hunger: the production of shells specifically for Ukraine
The Ukrainian gun-howitzer D-20 is one of the consumers of 152-mm rounds. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine



Foreign countries are sending to Ukraine their weapons and ammunition and are already facing the problem of depletion or exhaustion of their arsenals. Various solutions to this problem with certain features are proposed. In particular, the possibility of resuming foreign production of some products specifically for the Kyiv regime is being considered.

Old stocks


Since the beginning of the year, foreign partners have provided Ukraine with a variety of weapons, ammunition and equipment. In order to avoid problems with development, mainly samples of old types and Soviet standards were supplied. However, the stocks of such products were constantly declining, and the search for new ones to continue assistance turned out to be, at the very least, not an easy task.

On November 26, the American edition of The New York Times revealed new interesting features of the current situation. It is reported that foreign states are facing problems in the field of finding weapons and ammunition for the Kyiv regime. become scarce Tanks T-72 families, anti-aircraft missiles and even artillery shells of Soviet caliber.


A D-20 gun with a tractor in the lens of a Russian UAV. A hit is expected. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Various ways of solving such problems are proposed, including the production of the necessary products specifically for delivery to Ukraine. From its sources, the NYT learned that in the highest circles of NATO they are discussing the possibility of restoring old production facilities in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The factories modernized at the expense of the Alliance will have to restart the production of artillery rounds in calibers of 122 and 152 mm, which are necessary for Ukrainian formations.

On November 30, at the NATO Foreign Ministers' Summit in Bucharest, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that all options for providing assistance to Ukraine in the required volumes are being considered. Some scenarios of this kind do provide for the restoration of previously closed industries. At the same time, E. Blinken did not specify what kind of products it is planned to produce at the newly launched facilities.

The possibility of launching the production of shells or other products of Soviet standards at Eastern European factories continues to be discussed in the foreign press. There are no real steps in this direction yet. However, NATO could already take the necessary measures, but is in no hurry to disclose their results. One way or another, the prospects for the situation with ammunition may become clearer in the near future.


122 mm shot of Bulgarian production. Photo "Dunarite"

Production capacity


In the current situation, artillery shells of 122 and 152 mm calibers are of particular importance for Ukrainian formations. According to the American press, their production can be restored or restarted at the enterprises of several Eastern European countries. At the same time, it is already clear which factories can produce such products.

In theory, Bulgaria, which has the appropriate enterprises, can produce shells for Ukraine. Thus, the Dunarit plant (Ruse) produces a wide range of artillery ammunition in different calibers. For Soviet-style howitzers, 122-mm separate loading shots are made. 152 mm products are not available in the product catalog. The Arsenal plant (Kazanlak) also operates in the field of ammunition, but it produces only small-caliber unitary shells and mortar mines. Whether the enterprise can master the production of shots in calibers of 122 and 152 mm is unknown.

In Slovakia, the main manufacturer of artillery systems and ammunition for them is Konštrukta Defense (Trencin). It can produce 152-mm artillery barrels, as well as a fairly wide range of Soviet-caliber ammunition. At the same time, the possibility of issuing both shells for guns and missiles for MLRS was declared. Ammunition can also be produced by the MSM Group plant (Dubnica nad Vahom).


Bulgarian 120 mm mortar mine with an additional charge. Photo "Dunarite"

In the list of potential shell manufacturers, NYT mentions the Czech Republic. However, it is known that this country does not have production facilities for the production of large-caliber shots. With the collapse of Czechoslovakia, factories of this kind remained on Slovak territory, and Czech industry did not build its own production facilities and focused on other areas. Czech presence in recent the news may hint at the existence of some plans to expand the production of large-caliber ammunition. How real they are is unknown.

It should be noted that other Eastern European states also have certain opportunities for the production of artillery ammunition. If there are appropriate orders, they can also produce 122- and 152-mm products for the Kyiv regime. However, their ability to provide the necessary production volumes and supply rates is questionable.

So, Poland has several enterprises capable of producing artillery and shells for it, incl. products of large calibers. Romania also has limited opportunities of this kind. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the production capacities of these countries need to be restored. In addition, it may be necessary to restructure production lines for products that have not been produced for a long time.

Plans and reality


In general, the idea of ​​the NATO leadership to launch the production of the necessary ammunition at enterprises with experience in such work looks viable. It will allow, at least, to partially solve the current problems in the area of ​​assistance to Ukraine. At the same time, the implementation of such a proposal is associated with additional difficulties, each of which will negatively affect the final result. And in general, such a program of assistance looks doubtful.


M777 howitzers - US aid in need of their own ammunition. Photo by the US Department of Defense

First of all, the implementation of a new idea is associated with an indefinite level of costs. Perhaps the United States or other countries are ready to allocate money for the modernization of Eastern European industries, but in the current economic and political situation, additional difficulties, disputes, etc. cannot be ruled out. All this will negatively affect the timing of production preparation.

It is not clear how difficult – and therefore expensive and time consuming – it will be to modernize existing facilities and/or restore those that have been closed for a long time. In this regard, it is not known whether the shells of the new release will have time to hit the current Kyiv regime and reach the front line.

The volume of future production is questionable. According to the latest data, Ukrainian artillery uses from 2 to 4 to 5 shells per day, depending on the possibility of being transported to the front line. There is reason to doubt that Eastern European enterprises, even together, will be able to ensure the appropriate pace of production. An increase in consumption and / or the creation of reserves is also not possible. At the same time, one should take into account the constant fire impact of the Russian army, which regularly knocks out Ukrainian warehouses of rocket and artillery weapons with a large amount of ammunition.


One of the parties of the Czech weapons for Ukraine. Whether the Czech Republic will be able to produce shells is unknown. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic

Shell hunger


Thus, the Ukrainian artillery has by now found itself in a difficult position, and this situation is constantly deteriorating. The available stocks of shots of the main calibers, created back in the times of the USSR, were mostly used up, destroyed or became a trophy of the Russian army. Ukraine does not have its own production of shells, and the supply of necessary products from abroad only partially covers the needs.

Back in the spring, foreign partners began to help the Kyiv regime with direct deliveries of NATO-standard artillery and ammunition. However, for all the time only a few hundred towed and self-propelled guns have been transferred, which is several times less than the existing weapons fleet - and many times less than the losses of recent months. The same is true with ammunition. The United States alone shipped over a million large caliber rounds, but these too have been used up or lost.

Now it is proposed to solve the problems of the Kyiv regime by resuming the production of Soviet-standard shells. Obviously, this will be a complex, slow and expensive process. Accordingly, NATO and Ukraine can hardly count on getting all the necessary results quickly and efficiently. As a result, the firepower of Ukrainian artillery will remain at the same low level and will not be able to change the overall situation on the fronts.
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  1. YOUR
    YOUR 6 December 2022 04: 58
    +8
    I can't believe NATO is running out of ammo. If you look at it, then the war, in principle, is not too big, and just a wild amount of ammunition and weapons has been accumulated. The same United States scattered around the world warehouses for rapid deployment forces, according to this doctrine, during a threatened period, only l / s is transferred to the desired point, armed and equipped on the spot from warehouses. On which weapons, equipment and ammunition are at least for a division and for conducting active hostilities throughout the year. The largest number of such warehouses in Europe. The largest at the Ramstein airbase, Germany. Haven't even gotten to them yet. And they won't get there. This is a reserve. The same in other countries.
    It is given out wishful thinking.
    1. North Caucasus
      North Caucasus 6 December 2022 05: 45
      +2
      The states may have a lot of shells. Although I recently read that in a day the outskirts produce a monthly production of shells in the USA. Here is an attempt to maximize the use (utilization) of weapons from the times of the USSR. For the release of shells, you need a technological map, machines, workers. Then there is the issue of the gun barrel, which has a limited resource. So it is necessary to revive the production of trunks. But be that as it may, the process of disposing of weapons from the times of the USSR is going quite successfully. After the completion of the operation, the states will clearly offer their weapons standards by loading their production and hooking their allies on loans. Of course, you can scold the Americans as you like. But in terms of business, they are much more likely to build financial multi-steps that seem to have nothing to do with their business and crushing competitors under themselves!
      1. YOUR
        YOUR 6 December 2022 09: 13
        +2
        Quote: North Caucasus
        For the release of shells, you need a technological map, machines, workers. Then there is the issue of the gun barrel, which has a limited resource. So it is necessary to revive the production of trunks.

        Who are you talking about? If about the USA, then everything is in order with their production, otherwise where do the M777 come from, where does the M109 come from. And they make trunks. Otherwise, it's simply impossible. M777 barrel resource 2650 rounds. They will shoot all the trunks at the training grounds in a couple of years. In / in Ukraine, trunks are shot in 2-3 months. And so are we.
        1. North Caucasus
          North Caucasus 6 December 2022 15: 50
          0
          Now it is proposed to solve the problems of the Kyiv regime by resuming the production of Soviet-standard shells.
          I'm talking about it.
          1. YOUR
            YOUR 7 December 2022 02: 00
            +2
            As it turned out, everything is not so simple here either.

            https://ok.ru/video/4162000259712
    2. Uncle lee
      Uncle lee 6 December 2022 05: 57
      0
      The United States alone shipped over a million large caliber rounds
      This is how many deaths they put! stop
      1. Civil
        Civil 6 December 2022 07: 47
        0
        A direct continuation of World War 1, the war of artillery.
        1. NDR-791
          NDR-791 6 December 2022 11: 41
          +6
          Quote: Civil
          A direct continuation of World War 1, the war of artillery.

          That's how it is. Only here's the trouble - it seems to give out the desirable for the real. They have been talking about shell hunger in the APU almost since the middle of summer. However, look what's going on. They adequately write about the ratio of their art and ours as 1:6. At the same time, against the background of a shortage, for some reason they have enough shells of all types to shell cities. But the primary goals at the front have not gone away. Strange ... Where, then, is the shell hunger, if there is enough for this and that? So everything that we took out of Eastern Europe in the early 90s settled precisely in Ukraine and Transnistria. And what was not taken out to them is now being graciously supplied by all sorts of "brothers" (so that they do not turn over). So about any deficit, it’s more like stuffing in order to reassure us. True, there are still moments of failed logistics, but this is not a shortage of shells, this is a shortage of brains and energy resources. So relax early.
    3. Bad_gr
      Bad_gr 6 December 2022 15: 45
      +1
      Quote: YOUR
      I can't believe NATO is running out of ammo.
      As I understand it, each country has a supply of ammunition for force majeure. If such a period has come, then while these reserves are being spent, there is time to launch mothballed production facilities that do not really work in peacetime. So, these reserves have already been shared with Ukraine, and then, in order to replenish them, it is necessary to launch production, pay workers wages, spend money on purchasing ingredients for production, etc., which is expensive in our time of crisis.
      In general, what the NATO members could have already shared, and what will happen next, we'll see ...
      1. YOUR
        YOUR 7 December 2022 02: 08
        +1
        Quote: Bad_gr
        In general, what the NATO members could have already shared, and what will happen next, we'll see ...

        They shared nothing they could, but within the framework of the money allocated in the US by Congress, the same is true in other countries, Hungary is blocking the allocation of 18.5 billion euros and everyone cannot resume supplies. Allocate these or other billions again everything will go. Those. money, money and more money, not production or accumulated supplies.
        The United States has warehouses scattered around the world for rapid deployment forces, when people arrive, numbering from a division and above, without anything, and everything and equipment and weapons and ammunition are waiting for them on the spot. Ammunition is calculated at least per division, maintaining active bases during the year. They didn’t even get close to these warehouses
    4. Eule
      Eule 7 December 2022 23: 04
      0
      Quote: YOUR
      It is given out wishful thinking.

      Yes, there is a lot of optimism. The projectile is a fairly simple product to manufacture. Relatively accurate processing is a thread for a fuse and a place for belts. "shell steel" is E-46 according to the markings of the Second World War or 30KhGSA according to the modern one. Yes, high-quality fittings are made of shell steel in order to have a very large supply in case of war. There are a lot of different productions in Europe. And in the days of the USSR, each locomotive depot with a repair section had a mobplane of precisely the bodies of 152-mm shells.
      The mortar mine is generally a masterpiece of primitivism. Pig-iron casting "in the ground", one thread in front, one groove under the girdle, somehow welded plumage from stamped-bent-welded sheet steel of any composition and quality. It is clear that mobplan shells will fly "in that direction", but statistically, they will also cause some damage.
      Therefore, I will assume that the numerous publications and statements in the Western press about the lack of shells and the complexity of production are just a concerted campaign of misinformation.
      1. YOUR
        YOUR 8 December 2022 02: 57
        +1
        You wrote everything correctly, I disagree with one
        Quote: eule
        Therefore, I will assume that the numerous publications and statements in the Western press about the lack of shells and the complexity of production are just a concerted campaign of misinformation.

        All weapons, equipment and ammunition are allocated to Ukraine within the limits approved by the Congress (USA) or the Commission on Finance and Economics of the EU. Money is running out, supplies are running out. And then the noise starts, the shells end.
  2. APASUS
    APASUS 6 December 2022 13: 25
    +1
    I'm surprised at the cost. Who will pay for production, in Europe, and not in the USA? At the same time, the costs will not pay off, and the role of these countries will increase. The United States itself will not be able to use these weapons, they are specific, but they must pay for Ukraine.
    Knowing the Americans, we can safely state that they both launched and curtailed this production. But the cost is not small.
  3. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 6 December 2022 13: 33
    +2
    I wonder who will make barrels for Soviet guns? Do they also go to pieces and are destroyed? Like everything was done in the RSFSR?
  4. Illanatol
    Illanatol 6 December 2022 13: 51
    0
    Quote: YOUR
    On which weapons, equipment and ammunition are at least for a division and for conducting active hostilities throughout the year. The largest number of such warehouses in Europe. The largest at the Ramstein air base, Germany.


    Is there any evidence that this is the case? Perhaps these reserves have long been squandered. Who last checked these stocks? Are you personally?
    This was the case during the Cold War. But after ... the Yankees relaxed, they did not see a real threat to themselves. So why keep so much good in vain with dead capital? Moreover, they have many new allies who can be (not free of charge) adjusted to NATO standards.
    So, what and how much they have in their warehouses is not given to us to know, only picking in the nose. But judging by the fact that the production of ammunition is gaining momentum, the capsule is still empty.
  5. Illanatol
    Illanatol 6 December 2022 13: 57
    +1
    Quote: NDR-791
    They adequately write about the ratio of their art and ours as 1:6. At the same time, against the background of a shortage, for some reason they have enough shells of all types to shell cities. But the primary goals at the front have not gone away. Strange ... Where, then, is the shell hunger, if there is enough for this and that?


    Nothing strange. It’s just that the Ukrainians are not doing as brilliantly with intelligence and target designation as the local Bandera trolls are trying to imagine. To cover Russian positions, warehouses, etc., you need to know where and when to shoot. Apparently they don't always know. So they vent their unquenchable anger at civilians in the DPR and LPR. You won't miss the city.
    If each Ukrainian projectile killed one Russian soldier, then our "limited contingent" would cease to exist completely after 1 month. But this is not the case, there is someone to fight and there is something to fight.
    1. Yaroslav Tekkel
      Yaroslav Tekkel 7 December 2022 00: 32
      0
      Quote: Illanatol
      If each Ukrainian shell killed one Russian soldier, then our "limited contingent" would cease to exist completely after 1 month

      Where do such bloodthirsty numbers come from? At the end of the First World War, the French spent 4-5 tons of artillery ammunition to kill one German, the Germans responded about the same. If, as is usually done, we count the weight of the ammunition along with the container, then one 150-155mm shot weighs about 80-90 kg. That is, not one, but 50-60 shells were spent on the destruction of one soldier. Even if you count without charge and container, it will still come out 30-50. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the average Russian infantryman (for all his problems) is far superior to the German or French infantryman of the beginning of the century, both in terms of protective equipment and in terms of the effectiveness of the medical service, that is, his survival rate is much greater.

      Guided projectiles are almost guaranteed to hit at least one person: American Excaliburs, French BONUS and German SMARt. But for all the time only no more than 3000 were delivered.

      The upper estimate of the delivered NATO shells is 1500. If we subtract those that were spent for training purposes, did not reach the front, or have not yet been spent, we can roughly assume that a million flew into our positions. Conditionally taking one hundred shells to kill one soldier, we get 000 victims. Plus three thousand guided missiles, 10 casualties. Together with the killed Soviet-style ammunition, rockets, mortars, small arms and anti-tank weapons, mines and air strikes, the conservative estimate of 000 Russian and LDNR wasps killed by Anglo-American experts looks mathematically plausible.
  6. saygon66
    saygon66 6 December 2022 18: 58
    0
    Well, what kind of profits do those who plan such investments in the resuscitation of the production of shells and equipment "originally from the USSR" count on?
    Sell ​​the whole of Ukraine, down to bare clay, it won't pay off... Or are the plans somewhat "wider"?
    1. Dmitry Tsarevich
      Dmitry Tsarevich 7 December 2022 00: 51
      0
      In case of victory, huge indemnities, Russia is a very rich country, plus no one will stand on ceremony with the population as defeated, they will put the same Ukrainians as foremen, they will force the Russians to mine uranium with their bare hands. Everything will pay off.
  7. Svale
    Svale 6 December 2022 20: 59
    0
    According to the latest data, Ukrainian artillery uses from 2-4 to 5-7 thousand shells per day

    The United States alone shipped over a million large caliber rounds

    those. 1000000/5000=200 days. Based on the article, did the United States practically cover the needs for shells throughout the entire NWO? What shell hunger are we talking about then ??

    And in general in this topic it is a lot of words "to pay", "to pay off". So where are the numbers? The price of one shot? The price of one barrel? What amounts are we talking about?
    1. Yaroslav Tekkel
      Yaroslav Tekkel 7 December 2022 01: 37
      +2
      Not this way. It was not the United States that covered the expenses of Ukrainian artillery, but Ukrainian artillery is forced to correlate its expenses with American supplies.

      Before the First World War, 1500-2000 shells were considered normal for a field gun. It seemed that this would be enough until victory (well, or until defeat). Reality made adjustments: very soon all the warring countries suffered a severe "shell hunger" and restrictions were imposed on the daily consumption of shells: from 5 to 15 pieces per day. Naturally, before major offensives, shells accumulated, and in a day they could already fire a two-month rate, especially since the flaming industry was already driving them by the millions.

      World War II didn't get any easier. The shortage of shells continued to be felt in all armies. It was felt least of all in the Wehrmacht (although the quality dropped there at a certain moment), most of all in the Red Army until 1943. The Americans had their own characteristics: there were as many shells in warehouses in Alabama, but delivering them to France is a huge problem. One way or another, all armies experienced the restriction "no more than 15 shells per gun per day" at one time or another. And 15 is still not bad. It used to be "use the last 3 as a last resort."

      To our time, theoretical views have not changed on the eve of the First World War. In any case, the Ukrainians received the same standard 777 shells in the kit for the M2000 or the Caesar as their great-grandfathers from the Russian Imperial Army for a three-inch cannon or (if we are talking about Western Ukrainians) great-grandfathers from the Imperial-Royal Army for an 8.cm gun .

      Naturally, like a hundred years ago, this was not enough.

      In total, at the beginning of the NWO (oh, these reductions) there were about 1500 towed and self-propelled guns in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. You can, of course, recall the payroll for 1991, but it's like talking about 18 tanks in the Russian army. So, according to the "latest data", the Armed Forces of Ukraine use from 000 to 2 shells per day. Is it a lot or a little?

      The maximum is 5 shells per gun.
      1. Svale
        Svale 7 December 2022 08: 36
        0
        Yaroslav Tekkel, thank you, informative.
        But, I suppose that there were fewer guns during the NWO period?
        And could you explain the price of the question?
        1. Yaroslav Tekkel
          Yaroslav Tekkel 8 December 2022 01: 16
          0
          In the US military budget for 2022, the purchase price of the 155-mm unguided M795 was $ 820 apiece. For a million shells, respectively, 820 million dollars. In terms of money, this is not much on an American scale, the question is the availability of the shells themselves and the possibilities of their production. NATO was not preparing for an artillery war, the stake was on aviation. Now it seems like the Americans have pulled off the following scheme: they buy shells in South Korea (they were just preparing there, there are a lot of guns and shells), American shells are handed over from army warehouses to Ukraine, and Korean ones are handed over to the American army in exchange.

          As for the loss of guns during the NWO period, we do not know the exact numbers. It is customary to criticize Oryx's calculations, but they are at least somehow confirmed by photographs. The reports of the Russian Defense Ministry are pleasing to the eye, but these are the words of people who destroyed the Ukrainian Air Force and Air Defense on the first day and continue to destroy them for the tenth month. My cautious assumption: according to the balance of losses to deliveries + trophies of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, they go to about zero.

          Another thing is that Soviet models still make up the bulk of the Ukrainian artillery fleet, but there are serious problems with them in terms of ammunition. Here we must pay tribute to our lovers of spiers: Russian agents managed to blow up a fair share of Ukrainian stocks in eight years in warehouses. The figures are 210 tons. Otherwise it would be much more difficult now. The rest of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was spent in the initial period of the fighting. The Bulgarian industry, other countries of the former police department, give something, but this is a thin trickle. They say that the British carry 000-mm shells by plane from Pakistan. They plan to deploy large-scale production in several countries of Eastern Europe at once, but this is not an instantaneous matter. The Ukrainians themselves recently demonstrated shells of their own production, but obviously it will be small-scale, not even a trickle, but a drop in the bucket. Hundreds a month, I think, against the needs of thousands a day.

          Therefore, the main part of Ukrainian artillery is idle or sits on starvation rations, and only Western-made guns work at full strength (besides 155-mm systems, there are a small number of British 105-mm howitzers and French 120-mm rifled mortars). Now, if the issue of the supply of Soviet-style shells is resolved in one way or another, this will greatly change the whole picture in favor of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
  8. Illanatol
    Illanatol 7 December 2022 09: 15
    0
    Quote: Yaroslav Tekkel
    Where do such bloodthirsty numbers come from? At the end of the First World War, the French spent 4-5 tons of artillery ammunition to kill one German,


    It's not World War I anymore. And the art is a little different, and reconnaissance with target designation is on a different level.
    Well, some of the locals also reproached the Russian side on the basis of such calculations. Like, spend half a million shells a month, and the orcs are not completely knocked out yet.
    We spend more shells, three times, and the enemy's losses are an order of magnitude greater. I am sure that in this conflict, as in all since the Seven Years' War, 60% of the losses are from artillery fire.
  9. Mustached Kok
    Mustached Kok 7 December 2022 23: 43
    0
    What nafig shell hunger?
    The periodic shortage of ammunition in Ukraine is of a local and transient nature (it was massive in the spring) caused by still poorly debugged logistics on the way from the place of arrival of the ammunition (western regions of Ukraine) to the place of use. At the same time, the logistics itself is getting better and better every month. At the same time, due to the retreat of the RF Armed Forces, transport hubs and routes are returned to them under control. And most importantly, the source of ammunition and their means of delivery (trucks, tractors and universal military off-road vehicles) are located on the territory of countries that, for obvious reasons, cannot be attacked. At the same time, the production itself does not have to be large. Having distributed the entire need of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for shells to all plants and factories in Central and Eastern Europe for the production of cartridges / shells / repair kits, we will get the fact that each individual plant does not have a high production load. And the countries of Western Europe and the United States will also be able, while in a peaceful economy, to gradually supply the Armed Forces of Ukraine with NATO-style equipment and weapons and ammunition / shells / accessories for them.