Russia keeps 4,500 D-30 and 2S1 guns in stock to absorb DPRK shells

The story about North Korea supplying artillery munitions to Russia has taken on a new twist, raising questions about whether the Russian Federation is truly producing up to 1.5 million shells per month or if it is just a ploy.

Russia keeps 4,500 D-30 and 2S1 guns in stock to absorb DPRK shells
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The recent stunt has left many wondering whether the production numbers are accurate or not. Formal logic suggests: If Russians produce many shells themselves, why need North Korean supplies?

What does Russia expect from the DPRK?

If we delve deeper into this question, we can remember the investigation carried out by the OSINT analysis team of Frontelligence Insight. Their study focused on determining whether it is possible to accurately calculate the number of missiles that the Russian Federation has received from North Korea.

Poland upgrades the FCS of 122mm Gvozdika and 152mm SpGH DANA
Photo credit: Mod Gov RS

According to their estimate, the Russians can receive over 0.5 million units of ammunition from the DPRK. Out of this, 70% are 152 mm shells, which amounts to roughly 386,400 shells, 20% are 122 mm shells, which is approximately 211,000 shells, and the remaining 10% comprises other types of ammunition.

What does the data say?

There is no reason to distrust the estimate since it is based on internal data and open-source verification. It is natural to wonder why the Russians require a specific quantity ratio of projectiles of varying calibers when the 152 mm caliber is still regarded as the primary one in the Russian army due to its strength and long-range capabilities.

Russia keeps 4,500 D-30 and 2S1 guns in stock to absorb DPRK shells
Photo credit: Maavoimat FB

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the decommissioning and storage of nearly all 122-mm towed D-30 howitzers in 2013.

The airborne units of the Russian army were an exception until February 2022 as they continued to use the D-30 artillery system. For them, the mobility of these systems was of greater importance than their firepower capabilities.

Stored guns

From the start of 2023, the Russians started to use the D-30 as a means of fire support for their “assault groups”. This practice continues to be used in the Russian army today.

Based on information gathered from open sources, it is evident that the Russian army still has a considerable number of artillery systems in their possession. The 122-mm caliber appears to be a dominant presence among them.

As per The Military Balance 2023 report, it is estimated that the Russians may have an additional 2,500 D-30 howitzers, 2,000 SAU2S1 Gvozdika, and about 2,000 M-30 towed howitzers in their stockpile.

At the beginning of this year, the same directory reported only 130 units of 2C1 Gvozdika and 140 howitzers D-30 in the airborne units.

Faster commissioning

Probably, the real speed of scanning some types of artillery systems in the Russian army is affected not only by the capacity of their combat equipment but also by the availability of ammunition.

In light of the situation, Russia likely requested over 200,000 units of 122-mm shells from North Korea. This was done to speed up the process of commissioning artillery systems of the same caliber and to provide better fire support to their attack units.


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