Russians showed a 122mm North Korean shell labeled ‘MAGA Trump 2024’

A picture of a North Korean 122mm artillery shell was recently circulated by a Telegram [TG] account known as Vodogray Social and Household Magazine. The accompanying description claimed that this ammunition is presently in the possession of Russian forces operating in Ukraine. 

Russians showed a 122mm North Korean shell labeled 'MAGA Trump 2024'
Photo credit: Telegram

It’s no secret that the Russian army utilizes North Korean ammunition, but that is not the intriguing part about the photo. If peruse the picture more closely, you’ll notice that there are inscriptions in Greek, Hungarian, and English engraved on the shells. An interesting note, one of the inscriptions boldly declared: “MAGA Trump 2024 Communism”.

That costs money

Russians showed a 122mm North Korean shell labeled 'MAGA Trump 2024'
Photo credit: Telegram

Various sources suggest that people who seek to communicate through a ballistic medium often pay for inscriptions to be added to the projectiles. The cost of inscribing a single missile is typically 20 Euros. Interestingly, this practice isn’t novel. It’s been adopted by both the Ukrainian and Russian armed forces. Unsubstantiated reports indicate that the proceeds are channeled toward “Russian humanitarian aid”. 

However, the opportunity the Russian military presents is not confined solely to projectile inscriptions. An inquiry by a user on the erstwhile Twitter equivalent, X, sought to know if it’s possible to obtain a videographic or photographic record of the launch of the very missile bearing the inscribed message. In reply, the “contractor” mentioned that such a service would require a supplementary fee of 200 euros.

The deliveries

Russians showed a 122mm North Korean shell labeled 'MAGA Trump 2024'
Photo credit: Telegram

In a recent interview with RBC Ukraine, Ukrainian military intelligence representative, Vadim Skibytskyi, revealed that approximately one million munitions, mainly 122 mm and 152 mm artillery shells, have been supplied to Russia by North Korea. This revelation was made in mid-January. 

The burgeoning ties between Russia and North Korea, inclusive of arms supply cooperation, were seemingly cemented with the arrival of the North Korean Foreign Minister, Choe Son Hui, in Russia on the 15th of January. 

Russia uses newly produced and without wrapper 122 mm shells
Photo credit: Twitter

According to information gathered by Ukrainian intelligence, ammunition deliveries were conducted throughout the entirety of autumn. This coincides with a statement made in November 2023 by a South Korean legislator who said that North Korea had dispatched over a million artillery shells to Russia. He cited South Korean intelligence officials as his source. 

Skibitsky elaborated that the number of shells sent precisely aligns with the amount Moscow was lacking and was unable to fulfill using its local production.

About 122mm artillery shell

The 122mm artillery shell is a complex piece of military technology, made up of several key components. These include the projectile body, the explosive filler, the fuze, and the propellant charge.

Russia monthly produces more shells than US produces 155mm shells
Photo credit: Konstantin Mihaylchevkiy

The projectile body is the physical shell of the artillery round, typically made of steel. The explosive filler, usually TNT or a similar substance, is contained within the projectile body.

The fuze is a critical component of the artillery shell. It’s a device that initiates the detonation of the explosive filler. Fuzes can be set to detonate upon impact, at a certain altitude, or after a certain period. The type of fuze used can greatly affect the shell’s effectiveness against different types of targets.

The propellant charge is what propels the shell out of the howitzer. It’s typically a type of gunpowder or other explosive material that is ignited when the howitzer is fired. The explosion of the propellant charge generates a large amount of gas, which pushes the shell out of the gun barrel at high speed.

How it works?

When a howitzer is fired, the ignition of the propellant charge creates a high-pressure gas, which propels the shell down the barrel and toward the target. Once the shell leaves the barrel, it follows a ballistic trajectory toward the target.

Upon reaching the target, the fuze triggers the detonation of the explosive filler. The explosion creates a shock wave and shrapnel, which can cause damage to personnel, structures, and vehicles. The effectiveness of the shell depends on a variety of factors, including the accuracy of the howitzer, the type of fuze used, and the nature of the target.


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