KYIV ($1=36.84 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — Photos of several Russian artillery cannons used in Ukraine show the result of their overuse. Self-destructing gun barrels of the self-propelled 203mm howitzer 2S7M Malka and the D20 152mm howitzer is proof of this. The cases are single [for now] and the first known one is from the beginning of June.
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Experts comment on the incidents. According to them, there are several possible options for an artillery piece to be damaged, exploded, or destroyed.
Propellant charge explosion, which can happen due to long-term storage in improper conditions is one of the assumptions for the D20 152mm howitzer.
Firing full charges is also a common reason for an artillery gun to fail. In Ukraine, according to both the Ukrainian MoD and the Russian MoD, the ratio to June in terms of artillery shells fired was 1:10/1:15. Experts say that 150mm guns have a lifespan of ~1,500 shots. Russian artillery fires up to 50,000 artillery shells per day. That makes 25 or 30 shells for one artillery piece per day. I.e. in two months at this intensity of the fire, a 150mm gun can be destroyed.
A third possible reason is engineering inaccuracy ie. when you have sub-standard tolerances and engineering standards. A photo purported to be of a Russian artillery barrel [not confirmed] shows a proportional reduction in the thickness of the cannon’s walls.
“Here’s what happens when you don’t do maintenance,” Mark Hertling, Retired soldier and The American Battle Monuments Commission commissioner tweeted. “You can bet there were associated casualties.”
Maintaining Russian artillery can be a difficult task at the moment. BulgarianMilitary.com has repeatedly highlighted the problems of the Russian military industry at the moment. Economic sanctions imposed on Russia because of its war with Ukraine lead to shortages of components, parts, and metal supplies.
At the moment, there is little information about self-exploded cannons on the Ukrainian front. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen anymore.
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