Which Ukrainian troops are receiving American howitzers? Those who are preparing for a great counteroffensive.

Which Ukrainian troops are receiving American howitzers? Those who are preparing for a great counteroffensive.



Ukrainian army brigades have begun firing their new American howitzers at the Russian invaders. And not just any brigade.

Ukrainian commanders and their American allies have worked to put the M777 155-millimeter howitzers into the hands of the units that need the weapons most: those thwarting the Russian offensive west of Izium, in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. , as well as those maneuvering into position to cut off the Russian advance. An operation that could be decisive.

The United States has donated 90 of the M777 howitzers plus 180,000 shells to Ukraine. Canada and Australia have also given Ukraine additional handfuls of big guns and ammunition. American and allied advisers have spent recent weeks training hundreds of Ukrainian gunners to use their new howitzers.

The first photos and videos of Ukraine’s M777s in combat began circulating this weekend.


An eight-person M777 crew travels in an armored truck or tractor that could also tow the weapon and transport its 100-pound projectiles. It takes the crew about five minutes to set up their weapon. They can fire up to five rounds per minute at targets 20 to 25 miles away, depending on the type of projectile.

That’s far enough to outmatch all but the most powerful Russian guns, allowing the Ukrainians to launch a bombardment without worrying too much about retaliatory “counterbattery” fire. “A high-precision and very effective weapon,” is how the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense described the M777.

Ukrainian artillery batteries work closely with drone operators to detect targets and sometimes even aim their weapons at coordinates that Ukrainian civilians call on the phone after seeing nearby Russian forces.

The combination of long-range fires and drone reconnaissance is powerful. Watch what the Ukrainian 17th Tank Brigade did last week to a Russian brigade attempting to cross a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, hoping to attack the town of Lyman, 17 miles west of the Russian lines in Donbas.

The bombardment of the 17th destroyed more than 70 T-72 and T-80 tanks, BMPs, MT-LB armored tractors, and much of the bridge unit itself, including a tugboat and the pontoon span. That’s enough equipment for two battalions. Two thirds of a brigade.

It is unclear how many Russians were killed or wounded. Maybe hundreds. It is worth noting that no brigade can lose the majority of its vehicles and still be able to operate. In an artillery attack, the Ukrainians removed one of the approximately 30 Russian brigades in Ukraine from the battlefield.


It is not clear that the 17th Tank Brigade has M777s or used them to bomb the bridgehead. But that fire mission, timely, precise and devastating, is exactly the type of mission the Ukrainians could assign to their new howitzers.

And that’s why the M777s, along with Javelin anti-tank missiles and spare parts for fighter jets, could be among the most important items allies have donated to Ukraine since Russia expanded its war against the country starting in 23 of February.

“We believe that these howitzers will be… very, very effective in helping [the Ukrainians] in the Donbas fighting, which we have already seen, relies heavily on long-range fires, specifically artillery, from both sides.” , an unnamed US Department of Defense official told reporters. at the end of April.

Therefore, it is logical that the Ukrainian brigades fighting in Donbas are the first in line for new weapons. One hundred M777s should be enough to equip artillery battalions in four or five brigades. The 17th Tank Brigade could be one of them, but no one has confirmed it.

According to The New York Times, the 93rd Mechanized Brigade is one of the units receiving M777s. There are rumors that the 81st Air Mobile Brigade is also in line for the new weapons.

Those shipments are significant. The 81st has been fighting for weeks in a slow tactical withdrawal from Izium, the current site of Russia’s slow and costly offensive westward through Donbass. Soldiers of the 81st, riding BTR wheeled vehicles and firing Stugna anti-tank missiles, have spilled Russian blood for every mile they have traveled along the P79 highway.

The 81st leads the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army slowly westward. And that exposes the northern flank of the Russian salient to Ukrainian counterattack.

That counterattack is clearly coming. The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces is not exactly shy about this. After helping clear Russian troops around Kharkiv, 60 miles north of Izium, the 93rd Mechanized Brigade appears to be reorienting south.

The brigade, together with the 92nd Mechanized Brigade, is in a position to break through the Russian army’s offensive, perhaps advancing south along the M03 highway. 93 is the hammer to the anvil of 81.

Artillery is critical. In both Russian and Ukrainian doctrine, most armed forces (tanks, infantry) support artillery, isolating and immobilizing enemy troops so that large guns can destroy them. If the Ukrainians move against the Russians’ Izium salient, the long-range M777s with their huge ammunition reserves could do most of the carnage.

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