TechMystery Shipments: Iraq-Era Artillery Spotted Heading to Ukraine

Mystery Shipments: Iraq-Era Artillery Spotted Heading to Ukraine

2S1 Carnation during transport
2S1 Carnation during transport
Images source: © X, @front_ukrainian
4:04 PM EDT, April 25, 2024
Residents of Germany recently observed the transportation of weapons, likely intended for Ukraine. These included the artillery systems 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S3 Akatsiya, but in a distinctive, rarely seen camouflage. We delve into their possible origins in the West and highlight their capabilities.
Social media posts, accompanied by brief reports, indicated that the transportation was spotted in Bremerhaven. Observers of the war in Ukraine quickly recognized the camouflage pattern as one used by the Iraqi military.
It's believed that these weapons might have originated from Great Britain, where they ended up after the Persian Gulf War, which saw the participation of several Western countries. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that this operation took place in a region of Germany home to the port of Bremen-Bremerhaven, Europe's fourth-largest cargo handling port. Hence, accepting a shipment from Great Britain containing military equipment would be feasible.

This situation is particularly intriguing because Iraq had acquired the 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S3 Akatsiya artillery systems from the USSR. These systems are extensively used in the ongoing war in Ukraine by both sides. Despite their age, they are still effective for their intended purposes. Analysts have noted that the 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S3 Akatsiya remain the most popular artillery pieces in the Russian army's arsenal. It's likely that the Ukrainian armed forces, which are being progressively equipped with NATO gear, also significantly rely on these post-Soviet designs.

The 2S1 Gvozdika is a howitzer produced from 1971 to 1994. It combines self-propulsion and mobility, is mounted on the tracked chassis of the MT-LB transporter, and is equipped with a 300 HP engine. The unit weighs nearly 35,273 lbs and uses 122 mm caliber shells, each weighing about 48.5 lbs. It is capable of striking targets up to 9.3 miles away and can extend its range to about 14.3 miles with gas generator-enhanced shells.

Regarding the 2S3 Akatsiya, this system features the D-20 howitzer/gun of 152.4 mm caliber, mounted on the SU-100P chassis with a 520 HP engine. Its maximum striking distance using standard ammunition is about 11.5 miles, and the crew also has a 7.62 mm machine gun for auxiliary defence.

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