TechRussians express disappointment over North Korean ammunition quality

Russians express disappointment over North Korean ammunition quality

Russian howitzer D-20 for 152 mm caliber shells
Russian howitzer D-20 for 152 mm caliber shells
Images source: © The text "defence-ua" appears to already be in English, and it seems to be a proper name or username, so it doesn't require to be translated.
7:29 PM EST, December 9, 2023

An unexpected inspection of North Korean ammunition has revealed it to be in critically poor condition. While deliveries from Pyongyang do enable Russians to intensify attacks on Ukrainian positions, they also cause several unforeseen problems, including equipment damage.

Russian disappointment has been covered by military outlets such as the Defence Express portal, which focuses on war issues in Ukraine. The portal highlighted that the Russians have started to openly express their grievances about the quality of artillery shells coming from North Korea, which are supplied to units deployed at the frontline.

A photograph and accompanying post on the Telegram profile of a war correspondent showcased the outcomes of inspecting 152mm caliber shells from North Korea.

Unpredictably, the selected ammunition, though marked identically, differed noticeably. Notably, projectiles from the same batch were found to contain diverse types of gunpowder (visible differences in color were apparent at first glance). The quantity of gunpowder was also inconsistent amongst the inspected munitions. Some shells even showed signs of having been opened, with absent seals and missing copper wires.

Such inconsistencies lead to unequal dispersion of projectiles, which eventually reduces the accuracy of fired shots. This, subsequently, increases ammunition consumption. Furthermore, the ratio of tanks and howitzers being damaged or destroyed due to premature shell explosions in the barrel has risen.

The Defence Express noted that North Korea, a country largely isolated from the rest of the world, often produces goods with questionable usability. Instead of focusing on quality control, the regime assigns importance to meeting production quotas.

North Korea remains one of Russia's most significant allies and is a principal external provider of ammunition for the invasion forces on the frontline. The British Ministry of Defence highlighted in an intelligence update in October that supply rates could surge to over 1,000 containers in just a few weeks. Recent analyses from RUSI, supported by satellite images, suggest that the magnitude of the entire operation may be even more extensive.

Besides the aforementioned 152 mm caliber shells, Pyongyang also furnishes Moscow with a variety of 122 mm caliber shells. These are highly valuable to the Russians as they support increased attacks using various post-Soviet artillery systems, such as the BM-21 "Grad".

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