Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The horrors of siege artillery (MUST READ!!!!)...via Tankers Forum

 Thanks to BlackTail for the link!

via TK

This talk about the 130mm bring back bad memories about the bitter nemesis of the infantryman. Out of the four weapons I've faced in my life and would not want to ever face again (even in dreams), three are Russian artillery weapons (the fourth is the Russian spring mine). In a Katyusha barrage the infantryman has no where to run. They fall everywhere simultaneously and destroy everyone / everything not under cover. A truly gruesome weapon. Both the Syrians and the Egyptians tended to fire them in timed salvos, with a second flash barrage landing out of nowhere several minutes after the first decoy one, just as people emerged from cover. They also learned how to mix different Katyusha types as well as barreled artillery in order to confuse and terrorize their targets. In 1973 I saw a Katyusha barrage pulverize a M107 battery (which was at the time engaged in anti SAM site interdiction) while another Katyusha barrage caused an entire infantry battalion to simply get up and bug out almost to the man. We occasionally got even by calling in the IDF's two Katyusha battalions. These were some of the hardest working units throughout the entire war - they fought non-stop on both fronts, day and night. One even got pulverized by counter battery fire, loosing its CO in the process. Another trick we picked up on the last few days of the war was using Druze scouts (which arrived from the dormant Golan front looking for action) to spread dis-information and fool the Egyptian into targeting their own troops (although this worked only once or twice). The 130mm were essentially similar in sheer effect plus their great reach meant no warning whatsoever, no time to take cover and no counter battery fire to silence them. Both the Syrians and the Egyptians were well aware of the 130mm's intimidating nature and so tended to use them primarily by night, for added psychological terror. With the 240mm warning and cover didn't really matter since if you happened to be in the same general area where they impacted, you'd be dead (if lucky) or horribly maimed / injured from giant shrapnel and flying debris (if not so). During the war of attrition that developed on the Hermon following the 1973 armistice, the Syrians used 240mm (and 180mm) to rake the ridge from end to end, sometimes on a nightly basis, until we put an end to that in an operation which still cannot be discussed. That was a very unsettling experience to say the least, with many brave men succumbing to mental fatigue under the relentless bombardment. We used to call them these huge bastards "Goliaths", both after the biblical character and after the map grid in which one of the more notorious batteries was located (submerged under nearly 2 meters of anti air raid concrete, with only the barrels sticking out, ala Guns of the Navarone). Generally speaking, what the Arabs lacked in accuracy and finesse, they more than made up for in sheer barbaric volume and density of explosives they could place on a given map grid from multiple vectors and for extended periods. Regards Alon Harksberg

Go here to read the whole thing. Harksberg answer questions and its quite a read!


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