TechGerman Howitzers join allies in shelling Russian targets

German Howitzers join allies in shelling Russian targets

PzH-2000 firing at Russians in the Belgorod region.
PzH-2000 firing at Russians in the Belgorod region.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | Björn Stritzel
Przemysław Juraszek

22 June 2024 12:14

Germany has joined the United Kingdom, USA, and France, among others, in agreeing to use its weaponry for attacking targets in Russia. As a result of this decision, German howitzers are shelling Russian targets in the Belgorod region. We remind you what these powerful machines are capable of.

After Storm Shadow cruise missiles, guided bombs, or GMLRS rockets, it's now the turn of German PzH-2000 shelling targets still in Russia. These are some of the world's most advanced 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, which, when loaded with the appropriate ammunition, can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away using Vulcano GLR 155 shells or act as tank hunters with SMArt 155 shells.

The video below shows the PzH-2000 firing at Russian forces with standard DM121 shells at detected Russian artillery. These are economical, non-guided rounds with a range of up to 30 kilometres, contain 9 kilograms of TNT, and are equipped with a simple impact fuse. The Germans boasted that, despite this, 85% of rounds of this type hit a target the size of a football pitch at a distance of 30 kilometres.

Panzerhaubitze 2000 - a very successful but also delicate self-propelled howitzer

Ukraine received 27 PzH-2000 howitzers from Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, among the most valuable 155 mm artillery systems in Ukraine. These advanced constructions offer the best crew protection and excellent firing parameters, but their downside is their complexity and delicacy.

They require experienced crews and excellent technical support to operate, and they are far less forgiving of mistakes compared to, for instance, Polish Krabs, which are less sensitive to deficiencies in technical culture and crew training. This has led to problems with the PzH-2000, which initially spent more time in repair than on the front.

Panzerhaubitze 2000 is a heavy construction weighing as much as 63 tonnes on a tracked chassis. It is equipped with a 155 mm gun that is 52 calibres long, with an autoloader allowing up to 10 rounds per minute, which is an excellent result. In addition, the PzH-2000 has an isolated ammunition magazine with a capacity of 60 shells ready to fire. Interestingly, loading these shells takes only 12 minutes, minimising the risk of howitzer destruction during reloading.

Like any modern system, the PzH-2000 can fire in MRSI (Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact) mode, where all rounds hit the target almost simultaneously. The technique involves firing the first round at a steep angle and subsequent rounds at progressively shallower angles. The PzH-2000 can fire a five-round salvo to distances over 19 kilometres (range depends on the last shot in the series).

High mobility ensures high battlefield survivability, thanks to the combination of a 1,000-horsepower engine, the ability to take/leave a firing position in less than a minute, and good armour protection. A unique aspect of the PzH-2000's armour is special ceramic-rubber mats called Igelpanzerung applied to it, sometimes capable of withstanding hits even from Lancet-3 drones.

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