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Artillery and tanks are not what Ukraine needs. Longer range guided weapons are.

Posted by John Reed on

The US is sending 155mm howitzers to Ukraine along with 40,000 rounds of ammo for it. Okay, but that is not the route to Ukraine victory over Russia. The range of a 155mm howitzer is 11 to 18.6 miles depending upon the ammunition used. The antidote to the 155mm howitzer: an artillery piece with a greater than 18.6 miles range. The Russian 2S7 Pion self-propelled heavy artillery piece has a range of 29.5 miles. Checkmate.
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I think NATO members are also giving them tanks. Those require kerosene, benzine, or diesel. Russia is the #2 oil producer in the world. Tough for Ukraine to out tank fuel Russia. They can, however, destroy tanks easily if they can get within 3 miles with shoulder-fired Javelin and NLAW anti-tank rockets.
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Ukraine would have no other advantage for winning a tank war no matter how many tanks we gave them. The range of Ukraine tank cannons versus Russian is also an issue. Modern Russian tanks have twice the range of the current US tank and a greater range than the tank-killer missiles. They can be used like artillery to raze Ukrainian buildings from outside the shoulder-fired tank rocket range.
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So we are unlikely to be able to help the Ukrainians defeat Russia with either 155mm artillery or tanks. 
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Javelins, NLAWs, Stingers, switchblade drones, yes. 155mm cannons and tanks, probably not.
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Victory requires increasing the range of Ukraine’s various guided missiles. Much WW II in Europe was about increasing the range of fighter cover for bombers. The P51 Mustang changed the equation there with its 1,650-mile range. Same was accomplished in the Pacific with the  B-29 which had a 5,830-mile range. The ones that dropped the atomic bombs flew from Tinian Island—2,500 miles away from those targets.
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US submarines in the Pacific were based out of Pearl Harbor or Australia Throughout the war. They had a range of 11,000 nautical miles. No island hopping required.
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I think what the US and western military powers need to focus on is extending the range of Ukraine guided missiles or providing them with missiles that can destroy Russian military assets at the maximum range of the Russian missiles. Artillery and tanks are not only WEAPONS FROM THE LAST WAR, they are weapons from WW II which ended 77 years ago. In recent wars like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, tanks were not much of a factor. They are museum pieces. They need to be destroyed in Ukraine, but Ukraine is apparently having great success at that when they can get within 3 miles. We need to extend that range.
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johnreed@johntreed.com

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