Video footage shared by Ukraine’s Command of the Airborne Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Facebook page this week shows the aftermath of M777 howitzer strikes on Russian positions, presumably in Eastern Ukraine.
The footage shows large craters in the ground where the missiles struck, with disabled Russian armored vehicles and tanks surrounding the holes. No soldiers can be seen in the footage, indicating that the vehicles were abandoned, or that all troops in the facility succumbed to the attack.
“Artillerymen of the 81st Brigade of the DSHV and the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine inflicted a crushing defeat and destroyed the battery of the 2S3 “Acacia” of the Russian invaders,” the post reads in Ukrainian.
“In one of the areas of combat operations, units of the 81st separate airmobile brigade of the DSHV and the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the use of 155-mm howitzers M777 destroyed the enemy battery of self-propelled howitzers 2S3 ‘Acacia,’” the post continues.
Rob Lee, a military researcher and Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, suggested on Wednesday that the footage could show destroyed 2S1 Gvozdika howitzers, and not 2S3 as claimed by the Ukrainians.
What Is the M777?
Largely supplied by the United States, the M777 howitzers sent to Ukraine have proven one of the most effective tools for Ukrainian forces battling Russian troops in the East. In May, a senior Defense Department official said during a press briefing that the weapon was helping Ukraine take back territories conquered by the Russians in recent weeks.
“You’re already seeing the Ukrainians being willing to go on the counteroffensive in the Donbas,” the official said. “They are taking back some towns that the Russians have taken in the past.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov also told U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that 74 of the 90 M777 cannons supplied by the United States are “forward in the fight.”
The M777 is a towed 155mm artillery piece used by the Canadian, Indian, Australian, Ukrainian, Saudi, and American militaries.
Few disagree that the M777 cannons have proven critical in Ukraine’s fight against the Russians.
Video from Ukraine’s 81st Airmobile Brigade reportedly showing the aftermath of M777 howitzer strikes on Russian positions. They say these are 2S3 but they look like 2S1 Gvozdika howitzers.https://t.co/qbwWh99vct pic.twitter.com/wYMFfWx7sP
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 29, 2022
One U.S. Army Office told Coffee or Die Magazine recently that the weapons gave the Ukrainians the firepower they need.
“It’s much more lightweight than just about any other howitzer in the world,” the officer said. “That allows you to move it more quickly, to put it into more difficult terrain in some cases, so you can put it in places where the enemy wouldn’t expect it and wouldn’t be looking for it. And, critically, it allows those guns to shoot and then quickly be displaced somewhere else where they can hide or where they can shoot from a different location.”
What the Experts Told Us
“The M777 is certainly a lethal weapon of war and a big upgrade for Ukraine’s armed forces overall,” explained Harry J. Kazianis, a military expert and President of Rogue States Group. “However, over the long-term, these weapons are just a small part of what Kyiv will need over the long-term if this war is to continue for the next several months or longer. The flashy videos are great, but for Ukraine to hold its own on the battlefield, it will need far more than this.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.