A video shared on social media on Saturday highlighted how the conflict in Ukraine is a “David vs. Goliath” struggle in more ways than one.
In the minute and forty-six-second long clip, a Ukrainian drone can be seen dropping a hand grenade onto a Russian BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher.
According to Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons), the drone was operated by the 59th Motorized Brigade near the city of Donetsk.
It may not have been a sling and bullet to take down a giant, but the small ordnance was still used to inflict considerable damage on a Russian armored vehicle, which was disabled and taken out of the fight.
The ordnance was identified as a 40x53mm grenade, which is the NATO standard that is used in automatic grenade launchers including the U.S. military’s Mk19.
The Ukrainian state-owned UkrOboronProm began mass producing the rounds domestically in July 2018 as the high explosive PGOF-40, as well as the PGI-40 target practice marker rounds.
In addition, the company’s subsidiary also began making the VOG-25 caseless grenades for under-barrel launchers including the GP-25 and GP-30.
Meet the Katyusha – Modern Take on Stalin’s Organ
The ordnance was employed to successfully destroy a BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher, a self-propelled launcher that is essentially a modernized take on the World War II-era “Katyusha,” which earned the nickname “Stalin’s organ.”
The BM-21 “Grad” (Russian for “hailstorm”) entered service in 1963 but only was first employed in combat in March 1969 during the Sino-Soviet border conflict.
It has since been used in more than a dozen conflicts in Asia and Africa.
Russia had inherited at least 1,000 of the Grads following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, while a few dozen had been upgraded to the modernized Grad-M in recent years.
It is not known how many of the platforms have been deployed to Ukraine, or if the one seen in the recent video was a modernized version.
Due to sustained losses, the Kremlin has increasingly deployed older – perhaps antiquated vehicles – to bolster its forces.
Even older BM-21 Grads could be considered fairly high-value targets, which explains the efforts in the recent video to take one out.
It has been reported that a number of the BM-21s have been destroyed in drone attacks in recent weeks, while others have been targeted in artillery strikes.
Though not exactly a weapon that is known for pinpoint accuracy, the self-propelled launcher’s crew of three can emplace the system and have it ready to fire in just three minutes. All of its 40 rockets can be launched in as little as 20 seconds – or can be fired individually depending on the need.
More importantly, one battalion of eighteen launchers can deliver 720 rockets in a single volley – spreading devastation over a wide area.
That latter fact has made it effective for targeting Ukraine’s positions in the urban center of Donetsk. It also explains why Ukraine is stepping up its efforts to kill this potential Goliath.
The video has some graphic components, so we have not embedded it. You can watch the full video here.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
March 28, 2023 at 4:45 am
The irony is that “Stalin’s Organ” is based on an American truck that was provided during the Lend/ Lease program.