Ukrainian Zu-23-2 Autocannon Seen Destroyed on Social Media – A video that was posted to social media on Saturday highlighted the moment a Ukrainian truck, armed with a Zu-23-2 autocannon was targeted and destroyed by Russian forces employing an anti-tank guided missile.
The incident reportedly occurred in the Donetsk Oblast, and it is unclear if any of the Ukrainian personnel survived the attack.
The 20-second-long clip was shared by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons). It has been seen nearly 300,000 times since being posted. The truck had been positioned on the side of an embankment when it came under fire. It appeared from the video footage that the Russian troops had successfully flanked the vehicle when they targeted it.
The Zu-23-2 is a towed 23x152mm anti-aircraft twin-barreled autocannon.
It was first developed in the late 1950s and was designed to engage low-flying aerial targets at a range of up to 2.5 km. The Zu-23-2 could also be employed against ground-based armored vehicles at a range of two kilometers.
Ammunition is fed by a conveyor belt from a pair of boxes, which are located on the side of the twin autocannon. Each ammunition box carries 50 rounds. Its guns are air-cooled and fitted with a quick change mechanism.
Barrels can fire about 100 rounds before overheating.
It also has a straight-tube telescope T-3 for use against ground targets, including infantry as well as unarmored or lightly armored vehicles.
The platform is normally towed by a GAZ-69 or GAZ-66 4×4 light truck, but it can also be mounted on the back of large trucks, such as the Ural 6×6 truck, to make it easier to employ against ground targets.
It is unclear from the video what the Ukrainians were targeting, but it appeared to be a ground-based vehicle or infantry. As noted, the Zu-23-2 seen destroyed in the recent video also had been mounted on the back of the truck. Fighting in the Donetsk Oblast has been especially intense – and Russian forces failed to secure the region last summer.
It was widely produced by the Soviet Union, while it was also manufactured under license by Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt, and the People’s Republic of China.
Some 140,000 were produced in total.
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It first entered service in 1960, and while it saw use in the Angolan Civil War, it didn’t combat with Soviet forces until the early 1980s during the Soviet-Afghan War. It has since been employed in more than a dozen conflicts around the world.
Ukraine is one of the Soviet successor states that inherited a significant number of Zu-23-2 autocannons following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. However, it is unknown how many remained in service when Russia launched its unprovoked invasion a year ago.
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.