In the video, a ramshackle convoy is shown parked along a long stretch of road. The sky is grey, and snow coats the road along the shoulders.
Presumably, the video was taken sometime the last winter.
In the convoy, a dusty SUV (I believe a Mercedes M-Class) with a missing fender and a large, utility truck are standing back, giving the lead vehicle a wide berth.
The lead vehicle, an M142 HIMARS, is parked down the road, in the background of the video.
The HIMARS launcher, tilted skyward, pauses, then fires. Once. Twice.
The launches burn bright against the grey-skyed backdrop.
The rockets accelerate and ascend, en route to their targets, leaving contrails behind.
The entire video, inexplicably set to what I assume is European pop music, lasts just 24 seconds.
The video is captioned with an efficient caption: “HIMARS operating in Bakhmut area.”
M142 HIMARS, Explained
The M142 HIMARS, depicted in the video, is a light multiple rocket launcher that the US developed in the late 1990s. The HIMARS is mounted on a US Army FMTV truck frame. The HIMARS itself features one pod with six GMLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile. The unit depicted in the video features the GMLRS configuration.
The HIMARs design is closely related to the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), although the MLRS relies on a track vehicle, whereas the HIMARS uses a wheeled vehicle.
The HIMARS has been a welcomed addition to the Ukrainian’s weapons portfolio. The US first announced that it would be giving Ukraine the HIMARS system in June 2022. Ukraine started deploying the system the very same month. According to Ukraine the first strike with a HIMARS system resulted in the death of 40 Russian soldiers.
The US reported that Ukraine was using the HIMARS system to target Russian command posts, ammunition, and fuel storage depots.
The HIMARS system has helped Ukraine to stand their ground in what has been a surprisingly staunch resistance to the Russian invasion.
Of course, US military aid, including weapons like the HIMARS, have enabled Ukraine to resist Russia so staunchly.
In August 2022, the HIMARS made headlines when The Washington Post reported that Ukraine had claimed to use decoy HIMAR systems, made from wood, to draw the fire of ten Russian 3M-54 Kalibr missiles.
Importance of Bakhmut
HIMARS operating in Bakhmut area pic.twitter.com/pTCf4rjTdF
— Ukraine War (@Ukraine_WarNews) March 8, 2023
The video shows an HIMAR operating outside of Bakhmut, Ukraine. Bakhmut is a small industrial city in Eastern Ukraine, which the Russians have been targeting for months. The city has been nearly decimated and is mostly abandoned. Yet, the reason for Bakhmut’s targeting is not quite clear.
“[Bakhmut] was best known for its salt and gypsum mines and huge winery,” The BBC reported, “It holds no particular geographic importance. As one Western official put it, Bakhmut is “one small tactical event on a 1,200-kilometre front line.”
So has Russia worked so hard to capture the small city known for its salt mines and winery, at the cost of between 20,000 and 30,000 casualties? “The Kremlin needs a victory, however symbolic. It has been a long time since the summer when Russia forces seized cities.”
The Ukrainians are using the HIMARS system to keep the Russians at bay.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.