There were plenty of fireworks on July 4 this year as Americans spent $2.3 billion on pyrotechnics.
There was, of course, no shortage of videos shared on social media. But not all were recorded as the United States celebrated its Independence Day. Rather, a number of videos captured the ongoing fighting in Ukraine from the front lines.
One, in particular, showed the results of an artillery duel between Ukrainian and Russian forces outside the ruined city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast.
An Artillery Duel Near Bakhmut
A 30-second-long clip shared by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) on Tuesday highlighted the destruction of a Russian 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) by counter-battery fire from the Ukrainian 45th Separate Artillery Brigade.
It is unclear what type of artillery was employed, but the unit has been using a number of Western-supplied platforms including the British-designed M777 155mm howitzer, which can fire the M982 Excalibur precision ordnance round.
Developed as part of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), the Excalibur is a GPS and inertial-guided munition that is capable of being used in close support situations within 75 to 150 meters (240 to 480 feet) of friendly troops. Each round is equipped with a jam-resistant internal GPS receiver to update the inertial navigation system, providing precision in-flight guidance and dramatically improving accuracy to less than two meters miss distance regardless of range.
Based on the video, the 45th Separate Artillery Brigade won the artillery duel, destroying the Russian SPH – but if the Ukrainians did in fact employ an M777, they came into the fight with a serious advantage.
Regardless, the result was another destroyed 2S1.
Russia’s Cold War SPH
Russia had around 245 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm SPHs in service when it launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The platform was developed in the late 1960s, and it entered large-scale production in 1971. The 2S1 features a full armor skin that can protect the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters, while it is also fitted with an NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) system, which protects the crew from mass destruction weapons by sealing and overpressure generation, however, it lacks a smoke grenade system.
The 2S1 has a conventional layout with the engine in the front and the turret at the rear. It operates with a crew of four that includes the commander, driver, gunner, and loader. The platform’s main armament is a 2A31 howitzer, which is an adaption of the towed D-30 howitzer. It is compatible with all 122-mm munitions developed for that platform, and with normal shells has a range of approximately 9.5 miles, while rocket-assisted shells can be fired to a range of 13.6 miles. It can be used with fragmentation, HE-FRAG, HEAT, cluster, smoke, and illumination projectiles.
There were some fireworks on July 4 – namely when this Russian 2S1 took a direct hit!
#Ukraine: A Russian 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled howitzer was destroyed by counter-battery fire from the Ukrainian 45th Artillery Brigade in the vicinity of Bakhmut, #Donetsk Oblast. pic.twitter.com/n7lPpTslAA
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 4, 2023
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.