The Russian-made 2S19 Msta-S is a very big gun – a 152mm self-propelled howitzer, to be specific.
The 2S19 is a combat-proven platform, but it is not indestructible.
A video posted Tuesday on social media makes it clear that big platforms can be destroyed just the same as smaller systems. The result is just a bigger explosion.
The self-propelled system was designed in the late Soviet era and first entered service in 1989 as a successor to the 2S3 Akatsyia.
The vehicle comprises a turret mounted on a tracked armored 6×6 chassis based on a T-80 main battle tank hull.
It is powered by a T-72 MBT diesel engine. Road speed is 60 km/h (37 mph) with a range of 500 km.
“Watch what mushrooms Ukrainian soldiers have learned to grow from russian howitzers 2S19 Msta-S. Occupiers. Bon appétit!,” the official Ministry of Defense of Ukraine social media account (@DefenceU) noted in its tweet.
Calling Out The Big Gun in Ukraine
The Msta-S is armed with a 152mm/L47 howitzer, which is similar in design to the gun employed on the 2A65 Msta-B towed howitzer. The gun is fitted with a semi-automatic loader and fume extractor. It can apparently be loaded at any angle, while its maximum rate of fire is seven to eight rounds per minute.
The Msta-S is noted for being compatible with all standard 152mm projectiles used by the D-20 towed gun-howitzer and the 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzer. The L47 can also fire a wide range of munitions, including standard and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG projectiles, cluster projectiles with anti-tank submunitions, and jammer carrying projectiles. It is further capable of firing Krasnopol precision-guided munitions.
The elevation of the L47 gun ranges from plus-68 degrees to minus 3 degrees with a 360-degree traverse. The improved 2S19 M2 Msta-S has a reported range of up to 80 kilometers. This artillery system is also known for its quick reaction time. It can stop and fire its first round within one to two minutes.
A total of 50 rounds are carried inside the Msta-S, which could explain the substantial explosion seen in the recent video — some of the ammunition might have cooked off.
Secondary armament of the 2S19 Msta-S consists of a remotely controlled 12.7mm machine gun mounted on top of the roof, which can be operated by the vehicle’s commander. Additionally, three smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on each side of the turret to help conceal its location while it makes a quick exit.
The crew can take cover within the armored platform and be protected against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The welded steel armor on the hull and turret of the vehicle is further fitted with NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection and automatic fire suppression systems.
The self-propelled howitzer first saw combat in the Second Chechen War in the late 1990s.
The Kremlin has steadily updated the 2S19 Msta-S, and it operated around 750 of the mobile platforms just prior to its invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv’s forces have captured a few dozen of the systems.
In late 2021, Uraltransmash — part of the Uralvagonzavod defense manufacturer within state tech corporation Rostec — announced that it had produced and delivered new 2S19 M2 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers to the Russian military under a defense procurement plan. It is unclear whether the system the video showed being destroyed was one of these newer arrivals.
Watch what mushrooms Ukrainian soldiers have learned to grow from russian howitzers 2S19 Msta-S. Occupiers. Bon appétit! pic.twitter.com/DKd3635Bcm
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) August 29, 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.