The war in Ukraine keeps taking interesting turn after turn – especially after the Wagner Group tried to revolt and possibly advance on Moscow.
What is going to happen next?
Is Putin’s grip on power slipping over the long term?
What does that mean for the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal?
One thing is clear: social media will capture much of the action and fighting.
Russian Mortar Annihalted by Counter-fire Near Kharkiv: A video posted by Ukraine Weapons Tracker back in April (@UAWeapons) captured the destruction of a Russian 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm self-propelled mortar in the Kharkiv Oblast. The mortar had taken position in a field.
It was flanked by tree lines on two sides, but a drone reported to be operated by the Ukrainian 14th Separate Mechanized Brigade sighted and targeted the Russian vehicle.
The incident took place outside of the village of Tavilzhanka, which had been occupied just over a year ago in the initial stages of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The village saw heavy fighting during Kyiv’s counteroffensive last fall, and it was liberated by Ukrainian forces in December.
The recapture of the small urban center at the time restored Ukrainian access to the P79 road, which also cut off a supply route for Russian forces from the south.
Evoking the Spirit of Roman the Great
The destruction of the 2S4 Tyulpan mortar may not have involved divine intervention, but no doubt some members of the 14th Separate Mechanized Brigade could feel that Prince Roman the Great was watching over them and perhaps guiding their hands.
It was in October 2019 that the brigade was granted the honorific “Roman the Great,” thus naming the unit after the Rus prince and eventual master of Western Rus, which includes much of modern-day Ukraine. Roman was also noted for his successful campaigns against Cuman invaders.
Today, the 14th Brigade fights a campaign against another invader.
In place of the swords and spears carried by the 14th-century prince’s armies, these Ukrainians are equipped with American-made M109 155mm howitzers that were donated by Norway. The platform is the most common Western indirect-fire support weapon used by the maneuver brigades of armored and mechanized infantry divisions.
The weapon is operated by a crew of four and has a range of 21 kilometers (13 miles) with high-explosive rounds. Moreover, it can use the M982 Excalibur 155mm extended-range guided artillery shell, which can strike a target with near-pinpoint accuracy. Based on the video footage of this strike, a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle served as an eye in the sky for the gun crew, which then used the Excalibur to take out the high-value target.
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) April 2, 2023
It would be fitting that a Ukrainian unit named for a Rus prince who defended his homeland would employ ordnance named after a mythical weapon. Throw in that the M109 came from the land of Vikings and Norse gods, and perhaps there was some divine assistance after all.
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.