While in the Army, I fired a battery of M270 MLRS rocket launchers, rocket launchers that were used to carry cluster bombs. Those M26 rockets carried a total of 644 weapons, scattering them over the entire area of the football field.
I have written about them before, in a story titled, “As Ukraine Requests MLRS, Here’s Weapons We Shouldn’t Be Sending.” It was rewritten in May of 2022, and the article was just wrong: I thought that the MLRS still fired group weapons, instead of the GMLRS single-armor. In any case, the cluster bomb part of the story is still well-known, and it relied heavily on a military report that found:
Two years after the end of the war, the Office of the Inspector General reported that the MLRS rockets failed in the battle at a higher rate than the Army had declared, and that the bombs that were about to be detonated killed and wounded at least 16 American soldiers. A military report at the beginning of the 2000s stated that although the MLRS was deployed in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, “not a single rocket was fired due to the lack of accuracy and the possibility of damage to the joint and the large drop of the weapon.” “
Sounds bad, right? And it was a good argument for May 2023. Today? It doesn’t work anymore, and it’s a good thing the troops are being deployed. That is why.
First, no one is talking about deploying M26 rockets launched by MLRS/HIMARS. Their costs were astronomical, and they were phased out ten years ago, the rocket bodies were also used as GMLRS rockets. As everyone knows, there can be no more. In fact, we are talking about the type that was introduced through the 155 millimeter artillery.
RO37 has been present in this regard Here, Hereand Here. I am saying that people are putting a lot of hope on these devices. The game changers aren’t what they claim they are, and getting the bombs to land in the trenches is a real challenge. They are best used against light vehicles and outdoor troops. What they bring to the table, as RO37 points out, are millions of new games at a time when the West is falling alarmingly short of conventional ammunition.
If you want to call “multiple bullets” a game changer, I’ll give it to you. It’s a volume play.
In any case, I don’t need or want to repeat any of this. Read the links above if you’re interested in the technical details. Instead, let me explain why my original analysis no longer works.
In short, the war looked very different in May 2022. Russia was less than half a year away from building the trenches and defense networks that destroy the entire front line today. The minelayers were Ukrainians, trying to stop Russian forces from advancing. Building a new cluster of unexploded ordnance near the then-Russian siege would put Ukrainian freedom fighters and civilians at risk for a limited investment.
Russia itself has used military equipment as an instrument of terrorism, regularly dropping weapons in cities like Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. The point was to sow fear. Ukraine was not in the game.
The argument against cluster munitions, and why 100 countries have banned them (although only seven of the 20 largest countries have done so), is about their quantity, and the potential to injure or kill civilians long after the war has stopped.
Does anyone think that the common man will be leading the way at any point in the next decade? Unexploded cluster bombs will be the least of the problems with millions of anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines, unexploded ammunition, conventional bombs, detonated TNT, traps of various kinds, unexploded rockets and missiles, and god knows what else. Environmental pollution will increase the risks.
This is not a question about a new UXO threat to an already clean environment. This is a front end that will already require a large, consistent, and lengthy UXO cleanup. And dud cluster grenades will have a chance to be swept in the purge along with tons of other commands that will be left behind.
Or to put it another way, group weapons will not pose any risks that do not exist.
That’s not all.
The desire to protect the lives of ordinary people is commendable. Yet right now, every day, ordinary Ukrainians are being tortured, raped, killed, deported, and controlled by Russia. Every liberated city has borne witness to Russia’s brutality and brutality. And where Russia is not in control, it drops rocks, missiles, and artillery, killing many civilians every day.
As the war ends quickly, fewer civilians die over time. If the price is that fewer people in the future will meet an unexpected death at the hands of these weapons, that’s a trade-off few will argue against.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleskii Reznikov he wrote the instructions where these tools will be used:
1. Ukraine will use these weapons only to clear our internationally recognized territories. These devices will not be used in the official territory of Russia.
2. We will not use mass weapons in towns (cities) to prevent the dangers of civilians – these are our people, and Ukrainians we have a duty to protect.
Group weapons can be used in areas where the Russian military is located. They will be used to break through enemy defense lines with minimal risk to the lives of our soldiers. Saving the lives of our soldiers, even in the most difficult time of destruction, will remain a priority.
3. Ukraine will keep a regular record of the use of these weapons and the rural areas where they will be used.
4. According to these documents, after the removal of our territories and our victory, these territories will be very important for the purpose of removing mines. This will help us to eliminate the danger from the non-explosive elements of the group’s weapons. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine is officially acting as the Head of the country’s demining agency. In this role I will ensure the implementation of the appropriate legislation on demining after our victory.
5. We will inform our partners about the use of these tools, and about their use in order to ensure that there is an appropriate level of transparent reporting and control.
All of this speaks to my point above: It will not be used near civilians, but against Russian military forces in populated areas. Any duds will be swept away as part of the demining process. Record keeping is unnecessary; where there are Russians, the purge will take years to complete, and the records may be tampered with if the use of any alphabet is banned. But if it pleases everyone to pretend otherwise, so be it.
Yes, unexploded bombs will inevitably kill Ukrainian soldiers. But you know what will kill them the most? Russian lifeguards can fight back. Mathematics is clear, and a moral ruler. As long as these are away from civilian areas, it makes sense to use them.
Quick update: Here are the 10 most populous countries in the world, and whether they ban assault weapons:
Older articles, added as updates to yesterday’s Ukraine Update:
Anyway, I’m laughing at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan embarrassing Vladimir Putin. twice in as many days, first with the release of the Azovstal officials who had promised to hold until the end of the war, then the next day with the signing of Sweden’s NATO membership after a year or so.
We have no evidence of rumors that Turkey will provide protection to Ukrainian naval vessels if Russia refuses to renew the grain storage agreement. The threat of doing so should prompt Putin to renegotiate the deal, perhaps permanently. What is it instead? Putin is better off looking great by agreeing to the expansion than being powerless by watching Turkey escort the ships and Russia fail to do anything.
Coincidentally and coincidentally, the US has stopped opposing Turkey’s purchase of modern F-16s. If you want to know more about the Turkish F-16 story, here it is good background here.
Israel’s Mossad spent decades hunting down and killing Nazi officials hiding overseas. It seems that Ukraine has already started its reparations process.
The picture is a bit old (Finland is already a member of NATO), but look at the NATO sea:
St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad (the little gray thing between Poland and Lithuania) certainly seem squeezed. In fact, Finland and Estonia are including their coastal defenses under the joint law.
Together, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) are to unite their armies under a single command, creating an air force of more than 250 aircraft. Although the idea had spread for many years, the disagreement between Sweden and Finland caused obstacles. Thanks to Putin, it’s no longer a problem.
At the beginning of the war, we all watched helplessly as Russian Grad MLRS rockets rained down relentlessly on Kharkiv. Do you remember these movies?
This is why I will never get tired of seeing GMLRS rocks destroying Grads and many more these days.