- Ukraine is firing an artillery shell that lays mines built to destroy tanks.
- The US has sent Ukraine over 10,000 of these rounds along with the 155mm howitzers that fire them.
- These mine-laying artillery shells are designed to force desperate choices.
The Russian troops defending the front lines against Ukraine’s advance are discovering a danger lurking behind them, and it’s one that threatens to make their positions more precarious.
The danger comes from an artillery round being fired over their heads.
“THE ENEMY IS REMOTELY MINING OUR REAR, ROUTES OF SUPPLY OF AMMUNITION AND RESERVES,” wrote Alexander Sladkov, a prominent pro-Russian milblogger, in a Thursday Telegram post.
Sladkov wrote that Ukraine is firing the Remote Anti-Armor Mine System (RAAMS), a US-made artillery round that lays anti-tank mines in flight. The US has sent Ukraine over 10,000 of these rounds along with the 155mm howitzers that fire them out to a range of nearly 11 miles.
The mine-laying artillery shell is designed to force desperate choices. Vehicles must run a gauntlet laid with mines to deliver fresh troops, ammunition, fuel, and food to front-line positions. It also can be used to set traps along escape routes for forces on the front lines.
The mines self-destruct at certain times depending on the variant, some in under 24 hours and some more than a day later. Sladkov suggested these munitions, which Ukraine was first observed using in December, could be countered or defeated
“These mines self-destruct after 4 hours, the M73 variant – after 48 hours,” he wrote. “Engineering reconnaissance (sappers checking routes) easily cope with them.” Whether it’s as easy as this pro-Russian voice argues is debatable as this community has a tendency to downplay threats while overselling Russian capabilities.
The dangers for Russia are multiplying. Ukraine’s counteroffensive appears to be underway, and Kyiv’s forces are attacking Russia’s positions with Western-made tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery, and other weapon systems that could force them into a retreat along paths that might be mined.