The war in Ukraine entered its sixth month, and yet the Russian military is still struggling and failing to achieve its primary objectives. With the assistance of the U.S. and the West, the Ukrainian forces have proven to be a formidable adversary. The advent of social media is giving the two belligerents the opportunity to claim public victories and even ridicule their opponent.
Indeed, the Ukrainian military has a habit of trolling Moscow after successful operations against Russian troops. And the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has made it so much easier for the Ukrainians to troll the Russian military.
As if it were straight out of an Iron Maiden song, every time night falls over Ukraine, the Russian forces shudder, expecting the worse. Every night the Ukrainian military takes out its precision long-range fires weapon systems and rains fire and destruction on the Russian forces in Ukraine.
Recently, the Ukrainian military released a video about the M142 HIMARS and its effectiveness in taking out Russian targets. Under the lyrics of Metallica, the video shows several M142 HIMARS fire missions against Russian positions.
“When night falls in Ukraine and the sky is illuminated by big bright lights ,” the video begins, “everyone knows it’s HIMARS o’clock.”
After footage of successful strikes against Russian positions, the Ukrainian military ends the video by announcing (and trolling the Russians) the “HIMARS Global Tour 2022,” which is coming to “a Russian munitions depot near you.”
Over the past few weeks, the Ukrainian forces have been using the two weapon systems to degrade the Russian military’s ability to defend against a counteroffensive in the direction of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The two weapon systems have given Kyiv the ability to target and strike with precision the Russian warmachine. Over the past two months, the Ukrainian forces have used the M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS to systematically take out ammunition dumps, fuel depots, command and control hubs, lines of communication, railways, bridges, lines of supply, and other targets of high value.
A recent strike in the Luhansk province in the Donbas took out the forward headquarters of the infamous private military company Wagner Group, killing and wounding dozens of mercenaries. In addition, the Ukrainian forces have been destroying vehicle bridges and railway bridges in the region.
Defending the undefendable
The Russian military leadership has tried to defend against the Ukrainian trolling by claiming that it has been targeting and destroying M142 HIMARS batteries.
“The Russian Defense Ministry is likely trying to assuage distress that Ukraine’s effective use of the US HIMARS is causing Russian military personnel and milbloggers with inaccurate claims of destroying HIMARS launchers,” the Institute for the Study of War had assessed.
During a conference with the leadership of the Russian military, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu publicly claimed that the Russian military has destroyed six M142 HIMARS, even citing a video of an alleged strike against a pair of M142 HIMARS.
However, according to U.S. defense officials, the Russian military hasn’t destroyed any of the 16 M142 HIMARS that Ukraine has received from the U.S.
This is likely to become a problem for the Russian military because Moscow simply doesn’t seem to have a way to counter the M142 HIMARS or M270 MLRS.
“Ukrainian HIMARS strikes have prompted many milbloggers and military correspondents to express concern over the effectiveness of air defense systems and the threats to Russian logistics, and these strikes are likely demoralizing Russian servicemen on the ground,” the Institute for the Study of War had added.
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