Photos have surfaced online showing that Russian attackers in Ukraine have begun using the relatively rare Soviet 130mm artillery piece M-46 in battles against Ukrainian armed forces. This is quite an interesting development, as Russia has long since moved to the 152.4mm standard.

The M-46 is an older artillery piece, but many countries still use these weapons.The M-46 is an older artillery piece, but many countries still use these weapons.

The M-46 is an older artillery piece, but many countries still use these weapons. Image Credit: UMP via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The M-46 artillery gun was produced in 1946-1950. It entered service with the Soviet forces around 1951 and was produced until 1971. In its day, the M-46 was one of the longest-range artillery weapons in the world, with a standard round traveling up to 27 km. Even today most howitzers cannot match this range. For comparison, the British M777 155mm howitzer used by the US, Ukraine, Australia and several other countries has a range of 23.5 km with standard ammunition.

But now the M-46 is an old weapon. The caliber of the M-46 is 130 mm, which is not standard for Russian ground forces. Russia now officially relies on its 152.4mm guns, for which massive ammunition is constantly produced.

On the other hand, although the M-46 is an old artillery gun, it is still used in many areas of the world. Even Finland wrote off its last M-46 in 2019. And they appear to have been handed over to Ukraine, which also received M-46 guns from Croatia. But Russia, one of the world’s largest armed forces, prefers to rely on standards that specify 152.4 mm artillery, leaving the M-46 in long-term storage. has been given.

Defense Express reports That Russia had only 350 M-46 guns before the war in Ukraine. How many of these were taken out of long-term storage and ready for service in Ukraine is unknown. But the fact remains that the M-46 is now being used in Ukraine (by both sides, of course) despite Russia’s repeated assertions that it has no shortage of weapons or ammo.

Analysts believe that Russia may have found shells from these guns in its stockpile. Or they may have been supplied by North Korea, which has several different types of 130mm guns.

Analysts at Defense Express believe that Russia decided to take out its M-46s in broad daylight for two reasons – the heavy losses it has sustained in the war in Ukraine and the range of these weapons. Ideally, Russia would want to keep its artillery pieces away from the line of contact to avoid Ukrainian kamikaze drones. Also, Ukraine is so effective at destroying Russian artillery that it is running out of guns.

Russia brings many old and unusual weapons to this war in Ukraine. Maybe it’s just because they have. Why write it off if it can still be used in Ukraine – this is the simple logic of Russian pragmatism.

Sources: TSN.ua, Wikipedia