The 2S1 Gvozdika is a common self-propelled gun and Russia certainly does not lack them. Between 1971 and 1991, more than 10,000 such weapons were produced, and many of them are currently in Ukraine. The good thing is that the Ukrainian drones are destroying them quite effectively, since Govzdika is not that well armed or protected against such attacks.

Russian 2S1 destroyed in Gvozdika, Ukraine and displayed in public.Russian 2S1 destroyed in Gvozdika, Ukraine and displayed in public.

Russian 2S1 destroyed in Gvozdika, Ukraine and displayed in public. Photo Credit: By Mykola Vasylechko Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The 2S1 Gvozdika is a self-propelled 122 mm howitzer, which entered service in 1972. If you’ve paid any attention at all to Russian weapons, you’ve noticed that many different systems entered military service around this time.

It was a period of modernization in the Soviet Army. The 152.4 mm howitzer 2S3 Akatsia entered service in 1971, Govzdika and 2S4 TYLPEN The self-propelled mortar entered service in 1972, while the T-72 main battle tank entered service in 1973. The list could be significantly extended, but you can tell that in the early 1970s the Soviet forces acquired a new group of armored vehicles. And today Russia is heavily dependent on them.

However, Gvozdika is hardly suitable for today’s warfare. The 122 mm gun has a slightly shorter range, compared to larger howitzers – it can reach targets up to 15.3 km away. This basically means it needs to be close to the contact line and can benefit from a great suit of armor. However, the Gvozdika MT-LBu is only a 122 mm 2A18 howitzer on a multi-purpose chassis. It weighs about 16 tons. It is very dangerous for small drone attacks.

Here is a recent example:

The advantage of a small artillery piece like the Giuzdika is its mobility. It is capable of traveling on the road at a speed of 60 kmph. It is also fully buoyant and can swim at a speed of 4.5 km/h. Because it is so light and relatively small, the gowzdika can sneak in between buildings in urban environments and hide well in bushy areas. But the drones still find him.

Russia has a lot of them though. In 2023 it was estimated that Russia had about 2,000 Gvozdika Howitzers in storage and several hundred in active service. How many of them were lost in Ukraine is unknown, but we are talking hundreds. And lately they’ve mostly been destroyed with FPV drones – rather cheap armor killers. The Gvozdika howitzer has not been produced since 1991, but Russia has so many of them that they are unlikely to run out anytime soon.

The weakness of weapons like Gvozdika is another example of a changing war. Armored machines are expensive and sophisticated, but they are being destroyed by cheap drones. Future military vehicles will have to be built with FPV drones in mind.

written by Povelas M.

Sources: NOELReports Twitter, Wikipedia