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Artillery: The Future Overtakes The PzH 2000
   Next Article → ELECTRONIC WEAPONS: JSTARS The Keeper
December 20, 2011: The Netherlands Army is reducing its artillery force from 24 PzH 2000 self-propelled (SP) 155mm artillery guns to 18. The number of artillerymen is being reduced by half (by eliminating a lot of headquarters and support troops). This was done based on combat experience with some PzH 2000s in Afghanistan. The Netherlands was not the only NATO country there that was experimenting with new ideas about how to use artillery, and most of those nations are acting on that experience. A decade ago, the Dutch ordered 57 PzH 2000 systems but that was eventually reduced to 39 and the unneeded ones are being sold off. The Dutch were the first to use the PzH 2000 in combat in Afghanistan five years ago.

The German built PzH (Panzerhaubitze, or armored howitzer) 2000 was built to replace the 1950s era American M-109s in German service. The PzH 2000 is larger (at 56 tons, compared to 28) than the M-109, has a longer range gun and a smaller crew (three compared to four men) and more capabilities and features as well. This enables the PZH 2000 to deliver more accurate fire over longer distance and do it quicker than other artillery. For this reason, the Dutch adopted the PzH 2000 in the first place. The Netherlands is also integrating its fire support (artillery, mortars, helicopter gunships, and smart bombs) more closely so that the most effective firepower is delivered as quickly as possible. 

Another new idea is lighter versions of self-propelled systems. The AGM (Artillery Gun Module) self-propelled gun puts the 12.5 ton PzH 2000 turret on a lighter armored vehicle or heavy truck. The turret contains a fully automated loading system and 30 155mm shells and propellant charges. There is only a two man crew, one of them enters the firing information and the shell is loaded and fired in the proper direction. Mounted on the same chassis as the U.S. MLRS rocket launcher, the AGM weighs 27 tons. If you mount it on a heavy (6x6) truck, it weighs about 23 tons. The AGM, using GPS guided rounds (like the new U.S. Excalibur), would be able to fire one or two rounds and get away before counter-fire could arrive. Thus one AGM, with 30 Excalibur rounds, could be able to take out two dozen targets (taking into account misfires and targets needed a second shell) before needing resupply.

All this is just as revolutionary as what happened a century ago when more accurate, long range howitzers appeared, making precision artillery fire at targets over the horizon a possibility for the first time. This innovation changed artillery use on a fundamental level for the next century.

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LB       12/20/2011 9:52:53 PM
This is both accurate and delusional.  Because Holland drops the number of guns in it's only battalion in response to the very limited prospects of actually needing significant artillery support  does not mean in future that a few guided rounds are always going to suffice.
 
At some point two or more conventional armies will be engaged in conflict.  Drawing the wrong lessons over the relative importance and requirements for artillery support could easily become fatal.  It's one thing to note that a few guided artillery rounds (or other guided munitions) are often sufficient in an insurgency, especially when limiting damage is very important.  It's quite another matter entirely to imagine that guided artillery rounds preclude the need for large numbers of tubes when facing someone with significant forces, including significant artillery.
 
The real lesson is modern war is becoming more and more lethal, a long term trend, and thus often more decisive often in very brief time frames.  Artillery becoming more lethal is not a reason to conclude one requires less artillery and heaven help you if your enemy keeps large number of tubes with modern munitions.  Far too many "lessons" are being drawn from two insurgencies that do not apply to the entire spectrum of warfare.  
 
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Gerry       12/20/2011 10:56:36 PM


This is both accurate and delusional.  Because Holland drops the number of guns in it's only battalion in response to the very limited prospects of actually needing significant artillery support  does not mean in future that a few guided rounds are always going to suffice.

 

At some point two or more conventional armies will be engaged in conflict.  Drawing the wrong lessons over the relative importance and requirements for artillery support could easily become fatal.  It's one thing to note that a few guided artillery rounds (or other guided munitions) are often sufficient in an insurgency, especially when limiting damage is very important.  It's quite another matter entirely to imagine that guided artillery rounds preclude the need for large numbers of tubes when facing someone with significant forces, including significant artillery.

 

The real lesson is modern war is becoming more and more lethal, a long term trend, and thus often more decisive often in very brief time frames.  Artillery becoming more lethal is not a reason to conclude one requires less artillery and heaven help you if your enemy keeps large number of tubes with modern munitions.  Far too many "lessons" are being drawn from two insurgencies that do not apply to the entire spectrum of warfare.  

Being prepared for the future use of the military is sooooo politically incorrect. When there are immigrants to feed and care for as well as people who are indigent, or chronically inept, why would any country spend money that could be otherwise be used to buy votes. Its just wrong.

 
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Nasty German Idiot       12/21/2011 11:29:54 AM
One thing is clear,  the PZH 2000 does a great job in providing artillery support for German und US troops stationed around Kunduz and Char Darreh. 
 
 
http://www.youtube.com/v/W40z7ntgxrQ?version=3&hl=de_DE&rel=0" /> http://www.youtube.com/v/W40z7ntgxrQ?version=3&hl=de_DE&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true">
 
 
 
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Griffin       12/21/2011 5:15:59 PM
The PHz2000 reduction likely has a lot more to do with small defence budgets than anything. 
 
I've argued in the past that SP Gun is better located within tank regiments, and not stay within the artillery combat arm, where they share the similar type of mobility, protection, and firepower as tanks.  Furthermore, they would be a great way of maintaing high rates of fire at longer ranges than 120mm guns, but be able to quickly move about the battle field with the tanks. 
 
This does not take away from the importance of the M777 or smaller calibre guns that can be airlifted, towed, etc.; rather a recognition that theSP gun would be more suitably placed as a separate Sqn. in every tank battalion/regiment.
 
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JFKY    No   12/21/2011 9:36:58 PM
I've argued in the past that SP Gun is better located within tank regiments, and not stay within the artillery combat arm, where they share the similar type of mobility, protection, and firepower as tanks.  Furthermore, they would be a great way of maintaining high rates of fire at longer ranges than 120mm guns, but be able to quickly move about the battle field with the tanks
 
It does NOT have the same protection, or even "similar" protection.  The PzH 2000 in a close combat unit simply screams, "Kill this hi-value system" easily...further you waste the range of the PzH 2000 L/52, 40-plus Km.  You tie a 40 Km. system to a 10 Km. fight...and strip the Artillery or Brigade of the ability to influence the battlefield, because the PzH 2000 will be divorced from its longer range sensors, disallowing for greater flexibility, UNLESS you're going to also issue the TPQ-47, HALO, and UAV's at the battalion level, too.
 
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Nasty German Idiot       12/21/2011 9:50:16 PM
This artillery system is supposed to stay completely out of any "close combat" - even if it has the ability to engage targets in "direct fire" in an emergency situation.  A German PZH2000 battery would directly smoke the whole Area and retreat once it meets any armored forces breaking through the front somewhere.  
 
It is supposed to run behind the frontline and is able to set up,  perform fire-combat against an enemy and move again faster than the enemy, to escape possible counter fire. 
 
 
 
 
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