Ukrainian troops use 19th-century weapons to defend key city – The Telegraph – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
With modern weapons and ammunition in short supply, kyiv forces are said to be dusting off old Maxim guns
Ukrainian forces defending the Donbass town of Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut, are relying on Victorian-era Maxim guns, The Telegraph reported on Friday. Despite having received tens of billions of dollars in aid from the United States and NATO, kyiv is said to be struggling with arms and ammunition shortages.
“I saw Maxim machine guns in fixed positions on several occasions,” a Ukrainian soldier told the British newspaper. “Despite their age, it’s a pretty formidable weapon. The main thing is not to forget to add a little water.
Invented by Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1884, the Maxim pistol was the world’s first fully automatic machine gun. Firing a still-respectable 600 rounds per minute, the gun relies on a heavy water jacket around its barrel to prevent overheating. Sitting on iron wheels and weighing around 30 kilos before adding water or ammunition belts, it requires a crew of four to operate.
The maxims were used by British colonial forces in Africa and by Imperial Russian forces in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. It was already considered obsolete by World War I, with British forces using the lighter Vickers machine gun in its place.
Sitting in Ukrainian armories since the country was part of the Russian Empire, Maxims have been in frontline use in the Donbass since last year. While Ukrainian troops told the Telegraph that the Maxim is “a fairly effective weapon in the right hands,” some kyiv servicemen complained that they had not received newer equipment.
“The Russians have artillery, armored vehicles, and their forces are five to six times larger than ours,” a sergeant near Severodonetsk told Radio France Internationale last July. “We only had machine guns and RPGs from 1986. A Degtyarov machine gun from 1943. And the Maxim machine gun from 1933.”
The United States alone has sent Ukraine more than $37 billion in arms and ammunition since the Russian military operation began last February. However, with Western stockpiles dwindling, US advisers are ordering Ukrainian forces to conserve ammunition if they hope to mount a counteroffensive this spring.
US estimates over 100,000 Ukrainian troops killed – Politico
Western military officials have also advised Zelensky against hanging on to Artyomovsk, which is currently nearly surrounded by Russian forces. kyiv keeps casualty figures secret, but US officials believe “more than 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers” passed away since last February, with “many of these losses” taking place in the city, according to a Politico report earlier this week.
Although US officials have viewed Artyomovsk as strategically insignificant, it is a vital logistical hub for the Ukrainian military. Control of the city would pave the way for Russian forces to advance towards Kramatorsk and Slaviansk, which lie along a series of fortified lines built by Ukraine since its conflict with the Donetsk People’s Republic began in 2014.
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