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Ol’ Faithful: Soviet Supermortars Bury Syrian Militants in Their ‘Rat Holes’

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankSyrian army in Idlib province. File photo
Syrian army in Idlib province. File photo - Sputnik International
The most powerful mortars in the world, the old Soviet M-240 towed mortars, have been photographed pounding militants in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

Rare photos showing Syrian army positions with old Soviet M-240 mortars deployed have been uploaded to the internet, according to a report by Rossiyskaya Gazeta. The photos clearly show the mortars and their ordnance.

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One can easily appreciate its impressive size: each fragmentation shell weights more than 130 kg. If such a "present" hits a bunker or a pillbox, the target is almost guaranteed to be destroyed. That would be the end of militants even if they were hiding deep inside the so-called "rat holes," or makeshift underground shelters.

And that's not even the biggest thing the M-240 can fire: there is an even bigger shell that weighs 230 kg.

Military experts have pointed out the high precision of these supermortars — their accuracy is only diminished by the accuracy of their spotters' coordinates.

The high weight of their ordnance reduces these mortars' rate of fire, though, to a sluggish one shot per minute. However, judging by the photo, the Syrian army has managed to mechanize the reloading process by using a truck with a crane.

Images of this weapon being used in the Syrian Civil War are rare, with only a few uploaded to the web.

​The M-240s were developed in the Soviet Union back in the 1950s. During the 1971-2000 reign of Hafez Al-Assad, the father of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the Soviet Union provided Syria and Iraq with various weaponry, including the M-240s. These two countries are the only ones who still have the ancient M-240s in service. In the Russian armed forces, they were replaced long ago by a tracked, self-propelled artillery, the 2S4 "Tyulpan."

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