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Destruction of Ukraine's First Panzermörser M113 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar

On August 19, 2023, according to a tweet from WarVehicleTracker, a Ukrainian "Panzermörser" M113 120mm was reported as destroyed. This marks the first confirmed loss of this specific type of armored vehicle. The M113 has undergone various modifications and versions over the years, with the "Panzermörser" variant being equipped with a 120mm mortar.
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Panzermörser M113 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar (Picture source: German MoD )

Lithuania, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, had previously delivered 10 units of this M113 version to the Ukrainian armed forces. This delivery was part of Lithuania's commitment to bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities. The exact location of the incident remains unknown, and the circumstances leading to the vehicle's destruction are yet to be clarified.

The "Panzermörser" M113 120mm is a tank mortar mounted on an M113 armored vehicle, designed to provide powerful and precise fire support to ground forces. It comes in two main variants: the unmodified M113 A2 (EFT) GE 120mm and the M113 G3 (EFT) GE 120mm (NDV 2). Both models are primarily used as gun carriers.

The M113 A2 is powered by a 6-cylinder Detroit diesel 6V 53 engine with direct injection, delivering a performance of 154 kW, equivalent to 210 hp. On the other hand, the M113 G3 is equipped with a 6-cylinder MTU diesel 6V 183TC22 engine with an exhaust gas turbocharger, producing a power output of 220 kW or 300 hp. Both models employ a liquid cooling system.

Regarding transmission, the M113 A2 features an Allison TX-100 3-speed automatic gearbox, while the M113 G3 uses a ZF LSG 1000 six-speed planetary gearbox. Both vehicles are designed with a torsion bar-sprung roller running gear without support rollers.

With an overall length of 5120 mm, a width of 2690 mm, and a height of 2640 mm, these vehicles are designed for optimal mobility on the battlefield. They can overcome obstacles up to 610mm in height, climb slopes of 60%, and tilt at 30%. Their combat weight is around 12,500 kg.

Their maximum road speed is 62 km/h. Their driving range also varies, with 480 km for the M113 A2 and 650 km for the M113 G3, thanks to a fuel capacity of 360 liters distributed in two external tanks. The armor of these vehicles is made of an aluminum and magnesium 5083 alloy. The primary armament is a 120mm mortar, complemented by an MG3 machine gun and a smoke grenade launcher. They require a crew of five for efficient operation.

The weapon system is a licensed production of Rheinmetall. It features a muzzle-loading cannon with a fixed firing pin of 120mm caliber. It can fire at distances ranging from 450 m to 6350 m. The barrel weighs 54 kg and is supported by a 32.8 kg bipod and a 64 kg base plate. The vehicle can carry up to 60 shells, with a firing rate of up to 15 shells in one minute.

The destruction of this Ukrainian "Panzermörser" M113 marks the first loss of its kind. Given its limited engagement capacity for a mortar, it's surprising that a vehicle of this type was only destroyed now.


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