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Russian Army Destroys First Denmark-Donated CAESAR 8x8 Howitzer to Ukraine

On September 1, 2023, a photo emerged on the Russian social network 'VK' confirming that the Russian army had destroyed the first CAESAR 155mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer, which had been donated by Denmark to the Ukrainian armed forces.
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A picture was released on the Russian Social Network "VK" showing the destruction of the first CAESAR 155mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer donated by Denmark to Ukraine. (Picture source Russian Social Network VK)

Earlier this year, Denmark declared its intention to supply Ukraine with 19 CAESAR 8x8 artillery units, originally manufactured by the French firm Nexter Systems. This contribution significantly bolsters Ukraine's artillery strength. Denmark had initially procured 15 of these howitzers in May 2017 and later added four more in October 2019. In April 2023, Denmark confirmed the delivery of all its 19 CAESAR 155mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.

On June 6, 2023, the Army Recognition Editorial team reported that around 100 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces undergoing training in Denmark to operate CAESAR self-propelled howitzers. Pictures and videos posted on social media platforms on July 7, 2023, show these Ukrainian soldiers being trained on the 8x8 version of the CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzer, previously owned by Denmark's Defense Forces.

In addressing this gesture, Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen emphasized that the move was driven by the pressing artillery requirements of the Ukrainian military. This act underscores Denmark's dedication to enhancing Ukraine's defense capacities amidst regional security challenges.

The CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzer is a mobile artillery system developed by the French company Nexter. The name "CAESAR" stands for "CAmion Équipé d'un Système d'ARtillerie," which in English means "Truck Equipped with an Artillery System." This artillery system is mounted on a Tatra chassis, which is produced by a Czech company renowned for its heavy-duty trucks, particularly for military applications. The 8x8 configuration of the Tatra chassis provides the vehicle with enhanced mobility and off-road capabilities, making it suitable for a wide range of terrains. This combination of mobility and firepower allows the CAESAR 8x8 to be a versatile and effective artillery platform on the modern battlefield.

The CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzer is equipped with a 155mm/L52 52-caliber gun, akin to the one found on its 6x6 counterpart. This artillery system boasts a fully automated loading mechanism, allowing it to achieve a firing rate of up to 6 rounds per minute. It can utilize a broad spectrum of 155mm ammunition, encompassing the LU series (HE, Illuminating, Smoke, and Practice), as well as practice rounds, M107 (High Explosive), and M485A2 (Illuminating). Additionally, the CAESAR 8x8 can deploy the BONUS smart ammunition, a fire-and-forget projectile designed to target and neutralize a variety of enemy combat vehicles, from armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery to infantry combat vehicles and main battle tanks.

The CAESAR 8x8 has a maximum firing of up to 42 km with ERFB (Extended Range Full Bore) ammunition and 55 km with VLAP. In addition to firing the standard French Army LU 122 high-explosive base bleed (BB) and Hollow Base (HB) projectile, the CAESAR can also fire the Rheinmetall Denel Munitions Velocity enhanced Long-range Artillery Projectile (VLAP) which achieved a maximum range of 58 km.

The Caesar 8x8 is operated by a crew of 4 consisting of a commander, a driver, a gunner, and one shell loader but it can be reduced to 3 people. All the firing operations are performed outside of the vehicle. The crew cab can be in an unarmored or armored version to provide ballistic protection up to Level 3 STANAG 4569 against the firing of small arms 7.62x51 AP at 30 meters and mine protection up to Level 2 against blast explosion of 6 kg TNT under the wheels and the center of the vehicle.

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