2S9 Anona (Anemone)- 120mm SPH/Mortar
The most recent change to the Airborne artillery is the introduction of the 2S9, a 120-mm self-propelled howitzer mounted on a BMD chassis and replacing the [hand-loaded, indirect-fire-only] M-1943 120-mm mortar in the Airborne battalions. The 120-mm 2S9 Anona (Anemone) self-propelled howitzer/mortar was first seen in public in May 1985 and was developed to replace existing mortars and howitzers and as a direct fire anti-tank weapon system firing HEAT projectiles. The 2S9 has a crew of four; commander, driver/mechanic, gunner and loader. The 2S9 hull is a stretched version of the BMD Airborne combat vehicle and is divided into three compartments; the command compartment, the fighting compartment and the engine compartment. The two-man turret is located in the middle of the hull and is of welded steel construction with 16-mm thick frontal armor. The turret roof has two hatches, one for the gunner and the other for the loader. The track is the same as that used on the BMD Airborne combat vehicle.
In the Afghanistan was, the 2S1 122mm self-propelled howitzer and 2S9 120-mm self-propelled howitzer/mortar were best suited to support raiding motorized rifle or air assault forces. They usually deployed by battery or battalion. Prior to the raid, the Soviet planners determined initial targets from aerial, visual and artillery reconnaissance. They usually fired a three-five minute artillery preparation on those targets. Should the Mujahideen open fire on the Soviet forces in the course of the raid, the Soviet gunners would attempt to quickly engage the target before it could escape by registering with one or two ranging rounds and then firing massed artillery fires on the target using normative firing tables for suppression or assured destruction. While pitched battles occurred, the most common activity for raiding Soviet forces was pursuit of a withdrawing enemy. Mujahideen would usually leave a rear guard to slow down the attacker while the main body escaped. The rear guard would try to stay within 200-300 meters of the Soviet force to escape Soviet air and artillery. In that case, the Soviet forward observer would spot his first round some 200 meters beyond the enemy and then walk the rounds back onto the enemy.