Ukraine’s U-Turn! Kyiv Heaps Praises On ‘World’s Best’ PzH 2000 Howitzers Once Lambasted For Poor Performance

Days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Germany and secured massive military aid from the country, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense published a video heaping praises on the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer on its official Twitter account.

‘Chased It Away’: Russian Tanker Claims Striking German ‘Legend On Chains’ Leopard Tank, Forcing It To Retreat

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov posted the video to Twitter and expressed his gratitude to Germany, saying, “We want to thank our friends for their unwavering support! PzH-2000s will make a significant difference on the battlefield, and the occupiers are not going to like it. German quality + Ukrainian skills and talent = Victory.”

The video, playing to the tune of ‘Rammstein’ cover by Grandma’s Smuzi, was then reposted by the official account of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, making an emphatic statement about the equipment’s promising combat capability and Berlin’s staunch support in the war against Russia.

The video begins by highlighting the importance of artillery warfare in the Russian military. It says, “Artillery is the pride of the Russian Army, and Artillerymen are called the Gods of War.”

Then, drawing a reference from the celebrated and widely-read Greek mythology, the video panders over how the “titans who ruled the earth” were defeated by the “young gods”- an oblique reference to the Russians and the Ukrainian troops. The video frame then shifts to what looks like a Ukrainian soldier with a howitzer behind him.

The video then shows several assimilated clips of the German PzH 2000 in action. It could be seen swiftly maneuvering through different terrain, moving through snow, and firing shells at the Russian positions. The video describes the PzH 2000 as “protected, accurate, and highly effective.”

The video closes with a “thank you” note from Ukraine for Germany. The German PzH 2000 arrived in Ukraine in July 2022 and had been extensively deployed along the frontlines to shell the Russian positions. The timing of the video, however, is significant as it was published just days after Germany announced a $3 billion military aid package for Ukraine.

The new military aid package includes four IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft systems, 20 Marder armored personnel carriers, more than 100 combat vehicles, 30 Leopard 1 A5 tanks, 18 self-propelled howitzers, 200 reconnaissance drones, and more.

While the German generosity might call for Ukrainian gratitude, a video dedicated to the PzH 2000 at this stage is intriguing because its performance has been questioned on multiple occasions since it became operational in Ukraine last year.

German PzH 2000s Gets Heavily Criticized 

The German-made Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) self-propelled artillery gun supplied by Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands is another weapon system that has put Ukrainians in a bind.

According to previous reports, the German-made PzH 2000s appear inadequate for a major conflict like the one in Ukraine. The Ukrainian PzH 2000s were known to be wearing out faster than anticipated because of extreme usage conditions in Ukraine.

German publication Der Spiegel reported late last year that the PzH 2000s were not designed to shoot more than 100 shells per day, but the Ukrainian forces are using them to fire up to 300 shells per day, rapidly taxing their completely automated loading systems and cannon barrels.

As a result, the report cautioned that at least one-third of the Ukrainian PzH 2000s are inoperable and need maintenance at any given time.

The report also stated that Germany had to set up a repair and maintenance center in Lithuania, which started making repairs in September. However, there was a shortage of spare parts.

Panzerhaubitze 2000
File Image: Panzerhaubitze 2000

The PzH 2000s, the French CAESAR howitzer truck, Slovakian Zuzana 2, and the Polish Krab system are among the most potent and precise artillery weapons that NATO members have sent to Ukraine, with a maximum range of 67 kilometers.

The PzH 2000 is also built with greater protection than most comparable systems. For instance, to increase the odds of survival if the vehicle is breached, its ammunition is kept in compartments separate from those used by the crew.

Additionally, blast ports in the ceiling enable part of the penetrating blast’s explosive pressure to “leak out” of the vehicle.

However, despite this, its combat performance has repeatedly come under the scanner. Earlier this month, a report published in The New York Times stated that German PzH 2000, lauded as the cutting-edge replacement for outdated Soviet artillery in the Ukrainian military, is having difficulty operating in the rugged terrain of Ukraine.

It went on to say that the PzH 2000 could not perform to its true potential in Ukraine compared to the Soviet-made Peony system. The report noted that the Peony’s metal claw-like tracks had given it an advantage over the German howitzers in muddy conditions.

Moreover, there were indications that Ukraine had decided to evacuate all of its German self-propelled artillery mounts (ACS) from the battlefield since they could not escape if they were hit by Russian shelling.