During the World War II, the Soviet Union was responsible for building what they call Katyushas, which are not only rocket artilleries, but specifically multiple rocket launchers. The one advantage that the Katyusha has over other conventional types of rocket launchers is the ability to hit the targeted area quickly than the rest. On the other hand, the two main disadvantages often mentioned where such artilleries are in discussions include the following:
- lower accuracy
- taking longer to reload
The fragility of a Katyusha is also never in doubt. However, the fact that these multiple rocket launchers are not only inexpensive, but also easy to produce has made them increasingly popular where lack of adequate financial resources is an issue. The fact that Katyusha is heavily mobile because of the ability to mount it on trucks has helped increase its popularity as well. This means that Katyusha could help launch an attack and be moved fast before any person notices.
Katyusha was never a single weapon. It was several weapons in one. Some of the weapons that you would expect to find upon purchasing Katyushas included the following:
- BM-13 launcher
- Light BM-8
- Heavy BM-31
The name Katyusha, which is a nickname that members of the Soviet Union army coined and gave to these types of multiple rocket launches, is also in common use in countries other than Russia. Some of the countries where you are likely to hear about Katyushas include the following:
The invention of Katyushas took place at Voronezh. The mounting of these rocket launchers occurred on not only trucks, but also tanks as well as armored trains and artillery tractors. Naval as well as riverine vessels provided extra platforms on which soldiers mounted the Katyushas during the World War II. Katyushas were a favorite of Soviet engineers and generals during the Second World War as part of urban combat.
The effectiveness of the Katyushas is demonstrated through saturation bombardment. If you need these weapons for any other type or strategy of warfare, be ready to experience some measure of disappointment with its low accuracy levels. Its effectiveness in saturation bombardment ensured that Katyushas remained feared among the German soldiers. The fear emanated from the unique howling sound that the Katyushas produced upon launching.
Conventional multiple rocket launchers, such as the howitzer, could fire between 95 and 150 rounds. As for Katyushas, soldiers had to put up with the 50 minutes it took for them to reload the weapon. More importantly, the Katyushas could only fire 24 rounds before needing reloading. However, these factors never prevented the Soviet army from achieving incredible success during the first month of the Second World War with these Katyushas.
Lately, the Katyushas have undergone numerous adjustments and improvements. A modern Katyusha should now contain chemical warheads, land mines and bomblet submunitions to name but a few. The Lebanon War, Korean War, Six-Day War that involved Israel and its neighbors, as well as the Yom Kippur War are just but a few of the modern wars in the post-Second World War that have witnessed a heavier amount of usage of the Katyushas.