Thursday, May 28, 2015

The 2S9 Nona-S

During the mid and late Cold War, each Soviet air assault infantry (VDV) battalion was accompanied by a platoon of eight M-43 120mm towed mortars and their GAZ-66 prime movers:
as well as an independent battery of six at regimental level.

In the mid-1970s, design work began on a self-propelled version of the mortar, based on the BTR-D chassis, which would allow the weapon to more easily traverse difficult terrain and provide it with the ability to "swim". The GAZ-66 had (and still does have) an admirable but limited ability to ford water. In late 1981, the Nona-S began to enter service:
though it would be 1985 before it was fully integrated into the Soviet VDV forces. It had been planned to use the Nona-S to replace all the VDV's towed mortars, but instead, it was decided to group the new vehicles together at regimental level and only replace the M-43's that served there as an independent airborne motor battery.

So, the boiled down version is that the battalion level kept its towed mortars (at least into the late 80s) and the regimental level replaced towed with the new Nona-S. 

And here is my airborne mortar battery:
In all likelihood, the vehicles would've been grouped as three sections of two vehicles each, but the minis are quite small, so I went with three per stand. Two per stand just looked too naked.

The forward observer would have been mounted in a UAZ-469 4WD:

The battery commander presented me with a problem. In reality, he would've had a GAZ-66 R142 command vehicle:
but of course, O8 makes no sort of box-body Soviet truck, GAZ-66 or otherwise. So I finally decided to go with a standard GAZ-66:
A rather odd vehicle for a command stand, but I didn't really have much choice.

As my scenario begins on March 30, 1981 and the real Nona-S didn't begin entering service until later that year, I've stretched reality slightly and assumed the the Soviets would have pulled out all the stops and gotten new equipment ready in time for the planned hostilities.

That's all for my VDV for the moment. More in the next post. 

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