Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-has-52-american-weapons-that-can-hit-baghdad-2014-7#ixzz39vMwrpSm
Per news reports Navy F-18s took out a single artillery piece in the vicinity of Khazir that was firing at Peshmerga positions in Gwier. But where are the other 51 M-198s mentioned in the article above: Syria? Mosul? or still at the military bases abandoned by the Iraqi Army? Does IS even have enough working prime movers to tow those captured M-198s around? Can IS use them effectively – other than as an inaccurate city bombardment terror weapon?
Can they even emplace and lay these guns in properly? Gun safety? What about the cannoneer's battle cry of: <i>’Shoot, Move, and Communicate’</i>? I don’t see them doing that well? Perhaps Tarkhan Batirashvili</a>, AKA Omar the Chechen, one of the ISIS leaders can live up to that.
He reportedly was in Georgian Army recon during the Russo-Georgian War and relayed Russian tank column coordinates to Georgian artillery. But that was only a five day war so how much experience did he get calling in fire missions? And how good is he as a trainer and teacher?
But the bigger question is can they keep them in good working order? Guderian has been quoted as saying that: <i>"The engine of a Panzer is as much a weapon of war as the main-gun."</i> That is also true for modern weapons and is a problem for IS. It will not be a small job for a ragtag bunch of jihadis to keep those captured M198s shooting and maintained in good working order (to say nothing of the captured M-1 tanks). I doubt if the former Baathists who support IS have enough competent technicians and mechanics to undo any operator foul-ups making the guns inoperative. There is no way these captured weapons are as maintenance free as the AK-47s and RPGs the militants are used to.
I am no expert on M-198’s or on artillery in general. I have never been a cannon cocker. My only association was years ago as an intel weenie with a USMC arty regiment that used the old M-114 155mm howitzers. Even those, unsophisticated as they were, required a lot of daily and weekly preventive maintenance.
At a minimum: bore and chamber cleaning, ditto or maybe doubly so for powder fouling in the breech. The recoil mechanism, elevating and traversing mechanisms, hydraulic surge brakes also as I recall. Fire control (?) - the M-198s have much more sophisticated fire control optics and electronics than the M-114 ever did. How well will they stand up to the Caliphates sand dunes? How critical is periodic borescoping?
Any insights from 13X’s, 08’s or other cannoneers?