Ukraine faces a critical ammunition shortage and scrambles for ways to conserve the supply of artillery shells until Western allies can produce or procure more, according to the Washington Post.
Ammunition has become a precious resource in the artillery war with Russia. Conserving shells and rearming faster could give an advantage on the battlefield. Ukrainian volunteers and soldiers have to resort to creative conservation tactics. To keep up with Russia and still be able to conserve ammunition, the Ukrainian artillery has to carefully select targets and prioritize military equipment over small groups of infantry.
According to the Washington Post, Ukrainian soldiers recycle unexploded ordinances in underground workshops across eastern Ukraine to create alternative munitions. In some cases, Ukrainian crews bring unexploded ordinances originally fired by the Russians to secret labs in eastern Ukraine. The elements of unexploded ordinances are carefully stripped away to create a new munition.
The Ukrainians use 3D printers to fashion small, inexpensive munitions that can be dropped from drones. Bullets are deconstructed to create alternative munitions. The ball bearings from Claymore mines are removed and used to create different anti-personnel or antitank mines, the Washington Post reported. Alas, homemade munitions cannot help repel a Russian assault. Such munitions can only replace artillery shells to bomb an immobile tank or infantry fighting vehicle.
Even amid a critical shortage of ammunition, Ukraine’s Armed Forces still fire around 7,700 shells per day or roughly one every six seconds, an unnamed Ukrainian military official told the Washington Post. Russia, which may also be running low on shells, is firing three times as much of that amount.