An important weapon in the Soviet arsenal during the cold war era, the Russian BM-21 Multi-Rocket system first appeared in 1964 and was used by many other Warsaw Pact nations (except Czechoslovakia which used the rather similar M-51 or later the improved RM-70 with palletised reload which effectively doubled the rate of fire. This latter has also been employed by East Germany, Greece and Indonesia).

The rocket launcher system, holding forty 4.8 in (122mm) calibre rockets, was carried on the outstanding Ural 375 6x6 truck, which among its other attributes had an exceptional cross-country capability. The rockets, with a range of 15,000 metres, could be fired either in salvo, or ‘rippled’ in sequence, or fired individually, always with the vehicle parked obliquely to the target to avoid blast damage to the unprotected cap. The BM-21’s rockets were equally ideal for delivering non-persistent chemical agents as an alternative to the standard High Explosive warhead.

In Soviet service the BM-21 batteries were normally issued to the Tank and Motor Rifle Divisions on a scale of 18 launchers per Division. Whilst largely replaced in the Red Army by more advanced systems by the late 1970s, the BM-21 has subsequently found employment in the Armies of many Third-World Nations.

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