When A Russian Rocket Refused To Kill Ukrainians

We first covered this miracle in our article on the same bomb appearing in three different news stories. The more we delved into it, the more we felt we just had to cover it in depth. And that’s what we are going to do today. Let us look at the miracle of the Russian rocket that refused to kill Ukrainians… 😀

 

The Russian Rocket Miracle

On the 10th of September, 2014, a Ukrainian soldier called Andrew Zaharov posted this amazing picture of a Russian rocket that sliced through the side of a KUNG command post and smashed into the ground next to the ZIL-131 truck it was mounted on. The rocket not only failed to explode on impact with the command post, it also failed to explode on impact with Ukrainian soil.

This picture was taken and shared by Ukrainian soldier Andrew Zaharov on this Facebook page.
This picture was taken and shared by Ukrainian soldier Andrew Zaharov on this Facebook page.

From what we could tell – no one in or around the command post was injured or killed by this near-miss. Here is a better angle of the incident, showing the actual path of the rocket through the upper right side of the roof, slicing through the entire right side of the command post before slamming into the ground.

The original picture of the Russian dud rocket
The original picture of the Russian dud rocket

This incident happened near the village of Dmytrivka, which is near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. This is where some of the heaviest fighting in the Ukrainian Civil War were seen. Yet, by some miracle, the Ukrainians survived this barrage of rockets, including one that actually hit one of their vehicles.

The picture of the dud rocket was taken by David Mdzinarishvilli of REUTERS.
The picture of the dud rocket was taken by David Mdzinarishvilli of REUTERS.

 

A Shrine Of Sorts

Had the rocket exploded as intended, it would have blown the vehicle and anyone inside and in the surrounding area to smithereens. However, the miraculous nature of this fortuitous failure appeared to have made it a rather popular tourist attraction.

Soldiers get a group photo with the Russian rocket that didn't kill them
Soldiers get a group photo with the Russian rocket that didn’t kill them

Soldiers hugged and took pictures with the Russian rocket, probably hoping the luck will rubbed off on them. Even civilians came to take photos with this rocket that “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” – depending on how you view these things. 😀

Mama, I know you wouldn't believe me if I didn't take a picture...
Mama, I know you wouldn’t believe me if I didn’t take a picture…
Ukrainian girl posing next to the dud rocket
Ukrainian girl posing next to the dud rocket

 

What Kind Of Rocket Was It?

There is some controversy over whether this Russian rocket was a 220 mm 9M27K unguided rocket from a BM-27 Uragan MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System), or the larger 280 mm 9M55K unguided rocket from the BM-30 Smerch MLRS. They are both used by Russian and Ukrainian forces, and it is not easy to differentiate them just based on their diameters… at least not from photos.

Fortunately, we have these two neat guides (courtesy of Human Rights Watch) on how to identify the Uragan and Smerch rockets based on their “remains”. Take a look.

How to identify the BM-27 Uragan rocket
How to identify the BM-27 Uragan rocket
How to identify the BM-30 Smerch rocket
How to identify the BM-30 Smerch rocket

Since we can only see the tail of the rocket, the only difference between the two rockets (other than the difference in diameter) is the spacing of the hinges of their pop-up fins. The 9M27K rocket from the BM-27 Uragan has fin hinges with uneven space between them. The 9M55K rocket from the BM-30 Smerch, on the other hand, has even spacing between their three fin hinges.

It's a BM-30 Smerch rocket!
It’s a BM-30 Smerch rocket!

As such, we can confidently declare that the Russian rocket that refused to explode and kill those Ukrainian soldiers was a 9M55K rocket from a BM-30 Smerch MLRS.

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