Does Slovakia Have the Best Artillery in the World?

    Robert Beckhusen

    Security, Europe

    Believe it or not, the small nation has some very advanced artillery.

    When the DANA began rolling off Czechoslovakian assembly lines in the late 1970s, there wasn’t much else like it. The enormous, 152-millimeter self-propelled howitzer had eight road wheels instead of tracks. Most mobile artillery pieces at that time were tracked, like tanks, and the DANA was the first gun its of its size to roll on wheels — while carrying an innovative auto-reloading mechanism for the cannon.

    The Czechoslovak People’s Army wanted the DANA so it wouldn’t have to rely as much on the Soviet industry for its needs — and the wheels made for a speedy and rapidly-deployable artillery piece, the most significant downside being less off-road maneuverability.

    It worked well enough. The self-propelled gun is now battle-tested, with more than 670 built in total and exports to Poland, Libya and the Soviet Union — which were handed down to the successor states of Georgia and Azerbaijan, which still have them in service.

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    Most recently, the Czech military used them in Afghanistan.

    The DANA is more precisely a Slovak weapon. In the 1990s, the recently-independent Slovakia — with its DANA-producing factories — produced the Zuzana, a successor to the Dana which is similar except for its 155-millimeter cannon designed to accommodate standard NATO ammunition. The only other country to ever adopt Zuzana is the Republic of Cyprus.

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