Ukraine War, Early August 2022

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Focusing on the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (ZSU), this article summarizes the situation on the battlefield in early August 2022.

 

I would say that the discussion of ZSU, and hence its criticism, may seem at least “unfair” in the eyes of many. After all, Ukraine is the object of a bloody war of annihilation, a war is being imposed on it, and Ukraine is fighting not only for an empty life. , but in this conflict there is a clear “outsider”. Therefore, the successes achieved by his army cause great sympathy. I try to focus on criticism, not criticism.

Armed Forces: Ukraine

It may seem surprising, but logistics and supplies are not the main concern of ZSU. oils and lubricants” (POL). Thanks to the Ukrainian Railways (Ukraliznytsia, UZ), ammunition, weapons, fuel and supplies supplied by NATO will be transported and distributed as quickly and efficiently as possible from the western and southwestern borders to the eastern battlefields. and south. It’s amazing what management and staff have done in this regard. By the end of April, more than 70 UZ workers had died, and to date, more than 170 have died.

No matter what they faced, no matter how much damage the Russians did, to my knowledge there were no major delays of more than 24 hours. If I had to ask, that would be an achievement and the whole country is indebted to UZ. “Thanks”.

Ukrainian railways staged a massive strike at the beginning of the war. At the end of April alone, 70 railway workers were killed. Despite this, UZ was able to expand both passenger and freight services, including several narrow-gauge trains that eventually used older locomotives.

With Western missiles in the country, the Ukrainians are also showing consideration for concealment, which is important before the VSRF runs out of ballistic and cruise missiles. In other words, units with new weapons cannot immediately acquire and attack quickly: it often takes several days for the weapons to reach their destination. In other cases, the charge is assigned to units that must undergo contact formation. Meanwhile, not only weapons, but also ammunition and related spare parts, must be stored elsewhere. This is especially true for gun ammunition: it must be supplied in such quantities that it will not be used up in a day or two. This means that he should not only be brought to Ukraine, but also close to the war, and then stay close to it, but always be hidden from Russia. This is not an easy task, but it seems that the ZSU works well thanks to the distribution: there are many “small” ammunition positions behind the front line, and the Russians have a very serious problem just to find them.

Keystone Moscow officials worked so hard to try to disrupt the distribution of these weapons and ammunition, that in May they began targeting all agricultural machinery depots in their jurisdiction (in fact, previously they targeted large warehouses, factories, etc. deeper into Ukraine). – and with precision-guided air-to-air missiles (PGM; mainly Kh-59 / AS-17, but Kh-25 / AS-10 and Kh-29 / AS-14 are also widely deployed) . As far as I know, these efforts are largely ineffective. Since Ukraine’s air defenses are still in place and Russia’s PGM supply is very low, each participating interceptor needs at least one aircraft for electronic warfare. Judging by the negative results, VKS is very expensive – in fuel, spare parts and maintenance.

However, the biggest problem for Russia remains only to find storage facilities in Ukraine: in the VSRF, the plans are centralized and everything is stored in a large, easy-to-find warehouse (therefore many the affected Ukrainian M142 HIMARS and others in the last two months). Ukraine has similar landfills, but most of them were destroyed at the beginning of the war (and even captured by Russia) or are now empty. Currently, the Ukrainian logistics industry operates with the help of countless small warehouses.

It is said that the GRU and the FSB are easier in the “far west”: they still maintain a good network of informants – in Ukraine, but also in most of the “eastern part” of NATO. They were very good at monitoring and reporting on the movement of weapons provided by NATO – they visited various airports and ports in Poland and Romania. Next problem: about 99% of the time, Russia loses cargo immediately after entering Ukraine and has no way to recover it (at least until new weapons are introduced into the war). Thus, the internal security function is very weak in Ukraine.

Part of the reason is that Ukraine is proving to be very effective in fighting Russia’s cyberwar: remember that this war is being fought online like ammunition on the front line. At first, Russia claimed a great victory, but this time the Ukrainians and their allies (the latter with some “unofficial” pro-Ukrainian positions) clearly surpassed them . That is why the Kropyva system remains effective (otherwise, the Ukrainians would “always” shoot their troops, for example).

If the logistics infrastructure in Ukraine is not good, other types of equipment are an exception. For example, there are night vision goggles, body armor and kick helmets, and some special forces even have ambulances. So if anyone wants to help: I recommend donating to institutions interested in the fund.

The word “bomb” brings me to the next point: if the nature of the VSRF can be summed up as “gun-focused mechanized troops”, the ZSU of today can be summed up as “firearms-focused infantry troops”. firearms “..”. The latter if available’ .

Do you want to quickly assess a tactical situation? Thanks to the Kropyva application widely used in the ZSU, Ukrainian NCOs and officers have better situational awareness than their enemies.

The main difference between VSRF and ZSU is situational awareness. Russia uses UTCS to coordinate artillery units only. Ukraine uses the Kropyva application not only for artillery, but also for infantry, armor and other units. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but thanks to Kropyva, I would not be surprised if the average ZSU sergeant has the same situational awareness as the general of the OSK Southern Headquarters in Rostov-on-Don. Russian officers below the level of his headquarters).

But it is a double-edged sword. The distributed command of the ZSU meant that “every little Napoleon” on the battlefield could call in the artillery fire. This means that Ukrainian artillery operations are often poorly coordinated. Ukrainian artillery units usually operate in very small detachments (1, 2, or 3 units) and spread over a large area, as Russian superiority in artillery causes frequent artillery skirmishes. and if “all the sergeants” asked for artillery support, these detachments spread further, often beyond the control of the unit commander, each firing in the direction of the other. The result is a lack of coordination. Few artillery units rarely target the same concentration of Russian artillery. Things did not improve when the superiors felt compelled to withdraw all the artillery of a certain unit….

In addition, the ZSU still had too few guns. It operates up to about 500-550 tube launchers and about 200 multiple rocket launchers (against about 2,500 artillery and more than 1,000 VSRF multiple rocket launchers). This is not only due to the lack of ammunition of caliber 122 mm and 152 obsolete designed by the Soviets, but also due to losses. As far as I know, ZSU is now missing more than 100 guns (including about 10 M777s, for example). The good news is that the Ukrainian player is very effective in taking down the most dangerous opponents such as MSTA-S, 2S5 Giatsint-S and 2S7 Pion. My estimate is that over 150 have been eliminated so far. But while Russia may struggle to deploy the new MSTA-S, it has enough 2S5s and 2S7s that it can continue to lose them anyway rate for some time (despite assembly replacement problems.

M777 is in action. This example (and its crew) also managed to “collect dust” before acting.

One way or another, the ZSU did not get too little artillery to effectively fight the VSRF in two front sectors: Kherson and South Zaporozhye. As mentioned above, there is a large area on the front line from which all Ukrainian artillery has been withdrawn because it is needed elsewhere. This is a big problem, then Russia is always worried about it, and the Ukrainians are suffering terrible losses. For example, on August 1 and 2, the Russians bombarded Pisky to hold the 56th Machine Battalion with 6,000-7,000 battalions, which destroyed this combat-experienced unit. When the reserve (infantry) was sent to hold the line, it was said that only one soldier returned alive. Not surprisingly, one of the Russian PMCs (everyone always talks about Wagner, even if there are many), then managed to take almost everywhere. Fortunately for Ukraine, Russia did not have the necessary infantry and mechanized forces to seize this opportunity: the PVK and the 11th Regiment (Donetsk) suffered only heavy losses when they tried to attack Vodyane and Novoselsk and then attack Ukrainian reserves. . That’s why the Soviet Union failed to break through, and the Battle of Pisky is still going on…

(The BTV brigade, TD 110, which held part of Avdiivka, avoided the same fate, mainly because the 25th Airborne Division was behind it. Krasohorivka a few days later. Even then the impression is that it was spared the northern part of the Avdiivka position on August 6 Meanwhile (the VSRF had to withdraw at least one of its artillery brigades from the Donetsk region and move to the south of Zaporozhye – due to the main crisis there – and, ironically, the Ukrainian artillery is challenging very effectively).

This is why the delivery of advanced MRLS to NATO, such as the M142 HIMARS and the M270 MLRS, is important: their firepower and accuracy will allow the Ukrainians to attack a very advanced ammunition depot, a main beam load the VSRF. It has seen a big drop in the last month. In addition, Russia not only suffered huge losses of personnel engaged in logistics operations, but was forced to make additional efforts to create new ammunition depots, all of them far from the front line – over aircraft range HIMARS and MLRS – which was now needed more time. , more trucks and drivers to supply his troops.

The problem: even if the number of M140 and M270 increases to about 24-25, it is still too small that Ukraine can do nothing but effectively block Russian logistics in the region for two or three days, as often – if necessary. That is why Russia still managed to launch a major attack on Pisky and then on Avdiivka, less than two weeks after Ukrainian HIMARS devices blew up most of the ammunition depots in the Donetsk region. The Ukrainians do not have the artillery to attack again, and at the same time they keep the local railway network under constant pressure – and this should not be discussed because, despite the success of Ukraine, it came down to the number of troops. the hottest part. from the starting line. . (between Bohorodichn and Bakhmut), which was left without artillery support.

The next problem facing the ZSU is the growing shortage of experienced and trained officers and non-commissioned officers. Add to that the lack of operationally trained officers.

Remember: a large number of Ukrainian reserves have been mobilized, the number of armed forces has increased significantly, new units have been created, and existing ones have been expanded. During that time, many units often suffered heavy losses. All this requires a large number of officers and non-commissioned officers, approximately the same number of advisers and instructors, who not only provide the basic training of the army, but take the time to create a company, company, functional and effective combat. battalion, regiment, brigade All troops and their equipment. Of course, thousands of additional Ukrainian soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers have yet to be trained – some in NATO countries, most in Ukraine – but all brigades are trained. The Ukrainians also have to retrain most of their armed forces. Adapt to new experiences and battlefield conditions and evolve into new weapons.

This is all the more important as the experience of Ukraine shows that up to 95% of victims are inexperienced forces. Those with at least some combat experience already double their chances of survival.

Since GenStab-U still does not have enough troops and equipment to properly position the entire front line and maintain useful operational research, GenStab-U has two options.

  • An inexperienced unit acting as a “fire unit” that rushes to close the gap and suffers heavy casualties, causing discord and disintegration between units, or
  • Continue to weaken combat-experienced units by moving elements to urgent objectives.

Ukrainian troops on leave: The ability to keep troops engaged, well-trained, and well-led is as important as the ability to maintain supplies.

Of course, the results are also not ideal and difficult, regardless. I saw what happened when the ZSU withdrew more experienced troops from a narrow area of the front – for example in the case of Novoluhansk and Svitlodarsk (they moved two battalions of the 30th Mech to redeploy further north; Russian; Svitlodarsk who advanced Svitlodarsk Months later, Wuhlehirsk was lost as a result of the TPP and So the Russians attacked Bakhmut underarmed TD battalions in Toshkivke To defeat a battalion. To the gap to close to Mykolaev, and even if it had been done I would only open the right Lysichansk pass long enough to withdraw all the troops in the north This was the second kind of work: I saw the The newly formed 25th Airborne What happened to the battalion, the Russians advanced south of Dibroven, almost overrunning Bohorodichne and the Slovenian defenders. a battalion of 93 Mechs to be used again for a counter-attack. This was very effective: it destroyed the entire Russian BTG. (ie about 40 APCs/IFVs instead of about 10-15 MBTs and BMPs!), but Eastern HQ was not without resources for about a week. Moreover, this attack had to be stopped by the capture of Dovhenke, as there were no forces left to secure what had been achieved. Result: The main counter-attack of the 93rd had to be turned back and the front line ‘reduced’.

This problem – the lack of officers with combat and other experience – and the problem of keeping many ‘old guard’ officers still in service (not only old people, but people who have to be in charge of orders with poor training from the beginning of time, but it is necessary to ‘strengthen in numbers’) I do not see a solution in the near future. However, this does not happen. What is happening instead is that NATO weapons are coming, but in very small numbers. The fight for a vaccine continues…

This will remain a tough question for a few more months (at least).In the meantime, the ZSU must finally find a way to stop the practice of ‘downgrading’ its hard-hitting units and replace them with smaller and less well-equipped TD units. .-Place. It’s not good, and there’s no concrete solution – it’s easier said than done, of course.

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