Ukraine,  War

A War Like No Other (Part II)

The Ukraine army was prepared for Russia with modern weapons, Manpads (Man Portable Air Defence Systems) and MPATS (Man Portable Anti Tank Systems). That’s why it spread strongpoints all over the countryside so that an attack on any one of them would be enfiladed from either side. Since the effective range of MPATS, like the British NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti Tank Weapon) is a thousand metres, these strong points are quite far apart.

After the shocking discovery of how vulnerable tanks and aircraft were to these weapons in the first stages of the war, the Russian military completely changed its tactics.

First, it switched to cruise missiles for high value targets like air bases, storage facilities and railway bridges. Secondly, fighter bombers were sent in a very low levels so that Manpad operators could never get an easy shot at them. Thirdly, tanks were held back and light drones were sent up to spot targts for mobile artillery (illustrated).

This last proved so effective, it was possible for infantry to clean up strong points with RPGs, (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and MPATS, sometimes assisted by Armoured Personnel Carriers with heavy machine guns. The artillery would work over a strong point until nothing was moving and then Russian soldiers would move in.

While they were doing so, the mobile artillery would move to avoid being hit by Ukrainian counter battery fire.

This is a very slow, methodical, way to fight a war, but it saves Russian lives and kills Ukranians at a rate estimated at between 200 and 500 per day. Gradually, foot by foot, the contact line moves forward.

The Washington Post said this about it Ukraine’s dimming prospects:

“The euphoria disappears as Russia adapts its tactics, regains momentum and asserts its overwhelming firepower against well-equipped Ukrainian forces,” American journalists believe.

When RF forces move into an urban area, the tanks come back and kill snipers, machine gun and mortar positions, sometimes working from pictures sent back by mini-drones, the kind you can buy at Radio Shack. Where tanks aren’t available, the assault troops use heavy machine guns on APCs or RPGs.

Chechen special forces used this technique in the battle for Mariupol to great effect, squeezing the UAF and Azov Batalion fighters until they gave up.

I’m guessing here, but there must be a problem for Ukrainian forces using Anti Tank rockets in urban areas. Something—interferance, distance, counterfire—is prohibiting their use, unlike earlier versions of these weapons in WWII. Time and battle stories will tell the tale of what happened in urban fighting.

Looking forward, I still think Odessa is an upcoming target, possibly with an airborne assault. I say airborne because this attack vector is not being discussed by anyone.

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