Military expert explains: Putin’s troops are crumbling the Ukrainian offensive in the “war of attrition”.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive is currently faltering. Military expert Markus Reisner explains how Russia can currently stop Ukraine’s advances. He also draws a comparison to the First World War and says which plan both sides want to implement on the Oskil River.
“To sum up, I would describe the situation as the misery of a war of attrition,” says Colonel Markus Reisner. The military expert is referring to the current situation in the Ukraine war. The Ukrainian counter-offensive is currently faltering because the Russian army is better prepared for the attacks. In addition, according to Reisner, Putin’s troops are simply superior in some respects.
The colonel of the Austrian army compares the situation to ” nv ‘ with the First World War. “In this war we are in a sense in 1915 on the way to 1916.” A tactic from back then can currently be seen on both the Russian and Ukrainian side: the shock troop tactic.
In the Ukraine war, both sides rely on tactics from the First World War
“The attempt is made to wring territorial gains from the enemy with small, manageable units in combination with artillery,” explains Reisner. Then they try to move up behind their own artillery fire. Ukraine, in particular, has major problems with “synchronizing this combined arms fight” because they lack some skills for it.
Among other things, the military expert mentions “a functioning air force or long-range surface-to-surface missiles that could work deep into the enemy”. According to Reisner, the problems begin with reconnaissance. “The Russians have a very good picture of the situation in Ukraine, which is not least due to the fact that there are always thousands of drones on the battlefield.” Even if that applies to both sides, the attacker – in the counteroffensive Ukraine – would have the problem that he had to expose himself and be enlightened immediately.
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With a trick, Russia turns cheap drones into “powerful, high-precision weapons”
In general, Russia’s drones are a big problem for Ukraine. With them and other means of electronic warfare, the Russian army disrupts the enemy and his communications and even intercepts them in part. But with the drones, Putin’s army not only reconnoites, but also attacks.
In particular, the use of Lancet-type kamikaze drones and first-person-view (FPV) drones is causing problems in Ukraine. According to the military expert, the latter are “simple drones that are actually known from civil or even private applications”. In war, however, these are equipped with an explosive charge, “for example the projectile head of an RPG-7 anti-tank missile, and guided to the target by a camera,” explains Reisner.
The operator wears glasses that receive a live image from the drone camera and can thus steer the drone to the target at high speed. Weak points of tanks can also be attacked in a targeted manner. “FPV drones are thus cheap and powerful high-precision weapons.”
Drones, cluster bombs, air force: How Russia is stopping the Ukrainian offensive
Even with its fighter jets, Russia repeatedly manages to stop Ukrainian attacks. “When the Ukrainians are preparing to attack, this is partly recognized by the Russians, who then attack them with cluster bombs,” explains the military expert. “When the Ukrainian side approaches the so-called run-off line – the line from which the actual attack begins – then Russian helicopter gunships are used to attack the Ukrainian columns from a safe distance.”
After that, some of the Ukrainian columns would come under fire from Russian artillery or drones. The minefields of the Russians are still a big problem. “When mines are cleared at the front, the Russians are already laying new ones at the back,” Reisner explains and summarizes. “In short, we see a number of capabilities on the Russian side that Ukraine is still struggling to counter.”
The increasing deployment of reservists is also causing problems for Ukraine. “Many of the soldiers who went through six months of training with NATO no longer exist,” says the colonel of the Austrian army. He recently spoke to a Ukrainian comrade who told him about a devastating decision made by a reservist commander that killed half a platoon from his neighboring unit in minefields. “The morale of the troops was hit hard.”
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Military expert explains why Ukraine has had the most success with Bakhmut
Nevertheless, the Ukraine continues to try to gain territory through advances by shock troops. This is currently happening east and west of Robotyne, near Pjatychatky north of Melitopol, near Velyka Novosilka north of Mariupol and especially in Bakhmut.
“Of all these attacks, those at Bachmut are the most successful,” says Reisner, explaining why this is the case. “The problem with the Russians in Bakhmut is that they couldn’t dig in as extensively.” That makes it easier for the Ukrainians and enables them to exert strong pressure south and north of Bakhmut.
Meanwhile, Russia had managed to push west in the Swatove area north of Kremina and Sievjerodonetsk. According to various reports, it was five to seven kilometers of terrain gain. “It is therefore to be expected that the attacks here will continue to increase,” says the military expert.
With pincer movement of elite association, Russia plans push to river Oskil
The Russians will probably also fall back on the 1st Guards Tank Army, an elite unit that suffered heavy losses in the first months of the war. After being refreshed at Svatowe and, according to videos and reports, reinforced with newly produced T90 tanks, Putin’s army seems to have one goal above all: the Oskil River. The front hardened on this after the Ukrainian advance near Kharkiv last year.
“It seems as if the Russians want to advance to Oskil with the 1st Guards Tank Army in a pincer movement,” explains Reisner. The river would allow the Russian army to hamper tracking of Ukrainian reserves and isolate planned breakthrough sites. “Exactly this approach would also be important for the Ukrainian offensive.”
In general, the military expert, who described the first phase of the counter-offensive as a failure at the beginning of July, believes that Ukraine has little room for maneuver on a tactical level. “A major breakthrough in the direction of Melitopol or Mariupol, as was actually desired, does not seem to be possible for the time being.”