As temperatures continue to plummet in Ukraine, Russian forces are pushing to secure a victory – however bitter – before a potentially long winter break, according to “Forbes“ reported. They have identified Avdiivka as their target, a Ukrainian fortress northwest of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
However, there is a problem for the Russian 2nd Combined Army and other formations in the region: To reach a starting point for an attack on Avdiivka’s most vulnerable northern flank, Russian attack groups must march through a drone and artillery kill zone. This may be why Arty Green, a well-known Ukrainian artillery commander, seems to find joy in the Battle of Avdiivka, which began six weeks ago and continues despite frightening casualty rates with only marginal Russian gains.
Internal competition in the Ukrainian brigades
“I’ll even tell you a secret,” Arty Green said in a recent interview. “There is competition between our brigades. We hit a target, then we see a neighboring brigade do the same, then another.”
Six Ukrainian brigades, including the veteran 110th Mechanized and the high-tech 47th Mechanized, are defending the Avdiivka sector. Two artillery brigades, the 43rd and 55th, may support the mechanized and infantry units.
The Russian brigades have to move on dangerous terrain that exposes them to heavy bombardment. “Any column advancing in this direction is within range of several of our brigades,” said Arty Green. The Ukrainians are so close that they can direct even their shortest ranges at the advancing Russians.
In addition to the mortar platoons, attached anti-tank companies and artillery battalions, hundreds of mortar tubes, large guns and launchers can likely be aimed at a positioning Russian battalion.
Cemetery for entire companies
Another point that explains the extreme Russian losses in recent weeks compared to Ukrainian losses is the fact that the best Ukrainian artillery – the German PzH 2000s of the 43rd Brigade and the French Caesars of the 55th Brigade – use American cluster shells fires. Each grenade delivers 72 grenade-sized bombs and can turn a muddy field into a graveyard for entire platoons and companies.
Despite the bloodshed, it is not certain that Avdiivka will remain free. The Kremlin could continue sending brigades to Avdiivka until the Ukrainians retreat and there is nothing left in the sector but ruins and dead Russians.
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