Post 2 of 3: Artillery discussion & basics on the operations order process
2. …As Col. (Dr) Markus Reisner explains in the prior video, there are two Russian river crossings at the Seversky Donets river for their encirclement attempt. One of the two has been destroyed. I congratulate Ukraine for their effort to destroy one of the river crossings near Bilohorivka, Luhansk Oblast.
3. On one side, Russian troops have withdrawn from several villages around Kharkiv, and now only control a small strip near the border with Ukraine (just West of the Donets River). On the other side, Russian forces were able to capture the town of Nyzhnie along the Toshkivka axis, and are approaching the town of Toshkivka. Russia, for all its operational failings, retains the capacity to wreak extraordinary amounts of damage and pain upon Ukraine. Russian fanboys/supporters who are optimist by nature can hope for a stalemate but that will not be certain for another 2 weeks — there is more hard fighting ahead.
4. Pentagon update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Day 75:
• US has NOW trained 310 Ukrainian Army gunners on M777 howitzers (they will need to train about 900, so they are at the 1/3 mark to deploying howitzers donated)
• US has sent 85 of 90 howitzers to Ukraine
• US assesses Russia has made "no significant progress" in Donbas
4. Thanks to intelligence sharing, especially of technical intelligence, Ukraine’s S2s are able to predict where the Russians would cross the river and had artillery within range.
(a) Ukrainian units conducted prior reconnaissance on Siverskyi Donets river, and both Russian river crossings were eventually killed by Ukrainian artillery. On 9 May 2022, the 1st pontoon bridge was hit. Russian forces were stuck on Ukrainian side of the river with no way back — when the Ukrainian counter attack started.
(b) I believe that this marks the start of a true attrition cycle — I predict that within 6 to 8 weeks, Russia will have to transition to defence and select counter-offensives to hold prior gains.
5. If Russia is able to concentrate multiple BTGs, they can still stage limited offensives, by assuming risk — we now have evidence that the two Russian river crossings at the Seversky Donets river for their encirclement attempt has FAILED. While the failed Siveskyi Donets River crossings do not capture the imagination (as much as the sinking of the Moskva), it is a big event in terms of tactical losses suffered by Russia. As I explained in an earlier post, the roots of this Russian tactical reversal can be seen as an intelligence failure — the failure to anticipate or appreciate the enemy’s course of action.
(a) On 11 May 2022, Russian forces continued efforts to encircle Ukrainian positions in the Severodonetsk-Rubizhne-Lysychansk area but did not make any confirmed advances. For Ukraine, the goal is to make these Russian advances as costly as possible, while avoiding unnecessary decisive battle in the next two weeks. “The Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here,” said Lt Gen Scott Berrier, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. As Western 155mm systems arrive and the Ukrainian Army gets trained in using them, we are going to see more and more of Russian operations hit by Ukrainian artillery.
(b) The Russian T-72 turret being sent to the moon and taken by a Chinese TV station, near the town of Novoazovsk (12km from the Russian border) and in territory that has been under DNR control since August 2014. So how on earth did the Ukrainians blow up a tank this far inside separatist territory? It shows that Russia's worst nightmare in its occupied territory is coming true: a guerrilla war of mines, roadside bombs, drones and loitering munitions.
(d) Mike Yeo has extracted the key points from the Chinese TV news segment, that he watched in full from the TV channel:
- Chinese TV crew was on the way Donetsk-Mariupol to cover civilian evacuation
- They mentioned the area was still under attack from Ukrainian Tochka-Us and US-supplied loitering munitions
- Had they been 3 minutes earlier they would have been caught in the explosion
6. Ukraine’s current counter-offensive actions will impede the ability of Russian artillery to target the northeastern suburbs of Kharkiv City. This will also potentially enable Ukrainian forces to threaten Russian rear areas, like Vovchansk. If Vovchansk is in artillery range, it will be a sweet target.
7. If Ukrainian forces are able to further advance the counter-offensive, this has the potential to unhinge Russian offensive operations around Izyum. At this stage, Ukraine may be hit by Russian counter-battery work during their counter-offensive, but it’s a risk they need to take — to push back on the Russian advance by conducting shaping operations, for their own broader attack to come.