Russians shift tactics 

veteran’s corner

Tom Krabbenhoft

As you may recall from my previous articles when the Ukrainian invasion started I drew up the difficulty they would have waging an invasion of Ukraine. I wrote about guerrilla forces, home turf advantages, motivation to fight, the complex logistics and all the demoralizing effect it would have on the Russians. I predicted a bloody can’t win situation. I was correct in my assumptions.

The Russians have dramatically shifted tactics, from the can’t win column to the may win but it will take time column. The Russians military early humiliation to shoot, move and communicate, inability to seize small tracts of land and other repeated failures were daily news. Air operations were halted with the introduction of the Stinger Missile to Ukrainian forces.

The king is called in!

I’ve touted artillery several times as the “King of battle”, as in the past its killing capacity is unmatched.

The Russians have fallen back on almost medieval siege tactics. They have formed large artillery groups working cohesively. They surround a target and begin shelling, so much so that estimates of 20,000 rounds a day are fired.

Preconceived notions of artillery is the exploding rounds we all picture and see on TV. Truth is artillery rounds are very versatile, and vary greatly. The exploding round is known as HE or high explosive. Smoke rounds  can screen friendly forces movements or obscure enemy views. Illumination- these are magnesium and are attached to parachutes. They can linger for minutes in the night sky turning it into daylight. Artillery can be outfitted with fuses to further enhance its deadly touch. Delay- can penetrate the ground and rooftops, it  then detonates, killing troops in bunkers and several floors in a building.

Perhaps the deadliest is VT, or variable timed. These fuzes can be set to detonate over a target area making devastation even more complete.

Artillery shells can also be loaded with landmines or magnetic bomblets (which destroys vehicles).

The Russians with these massive artillery assets are able to control the pitch of battle more effectively. They can shell and devastate large areas and walk their offensive slowly forward, grinding Ukrainian defensive positions as they go. To hamper withdrawals and reinforcements Russians are using their artillery assets to lay landmines and magnetic bomblets behind Ukrainian forces.

Even with very hardened positions such as the castles of old it remains near impossible to stay a viable fighting force under constant shelling.

To further add to the destruction power of artillery is recent technology. Drones have made a huge difference. They can provide real time target data, troops in the open, armor artillery etc. allowing the FDC (fire direction center) to select appropriate rounds for the target. Another advantage is to the inch target location. Usually a sighting round (one gun) is used and adjusted to the target, then all guns unleash hell once it’s acquired.


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