One of Russian media outlets that propagates war against Ukraine has described the fighting for Avdiivka as seen by the enemy. Some details are matching, but it also includes lots of regular lies and propaganda, so I am not including the link. The map is from the same article (Censor.NET’s sources confirm that the map is correct but much forest has been already chopped off by the Russian ammo.) I have dropped some judgments and left what’s important in terms of tactics. This is an exact demonstration of the enemy’s readiness for ‘peaceful solution.’ Of course, the article fails to mention that fighting in Avdiivka is conducted on the territory that should have been controlled by the Ukrainian government as stipulated by the Minsk agreements, and any fighting here is a Russian provocation.
Marked on the map: on top — Avdiivka; on the right — Yasynuvata; at the bottom — Spartak
“Positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Avdiivka and Spartak, which is next to Donetsk, are located 3 km from each other. The streets of Donetsk can be reached not only by the artillery, but also by small arms fire.
“The situation is quite dangerous in the northwest suburb of Donetsk, in Avdiivka area. Between the capital of the “DPR” [self-styled republic of Donetsk – ed.] and Avdiivka there is a large road conjunction heading inside Donetsk. Breaking through it will pose a great threat: the rebels have no reserves, and even if a few troops break through, there will be no one to stop the enemy. The Ukrainians were separated from the road by only a small forest where the rebels had a post, rather an observation point than a stronghold.
“The affair of the recent days took off when the Armed Forces of Ukraine with their infantry supported by the artillery have broken into the trenches of the rebels and seized the forest, having kicking the “DPR” marking pegs out. They were helped a great deal by a half-accidental direct hit into dugout with a heavy 152 mm shell. This put a check to the conjunction, with the reaction following immediately. If in 2014 the rebels were lacking heavy weapons, now the artillery is their major strength. A “DPR” artilleryman commented on the events: “… This is fucking Verdun. I have shot 1,500 shells upon the forest, and 500 more on the area. We are working to cover for our neighbors, too. ‘Kalmius’ shots hourly. We are mopping up the forest with artillery. Local infantryman is brave but useless. So we’ll fire upon them until they leave.” [Pay attention to the phrase ‘local infantryman’ — only a Russian could say that — Yu.B.].
“On the ground, the situation repeated that of Svitlodarsk. After they seized a frontline position of the rebels, the Armed Forces of Ukraine put themselves under continuous fire of the artillery of all calibers. “We were hitting one target with batteries in shifts,” a rebel officer said. “And were adding every hour and a half in the night to keep them tense, for psychological pressure”.”
Please note that the enemy has lots of ammunition and is not sparing them, which Ukrainian artillery, unfortunately, cannot afford.
As long as the ‘counterattacks’ of the Ukrainian units near Svitlodarsk and Avdiivka were conducted in constricted routes, the enemy indeed never attempted to assault positions seized by our fighters. There were some shootings with small arms, but the enemy’s infantry lacks motivation and preparation to attack an established defense. So they compensate for the infantry’s flaws with days-long shelling of a small square, where someone will definitely be hit. This is a regular situation during stationary warfare. As long as the enemy has no deficit of the ammunition, it will definitely inflict some losses after three or four days of howitzer spraying. Inflicting losses is the key task of the enemy.
The conclusions and solutions have numerous times been tested in the war history and described earlier:
1. In order to disperse the enemy’s firepower and reduce the fire density, ‘counterattacks’ should be made across a long frontline and against numerous strongpoints simultaneously. This would force the enemy to ask for artillery support at various requests. Otherwise the enemy concentrates the fire at a small area, and losses are inevitable.
2. The ‘counterattacks’ should be committed not only against frontline fire nests but also inside the first defense line with the purpose of preventing the enemy from fast reorganization of its forces, quick restoration of cooperation, and organizing of observation and fire adjustment.
3. Simultaneously with the ‘counterattack’ it is required to find and suppress mortar and the nearest artillery positions of the enemy; organize counter fire and accumulate resources for that in advance. Counter fire is not only American radars; it’s first of all, administration, serious preparation, various means of intelligence and target indication, and a single combat control center.
4. The planning and command of the ‘counterattacks’ should be conducted along the frontline at the level of at least the entire tactical command, not just within one battalion or a brigade. This is done in order to prevent the enemy from maneuvering its fire and reserves, keep the enemy down, and save time for entrenchment in the seized positions.
Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET