A Blog by Jonathan Low


Apr 1, 2023

Ukraine Quantifies It's Success In Defending Bakhmut

The relative cost and benefit of defending Bakhmut - aka the Butcher's Bill - continues to favor Ukraine in its military operations there. 

Unseasonable snow this week has made Russian offensive operations even less productive than usual. JL 

Matthew Luxmoore and Georgi Kantchev report in the Wall Street Journal:

30,000 Russian fighters have been killed or wounded since the battle for Bakhmut began nine months ago, with the Russian side advancing 15½ miles in that time. Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskiy, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said time was working against Russia as it suffers heavy manpower losses and struggles to mount assaults on Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut. (And) Ukraine has had success in destroying Russian counter-battery radars used to detect the location of Ukrainian artillery pieces and guide strikes against them.

As Ukraine Received New Volunteers, Russia Tried To Bolster Its Depleted Forces

Ukraine has received enough volunteers to form three new brigades to be ready for its counteroffensive. 

Russia, meanwhile, has announced its semiannual draft which is different from the extraordinary fall mobilization. That will not be repeated soon because of the high casualty rates which have led to public opposition. JL 

Jeffrey Gettleman reports in the New York Times:

Ukraine has received more than 35,000 applications for a new force it is forming, the Offensive Guard. The plan is build a network of combat brigades that will work within the interior ministry alongside the regular armed forces. (And) Putin signed a decree authorizing a larger-than-normal spring draft. Although the new recruits are unlikely to be sent to the battlefield immediately, the draft will create a bigger pool of potential troops for Russia’s army, which has suffered immense casualties. Western analysts have estimated that about 200,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the invasion began

Mar 31, 2023

5 Russian Reinforcement Combat Trucks Crash Into Each Other On Bridge To Crimea

Speeding on the bridge due to fear of bombardment exacerbated by drinking? JL 

The Kyiv Post reports:

On March 26 “five armored vehicles of the Russian terrorists did not make it to the combat zone.”According to reports a convoy of five Z-STS Akhmats belonging to the 34th Russian Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB) was driving across the Crimean Bridge in the direction of occupied Crimea on their way to join up with elements of the brigade in Pridneprovsk. According to official data, "speeding and failure to comply with the safe distance when driving in the convoy" led to four of the five vehicles colliding.

How "Dumb Mistakes" Have Rendered Russia's Much Larger Tank Force Ineffective

Russia and Ukraine have largely equivalent tank forces since for decades they were part of the same army. 

But not only has Ukraine been more tactically and strategically innovative - as well as superior operators - the Russians have been so dysfunctional and frequently inept in their use of tanks that their superior numbers have failed to provide the advantages they should have. JL 

Erin Snodgrass reports in Business Insider:

Russia has racked up error after error more than a year into the war, resulting in staggering equipment and battle losses. In one display of dysfunction, the Russians sent a convoy of unprotected tanks into an ambush in Bucha weeks into the war. Then, this year, the Russians repeated the mistake in Vuhledar, leading to the loss of more than 100 tanks. Combined arms cohesion takes training, a struggle among the Russians. (And) not only has the Russian military been struggling to properly utilize its tanks, but it has also had one hell of a time trying to maintain them. The Ukrainian military seems better at operating their tanks on a tactical level (employing) greater flexibility and initiative.

Ukraine's Mobile Artillery "Urban Demolition Vehicle" Deploys

Upgraded by Israeli and Slovenian firms to become a Ukrainian mobile gun whose job is blow holes in anything in its way. 

This suggests taking back occupied cities is going to be high on the counteroffensive agenda. JL 

David Axe reports in Forbes:

The M-55Ss—ex-Soviet T-55s that Israeli and Slovenian firms updated with British L7 guns and modern optics—aren’t really tanks anymore. The M-55S these days is what Western armies call a “mobile gun”: a powerful cannon attached to a thinly-armored hull. You would send a mobile gun into an enemy-held city to blast cleverly-placed machine-gun nests and stubborn basement bunkers and to blow holes in walls. Think of a mobile gun system, or MGS, as an urban demolition vehicle whose main job is to help out the infantry when the infantry get stuck.

As New Armor Arrives, Ukraine's Counteroffensive Preparations Pick Up Pace

The Ukrainians are releasing increasing numbers of videos and photos of recently arrived NATO armor and other vehicles in Ukraine preparing for the counteroffensive. 

While an element of psy-ops, it is apparent that the equipment is in country, being deployed and with the troops and supplies necessary for the next push. JL 

Mark Sumner reports in Daily Kos:

Images have shown what appears to be a genuinely impressive number of tanks, troops, and armored vehicles (including) a Leopard 2 tank outfitted with a set of extra reactive armor and a shield against grenade-dropping drones, in Ukraine, sporting Ukrainian colors at locations in Ukraine, reportedly preparing for the much-talked-about spring counteroffensive.

Why the Ukrainians See Battle For Bakhmut Going Their Way

Ukrainian intelligence, in addition to the observations of its troops on the ground, are leading its commanders to believe that the Russians have exhausted their reserves and are no longer capable of challenging Ukrainian strengths in the area. JL 

Carlotta Gall reports in the New York Times:

The men of one of Ukraine’s most effective battle units, are quietly confident they had turned the tide against Russian troops trying to encircle and capture it. The Russian assaults have slowed and the imminent threat of encirclement has been thwarted. “The density of assaults dropped by several times, the enemy exhausted all its reserves.” If the Ukrainians hold their recent gains, the battles of the last month at Bakhmut could prove a turning point, stalling the latest Russian offensive but also setting them up to deliver a knockout blow.