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John Kettler

Defeating The Russian Battalion Tactical Group

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Posted (edited)

This is a most insightful 2017 ARMOR magazine article by the US Army's Captain Nicolas Fiore. Not only does it discuss how a US BCT (Brigade Combat Team) should attack it and show what an uphill fight it is for a BTG to beat a BCT, but it looks at Ukrainian combat experience against BTGs, including the longest armored raid in history. As CPT Fiore notes, the BTG is pretty brittle. I forget the scenario, but I commanded one once in CMBS and got mauled for my pains--by the Ukrainians. Would be keenly interested in what Haiduk, IMHO and others from that neck of the woods have to say.

https://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2017/Spring/2Fiore17.pdf

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Posted (edited)
On 3/6/2020 at 3:26 AM, John Kettler said:

Would be keenly interested in what Haiduk

I'm shoked how author came to cheking own sources.

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Zubrowski’s Raid: In early August 2014, Ukraine’ 95th Air Assault Brigade (Mechanized) conducted the largest and longest armored raid behind enemy lines in recorded military history. The 95th was comprised of two mechanizedinfantry battalions, one tank battalion and a battalion of self-propelled artillery.... They destroyed and captured Russian tanks and artillery, relieved several isolated Ukrainian garrisons and, finally, returned to their starting position near Slovyansk. They marched 450 kilometers behind enemy lines and brought back captured Russian armor and heavy artillery as well. 17 The raid achieved its objective of relieving Ukrainian forces in the separatist provinces, and it proved that Russian regular units were operating in Ukraine. However, the gains were undone in November 2014 when Russia deployed BTGs to the conflict in overwhelming numbers to support the separatists directly

First of all not Zubrowski, but Zabrodskyi. And this wasn't full brigade. The raid group consisted of combined forces of 1st airmobile and 13th separate airmobile battalions with battery of towed D-30 howitzers of 95th brigade. Total amount of personnel slightly more 400 men.Their mission was to unblock Ukrainian units (more that 3000 men), trapped on the border. Then, they must move together with 1st BTG of 30th mech.brigade to the north-east and join with 2nd BTG of 30th mech.brigade in Mius area to establish new line of external blocade. Parartropers on own way have destroyed several separs checkpoints and later liberated with fighting several villages. But all captured tanks and guns belongs to separs, not Russian regulars. They really clashed with regular Russian units (w/o insignias), but only one time - during the fighting near Krasnyi Luch. There is too few information about these fightings. This is very strange, but to this time official ATO "chroniclers" are telling only about initial sucessful part of this really heroical raid - up to relieving of our blocked units, but further developments  are giving in several sentenses only. And this theme is awaiting own researher. Officially first "prooved" Russian regulars were paratroopers, captured on 24th Aug near Dzerkalne. Of course, Russian regulars came on UKR territory much early, and fought near Krasnyi Luch, Heorhiivka, Stepanivka, but this is inconvenient theme for General Staff, because this breaks their legend about "surprise attack on 24th Aug". 

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Battle of Mariupol:  A Russian tank battalion was committed to the fight to capture the town before the Minsk II ceasefire was signed, but a company(-) of Ukrainian Army tanks were able to defeat them. Ukrainian volunteer infantry, backed by army tanks and long-range artillery, prevented a Russian success because there were insufficient local separatists, and Russia was unwilling to commit enough regular infantry.

Absolute fairy tell. The article of Ukrainain journalist about glorious victory over Russian battalion of T-80, which the author used w/o factchecking is just patriotic propaganda and no more. All was viсe versa - the attack of UKR tank company and motorized inf. company was completely destroyed by Russian Msta-S battery and separs ambush. And about attack of "Ukrainian volunteer unit". First of all not volunteer, "Azov" in that time already was regular National Guard unit, the second - they wasn't "backed by army". When "Azov" advanced and needed a refueling and recharging, army units suddenly recieved an order "to stand on own positions, and not supply Azov". Azov and Donbas were encircled and heavy fought until 79th airmobile brigade unit deblocaded them at last. We had a plan to return on the border near Novoazovsk and pull some enemy forces from Debaltsevo, but because of strange political games Azov could only push off enemy lines from Mariupol.

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The target-tracking radar (TTR) report specifically commented that simple battle positions made of rubble were excellent cover against both types of fire, 21 but the tank-fired high-explosive (HE) rounds were extremely effective. Videos of separatist assaults do not show use of smoke grenades, fragmentary grenades or 40mm grenade launchers.

Battle for airport described very rough and... starnge. The author couldn't see main component of successful defense and the cause of airport falling.  And that was not tanks on runway... When separs assulted last cyborg's positions, they used tactic of small assault groups, which simultainously firing several RPO-A and PRG-7 with cover of MG and sniper fire. This forced defenders step back again and again. Separs used smoke grenades, used 40 mm grenade launchers, in final assult they also used chemical weapon and at last powerful HE charges (maybe sea mines) - first exploded from the top, the second and fatal - from below.

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Battle of Debaltseve  Finally, Russia concentrated massive artillery strikes and armored assaults (including the use of T-90 tanks), which finally broke into the town of Debaltseve.

Participation of Russian regular army in Debaltsevo battle asolutely exaggerated. Yes, they really had strong artillery and MLRS group there, but their "field" units engaged episodically. They had only two motor-rifle companies and four tank companies, from which really participated maybe a half. They also hadn't T-90A, only T-72B3 (one company) and T-72 mod.1989. Also group of Vagner used, but was badly beaten  and tank battalion August, and smaller groups, formed from Russian volunteers. Our stupid generals and former president in full seriuos to this time claim Russian had several BTGs on Debaltsevo and around,  and name units, which in that time either were in Russia or dislocated in other part of Donbas. Because of to say for people "Russians wanted to breakthrough to Kharkiv, but we forced them to stop by our military and diplomatic efforts. We are won. Debaltsevo is our victory!" . But really, separs said, when the truce was broken, 7th LNR brigade, which carried main burden of fights, mobilized to last assault all who could walk - staff and rear personnel, light wounded etc, because their losses were huge. From other places were moved reinfocements. They say "This is a miracle that we won. Maybe we just wanted to win much more than Ukarinain generals". And this is true, alas. But not only generals, but coward politics.  

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the Ukrainian brigade exfiltrated through the wooded countryside on foot

Hm... Only one of two ways passed through mostly wooden terrains. Ukrainian troops are withdrawing both on foot and on vehicles, only damaged and broken equipment was abandoned.

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Russian forces were unable to pursue the brigade as it retreated on foot (slowly and in winter), even though the Russians were mechanized. Without heavy equipment, the brigade was able to reconstitute itself, form a new line and deter further attack from the superior force. This suggests an inability of the Russian Army to sustain a pursuit over 30 kilometers despite time to prepare and resource the maneuver

Again this "Russian forces". Our trops left positions suddenly for the separs. They reacted, when our forward columns already were on own way. Our artillery and ballistic missiles from the "big land" hit probable places of enemy ambushes and positions. Groups of special forces and 95th brigade covered our convoys and spotted enemy movements for our artillery. In this way three of five convoys had time to successfully escape and only last two were heavy attacked and suffered relatively big losses in personnel and vehicles. So this is not "Russian forces unable". 

Edited by Haiduk

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Haiduk,

And this is why you're so immensely valuable to the Forums! Suspect CAPT Fiore would've been in deep trouble were this part of a Master's degree program, for I bet his adviser would've scrutinized every word. Thanks!

Regards,

John Kettler

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On 3/7/2020 at 11:39 AM, John Kettler said:

Haiduk,

And this is why you're so immensely valuable to the Forums! Suspect CAPT Fiore would've been in deep trouble were this part of a Master's degree program, for I bet his adviser would've scrutinized every word. Thanks!

Regards,

John Kettler

Sadly I am less confident about modern higher education today based on my experience.

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