Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Russian T-72 Tanks, Vacuum Bomb Launchers Become ‘Sitting Ducks’ For Ukrainian Army; Experts Stunned By Putin’s ‘Poor Tactics’

A video released by the Ukrainian forces purportedly shows a column of Russian Tanks and armored vehicles being ambushed on a road leading to Kyiv. The video was released on March 10, shortly after the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Antalya, Turkey. The talks, however, remained inconclusive and failed to reach a ceasefire agreement.

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In the video, a column of 30 tanks and support units, as well as a fearsome TOS-1 thermobaric launcher could be seen engulfed in clouds of smoke. It gives the impression the Russian tanks were damaged in artillery strikes by the Ukrainian side.

The column of tanks was heading towards Brovary suburb, located about 35km from Kyiv when it came under relentless artillery firing from the Ukrainian forces. Explosions can be seen both on the road and in the fields in the distance.

Two tanks are seen on the roadside, while others further inside the suburb are seen bunching up together in a traffic jam, as they come under artillery fire.

Meanwhile, the Russian soldiers, caught by a horrific surprise, can be seen running desperately between the vehicles, which start turning around to escape the artillery fire.

According to reports, the column of armored vehicles belonged to Russia’s 6th Tank Regiment of the 90th Tank Division, stationed in the city of Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.

Russian Commander Dead, Says Ukraine

The Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that the regiment’s commander, Colonel Andrei Zakharov, was killed in the ambush. The tank regiment was forced to retreat following the deadly attack.

According to the Kremlin’s website, Col. Zakharov was awarded the Order of Courage by President Putin in 2016 for his participation in Russia’s war in Syria.

Russian tank ambushed
Ukraine’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade purportedly ambushed a Russian formation in Sumy, on March 3, 2022. (via OSINTtechnical/Twitter)

If true, Zakharov’s death follows those of Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of Russia’s 41st Army, reportedly killed in fighting in Kharkiv earlier this week, and Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, the 41st Army’s deputy commander, who was killed in the days of early the invasion.

Defense experts have highlighted the Russian army’s poor tactics after the video emerged. “This is not the Russian army we trained to fight,” a former British army commander told the Daily Telegraph.

Franz-Stefan Gady, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the “fight shows the danger of not securing urban terrain with adequate infantry plus recon assets when main elements of the military pass through urban terrain ideally suitable for ambushes”.

Analysis of the video footage released by the Austrian military’s R&D department says that the column was a part of the larger Russian Battle Tactical Group (BTG).

It highlights different companies within the BTG featured in the video footage, as it came under fire from Ukrainian heavy artillery guided by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Sitting Ducks

The tank column consisted of Russian BMP-1s (Soviet amphibious landing vehicles), Soviet-era T-72 tanks, BTR-82 armored personnel carriers, and a TOS-1 Buratino, a thermobaric (Vacuum Bomb) launcher. All tanks were trapped into a tight corridor making them easy targets for the Ukrainian artillery.

“They either think they are going through a safe area, or they were not well trained or they are moving fast for some other requirement,” Ben Barry, a former tank commander with the British army and a land warfare specialist with the thinktank IISS, told The Guardian.

Abandoned Russian tanks
Abandoned Russian tanks in a forest area in Ukraine. (via Twitter)

Two vehicles were destroyed in the fighting, but the analysis said others may have been damaged by the strikes. 

“It is not normal to deploy in this way,” Rémi Landry, a retired Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal 22e Regiment and a professor at the University of Sherbrooke, said in an interview with TVA Nouvelles.  

According to Landry, the Russian soldiers appeared to deploy as though they were on neutral ground and not enemy ground.

He also explained that Javelin missiles supplied by NATO are being used by the Ukrainian soldiers and resistance fighters who can split into small groups in order to hide and be able to intercept this type of column there.

Russian army vehciles
A Russian army convoy after it was ambushed in the early days of the Ukraine invasion. (via Twitter)

Also, Landry wonders why the Russian army is going after multiple cities at once because urban combat is very difficult and requires a large number of troops.

“In my experience and the experience of all military history, urban combat is probably the most difficult operation for an attacking force. The ratio of men that is required is usually 10 attacking to one defending,” Landry said. “It is for this reason that military experts wonder why the Russian army went after so many cities at once.”

The entire scale of losses suffered by the Russian and the Ukrainian forces is unknown, while as of writing this report, figures compiled by the military tracking blog Oryx based on visual confirmations, suggest that Russia has lost 1091 vehicles against Ukraine’s 294.

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