A new article by the comrade Litvinov about recent fighting for Shakhtyorsk and Debaltsevo and about the problems of offensive operations performed by the Kiev junta in Donbass.
End of July Activity
As it was to be expected, the last weekend of July was marked by yet another offensive adventure of the Kiev regime. Actually, by two offensive adventures. It is also worth mentioning that the second, which captured less attention of the observers, was no less dangerous to the militia than the one that had the more prominent position in the propaganda efforts of the informational support of the punitive corpus. Both operations were long shots for the simple reason that they were built exclusively on the foundation of the firm confidence of the punitive troops in their operational and tactical advantage over the militia, on absolute confidence in the militia inability to provide anyhow firm resistance.
It is necessary to mention that over the whole July the punitive command wasn't able to achieve a single operational and tactical success, which wouldn't go beyond taking advantage of the unavoidable consequences of the militia retreat from Slavyansk-Kramatorsk fortified area. Simply saying, the punitive troops only managed to take what they simply had to take after Slavyansk was abandoned. After the transition from positional to maneuverable fighting the armed congregations of Ukraine have a number of advantages due to their numerical and technical advantage. But the most interesting result of the last July aggravation of the operational situation, perhaps, is that the talentless operations of the armed congregations of Ukraine once again created preconditions for the emergence of positional front lines. Time will show if the militia command will be able to take advantage of the arising circumstances to full extent.
The first direction of the punitive offensive was moving into the area of Shakhtyorsk – Torez from North and South with the goal of cutting main communication lines of Donetsk with Luhansk and the Russian border. Right after abandoning Slavyansk this operation was absolutely obvious and it was then when public attention was directed at the reality of the emergence of the punitive troops checkpoints in this area. Also, back then it was noted that this operation is quite realistic, unlike the ambitious goals of breaking around Luhansk or of storming Antratsit or Snezhnoye. One can be only surprised that this operation started on July 8th but on July 27th. The looming threat on this direction was obvious. Already on July 21st the DPR militia command reacted quite nervously to the information about the appearance of the tanks of punitive troops in Debaltsevo (as nervously as to the swoops of criminal bosses on Artyomovsk). And this reaction, without a doubt, was noticed by the command of the punitive corpus. A new hope appeared in the punitive troops headquarters that the break towards Debaltsevo – Shakhtyorsk will lead to the militia retreat from Donetsk by the example of Slavyansk. From this moment the punitive command starts concentrating all possible forces for the new offensive. These plans were constantly disrupted by the unexpected for the punitive troops actions of the Severodonetsk garrison, the LPR counter-attack in Lisichansk, and by the decisive actions of the Slavyansk brigade in the area of "Marinovka corridor", which led to its complete closing on July 26th.
Despite all of these problems, the punitive troops made their principal bet on the breakaway towards Debaltsevo – Shakhtyorsk. And on July 23rd they initiated fighting for the initial areas of this offensive – Debaltsevo and Blagodatnoye. On July 24th they managed to secure Blagodatnoye, but the fighting for Debaltsevo didn't give the necessary result – they couldn't push the stubbornly defending militia units out of there. In this situation the punitive corpus command decided to repeat the same approach that already brought success to it in Artyomovsk and threw a battalion tactical group of the 95-th separate airborne brigade bypassing Debaltsevo directly on Shakhtyorsk during the night of July 26th and 27th. Apparently, the DPR militia, being fully devoted to fighting for the "Marinovka corridor" and for Debaltsevo didn't expect such a move. The breakthrough was fully successful. The reason for this success is that the DPR militia, seeking to have a continuous front line, does not have the ability to maintain forces that are necessary for successful defense in the key points behind the defensive lines.
The militia forces in Shakhtoyrsk didn't exceed a single company, which wasn't concentrated into a fist, but rather was scattered at checkpoints. Keep in mind that it is necessary to have at least 200-300 fighters within a settlement in order to repel an assault of a battalion tactical group. And in general the minimally required garrison in such a settlement – 500 fighters. The main forces of the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Slavyansk brigade were located South of the line Torez – Shakhtyorsk – Zugres – Kharsyzk. As a result, the punitive troops, effectively without encountering resistance, established company-level strong points in the areas of Gornoye and Olkhovchik, cutting the shortest routes from Donetsk to Snezhnoye. The militia forces at that moment were bound by the attacks from the front in the area of Stepano-Krynka. And even though the attacks of the punitive troops in this area were repelled, the punitive forces in Shakhtyorsk joined with the main forces of Amvrosiyevka group of the armed congregations of Ukraine that were arriving from the side of Blagodatnoye. The DPR militia was in a very difficult situation. Its forces were cut off. The communications to the North, certainly, preserved, and to cut them the punitive troops needed no fewer than three free battalions, which of course the armed congregations of Ukraine didn't have. But the question wasn't just that. The retreat from Slavyansk became a difficult psychological burden on the shoulders of the DPR militia. "The enemy is too strong and too well armed". It was precisely this psychological theme that became the main obstacle for transitioning the conflict into a positional phase again. The militia had to hold their ground somewhere, it had to achieve a psychological victory over the punitive troops and it had to break the enemy will for the offensive. It seemed that there will be another retreat and the decisive battle will happen later.
But here the talentless command of the punitive corpus did a favor to the DPR militia. Instead of limiting themselves to the achieved success, pulling in the artillery, and digging in on the captured positions it decided to finish off the DPR in one swoop. And transitioned to another offensive on July 28th. From Gorny, bypassing Torez, the punitive troops jerked through Manuylovka and Petrovskoye in the rear of Saur-Mogila. From Semenovskaya and Tarany their armored convoys rushed on Stepanovka and Marinovka. The most combat ready detachments from the "South cauldron" performed an attempt to break from Dyakovo at the direction of Dibrovka and further on Dmitrovka – Chervonaya Zarya. All artillery was targeting Saur-Mogila, trying to suppress its battery. And the DPR militia, primarily its Slavyansk brigade held off this onslaught, keeping effectively all crucial points. All victories of the punitive troops were restricted to capturing the village Saurovka yet again, which was hastily renamed by the Kiev propagandists into Saur-Mogila, and pushing the militia out of Dmitrovka. The punitive troops couldn't even beat a corridor South of Marinovka. But the main aspect was that the militia withstood an assault of armored armada amounting to 250 machines of a regular army, effectively a strengthened brigade, even though the armada wasn't acting as a single unit. As a result of this fighting, the militia proved primarily to itself and to its command that it can withstand a strike of such power.
The punitive command failed to redeploy reserves from the North. By getting bogged down in fighting on the approaches to Gorlovka and in Debaltsevo, bound by the counter-strike in Popasnaya and the attack in the rear of Debaltsevo group under Depreradovka from the LPR militia side, it had no available forces. the last effort of the punitive troops on July 29th allowed them to enter Stepanovka, but on the same day the DPR militia beat a corridor to Torez from Shakhtyorsk, The July offensive of the punitive troops on the DPR territory fizzled. Even though the situation remains very difficult, primarily due to numerical and technical advantage of the punitive troops, despite the regular terrorist shelling of the DPR cities, the DPR militia created prerequisites for transitioning to a positional war on the positions chosen by the militia.
The situation in the Luhansk area developed with less drama, even though it was no less threatening for the militia. The key position in the LPR defense is the settlement Novosvetlovka, South-East of Luhansk. In itself the settlement is small, but all roads that go to Izvarino pass through it. With its loss not only Krasnodon is cut off, but also the main trunk pathway to the Russian border. Certainly, its loss isn't a catastrophe, but it severely complicates the situation in Luhansk. Starting from July 27th, the punitive troops command performs several attempts to break towards this settlement, both from the side of the Luhansk airport and from the area of Lutugino, through Pervozvanovka and Krasnoye. Airstrikes were performed against Novosvetlovka. However, as a result the LPR militia routed the 24-th battalion of territorial defense "Aidar', and its supporting detachment of the 1-st STBr and 30-th SMBr. The punitive troops suffered significant losses not only in dead and wounded but also in prisoners. The reason why this militia success didn't cause such dramatic vicissitudes as under Donetsk is that the LPR defense is built on early takeover by sufficient forces of even those key points which are not immediately threatened, often at the expense of the control over cohesion and the continuity of communications. The LPR militia command can pursue this tactic because of its advantageous location with respect to the Russian border.
On the same day, July 27th, the LPR militia command continued to press against the isolated garrisons of the punitive troops in the area of Krasnodon, where the remains of the detachments of the 51-st SMBr and the area of checkpoint "Dolzhansky", where the liquidation of the border guards service garrison continues. On the next day of July 28th, developing the achieved success, the LPR militia improved its positions: captured a crucial high point in the area of Georgiyevka and developed its activities West towards the settlement Chelyuskinets. Thus, in the Luhansk area the militia managed to keep the key positions and to prevent unblocking the Luhansk airport, such turn of events suggests that on this direction the necessary preconditions formed for transitioning military action into a positional stage.
At this time the most unstable situation is preserved in the strip Pervomaisk – Stakhanov – Bryanka – Alchevsk – Krasnyi Luch. Here the result of military action is not determined and significant changes of positions of the sides are possible. Also one cannot exclude any changes in the area of the crash site of the Malaysian "Boeing".
Author: M.V. Litvinov (specially for the "Voice of Sevastopol").
http://cassad.net/category/war/292-zavershenie-iyulskoy-aktivnosti.html – link (in Russian)
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1700950.html (in Russian)