The junta made no secret of their goals, and openly spoke about preparing the assaults on Shahtersk and Lugansk. The number of triumphant reports with each new new breakthrough of mechanized battlegroups was off the charts.
The second critical moment came when an attack was performed from Debalcevo through Faschevka, to meet the 24th Mechanized Brigade which was breaking out of the southern encirclement. It was an ambitious plan, the enemy tried to bisect Novorossiya by using the seemingly written off units as a strike group. This joint strike on Miusinsk and Krasnyi Luch triggered a severe crisis in Novorossiya - there were very few troops in this area. Miusinsk, which the mechanized convoys of the junta slipped through, was hardly defended at all, and some of the militia cossacks abandoned their positions in Krasnyi Luch. A real threat emerged of Novorossiya being split in two, and of the destruction of the militia forces in the area of Torez-Snezhnoye-Saur-Mogila. But again, the courage of ordinary soldiers who clung to the towns allowed to hold out until the reserves came, which cleared the enemy out of Miusinsk and held Krasnyi Luch. After overcoming the crisis, the militia was able to win the decisive battles here, which had far-reaching consequences.
Objectively, the situation demanded that the junta stop the offensive, regroup, pull up reserves, create stores of fuel and ammunition, and then continue the offensive by assembling new strike groups. Nevertheless, political considerations required a continuation of the offensive by the same depleted battlegroups. Because the front in the LPR has stabilized as a whole, the south encirclement was routed, and the offensive to the north of Donetsk has been stopped, the junta tried to gain further PR victories by continuing its offensive in the south, trying to take Ilovaysk and Mospino head-on despite the serious operational risk. And as junta got more and more embroiled in these urban battles, the front of the offensive got narrower and narrower - it began in early August on a broad front, but already by August 20th it effectively boiled down to a single point.
The high water marks of this offensive were the southern slopes of the Saur-Mogila, the semi-encircled Mospino and the southern suburbs of Ilovaysk. In the last few days of the offensive, it was reduced to a simply shoving troops into Ilovaysk. Meanwhile, a threat was looming on the southern flank, one ignoring which later proved fatal. After finishing off the southern encirclement and after repelling the offensive on Miusinsk and Krasnyi Luch, the militia recaptured Marinovka (which switched sides 2 times in July-August) and started to seep along the border to the border checkpoint "Uspenka", starting to encircle the Amvrosievka group in the process.
[note from the translator: The above looks to be an abandoned self-propelled MSTA howitzer of the government forces, with the inscription "MINED" (probably just means it needs to be inspected for booby traps)]
This is what the front line looked like on the eve of the attack on Amvrosievka.
The junta intelligence apparently missed this offensive, and as a result of this oversight a comparatively small militia force intercepted the main supply routes of the largest junta battlegroup to the south of Donetsk. That group is where most combat-capable units were gathered, including the 3 punitive battalions "Azov", "Shahtersk" and "Donbass-1", all the units that stormed Mospino, Saur-Mogila, and Ilovaysk, plus various reinforcement units and different independent companies. More than 5000 soldiers and about 180 various military vehicles ended up being surrounded, as well as up to 90 artillery pieces, mortars, and MLRS.
Ahead of this new frontline there is a gaping hole for the junta, and nothing to plug it with. The remnants of the junta forces, including "Azov" battalion, hastily retreated into Mariupol, abandoning several settlements virtually without a shot. Due to this, the militia rolled directly into the suburbs of Novoazovsk and onto the approaches to Mariupol. There's virtually no front on the junta side from the south of Starobeshevo and up until Novoazovsk. Lack of available militia forces is the only thing slowing the catastrophe down.
At the same time, the militia also developed their offensive to the west of Mospino, towards Ugledar, Yelenovka, and Nikolskoye. Here junta forces are few, so the militia offensive develops quite successfully, albeit not too rapidly. By Yelenovka, yet another "mini-encirclement" has formed, and the connectivity of the junta groups that held Donetsk in a semi-encirclement has been irreparably broken.
Overall, it is not quite clear how the junta will be able to avoid a complete defeat here. It will clearly not be able to restore the previous frontline, the only question is whether the surrounded ones will be able to break out (and as they will have to do so on their own, it's likely that they will have to make that decision ASAP) and where will the militia offensive stop - they still have fairly limited forces and they are now routing a larger force with a smaller force.
In the meantime, the once solid front which stretched from Marinovka to Yelenovka now broke up into separate pockets of resistance with intercepted supply lines. After this disaster it became absolutely clear that the junta has no military capability of destroying Novorossiya. By squandering the most combat-capable brigades in systematic offensive operations, the junta forces bled themselves white and suffered a crushing, purely military defeat. The southern front collapsed. Novorossia shall be!
Plus a lengthy, but a fairly accurate video review of the situation on the fronts
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1753474.html (in Russian)
This updated translation for the article was graciously contributed by tatzhit.
The blogger http://cassad-eng.livejournal.com contributed to this translation and has most other colonelcassad posts
An updated, but untranslated map, the pincers around Starobeshevo are clearly shown by now.