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Mariupol direction



A fresh article by M.Litvinov, which is dedicated to the consequences of the offensive conducted by the army of Novorossia and the disintegration of the south front of the fascist junta.

Mariupol direction

It must be noted that the plans of the command of the punitive corpus of prolonging the period of uncertainty at the front until the measures of the 3-rd stage of mobilization will be completed through the use of rakish charges performed by the remains of their mobile forces were unsuccessful.  Despite all of the cordial accommodations provided by the militia command for the punitive corpus in the area of implementing this plan, which include the absence of robust garrisons in Miusinsk, Krasnyi Luch, Khryashevatoye, Novosvetlovka and the absence of attacks in the rear of the combat zone of the armed congregations of Ukraine, the punitive command only managed to delay the inevitable loss of initiative. In general, it must be noted that the two opposing sides successfully used two different halves of the same quite successful tactic up until the recent time . Reconnaissance and strike detachments of the armed forces of the people's republics are quite competent in engaging the enemy detachments directly, determining their location, and requesting strikes from their means of heavy firepower.  Mechanized convoys of the punitive troops dashingly sense the unprotected and weakly protected points in the operational rear of the enemy and attack them decisively.

Only troop landings from helicopters are missing from the usual set of this tactic, but everyone has problems with helicopters. Also, if the airborne troops are not supported by the movement of a mechanized convoy, then they are doomed. At the minimum they are doomed to be evacuated, at the maximum they are doomed to be routed. The key problem of all of these actions is that one half the tactic doesn't correspond to one half of victory. Instead, it corresponds to both halves of a defeat.
The reasons for the inevitability of the loss of initiative by the punitive troops are clearly illustrated by the ongoing offensive of the armed forces of the DPR on the south operational direction. It has actually confirmed some elements of the operational situation that were obvious even before this offensive.
- the Kiev regime did not have enough time to wrap up the measures of the third stage of mobilization and to restore the combat readiness of its punitive group in Donbass to full extent after the defeats and losses that were suffered in the second half of July;
- the resilience of the armed congregations of Ukraine was sharply reduced after the rout of its border group in July, which is in general not surprising because any option of using the service members who were present in south cauldrons at some point had a detrimental influence on the overall morale of the military, an influence that is impossible to compensate. The only way to avoid this effect was the option of completely eliminating the encircled troops by the militia, but this "brilliant" idea wasn't shared by many within militia ranks. On the other hand, there were no Roman senators of the 2-nd Punic war era within the ranks of the Kiev regime.

- the combat readiness of checkpoints and strongholds of the punitive troops in the 2-nd and 3-rd lines of control is extremely low and doesn't allow them to solve even the tasks of their own self-defense. They were reduced to such a state by the intention of the command of the punitive corpus to keep the initiative up until the end of the 3-rd stage of the mobilization and by the militia passivity in the area of creating threats for these points;
- The earlier estimate of the military potential of the armed congregations of Ukraine at maximum tension of the economy and organizational capabilities of 67 infantry battalions, 50 tank companies, and 40 artillery divisions was sufficiently accurate as an upper bound of this potential. The estimate of the degree of saturation of infantry with light armor of 20-25 armored vehicles ended up just as accurate. The honestly unsuccessful actions of the command of the punitive corpus led to a significant reduction of this potential, which wasn't all that high to begin with.

At the same time it is necessary to recognize some of the results that were already achieved by the Kiev regime in the process of the 3rd stage of mobilization. A common point of all military calculations of the situation in Donbass was the fact of absence of a significant quantity of infantry that can be used for determined offensive actions in urban area within the ranks of punitive troops (and actually within the ranks of both opposing sides). Not surprisingly, the priority of foreign military missions was to compensate for this drawback. 16 battalions of operational designation were formed within the National Guard of Ukraine to solve this problem. These battalions consist of troops who serve under contracts. These troops already went through a lengthy term of compulsory military service. Effectively, these are the troops who should have long since been demobilized, but the announced mobilizations and the ATO stripped them of this right. So for them the contract is an improvement of the situation compared to disenfranchised compulsory service.
The process of forming these units was conducted on the bases and with a major involvement of the personnel of the 14-th brigade of the Special Designation of the National Guard of Ukraine "Bars", the 8-th regiment of Special Designation of the NGU "Jaguar", and the 9-th regiment of Special Designation of the NGU "Gepard". In fact, these military units and the 16 battalions of operational designation are different parts of the same whole. The bodies of the brigade and of the regiments are supposed to support organizing, reinforcing, and rotating the personnel. Two new brigades - the 1-st and the 2-nd operational brigades of the NGU - were formed for the immediate military control of these battalions of operational designation. The created brigades have their own battalions of material and technical support, one artillery, and one air defense division. The latter is designed to target UAVs and to provide immediate firepower support for the infantry. The battalions of operational designation have their own mortar batteries.

The analysis of organizational and staff structure allows to suppose with a high probability that the battalions of operational designation will be deployed into action in two waves with the goal of supporting rotation and replacement in the case of major losses. It is expected that each operational brigade will consist of 4 battalions of operational designation. It must be strongly emphasized that these battalions don't have anything to do with the separate reserve battalions of the NGU, of which there are five, including the famous "Donbass" and "Volunteer Corpus of Ukraine", or the numerous battalions of special designation within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. All of the aforementioned units are the "political" military that consist of radical nationalists of various backgrounds, which are called upon to provide for political and business interests of their sponsors. In contrast to them, the battalions of operational designation of the NGU are regular infantry with combat qualities on the level of the 3rd and the 8th regiments of the army special forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A qualitative difference between the battalions of operational designation of the NGU and the separate reserve battalions of the NGU are the management organs on the brigade-regiment level that accompany the battalions of the operational designation of the NGU, which allows massing and coordinating  forces, and also the availability of their own means of heavy firepower.

I suppose that the armed forces of the people's republic will devote special attention of their reconnaissance and strike forces toward the management organs of the two operative brigades of the NGU and to their artillery and mortar detachments. This needs to happen as they appear in the war zone. Because these detachments are the strong side of these new units, they are also their weak spot due to their novelty. As for the battalions themselves - even though they have good potential, they are unseasoned and their first combat experience will define the subsequent fate of each of them. It will be extremely useful if this experience will occur under the conditions of the absence of significant numerical advantage on the side of of the punitive troops and with a wide application of the means of heavy firepower of the people's republics. But, of course, this would be ideal.

The military command of the DPR was absolutely correct in their determination of the most perspective direction for their offensive - on Mariupol. The offensive on this direction potentially allowed to achieve a strategic, an operational, and a tactical success. The strategic importance of Mariupol is difficult to overestimate. Actually, it is precisely the control over this city and over its economic and export potential that clearly separates the two alternatives for the people's republics of Donbass: the fate of Greater Transnistria and the fate of truly sovereign states. Moreover, conducting the elections into Verkhovnaya Rada on the territory of Mariupol will strongly undermine the legitimacy and the claims of sovereignty for the DPR. Finally, the Mariupol port will allow the DPR to unfold the widest possible military and technical cooperation with Abkhazia. On the other hand, the latest consideration is certainly somewhat compensated by the fact that it is well-known that the Kremlin dumped everything and that the stuff that it dumped accumulated in the neutral zone of the former Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbass. Nevertheless a major port is a major help in military and technical cooperation.

However, it must be noted that a strategic success would be constituted by a complete liberation of Mariupol and primarily of the whole area of the port. Simply occupying the settlement, especially with a threat of continuation of the enemy control over the local port and the airport would not be much of a strategic success, which is in general confirmed by the humanitarian tragedy of Donetsk and Lugansk. One condition for the strategic success of conducting such an operation would be its decisiveness, the factor of surprise, and the allocation of a sufficient amount of forces. The conditions for such an operation were present only during the first decade of August. It was exactly then when it was possible to liberate Mariupol and capture a lot of resources and high ranking and informed POWs after a daily blitz using the territory of the Russian Federation. The amount of forces that were required depended on the real situation in Mariupol. Alas, the sad story of Miusinsk and Krasnyi Luch and the organizational weakness of the militia that were in the foundation of that story didn't allow it to achieve this strategic success.

However, it must be noted that this was exactly an absence of a strategic success, but not a defeat. And the case is not in the preservation of the ability to liberate Mariupol. This ability is indeed preserved. This is true even despite the fact that the first wave of panic in Mariupol settled and the 1-st operational brigade of the NGU significantly strengthened its defense. Nevertheless, given determined pressure that is applied over a couple of weeks by the force of 10-12 infantry battalions, a couple tank battalions, 5-6 artillery divisions, the city will fall. But there are serious doubts that the armed forces of the people's republics can afford such an expenditure. Because they face a wide range of problems that must be solved to support normal life on the territories controlled by the people's republics. This includes the elimination of the Lutugino group of the punitive troops, routing of the punitive strongholds within 20 km from the outskirts of Donetsk, Gorlovka, and Lugansk, the liberation of Lisichansk and Severodonetsk.

And this is despite the fact that the September general offensive of the punitive troops is as inevitable as the dusk and will start no later than the second half of September. On the other hand it is hard to evaluate the drop of morale of the junta military. If the events will develop in a certain way, the Mariupol garrison may simply flee if it will be possible to quickly suppress the resistance of the 1-st operational brigade of the NGU. Such a development cannot be fully excluded because this unit is unseasoned.
However, the reason for the preservation of the strategic perspectives of the people's republics in the area of Mariupol is different. The deployment of forward positions of the armed forces of Donbass in the vicinity of Mariupol opens up wide possibilities of conducting strike-reconnaissance actions against military objects, branches of occupation administration, and enemy patrols in the city itself. Such actions will not only bind a quite significant part of the forces of the punitive troops, which aren't limitless even without this, but will also allow to disrupt political actions of the Kiev regime towards reinforcing the legitimacy of its occupation of Donbass. They will clearly and unequivocally demonstrate to all stakeholders exactly what the militia can do in effectively any city of Ukraine, e.g., on one of the October Sundays. I must remind that the population of the people's republics of Donbass owes the current humanitarian catastrophe in Donetsk, Gorlovka, and Lugansk to a quite strange idea. Namely, that the presidential elections in Ukraine were not their business. Nevertheless, as a result of this "not their business" there is now a person in Ukraine who allows to use heavy weapons against civilians by the very fact of his election.

It shouldn't be supposed that anybody except nationalists of varying degree of radicalism will win the October election into Verkhovnaya Rada. And this is not just because no other candidates will be allowed to participate or that they will be forced to withdraw from the elections. No, the issue here is different. The bulk of Ukrainian voters are suffering a rough humiliation due to the fact of losing Crimea and the national-liberation uprising of the Russian minority. Many losses, both human and economic, will be required before this feeling of humiliation due to their own national and state impotency will be replaced by more constructive motives during voting. However, several forces will contend for the votes that will be won by this nationalist fervor. Some of these forces have a very pronounced regional nature. All of these forces will fight uncompromisingly, so the armed forces of the people's republics attain the status of a significant internal political factor in Ukraine. This opens up a field of strategical possibilities that is much more realistic than the assault on Kiev, which is for now deeply mythical.

Thus, the strategic potential of the offensive on Mariupol direction, even though it isn't fully realized, is preserved no matter how the events will turn. Of course, there is an undeniable operational success. Both capturing Mariupol and creating the positions in its vicinity equally bind significant combat forces of the punitive troops. Because the forces of the people's republics of Donbass and of the punitive corpus are quite comparable, it gets increasingly harder for the punitive troops to achieve a decisive advantage on even a single direction. In any scenario the armed forces of the people's republics will conduct the strongest possible type of military action in this area - the defense. If they could take Mariupol, then this would allow them to minimize the forces that are required for the defense and confidently preserve the naval supply lines. However, the current situation is no worse, because the absence of dense urban area as part of the defense is offset by various opportunities for maneuvering with the means of firepower in the border area and by the freedom of sabotage/reconnaissance group (SRG) actions, which are a strong side of the armed forces of people's republics of Donbass.
Well, and the fact that the catastrophic development of the situation and the panic that arose due to that forced the punitive corpus to deploy the 1-st operational brigade of the NGU to defend Mariupol instead of sweeping Lugansk, which is suffering a very difficult moment of its defense, cannot be explained by anything other than unique incompetence of the Ukrainian military and political leadership, who made such a gift to the militia. And it's not just that the important reserve has been sent to the area of ​​the front, where it cannot achieve decisive results, but also the fact that this reserve and its further movements can be now controlled by the militia.

It should also be noted that the main goal of the offensive of the punitive troops on Ilovaysk that started on August 10 was to work out the cooperation of numerous battalions of special designation of the MIA and the artillery of the AFU for sweeping settlements that are vigorously defended. The encirclement and heavy losses of this group and also a complete disintegration and discrediting of the management and cooperation in this area are a quite lucky operational result of the offensive of the people's republics in this area. Effectively, the idea of reinforcing the assault capabilities of the punitive troops in this way failed and discredited itself.

And, finally, everything that happened is the second, after the liquidation of the border "cauldrons", major defeat of the punitive troops that was delivered to it by the armed forces of the people's republics. A defeat that culminated in the rout of a number of armed congregations of Ukraine, which was accompanied by mass casualties, losses of materiel and weapons, a large number of POWs, internees, and trophies. All this has an extremely depressing effect on the morale of the punitive troops. Already there are facts of mass exodus of whole battalions from the theater of operations. A moral breakdown occurred even in the divisions of the NGU, which disarmed en masse and departed to the territory of the Russian Federation for the first time during the period of this conflict. The consequences of these defeats will reduce the military resilience of the punitive troops and their combat capabilities even further. Only the deployment of significant reserves or the units from other combat locations into the battle line can improve the situation. Meanwhile, the reserves aren't ready and the units on other locations require significant time for their redeployment, are quite exhausted by fighting, and may be used only at the price of surrendering important positions. The defensive resilience which was demonstrated by the punitive troops on Karachun, the Lugansk airport, in the area of Izvarino, Dyakovo, Bykovo, and Dolzhansky is now in the past. And this is an extremely important consequence of the offensive of the armed forces of the people's republics of Donbass, which will have a significant impact on all subsequent operations.

M.V. Litvinov
Tags: fascism, junta, mariupol, novorossia, war in ukraine
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