The noose continues to tighten round Kherson:
With Ukraine’s relentless trumpeting of a forthcoming offensive in Kherson, Russia has taken the bait and rushed round 60% of its whole forces to the area.
Russia has round 120 BTGs within the nation (particular person dimension and power varies by BTG). There are an estimated 22 round Kherson, 27 between the east financial institution of the Dnipro river and Melitopol, and 17 south of Zaporizhzhia and southern Donbas. That’s 66 deployed to the south, or over half the full. Def Mon has an unconfirmed report claiming that Russia’s present power in or round Ukraine is 175,000 troops, 1,461 tanks, 3,295 armored personnel carriers, 1,488 barrel artillery, 710 rocket artillery, and 80 missile launchers. About 25% of these are in fight reserves (refitting, rotated out), with one other 10% severely undermanned and in a second reserve.
For context, Russia invaded Ukraine with round 190,000 troops, plus one other 34,000 from its Donbas proxies. Earlier than the invasion, Russia supposedly had 2,800 energetic tanks, plus round 10,000 in reserve. The Oryx listing of visually confirmed Russian losses stands at 931, whereas Ukraine claims 1,800 destroyed. If DefMon’s report is actual and correct, meaning solely round 123,000 Russians are left in combat-capable items. And keep in mind that solely about 15-30% of troops are literally in fight roles. It takes numerous help troops (like all these imply loading and unloading provide vans) to make a military work.
Russia is utilizing 4 ferries to maneuver army tools, two by the Antonovsky bridge, and one other two hidden in a river close by. The OSINT (open supply intelligence) guys have ferreted out these latter two. Right here’s one among them in motion:
It nearly behooves Ukraine to permit Russia to proceed flooding autos into the Kherson area earlier than totally closing the entice. Whilst is, it’s perplexing Russia would reinforce with out a straightforward solution to provide these forces. On paper, 22 BTGs would means 220 tanks, 880 armored personnel carriers, a number of hundred artillery and rocket weapons, and round 20,000 males. How are they imagined to feed all of that (males and weapons) with 4 freakin’ ferries? Maybe Russia has different surreptitious technique of resupply, they usually can definitely fly items in through helicopter. However that’s an inefficient solution to help the Russian approach of conflict—leveling the opposition with 1000’s of artillery shells per day. Heck, it’s not even about effectivity, however functionality. It would really be not possible
Ukraine is working the main bridges, stopping Russia from repairing them. The barges will likely be tougher to hit, particularly in the event that they transfer round sufficient, however they’re nonetheless weak. Ukraine is working laborious to degrade Russian air defenses within the area, which might enable TB2 Bayraktar drones and the Ukrainian Air Pressure to function nearer to river and any barges shifting tools and provides. As such, this was an fascinating discover:
This AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile, reported by Russian sources, is of American origin, but was curiously by no means introduced by the Pentagon in any of its support packages. Anti-radar missiles are precisely what they sound like—missiles that hone in on radar signatures, often employed by air protection batteries scouring the skies for enemy plane.
These are quarter-million greenback missiles, extremely useful in establishing air superiority. Their look was significantly shocking as a result of they’re designed to be launched from NATO-standard plane. They merely aren’t appropriate with the focusing on methods in Ukraine’s Soviet-era plane. So it’s a thriller how they have been launched.
HARM has a spread of round 150 kilometers when launched from the air. Any ground-launched modification received’t get that sort of vary with out a Mach 2 help, at altitude. Nonetheless, it ought to meet or exceed HIMARS vary, which means Russia’s rear-area air defenses are all weak.
Ukraine has lately claimed the destruction of a large number of Russian S-300 anti-air methods, together with 4 yesterday. It’s been assumed such kills have been a results of HIMARS rocket artillery strikes. However this new data, if confirmed, would point out Ukraine has a fair higher weapon to reclaim its skies. AGM-88 HARMs may not have the flashy affect of HIMARS, however they’re extremely necessary to any Ukrainian effort to isolate and minimize off Russian forces round Kherson.
Ukrainian air superiority over Kherson could be a professional sport changer.
Hunter wrote about this bullshit yesterday.
As talked about, Russia is throwing quite a lot of our bodies (together with a lot of Wagner mercenaries) on the space round Bakhmut. Right here’s the place that’s, as a reminder:
Ukraine is deeply entrenched from Toretsk, to Bakhmut, to Sivers’okay. Certainly, Russia hasn’t budged from Lysychansk since taking that metropolis a couple of weeks in the past. That complete northeastern nook is presently quiet. Russia’s largest effort is on this Bakhmut course.
The massive query, in fact, is why. Why are they losing effort, manpower, and tools on a city that has marginal strategic worth. Say Bakhmut falls. I don’t suppose it is going to, however let’s give Russia Bakhmut. Then what? It doesn’t minimize any provide traces. Toretsk and Sivers’okay would stay properly equipped.
Bakhmut used to be necessary as a result of it equipped Lysychansk. That’s now not the case, clearly. So the highway connecting the 2 is irrelevant. Will Russia push to Kostyantynivka? Good luck sustaining these provide traces. North to Sivers’okay? These flanks will likely be juice targets. Possibly they’d push south to attach with previously-occupied Donetsk territory (the purple on the map). That might minimize of a slice of Ukrainian-held territory, however … so what? This conflict isn’t being misplaced or received based mostly on territory held, however on attrition, and Ukraine could be thrilled to commerce that little chunk of Donbas for a number of thousand Russian troopers and dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers.
As soon as once more, Russia is advancing for the sake of advancing, missing any final strategic intention or focus. And even after they conquer something of worth, they’re so spent they continue to be caught. Right here’s the furthest they’ve superior from key cities:
Izyum: (captured April 1)
15 kilometers south (to Dovhen’ke)
Popasna: (captured Could 7)
22 kilometers north (to Lysychansk)
24 kilometers south (closed a small salient)
18 kilometers west (towards Bakhmut)
Lysychansk: (captured July 3)
This isn’t taking part in for strategic victory, it’s tactical scraps. And the truth that solely round 13-15 BTGs are left round Bakhmut, whereas Russia floods forces to the south, makes this advance significantly weird. It implies that even when they take Bakhmut, there received’t be something left to press any benefit. So as soon as once more … why.