How not to do a DLIC – TTG

The Russian withdrawal from western Kherson Oblast has begun. Russian forces likely intend to continue that withdrawal over the next several weeks but may struggle to withdraw in good order if Ukrainian forces choose to attack. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated on October 21 that Russian forces are “quite actively” transferring ammunition, military equipment, and some unspecified units from the Dnipro River’s west bank to the east bank via ferries. The Southern Operational Command added that Russian forces deployed 2,000 mobilized men to hold the frontlines and are continuing to shell Ukrainian positions, likely in an effort to cover their withdrawal. Ukrainian military officials reported that the Russian occupation administration is preparing the evacuation of imported Russian specialists, Ukrainian collaborators, and Kherson’s banking system. Russian occupation administration in Beryslav and humanitarian facilities in Kherson City also reportedly ceased operations.

The Russian withdrawal from western Kherson requires that a Russian detachment left in contact hold the line against Ukrainian attack, covering other Russian forces as they withdraw. Such a detachment must be well-trained, professional, and prepared to die for its compatriots to effectively perform that duty. The deputy chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, assessed on October 20 that Russian military leadership may withdraw “the most combat-capable units” from the left-bank part of the region to the right bank of the Dnipro river and leave mobilized soldiers in contact to cover the withdrawal. Russian milbloggers seized on Hromov’s assessment on October 21 and claimed that Ukrainian officials falsely said that elite units like the VDV and marines are being replaced by untrained mobilized men in Kherson. If Hromov’s assessment is correct, then Russian forces would be setting conditions for a Russian withdrawal to become a rout. Russia’s poorly trained, newly mobilized reservists are very unlikely to stand and resist a Ukrainian counterattack if Ukrainian forces chose to attack them and chase the withdrawing forces. The collapse of a mobilized reservist detachment left in contact would likely lead to a Ukrainian rout of Russian forces on the same scale as Ukraine’s rout of Russian forces in Kharkiv.

Comment: Colonel Lang alerted me to the latest assessment from ISW. What immediately struck me was the treatment of the detachment left in contact (DLIC). Its purpose is to remain behind while the majority of the defending force withdraws. Normally it is conducted to deceive the enemy into believing the defending force is still in position. That element of deception is clearly gone in the case of Kherson. The DLIC should be one of the strongest of the subordinate units with the most capable leadership. As a general planning guideline it will consist of a third of the available troops and half the crew served or heavy weapons. It will be the unit under the greatest pressure, and the success of the withdrawal depends on its effectiveness.

The core of Russia’s force at Kherson consists of several VDV brigades, a Spetsnaz brigade and a couple of tank/mechanized brigades. They’re all now understrength, but still capable of conducting an adequate defense. The DLIC should consist of much of this still combat effective core. But the Russian military leadership appears to be doing just the opposite. They are militarily incompetent… astoundingly incompetent. That goes for their meaty bastard of a new commander, Surovikin, as well.

Given that the Ukrainian General Staff is fully aware of the Russian plans to execute such an inept withdrawal under pressure, there is little doubt that Surovikin will soon deliver a humiliating and costly defeat to his boss, Putin. Stay away from any high rise windows, general.


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7 Responses to How not to do a DLIC – TTG

  1. Worth Pointing Out says:

    “Given that the Ukrainian General Staff is fully aware of the Russian plans to execute such an inept withdrawal under pressure”

    This rather presupposes that the “awareness” of the Ukrainian General Staff is both correct and complete.

    And seeing as how the only source that ISW has for that supposition is…. the Ukrainian General Staff…. then I suspect that this is a rather skewed assessment.

    I’ve gone through your lengthy quote, and I’ve gone over to their web site and read their entire assessment and, yep, their one and only source is the Ukrainian General Staff.

    Where is the independent corroborating evidence that this is true?
    Because I’m not seeing any, and you aren’t providing any.

  2. Fred says:

    So the Russians left their best combat units to man trenches for six months and now are going to protect them in a withdrawl under fire with the reserves called up only a few weeks ago? Brilliant! Only Hannibal could devise a better plan. Especially the sitting on their asses for 6 months part.

  3. Pat Lang says:

    So f–k–g stupid is right. At Dunkirk the British left the 51st Highland Division as DLIC, one of their best. They and Hitler’s hesitance won the day.

  4. borko says:

    They just needed to dump a carload of hamburgers in Beryslav.
    Surovikin would defend it all by himself.

    Sry for ad hominem. 🙂

  5. Mark Logan says:

    This ISW assessment the Russians will blow the dam to form a defensive line out of the river seems unusually shallow to me. The water will rise but then go back down after the reservoir is drained. A week so, tops. They might do it if and when the Ukrainians try to cross but that’s not imminent. Water for Crimea is not a small issue for Crimea. It’s not about people not having enough to drink, it’s about the volume needed to keep the farms which cover most of it viable. It’s not ridiculous to suggest that is a factor in Russian decision making.

  6. Sam says:

    Russian officers and collaborators are evacuating Kherson under the guise of a ‘civilian evacuation’ as the Ukrainian army approaches, one resident has said. Russia has declared a civilian evacuation to funnel residents into Russia, but civilians living there say they aren’t the ones being evacuated.

    ‘Mostly it’s families of Russian officers, families of Russian officials and collaborators who helped to organise the referendum,’ said a local Kherson-based activist and organiser, speaking to Sky News on condition of anonymity.

    ‘Among them are teachers and doctors, municipal workers and kindergarten staff. Those who have taken Russian passports.’

    Roughly a thousand people are fleeing a day, but made up mostly of either Russians or those who aided the Russian advance in the early weeks of the war when Putin’s troops captured the city on March 2.

    I’m curious if the Ukrainian army will be able to trap a large number of Russian soldiers west of the river before they can evacuate? It must be slow going getting across with ferries and pontoon bridges.

  7. blue peacock says:

    Russia is staring down the barrel of an ‘inevitable defeat’ in the city of Kherson, the former head of Britain’s armed forced has said.

    General Lord Dannatt, former chief of the general staff, said Putin’s forces are in the midst of a ‘managed withdrawal’ from the regional capital – in southern Ukraine – to avoid a chaotic rout of the kind they suffered last month in Kharkiv.

    Meanwhile the country’s elite are trying to negotiate an end to the war with the West because they realise they have lost, according to the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence branch, Kyrylo Budanov.

    This coming on the heels of the Kharkiv rout says something about the state of the Russian army. This is precisely the position of strength that the Ukrainians need for a more fruitful negotiation. If they degrade significantly the Russian army west of the river in Kherson and then continue their offensives in the east and south there will come a time that Putin finds no choice but to negotiate. This time however, he will not be in the catbird seat.

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