Russian counter-counterattacks

Generally, there are very few reports about what’s going on. Even Putin’s PRBS-machinery is quiet – though there are good reasons for that. The last four days, the Russians run large-scale counterattacks almost everywhere along the frontline: from western Luhansk, all the way down to southern Zaporizhzhya – and all were shredded to pieces.

As already reported in last two updates, the two Russian counterattacks in western Luhansk – one in the Kuzemivka area, the other in direction of Torske – were repelled rather easily. No surprise, actually: Ukrainians are well-entrenched there and this was ‘just’ the fourth strongest Russian counterattack of the last week. Foremost, I cannot avoid the impression that all the involved Russians knew they were thrown into a hopeless battle, perhaps to buy more time until they’re all killed or wounded and the ZSU has to replenish ammunition. The BARS-6 seems to have been slightly more successful in the southern sector of the forest south of Kremina: might have gained a few hundreds of metres along the Siversky Donets River.

North of Bakhmut, the attack by the 54th Mech disintegrated a better part of the BARS-29, but the Russian Potok and Fakel PMCs then stopped the further advance north-west of Yakovlivka. Or Ukrainians decided to stop and wait for DPICM shells. Not sure.

The Russian counterattacks in the Berkhivka area were the second strongest of the last week, and have caused losses to the 57th Motorised, but were paid dearly, and Ukrainians are still inside the village (as could’ve been expected when tanks are sent into an ‘urban’ area without enough infantry support, or when the latter is shredded to pieces by Ukrainian artillery). Foremost, the price for the Russian 51st and 217th VDV Regiments, the 9th and the 1428th Motor Rifle Regiments was horrendous (pay attention: four regiments were sent to counterattack, essentially, a single Ukrainian battalion!). Artillery of the 43rd and 45th Artillery Brigade is heavily targeting the Russian artillery deployed along the M3, plus supply convoys in the same area. Fearing a possible mutiny, the local Russian command is refusing evacuation of any kind of casualties: as far as not already dead, the wounded are left to die where they are. And there are hundreds of them. The commander of the Chechen battalion deployed in this area reported, essentially, that nothing was left to reinforce: gauging by the quality of mobiks around him, he’s expecting the command to, as next, send (quote) ‘miners with picks’ to replace losses.  

South of Bakhmut, the BARS-13, the 374th Spetsnaz Battalion, and the 83rd VDV Brigade launched the third strongest Russian counterattack of the last week, and have managed to push Ukrainians (total of four battalions from four different brigades) back by around 100 metres – but again: at awful price. The ZSU didn’t manage to capture it, but remains in ‘fire-control’ of the village and all approaches to it.

As far as I can say, the biggest Russian counterattack was run in the Vesele area, north of Avdiivka, on 8-9 July. There the 9th Naval Infantry Brigade and the 1454th Motor Rifle Regiment attacked positions of the 110th Mech in force – and were smashed. Literally. Have seen about a dozen of videos from this area, and these are indicating a loss of 20-30 Russian armoured vehicles and over 200 troops… A similar Russian attempt in the Vodyane area ended in the same way…

In southern Zaporizhzhya… next to no news, the last two days. With one exception: I don’t know how many times they’ve tried, meanwhile, but another Ukrainian attack in Zherbyanky was repelled yesterday. Problem: the area is meanwhile so overfilled by mines, that Ukrainians can’t move a metre without de-mining support. And that’s taking time…

Comment: These widespread Russian attacks appear to have largely come to naught, but the lesson is clear. The Russian army does not appear about to surrender en masse or stream back to Russia in preparation for another revolution. That the attacks were at least somewhat coordinated shows that Russian command and control is not broken.

If the Russian attacks were more successful, they could have put a huge damper on the Ukrainian counteroffensive. However, they appear to have succeeded in only committing and attriting Russian reserve forces. They should have been held back until the Ukrainians commit their still uncommitted assault brigades. As an almost side note, the Ukrainians still maintain a lodgment on the left bank of the Dnipro just north of Oleshky. The beachhead has expanded a bit since the early days. Will this develop further or just serve to fix Russian forces in the area?

The Ukrainians are lucky that NATO seems to be in it for the long haul committing to providing continued support into 2024and beyond. Unless something dramatic happens, this war will not end this year.


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15 Responses to Russian counter-counterattacks

  1. F & L says:

    Really gruesome subject not at all to my taste but don’t you think maybe cluster bombs might have a lot to do with “shredding” infantry onslaughts?

    A show of hands – how many think they (CBs) were sent because the US and NATO armories were low on ammo? [ ]. How many think .. ? [ ]

  2. F & L says:

    If ever a rust mead there was there was, this sizzler of read is one is one:

  3. F & L says:

    Hear ye, hear ye! Leadership and truth, for free.
    The good news is, trust me, you won’t need nearly to watch more than a tiny fraction of it. Less.

    Dem House Leader Jeffries holds weekly

  4. F & L says:

    Did you ever grow tired of jumping out of speeding jetliners at 25,000 feet without a parachute because you figured crossing your fingers was good insurance against unlikely injury? Or did you say: “That’s the last time I ever turn on the TV on the back panel of the seat in front of me and watch Wolf Blitzer on CNN — Geronimo!!”

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: ‘No doubt ..’

    • F & L says:

      Actually my comment above is sophomoric and disrespectful. Lloyd Austin aquited himself like a distinguished gentleman. Compare this to what’s on Russian TV and Telegram. They are losing it and are led by fools. We are not led by fools at all of late. We are led by people trying to keep our heads above water due to the greed and excesses of the past 30 years. Austin shows restraint and intelligence. He’s not a brutal killer and he’s not going to do something that will injure us anymore than we are already injuring ourselves. Wolf Blitzer is the sort of neurotic paranoid type that needs to think he uniquely sees a terrible problem that everyone else is too stupid to even see. If he didn’t see one at the moment his conditioning and disposition would cause him to have a nervous breakdown. Lloyd, thank God, is not like that.

      • F & L says:

        Furthermore, Strelkov and some of the other paranoids over there should watch the above interview carefully several times with attention to obvious cues. Set their racial hostility and hate for Americans aside and come to grips with the fact that our Army is not a pack of howling wolves led by madmen. Very far from it. Do you think our military leaders want to see their families and neighbors harmed for the sake of some unbalanced, crummy corrupt businessmen and politicians? By cranking up their paranoia in public, Strelkov is only making those who observe conclude that he hasn’t confidence that they can hurt us. It’s a pathetic display. Putin doesn’t indulge in it. But some of the nitwits on TV sure do. Translate this interview and pay attention.

  5. F & L says:

    Jesus Christ Almighty and all the Saints in Heaven!

    After watching this, you can answer our brief questionaire with more confidence than if you had looked away and covered your ears:

    Why were the Kennedy brothers shot?

    Panelists react to ‘deranged’ and ‘nauseating’ claims by RFK Jr,

  6. leith says:

    The reason these “Russian attacks appear to have largely come to naught” is perhaps as Dmitri has mentioned. The troops used have been grand slammed by their own side even before they got pounded by the Ukrainians:
    a] terrible commanders
    b] no ammo
    c] little to no artillery and aviation support
    d] delays in pay
    e] no R&R

    My two cents on the Ukrainian bridgehead on the Dnipro’s left bank north of Oleshky:
    Yes, they are using it to fix Russian forces in place and thus unable to reinforce against Ukraine’s thrusts at Orikhiv, Pyatikhatky, or Velyka Novasilka.
    But they are also using it to reinforce/resupply the Atesh Resistance in that area. Those partisans have been extremely active behind the lines and just yesterday killed six occupiers and destroyed two trucks in Velyki Kopani. Plus they or other groups have been active up by Nova Kakhovka.
    I suspect they will also do more crossing the Dnipro to probe Russian weaknesses and if possible do an SOF type offensive to try to liberate the delta area of the Dnipro.

    • F & L says:

      The Russians are even more neurotic than us. If this is true (below) about an airborne group protest then Prigozhin’s march through Rostov and Voronezh on to Tula has inspired indiscipline in the ranks. There’s certainly cause aside from Prigozhin as your overly brief list indicates. The head of this Telegram channel was arrested yesterday (M Polyakov) for taking bribes to malign various players because the channel is popular and it can get a good price. Their business model is airing dirty laundry. That’s lucrative in most times but during a war where tens of thousands are dead? Why isn’t it shut down as a lesson? I guess we’re the same – look at Twitter and the fight over social media censorship. I need a strong drink. Or even better ..

    • Klapper says:

      Both sides are engaged in heavy gaslighting of their audiences about the weakness of their opponents and their own successes.

      Case in point: I am skeptical of Tom Coopers description of the Russian counterattacks. In his video link to the Avdiivka attack, there is 1 tank and 6 BMPs shown destroyed/ disabled or maybe just stuck. But at least 3 of the BMPs can’t have come from this battle as there is no creek in the gulley they cross, nor any oiled roads, nor any dirt east west north south crossroad. He claims 20 to 30 pieces of armour destroyed but the link he provides is evidence of maybe 4. Whoever made that video felt the necessity to embellish the narrative.

      And that’s been the whole story of this war.

      • leith says:

        Klapper –

        Why dispute Tom Cooper’s analysis here? You should challenge him directly by posting your comment on his sarcastosaurus blog. He allows comments and politely explains his findings and sources to those commenters that disagree with his post.

  7. voislav says:

    It seems to me that this war is following a tactical evolution similar to the mid/late US Civil War and WWI. Once both sides started building field fortifications, it became difficult to overcome a defensive position by frontal attacks. Nowdays pervasive surveillance and firepower make large formation attacks costly on both sides, so we are progressing through a learning phase on how to overcome prepared defenses in the age of drones and loitering munitions.

    Ukrainians have already changed tactics from the start of the counteroffensive to employ small foot infantry units for probing and attacks instead of armour, while it doesn’t seem like Russians have done so yet (other than Wagner). Don’t know if this will be the answer, we’ll see in the next few weeks.

  8. Those interested in the organization of the U.S. Army,
    in particular divisions versus brigades,
    should find this interesting:

    Between 2003 and 2004, as brigades were standardized or made “modular,”
    assets that had existed mostly at divisions since their creation —
    a signals battalion; military intelligence battalion; artillery brigade; and a brigade full of support and logistics, so-called “enabler” units —  
    were sent to brigades in company- or battalion-sized elements.

    “A division is more than a major general,”
    Nash said during an interview.
    “It’s an ex-brigade commander, chief of staff, a dozen lieutenant colonels who’ve graduated from Leavenworth and probably one or more War College graduates.
    It’s people with brigade and battalion command and staff experience, who can write sensible orders and coordinate effectively.”

  9. drifter says:

    The official US narrative is starting to shift from “everything’s fine” to “Ukraine’s screwing this up”.

  10. Jake says:

    This was supposed to be Ukraine’s finest hour, right? How is it great news if the Russians took the initiative? And how can anyone even be sure about their objectives as they leave their well prepared defensive positions, which haven’t even been reached yet by the Ukrainian forces, which are ‘stuck in the mud’, (or Russian minefields), with their NATO overlords pushing for results, now shipping cluster ammo, because it is all they’ve got left?

    Apart from blowing up bridges, pipelines and dams, and killing journalists, bloggers, submarine captains jogging in the park near their home, these Ukrainian forces are not exactly on the move, while burning plenty of equipment, and men. What if the Russians are not on the offensive, yet, but merely cutting off supply routes, and hunting for the isolated deer in the woods? Just watched an isolated clip of a single Russian T-90 tank, five kilometers plus from the ‘grey zone’ in Ukrainian held territory, geo-located, after which the crew was talking ‘over coffee’ about what they were hunting, but that didn’t exactly look like they were the party being hunted themselves.
    I stopped watching these video’s, and reading all those blogs on a regular basis, but even dyed in the wool NATO propaganda outlets, and the Ukrainian political and military leadership are now acknowledging that any gains they reported are fictitious, and not territory secured.

    If the storyline is shifting in the direction of: ‘Okay, Ukraine is stuck, but the Russians fail to take advantage, because they can’t’, that doesn’t really sound too convincing. I know the Russians ran out of ammo, missiles and tanks somewhere in April last year, as predicted by those well informed sources, but tell me what it is they are fighting with now? (Yes, that is cynical). Please leave some room for the possibility that the Russians are not in a hurry, and if they ‘activate’, they only do so to recalibrate the ‘meat grinder’. This war cannot drag on forever, because the economy of the NATO countries will come crushing down in the not too distant future, and with it the source of Ukrainian hardware and things that go ‘BOOM!’

    No cheap Ukrainian grain, no gas, no oil, the US strategic reserves depleted, and our collective economies running on debt and freshly printed money to buy Kim Kardashian’s underwear, and pay for ‘influencers’ and ‘Tech Firms’ spying on us. And don’t get me started about our ‘All Inclusive Military’, focussed on accommodating various ‘minorities’, catering to all their wishes.

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