The Kherson Front – TTG

An editorial appearing in the Kyiv Post

The ongoing news blackout from Kyiv has forced military and intelligence analysts to triangulate reporting from NATO briefings, local social media, and Russian press releases. Each of these sources have their own agendas, and when assessing them it’s often necessary to shift fact from hope, and even lies from truth.

By cross-checking reportage and confirmations across differing media, some facts present themselves. Though operational security prevents reporting the location or strength of Ukrainian combat units, the following information provides a general picture.

A Multi-pronged Offensive

Before the Kherson offensive, the approximate line of contact ran from the town of Snihurivka, 60 kilometers north of Kherson, then southwest to the coastal city of  Oleksandrivka, 50 kilometers to the east of Kherson’s urban area. For much of the summer, this front was stable; occasional Russian probes were limited to platoon or company-sized operations and were generally rebuffed by Ukrainian defenders.

On the 29th of August, Ukraine opened a broad offensive against a 160 Kilometer (100 mile) front in Kherson Oblast. These attacks, though long anticipated, appear to have caught the occupiers by surprise. According to Russian communication intercepts, Ukraine is pressing attacks against four axes.

In the south, Ukrainian formations are reported to be operating on both sides of the M-14 highway in a pair of mutually supporting thrusts toward Kherson. These attacks are known to have made progress in heavy fighting.

Points of Data: Points of Contact

On 2 September, a Ukrainian General Staff briefing stated that Russian artillery had shelled the village of Myroliubivka, a place formerly occupied by elements of the Russian 42nd Combined Arms Army. This information would correlate Russian reports of heavy fighting in and around the villages of  Tomyna Balka and Novodmytrivka. Taken together, these reports strongly suggest that Ukrainian forces on the south flank have advanced as much as 10 kilometers since the start of the offensive.

North of the M-14 highway, Ukraine has launched a third attack against the Russian occupied town of  Snihurivka. At Snihurivka, Russia’s line of defense bends ninety degrees, roughly following an easterly turn of the Inhulets River. Here, a fourth Ukrainian thrust has also made significant progress.

Ukraine’s Deep Threat

Twenty-five kilometers east of Snihurivka, near Male Artakove, Russian intercepts indicate that Ukrainian forces have effected a crossing of the Inhulets River. NATO Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) E-3 reconnaissance aircraft have been surveilling this sector. Their missions reveal that Russian units have been driven back from the Inhulets River and have been forced out of the villages of  Lozove, Andriivka and Sukhyi Stavok. Exploiting this breakthrough, Ukrainian units have driven east, taking the town of Osokorivka, and with it, an additional 10 kilometers of the north of  the Dnieper.

These gains threaten to flank the Russian occupied city of Snihurivka, which many analysts see as the apex of Russia’s western line of defense.   Of all of Ukraine’s reported successes, the crossing of the Inhulets east of Snihurivka is likely to be the most important, as it has the potential to unhinge the northern half of Russia’s Kherson defenses.

Truth or Silence?

Analysis is impossible without an adequate picture of this rapidly changing battle space, and already reporters are growing frustrated at the lack of official information. What’s been stated here will not be news to the Russians; they know where they are being attacked.  As their ammunition dumps and logistics depots go up in flames around them what the Russians do not know is what the Ukrainians plan to do next.

Ukraine’s operational plans should, and will, remain secret. Ukraine has the right to request that the media report responsibly on the Kherson offensive. The exact locations, intentions and strength of Ukrainian units need not be reported, but the government has an obligation to inform the Ukrainian people, and the nations that support them, of the progress of the war.

Without official briefings, Kyiv runs the risk that the people of the world will forget the sacrifices made by Ukraine’s fighting men and women. The victories won by Ukraine in Kherson deserve to ben known. Ukraine’s fight for freedom is too important to unfold in darkness.

A US Department of Defense briefing this week said crisply, “Some Russian units are retreating”. That understatement is confirmed by what little the Ukrainian General staff has reported, and what the Russians have inadvertently revealed.

The Russians will be the first to learn what happens next.

KHERSON /1250 UTC 6 SEP/ UKR continues to exploit a bridgehead across the Ingulets River, east of Snihurivka. UKR has been able to sortie Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions w/ NATO supplied HARM anti-radiation missiles. Air parity has allowed >20 UKR airstrikes.

Comment: This opinion piece and map are, in my opinion, the best guess of what’s happening on the Kherson front. There are a few photos and videos coming out, one showing a Ukrainian tank on the advance taking out a Russian BMP at close range. I think both the attackers and defenders are spread out over a wide open battle area. Massed troops and armored vehicles are easy targets for either side’s artillery. That’s reflected in the blended, intermixed forward edge of the battle area. There is no edge. Both defenders and attackers are dispersed. I know Colonel Lang advised that “Ukraine should seek a decisive battle which breaks Russian will to continue.” I do think the immediate objective is to reach the Dnipro at Nova Khakova, but that advance is certainly not a massed speedy thrust. I do not think such an immediate and concentrated thrust to the river would break the Russian will. It would likely give the Russians the clarity of a well identified mass target for their artillery which, apparently, is still formidable.

The situation brings to my mind Rommel’s actions in the cauldron at the Battle of Gazala in 1942. He held that on a confused battlefield, the better organized and led side would prevail. I believe that’s what’s happening in Kherson. Exactly what effect will forcing the Russians to the far side of the Dnipro have on the war? Will that break the Russian will to continue? I think it may take more than this. The next offensive should strike south from Zaporizhzhia towards Melitopol and the Azov Sea. That might do the trick.


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42 Responses to The Kherson Front – TTG

  1. JamesT says:

    An interesting (and I think balanced) Twitter thread on how the average Russian is doing and feeling:

    If Putin can keep his people on side he can, I think, defeat Ukraine on the battlefield.

    • TTG says:


      That’s probably about right for the average Muscovite. That’s the capital of the empire. What’s it like out at the fringes of the empire? Like Yakutsk or Ulan-Ude?

      • JamesT says:


        The guy who wrote the thread is an expat (I think an American) who is back in Russia visiting friends. He is very upfront about how most of his friends are young well educated Moscovites and he characterizes them as being very much against the “operation”. He says that like young people in the US none of his friends watch TV.

        The further you get from Moscow and the older you get – the more you support the operation according to him. He says it is basically highly correlated to how much TV the person watches.

    • Polish Janitor says:

      Russia has an authoritarian style of government. So based on this you assumed Putin gives two F’s about the Russian public opinion vis-à-vis his “special operation” in the Ukraine? How about the ordinary widespread urban opposition to the war early on? or the elite defects? Do these count as public opinion and support too?

  2. Pat Lang says:

    Rommel is hardly an example of a commander who would move so slowly that his force would present a massed target and Gazala with its wide swing of his forces around the British left flank into their rear is not an example of a battle fought on a broad front.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Indeed he wouldn’t. But here we are observing the Romm Elves of the planets Klepton and Crept On.

      • Pat Lang says:

        I should make it clear that I don’t doubt that there is a lot of thieving in Ukraine as there is everywhere including in the US. The Biden crime family would be an example but that does not cancel out the need to stop Russian aggression and now a clearly stated policy of ethnic irredentism. It remains my opinion that if Ukraine fritters away its strength in an attritive war it will lose in the long run in spite of the poor quality of Russian forces.

  3. Christian Chuba says:

    Ukraine’s stated strategy was to blow up all of the bridges and force the Russians on the wrong side of the river to use up their ammo. If that is happening then we should expect to see Russian artillerhy diminish. If the Russians get real low on artillery shells they might even start targeting Ukraine’s military instead of civilians (yes, this is sarcasm).

    —– If Gen. Keane or anyone in the U.S. State Dept reads this site, I just gave you the next talking point. Just say that Ukraine is starting to dominate Russian artillery.

    In any case, the truth will finally be known in a matter of days or weeks. If Russian resources are dwindling, they will break. If Ukraine is suffering heavy casualties then they will be forced to abandon their attacks.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      There is no real need for the Russians to base their artillery west of the river.

      They are perfectly capable of supporting the ground forces in and around Kherson city from firing positions east of the river.

      The artillery only needs to move across the river when Russia goes on the offensive because, obviously, they need to keep pace with advancing Russian ground forces.

      But on the defensive those artillery units can do their job from where they are, and where they are is east of the river.

      • JamesT says:


        Wow. That had not even occurred to my mind that is unschooled in these matters. Thanks for pointing it out.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          Thanks for the sarcasm, JamesT. Never encountered it before on these pages. Ever.

          First time for everything, I suppose.

          Meanwhile, back with the rest of the people here who aren’t thundering boors, I’ll just point out CC’s question begged the answer that I gave.

          Someone posed a question, someone else answered that question.

          Isn’t that what a “committee of correspondence” is supposed to be about?

      • Christian Chuba says:

        It was Ukraine and others (not me) who said that blowing up bridges, depots, etc was meant to create shortages for the Russians in Kherson. Since I consider all reporting on Ukraine to be tainted, I am trying to read in between the lines to see what is happening. For weeks I heard the ISW crowd and Ukraine talk about their success in doing this.

        If there are no obstacles to Russia supplying artillery shells then what should we expect Russia to run out of?

        • TTG says:

          Christian Chuba,

          It’s a long way from North Korea to Kherson. I’m surprised that Russia would need more artillery shells than what they already have. I guess those exploding ammo dumps are having an effect coupled with Russia’s massive burn rate of ammo over the summer.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            TTG, you really should read the Pentagon presser on this: they openly admit that Russia HAS NOT purchased any munitions from North Korea.

            The explicitly say that they have no Intel suggested that money has changed hands, let alone that deliveries have begun.

            What they have is Intel that Russia is talking to North Korea regarding what he latter can supply.

            You know, that “contingency planning” stuff that a Defense Department and a General Staff should be doing because, you know, that’s their job.

  4. John Merryman says:

    I commend you for a pretty objective overview.
    That said, I do think the Russians have a logistical advantage and this will prove to be the Ukrainians biggest strategic error. They committed far more assets than they can afford to lose and the Russians are mostly just drawing them in and cutting them off. It would have been far better for the Ukrainians to dig in for the winter and plan long term. This seems more of a political move, to get attention. If the Ukrainians can’t hold this ground and get pushed back, it will likely be they will be pushed back further than their original lines. Time will tell, over the coming weeks.

    • TTG says:

      John Merryman,

      Russia is now purchasing ammunition and artillery from North Korea. I didn’t think they’d be at this stage until much latter. This is not the time for the Ukrainians to dig in for the winter. That’s ceding the initiative to the Russians.

      • John Merryman says:

        Time will tell. Though I don’t see buying NK stock as any big deal. It’s probably been sitting around for thirty years and they got a deal on it.

        • TTG says:

          John Merryman,

          Yes, it’s old Soviet era ammo that the Russians are buying back. I find it hard to believe Russia is going through all their own old Soviet stocks, unless corrupt oligarchs sold a bunch off over the years.

          • John Merryman says:

            Remembering the 90’s, highly likely.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            They had enough to fight Nato in an actual all out war, right? That’s a huge amount. It is quite hard to swallow. Who would or could buy all that stuff and not be detected by DIA and CIA and the others? I guess the US certainly would have tried? Did the Rumsfeld and Cheneyites under Dubiius the Firsto start the wars on Stairfloors just to deceive the Rooskies into selling off as much of those stocks as possible to our opponents in those wars? (Then the corruption concept kicks in and it’s insufficiently restocked?) If so, the devil will be impressed a weevil bit. But he plays for stakes at least as high, who knows.

            This move described by Dr Ow strikes me as possibly providing diagnostic material of situations and desires.

            Russia makes a U-turn on reciprocity policies

            Russia makes a U-turn on reciprocity policies as regards issuance of tourist visas to foreign nationals

            This news item very likely will not appear in mainstream, though it represents a stunning victory of pragmatism and common sense by a government engaged in a bitter and costly war that has a heavy ideological dimension.

            Today in a meeting with government administrators and stakeholders in the tourist industry, Vladimir Putin said publicly that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will break with its traditional insistence on full reciprocity in relations with other states as regards issuance of visas to citizens of “unfriendly countries.”

      • Bill Roche says:

        Ok the Russians are lighting up the night and they need more ammo. But why N. Korea and not China? Can these purchases be high tech ammo or suppressing fire? Interesting, in a world of nations the Russians have three states to go to for help … North Korea, Iran, and China. My mother would often remind me, “Billy Boy, people judge you by the friends you keep”.

        • TTG says:

          Bill Roche,

          This is old Soviet ammo that was sold to the North Koreans decades ago. Now the Russians are buying it back. China is playing it cool and not supplying ammo or equipment to Russia. They don’t want to be chained to a dead man.

        • jim ticehurst.. says:

          Why Is Russia getting Weapons from North Korea and Not China…There are Reports in Reuters and New York Times..about that Reason..Its Because U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Warned The Chinese in
          April 2022 That They If China violated Sanctions..
          Then The United States Would Shut Down Chinese CHIP Manufactures Like…SMIC..
          There is a Good Article in the New York Times..About Russia Buying NK Artillery shells in Larege Amounts..(Millions)Lot of Data There NYT..Russia-Ukraine War..Artilcle Sept 5 ,2022 by Julian A, Barnes..

      • Fred says:


        Does this not establish a payment mechanism and logistics infrastructure to allow the Russians to buy Chinese (or western) electronics and other merchandise using North Korea as a cutout? None of the financial transactions, due to sanctions, will pass through the SWIFT system and the West will be blind to what is changing hands or how much money is flowing where.

        • TTG says:


          North Korea is certainly not a back door to the Western economy. They’re more isolated than Russia. If North Korea is smart, they’ll barter for food and energy in exchange for artillery shells.

          • Fred says:


            North Korea can not buy from China?
            China can not buy from Western countries? Or sell products they make for Western countries to North Korea?

            That is a unique line of reasoning.

  5. Fred says:

    Zaporizhzhia? Isn’t that where the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant attack/capture operation got shot up so bad it disappeared from the Western news?

    • TTG says:


      That amphibious assault was a figment of some Russian trolls’ imaginations. It never happened. Even the Wagner bloggers know it was all bullshit.

      • Fred says:

        So they managed to troll RT as well as bunch of blogger. Good to know.

      • Tidewater says:


        If three or four hundred men went down in that reservoir, we do know that in a few more days they’ll be back up. Last evening I glanced at a bit of video of what was identifiably two uniformed male bodies–helmeted, weren’t they (I think), and one helmet was unusual, maybe white?– being pushed in a slight surge against the shore of a place that was not oceanfront. They were said to have been a part of that business.

        There are said to be some British dead. Passports, papers?

        I think it was an SAS operation; some SAS operators went along with the guys they trained, in accordance with their code.

        “We are the pilgrims, master, we shall go always a little further…” (James Elroy Flecker, ‘The Road to Samarkand’.)

        I think that we will hear more about this. And there are said to be two Ukrainian prisoners?

        I suspect that there is a mole at the highest reaches of the Ukrainian government.


  6. Fourth and Long says:

    One of the Chanel fragrances I wallow said the entire front erupted with counteroffensives. He especially mentioned the “Kharkov front,” then corrected himself to say “maybe I should say Kharkov Oblast front because most of the action is not Kharkov city proper. Not a Demosthenes. Strelkov sounded depressed yesterday about prospects, but he’s a gloomy sort. Only thing I feel confident saying is that the news blackout is reasonably effective. Some accounts make it sound like Otto Skorenze is generaling the Ukrainians with his green devilss. But that was the Ru propaglandularist Mercouris. Maybe he’s right. Maybe between 1 second and the next the second hand zigzags back and forth invisibly 10 to the 40th times enabling time travel to Richardo Montelbalm on Fantizzy Wireland. Maybe Neigh Toenails said what would Howdy Doody do to end this, he called to say seig Hi Low hates are wild and sent the 15,000 that Merdsurious says died yesterday and db to intended death.

    Only comment I would seriously put to a professional like Col Lang would be: 15,000 in one day? I’m stunned if so and highly highly skeptical. That’s WWI casualty numbers.
    So, out of respect I don’t pose it. It’s absurd, or am I wrong? Sans carpet bumbling, only artkillery and automatic rifles?

  7. Sam says:

    Russian commanders in Kherson face mutiny as entire regiment refuses to fight due to lack of supplies and no pay while Ukraine continues a series of counterattacks

    I can’t judge the accuracy of this reporting. However, it jives with TTG’s analysis that the Russian military in the Kherson area have supply constraints. If their logistical situation doesn’t improve winter will not be their friend.

  8. Peter Williams says:

    Another view of the Kherson offensive.
    I won’t claim that it’s accurate, as I distrust both side’s information in this war.

  9. Al says:

    This in Defense One blog today:
    September 7, 2022

    Ukraine’s counteroffensive seems to be making surprising progress against Russian invaders sprawled along a roughly 50-kilometer stretch southeast of Kharkiv. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal’s roving correspondent, Yaroslav Trofimov, who is watching the “Balakliya-Izyum front as Russian military bloggers and analysts remain in doomsday mode,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

    “Lots of videos of Russian POWs (including a lieutenant-colonel) and abandoned Russian positions” coming from that region, he writes, and notes, “The speed of the Ukrainian advance seems to have stunned everyone.” Russia also appears to be losing trucks and tanks at a familiar rate, almost akin to its failed sprint to Kyiv nearly six months ago.

    So, what’s the plan for Ukraine? Unclear precisely, of course. But analysts like Rob Lee point to this illustrated summary, which suggests perhaps obvious northeasterly intentions to break through Russian lines. (Lee started a tweet thread with updates related to the apparent offensive, and you can review that here.)

    The Brits say three main fronts are receiving the bulk of the action nationwide. That is, “in the north, near Kharkiv; in the east in the Donbas; and in the south in Kherson Oblast.” And those three pressure points are very likely posing problems for Russian officers trying to decide where to allay reserves to support an offensive in the Donbas, “or to defend against continued Ukrainian advances in the south.” And that suggests Ukraine’s recent progress appears to be pinching Russian commanders in a fairly efficient manner.
    [Must be some reporting going on through the “black out”.]

    • Barbara Ann says:

      “The speed of the Ukrainian advance seems to have stunned everyone”

      Everyone who doesn’t read this blog.

  10. Eliot says:


    The offensive may be a political imperative, but it’s a very bad idea. Ukraine doesn’t have the firepower to take the Russians head on. They have little to no air support, and a fraction of the armor and artillery they would need.

    They’re just exposing their reserves to destruction.

    – Eliot

    • TTG says:


      It’s my opinion that you don’t know what you’re talking about in these matters. Kherson isn’t Ukraine’s only offensive. I’ll post about it soon.

    • Bill Roche says:

      El, the alternative is to engage the Russian bear in a battle of attrition. How do you think that will end; Little Ukie vs Big Bear. Were I the RM I would happily hold on and constrict my enemy (anaconda anyone) until their western support wore out, their economy broke, and the US c/n continue to arm them. Ukrainian strategy must be to hit w/a wallop, kill as many RM as possible, run away, find another place and do it again, and again. Thus demonstrating to other nations, and Ukrainians, that their independence can be won.

  11. Eliot says:


    The Ukrainians will suffer even heavier casualties going on the offensive. They’re attacking a numerically inferior enemy, yes, but the Russians are much better equipped, and much better supplied. There’s a sharp disparity in firepower between the two forces.

    The Ukrainians fire around 6k artillery shells a day. The Russians fire somewhere between 40k to 60k, a day. I saw one estimate of 80k.

    I believe the Ukrainian effort around Kherson has already stalled out, for this reason.

    The Ukrainians can replace the men they’ve lost, but the heavy weapons they’ve losing here are irreplaceable, we’ve sent everything we could send, there nothing left to give, and the Ukrainians we’re already critically short on tanks, ifvs, and artillery of all types.

    The offensive will speed up the Ukrainian defeat.

    – Eliot

    • borko says:


      yes, the Russians are firing more ammo, but if most of that ammo is hitting an empty field, how effective is it ?
      Only a very small percentage of their artillery fire is corrected.

      On the other hand, if your resource is limited you will think hard about the best way to use it.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Eliot; All of that was the case back in February. Logically then, Ukraine s/h simply said “I give, so give it to me”. They won’t do that.

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