The new masters of maskirovka – TTG

KHARKIV /1440 UTC 9 SEP/ Ukrainian forces have reached the Oskil River south of the important transport and rail center of Kupiansk.  Russian units  are in increasing disarray with the capture of Russian Lieutenant General Andrei Sychevoi, who was the frontal commander.

KHARKIV/ 2300 UTC 9 SEP/ Late reports on 9 SEP indicate that some Ukrainian task units have engaged Russian armor within the city limits of Izium. At present, Ukrainian artillery commands the only road entering or leaving Izium, the 0-211437. This will seal the urban battle space.

Comment: I’ve seen rumors of fighting reaching Izium all day. I haven’t seen any refutations of those rumors. If the map above is accurate, this could be the first major cauldron, outside of Mariupol, of the war. Should be a couple more Russian general officers in this one. With a few more speedy thrusts, perhaps we’ll see mass surrenders rather than mass slaughter. That would be costly for Ukraine.

The success of this offensive was made possible by Ukraine’s deception on a grand scale. The coming assault on Kherson was telegraphed loudly over the entire summer. Sufficient forces were deployed to this front to reinforce the deception. Long range fires and partisan activity were visibly preparing the battlefield for the expected offensive. After all, this was the logical objective for the long awaited  counteroffensive. Even the conduct of the counteroffensive, once it was launched, appeared to give the Russians the illusion of a successful defense if only they committed enough forces, logistics and attention.

Meanwhile, Ukraine managed to mass enough fresh troops in the east to launch a surprise counteroffensive where the Russian line was weakest. Surprisingly, this spot was practically on the Russian border. This attack needed the element of surprise that the Kherson attack deliberately lacked. The Kupiansk thrust was coordinated with supporting attacks towards Lyman and Izium itself. Well, as the Brits say, he who dares, wins.


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46 Responses to The new masters of maskirovka – TTG

  1. Worth Pointing Out says:

    “The success of this offensive was made possible by Ukraine’s deception on a grand scale”


    I posted a comment on this very site on August 31 that the purpose of the Kherson “offensive” was to panic the Russian General Staff into deploying the 3rd Army Corp to the Kherson region, after which the Ukrainians would make a lunge towards Izyium.

    That was obvious to me at the time, precisely because Zelensky spent months talking the Kherson offensive up.

    Now, so sorry, if I can see the bleeding obvious then so can the Russian General Staff.

    This Kharkiv offensive is using at best – at best – half the force that the Kherson offensive used. It is not strong enough to take any contested towns. Nowhere near enough.

    It has penetrative as far as it has because it was launched against a front lightly defended by Lugansk militias and Russian internal security forces, and those forces – the lightest of light infantry – have sensibly been ordered to pull back.

    3rd Army Corp are still out there, still uncommitted to the battle. And when they do the lines will go back to where they were.

    Still, nice optics for Zenensky right now. And, really, that is the ONLY thing that matters to him.

    You are wrong. Completely wrong. A you will be proven wrong before two weeks are up.

    • TTG says:


      Congratulations on your clairvoyance. You should have tipped off your heroes in Moscow. It might have saved them much embarrassment, loss of equipment and supplies and massive traffic jams on the roads fleeing the battlefront.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        TTG, I find your depiction of the Russians “fleeing the battlefield” to be odd indeed, since I have been reading for years your description of your time serving in Germany, where your unit trained time and time again the military art of withdrawing under fire.

        The Russians are withdrawing under fire, and you regard that as cowardice. You trained – hard, apparently – to do the same, and you regarded it as prudent.

        How odd.

        • TTG says:


          Withdrawing (in good order) or redeploying, as Moscow is now characterizing it, does not entail abandoning equipment and ammunition. Nor does it involve losing thousands of prisoners. It may not necessarily cowardice. It may be incompetence or simply a matter of being overwhelmingly out gunned and out manned.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            ..”does not entail abandoning equipment and ammunition”…

            Such as?

            “Nor does it involve losing thousands of prisoners.”

            Thousands, you say?

            Not a single Russian regular army unit was surrounded or cut off. Not one.

            The only force that required Russian paratroopers to a corridor for them were the Rosgvardiya garrison in Balakliia, and their withdraw was completed with almost no loss of men.

        • Sam says:

          This appears to be a withdrawal under pressure. Abandoning expensive equipment to get the hell out of dodge. Maybe this could turn out to be a rout for the Russian military. What are the Russian forces in the Kherson region gonna think about this “withdrawal” – a feeling of being abandoned with limited escape routes?

    • lobo says:

      of course Putin is playing 87d chess…

      in 2 weeks he will RELEASE THE KRAKEN !

      i dont even have a dog in this fight but come on man cant you get a new script?

      the shit they are leaving behind and the POWs the ukrainians are getting, damn I think we need to give the russians a collective oscar

      • Bill Roche says:

        Can’t you get a new script? Papas got a brand new bag? I dunno, but let’s ponder. Russia is getting pushed back by Ukraine. Ukraine? Ukrainians, they don’t even exist yet they push the RM around. N/G says Vladi. What options does he have? Buy N.Korean troops for fuel and food? Demand Lukashnko get off his ass? Lukashnko is Ukrainian and his White Russian Army won’t shoot Ukrainians. What if they turn on Lukashenko. Putin would lose Byelorus.
        Putin has two terrible “Krakens” in the closet. He could use tactical nukes; but if the US gives them to Ukrainians; horror. Pull your poncho over your head, jab your thigh, and die. Or he could draft every young Russian kid and send him off to fight. That’s his only option. But will they go? “Hell no, we won’t go”. I seem to remember. If that happens the myth of Russian superiority is over. If you were “Mr. polonium”, what would you do?

        • lobo says:

          swooosh goes the /s tag… “script” refers to the OP who resembles a certain type of NPC who all reason the same way; it is not referring to the big V

          V is not rational so no point in “predictions” (lol)

          • Pat Lang says:

            Unintelligible BS.

          • lobo says:

            plainer words then, “script” refers to the first poster’s tendency to overcomplicate a story to fit their view rather then take the simplier explanation. The opening posters framing of a elaborate trap fits this. “Kraken” references Sydney Powell who never delivered.

            in regards to predictions, I find attempts to look inside a dictator’s head futile. They are not subject to systemic incentives like an institution is and its a crapshoot. A similar example is Xi’s zero covid policy, there is no way to predict when he would end it. I find Putin similar.

    • jimmy says:

      two weeks away!

      that has been the mantra at Naked Capialism since this thing started.

      the question is: who has been right in the past, and who has been wrong in their predictions.

      the people on tje russian side who were right in the past are saying its going downhill quick.


    • Stephanie says:

      “It has penetrative as far as it has because it was launched against a front lightly defended by Lugansk militias and Russian internal security forces, and those forces – the lightest of light infantry – have sensibly been ordered to pull back.”

      Which brings up the question for this inexpert observer of why the front was so lightly defended, and why more steps have not been taken to secure Russian-held areas. The operation in Kharkiv has reversed months of gains in less than a week.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        Stephanie, why do you think the Russians raised the 3rd Army Corp?

        And why do you think the Ukrainians have launched this offensive at this point of time i.e. before that 3rd Army Corp has been deployed.

      • Mark Logan says:


        There have been several Russian mil-bloggers commenting on the troubling nature of the Ukrainian deployments up north, one (Military Summary) has been predicting this offensive for a couple weeks, so the deployments didn’t escape Russian notice. Have to assume the Russian generals or whomever it is calling the shots brushed it off as a feint to get them to deploy away from the “real” offensive down south.


        • TTG says:

          Mark Logan,

          We noticed this here. This was a Russian blogger’s account of Ukrainian troop rotations at Soledar.

        • Yeah, Right says:

          The alternative is that the Russian General Staff noticed those Ukrainian deployments, looked at their maps, and decided that the territory west of the Oskii River is not worth losing men over.

          As in: they withdrew the regular troops back over that River weeks ago and left the territory west of that line to Rosgvardiya garrisons and Lugansk militias.

          That’s why the Ukrainians have advanced so fast: the Russians decided weeks ago to leave nothing in that area but a scattering of light forces.

          • Sam says:

            Keep the copium going! You’ll need it.

            All the anti-Americans like b can do is keep the faith that God Leader Putin & Xi can screw over the “evil” Americans.

            It looks like the “nazi” Ukrainians have given Putin a significant battlefield defeat. They have no doubt demonstrated that a military with fighting spirit and high quality weapons can take on and even defeat on the battlefield the Russian armed forces.

  2. Graeme says:

    “ panic the Russian General Staff into deploying the 3rd Army Corp to the Kherson region, after which the Ukrainians would make a lunge towards Izyium.”

    Did the general staff panic deploy to Kherson or not? As you say, such deployment was a necessary condition of the Izyum offensive. But if the general staff could have foreseen this, why would they panic deploy and leave such a gap.

    You ignore the possibility that Russia simply didn’t have the troops to defend all fronts. The Russian media panic belies the possibility that this was all a ruse.

    • Graeme says:

      This was meant as a reply to “worth pointing out”

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      “Did the general staff panic deploy to Kherson or not?”

      No, they did not. The 3rd Army Corp has not yet deployed to the battlefield.

      • Graeme says:

        Ah, I misread you, missed the third army corps in deploying. So, your thesis is thin the line, let the ukranians advance, leave the third in reserve, and smash the ukranians with the 3rd, which has not been deployed. Well, time will tell fairly swiftly I expect.

        Incidentally is this one of the third’s vehicles found near Kupiansk?

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          No, that’s actually not my thesis at all.

          My thesis is that the Russians knew that the Ukrainians were planning an offensive in Kherson region, and knew full well that they had sufficient forces in that region to handle the threat, so they didn’t reinforce it.

          My thesis is that the Russians did the exact opposite in Kharkiv: they knew the Ukrainians were planning a second offensive there, and because it was thinly held had to decide if they should (a) reinforce it with 3rd Army Corp or (b) decide it was not worth defending.

          They chose option (b), and that’s why they pulled back over the Oskii River without putting up much of a fight.

          I don’t actually think the Russians will attempt to “smash the Ukrainians” in Kharkiv with anything other than artillery.

          As for what the Russians will do with the 3rd Army Corp I suspect that they will do what they originally intended to do: send it to Donbass.

          Some units may go to the Kharkiv front. Maybe. Maybe not. It will depend what happens in Lyman.

          The Russians can give up all that territory west of the Oskii River because, frankly, the troops that were there (including at Izyum) weren’t doing much and haven’t for months.

          But they can’t give up Lyman without a fight, because if the Ukrainians advance up through that area they’ll get behind the Russian forces holding the line along that river.

          So, no, you still don’t understand what I am getting at.

          • Bill Roche says:

            In your opinion is the Third Army Corp an outfit to be feared. I’m not a military guy so it is a straight up question.. Is the 3rd good, if yes why. Tnx.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            We will both find out within a week, Bill.

            The Ukrainians will launch another offensive in that time, starting towards Pesky and ultimately aiming at Mariupol.

            That’s the offensive where the Ukrainians will run up against the 3rd Army Corp.

            Everything else – the attack on Kherson and the attack in the Kharkiv region – was intended to spook the Russians into committing the 3rd Army Corp somewhere else.

            Within a week, Bill.

            Maybe two, but no more than that.

  3. TTG says:

    In a grand gesture of goodwill, it appears the Russians have vacated Kupyansk, Izium and Lyman. Such magnanimous fellows.

    I predict future US Army officers will be reading about Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyі, architect of the Kharkiv offensive, in future runnings of the C&GSC.

    • borko says:


      It is funny reading the pro Russian blogs and their “analysis” of the current events.

      For example Andrei Martyanov has been heavily and consistently insulting and denigrating Ukrainians and US officials for months, calling them illiterate, uneducated, not understanding modern warfare etc.
      The arrogant buffoon has even been calling Ukraine a country 404, meaning non existent.

      His “expert analysis” of Ukrainian success is that it is just an elaborate Russian trap and anyone who thinks otherwise is an incompetent troll.

      The folks at the Moon of Alabama have even been accepting the official Russian “explanation” of the withdrawal as a part of the plan to focus on “liberating” the Donbass.

      Educated people just gobble it up. Amazing.

    • Sam says:

      After seven months of repelling Russian offensives to a stalemate, what explains Ukraine’s sudden, tumultuous success on the attack?

      It appears to be the product of a brilliant strategy concocted by Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who organised the defence of Kyiv.

      The first phase was to lure Russian troops to the southern Kherson region by announcing a forthcoming counteroffensive to recapture the regional capital.

      ‘[It] was a big special disinformation operation,’ said Taras Berezovets, press officer for the Bohun brigade of Ukraine’s special forces.

      ‘Meanwhile [our] guys in Kharkiv were given the best of western weapons, mostly American,’ he said.

      Among these were US-supplied HARM missiles, which were designed to take out Russian air defence radars, paving the way for Ukrainian air support.

      Once the Russians had massed around 30,000 troops around Kherson to ward off the counterattack, precision missiles took out the fixed bridges along the Russians’ rear over the Dnipro River, leaving them effectively stranded.

      This left Russian lines in the Kharkiv region poorly defended and without many strategic reserves to plug any holes if the Ukrainians broke through, which they did.

      The Ukrainians amassed tanks in the Kharkiv region, which Russian commanders took no notice of, and then launched a classic lightning attack to smash through Russian lines.


      Kudos to Col.Lang and you. Your prediction of Putin’s military reaching a culminating point is vindicated. You’ve been consistent on the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian forces. It appears they’ve taken advantage of the western arms to shift the dynamic on the battlefield. It should boost their morale while increasing doubt among the Russian forces.

      The questions that pop-up are:

      What do the Russian forces now caught between the Dinipero and Ukrainian forces in the south do without the possibility of immediate resupply?

      How do the Ukrainian military not reach their own culminating point?

      How would the Russian forces regroup to launch attacks on the forward positioned Ukrainian forces?

      In any case the invasion of Ukraine has changed the perception of Russian military strength especially among the watchers in the CCP. And now Ukraine’s backers will want to increase their support of the “winning team”.

      • TTG says:


        The Russians west of the Dnipro continue fighting with their stockpiled supplies and the trickle of supplies being ferried across the river. Their eventual choice is leave, surrender or die.

        The Ukrainians haven’t reached a culminating point because they have a robust force regeneration capability made possible by a continuous supply of materiel from the West, Ukrainian and Western training and reorganization programs and Ukraine’s strong national will.

        As to the Russian regrouping, they first have to stabilize a line of defense somewhere. It doesn’t have to be continuous. It could be strong pointing some key terrain. One factor that hinders such stabilization is the mad rush for the Russian border by all the Russia supporters in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts. It’s hard to move into blocking positions, much less position for a counterattack when the roads are jammed with refugees. BTW, Russia doesn’t appear willing to let those refugees flood into Russia. Imagine what that would do to the Russians townfolk who hear the tales of those refugees.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          Again, I do not agree with that analysis.

          My contention is that the Russian General Staff saw the Ukrainian buildup as it was being assembled and made the decision that this region isn’t worth dying over.

          So the regular troops were withdrawn weeks ago, and only a light screening force was left, and left with strict orders to withdraw on first contact with advancing Ukrainian troops.

          If that is correct then the Russian regrouping happened weeks ago, along the line of the Oskii River.

          Those Russian forces aren’t finding it difficult to move into blocking positions because they are already there.

  4. MJ says:

    The UAF has a history of deep armored thrusts.

  5. Barbara Ann says:

    Some say Putin is re fighting the Great Patriotic War, but until now I had assumed they meant metaphorically, not literally. 80 years ago the Wehrmacht trapped the Soviet army around Izium in almost exactly the same way. At least this time it looks like the Russians have decided to withdraw rather than be surrounded.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Neither the RM nor UM can afford the lose of 10M (?) men. Man power’s the name of the game. Do you think Putin will call for a univ. draft. I don’t, here’s why; young Russians aren’t willing to risk their lives to deny young Ukrainians independence. This is not b/c of goodness, or a wish for Ukrainian sovereignty but rather a feeling of “this isn’t worth our lives”. If so it will be the first time in 300 years that an appeal from “Mother Russia” will have fallen on deaf ears amongst the common Russian. It will shatter the idea of a huge unstoppable army of Russian serfs controlling eastern Europe. That’s my guess, no literature (smile) to support it.

  6. Pat Lang says:

    There re idiots here who think We are the same person.

    • Pat Lang says:

      One of the commenters today accused me of dishonesty “can’t get a straight answer.” I should have banned him for ad hominem. Instead, i deleted his trollish crap. Whoever you ere, speak up! so that I can correct my error.

  7. drifter says:

    Dima at Military Summary, in early August, was arguing that the Kherson counteroffensive, if it happened, would be a feint. The “real” counteroffensive would exploit the fatal logistical weakness of the Izium bridgehead. He based his analysis (in part) on open source information that 3 Ukrainian armored brigades were concentrated in the area.

    The Russians knew all of this and yet chose to defend the sector lightly.

  8. Peter Williams says:

    Well, in a week or two’s time, we’ll see who was right, TTG or Martyanov,

    • blue peacock says:

      It is fascinating the anti-americans these sites congregate. Well, I would say Col. Lang & TTG have already been proven remarkably correct in the general direction of the war when it was pretty much a “given” that the “powerful” Russian military would swat down the Ukrainians. Compare what Andrei & “b” were saying 4-2 months ago and what has actually transpired.

      I recall Andrei when he used to post here on occasion brag about the superiority of Russian armaments. In 6 months of war the hypersonic missiles and allegedly superior Russian weapons have at best held the Ukranian military to a standstill. The Russians do not have unchallenged air superiority.

      And I don’t believe a planned withdrawal looks like what has happened with apparently significant quantities of weapons left behind. Now, that doesn’t mean the Russian military has no fight left. Nor does it mean that they will not be able to regroup and counterattack. However, their morale must clearly have taken a hit as they are being chased and cornered.

    • borko says:


      IMO, Martyanov and his like are not analysts but cult leaders.
      They see only what they want to see, ignoring reality if it doesn’t fit his dogma.

      Anyone who offers a different opinion is immediately called an idiot, troll, ukronazi and is banned from the comment section.

      To compare that comedian with the Colonel or TTG is…. well, they should not even be in the same sentence.

  9. Babeltuap says:

    I would much rather have the coastal areas back than enter the middle of a horseshoe right before winter kicks in. Good luck holding it. Gonna need it.

    • Peter Hug says:

      I think there’s a better than even chance that they will have them both. And also a nonzero shot at Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol.

    • Peter Hug says:

      …and it may not be a horseshoe when they’re done rubbishing the Russian lines southeast of Kharkiv.

  10. Leith says:

    Ukrainians, Armenians, Jews, and other Soviet minorities were the brains of much of Red Army victories in WW2. The brilliance of the Soviet Stavka was due to Shtemenko (Ukrainian) and Antonov (a Tatar) in the Ops Directorate. There were thousands of other staff officers and middle managers at Front, Army, Corps and Division. Yeryemenko (Ukrainian) who planned the defense of Stalingrad and later the encirclement of Paulus’s 6th Army never got the recognition of Chuikov or butchers like Zukov and Konev.

  11. Sam says:

    Russia is retaliating against its military defeat in Kharkiv by hitting the power grid across eastern Ukraine, plunging Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava and other cities — and millions of civilians — into darkness.

    Winning hearts & minds in the Donbass??

    • Bill Roche says:

      Replying to yours and mine re destroying Ukrainian power. Putin can’t get the manpower he needs. period. He is left w/3 choices.
      Tactical battlefield nukes.
      Wholesale destruction of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. Big Bombs
      Withdraw w/i the Donbas and Crimea and off Ukraine peace for land.

      I don’t believe Putin will go nuke on the battlefield. Such a move reduces Russia to the disgust of all civilized people.
      He will bomb the ship out of L’vov, Kiev, and flatten Kharkiv.

      His message; Russia will crush the Ukrainian “unter mensch” and Balts and nearby Slavs had better take note. NATO c/n help you when “mother” comes to collect her own. Here is the issue for tomorrow, yes Sept. 13th. How to stop the Russian bombers over Ukraine.

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