by Bernhard at Moon of Alabama
The Wall Street Journal provides another dark frontline story (archived) from Ukraine. It describes the attempts by a airborne company to take Russian positions near Verbove, a town next to the famous ‘Bradley square’ where the Ukrainian counteroffensive had failed:
Just after dawn on Aug. 12, drones swept overhead as they approached the target along a line of trees between farm fields. Kharchenko’s men had been told Russian drones would be downed by Ukrainian jamming equipment and assumed they were their own. Then the drones began dropping explosives. The trees exploded with machine-gun fire. Grenades lobbed from automatic launchers burst around them.The platoon was incapacitated. More than half of its 20 or so men were dead or wounded within minutes, including the medic.
“What shall we do with the injured? F—!” Senior Sgt. Maksym Serheyev, commander of the first platoon, yelled over the radio to his commander. “There are more of them than us.”
The company commander requested smoke grenades to be fired before a rescue mission was sent to recover the wounded without being seen by Russian drones or soldiers.
Why no smoke was used during the first attempt to attack is not explained. Smoke would also have helped during the first phase of the counter attack when dozens of infantry fighting vehicles and tanks ran into minefields and were then destroyed by Russian anti-tank missiles.
When I learned to become a tank platoon leader we regularly requested smoke screens from the artillery or used the smoke grenades mounted on our tanks to hide our movement. The Ukrainian soldiers have done so only rarely:
“This isn’t World War II and Guderian,” said a senior Ukrainian security official, referring to German Gen. Heinz Guderian, a pioneer of Blitzkrieg. “This is World War I and trenches.”
By the end of the day, only three of 22 men in the first platoon remained fully fit.
Verbove remains in Russian hands. Further infantry assaults by Khorol’s men led to further small gains, but more losses and no significant breakthrough.
The WSJ report includes a picture of an old Ural sidecar motorcycle describe as the only means to evacuate the wounded:
The Ukrainian army is said to lose about 30,000 men per month:…Continue Reading