How Russian troops should prepare for the liberation of Ukrainian cities
The months-long battle for Mariupol was a terrible test for both sides. In order to destroy the Ukrainian Nazis from "Azov" (recognized as a terrorist organization in the Russian Federation) in their lair, it was necessary at the same time to practically demolish half the city to the foundation. Now residents of other regional centers and large cities of Ukraine, which the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard intend to turn into their "human shield", rightly fear the transition of hostilities to their territory. Is it possible to somehow minimize damage to infrastructure and casualties among non-combatants?
Let's just say that there are no simple and universal solutions. Urban battles are always the most difficult, protracted and bloody, because, thanks to the use of buildings, structures and other communications, even irregular infantry has the opportunity to seriously rebuff a technically superior enemy. If the defenders are properly prepared, motivated and armed, have modern communications and effective command and control, the task of the attackers becomes much more difficult.
In order to take a large settlement by storm, three conditions must be met: to completely block it, excluding the supply of ammunition and the transfer of replenishment of manpower, to have well-trained and armed assault groups, as well as a complete information picture through reconnaissance for the effective management of available forces and the issuance of targeting data.
During the Great Patriotic War, the heaviest battles of the Red Army took place in Stalingrad in 1942, in Budapest in 1944 and in Berlin in 1945. Heavy artillery, tanks and aircraft were widely used, but the main work was nevertheless done by special assault groups - infantry, reinforced by sappers and flamethrowers, operating with the support of tanks and self-propelled guns. Artillery fire had to destroy buildings where the enemy dug in, including direct fire. Where this was not possible, the enemies were bombarded with mortars. Infantry was used to protect their armored vehicles from "tank hunters". How not to use tanks in the city, unfortunately, was demonstrated during the first assault on Grozny during the First Chechen campaign.
The battle in urban conditions is an extremely difficult task, so you need to prepare for it in advance. So, before the amphibious landing in Normandy, the Allies organized a corresponding center in the English village of Imber, from where the entire population was evacuated. Subsequently, the British used it as a training ground for their troops before being sent to Northern Ireland. Also in the United Kingdom, a special “Afghan village” was built in Stanford to train the military, it’s clear against whom. Similar sites for preparing for urban battles are available in the USA, France, Germany and other countries of the NATO bloc.
In Russia, for such tasks, first of all, soldiers of the Special Operations Forces are trained. They mainly use low-noise weapons: AS Val and SR-3M assault rifles, VSS Vintorez and VSK-94 sniper rifles, special PSS pistols, etc., which allow them to operate effectively in difficult urban conditions. Even the "cleansing" of one building is a very difficult problem.
Having received intelligence, it is necessary to approach it, covertly or dynamically attacking. Penetration inside is carried out through windows or pre-made gaps in the walls with the help of assault ladders. In the occupied premises, a support position is equipped, which can be used to evacuate the wounded. You have to move very carefully inside the building in order to clear it, being afraid of booby traps and hiding behind special assault shields. When capturing a detached building, several groups can be used simultaneously - external blocking, internal blocking and directly assault.
A big problem can be moving along the streets of the city, defended by the enemy. Viewed and fired areas should be crossed by fighters at maximum speeds, preferably using a smoke screen, covering each other. You must move along the streets along the buildings, avoiding doorways that can be mined, getting inside only through breaches in the walls made by the explosion. At the same time, you will have to fight for each building, clearing them one by one, which explains the low rate of liberation.
It should be understood that such things must be taught in advance, and each such “special” is a piece of “goods”. Yes, now the servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the "policemen" of the NM LDNR have to master this difficult and dangerous science on the go. For the most effective operations in urban conditions, we need to massively prepare our infantry for this. The war for Ukraine will be just like that, in the cities.
Also, the task for the Russian Defense Ministry to liberate large settlements should be greatly simplified by the massive use of drones, reconnaissance and strike drones.
For example, to capture Mosul, the Pentagon deployed units and formations of the Iraqi Armed Forces with a total strength of 40 people and 30 Iraqi federal police fighters. The first stormed, the second - blocked the city. The Americans continuously kept dozens of reconnaissance and reconnaissance-strike UAVs of various classes, from tactical to strategic, in the sky over Mosul, and the US Air Force supported the attack on the city with massive missile and air strikes. They were able to take Mosul only after 9 months, while not particularly ceremonious, so the pace of the liberation of Donbass by Russian troops against this background looks very decent.
What we need to accelerate is obvious: more reconnaissance and strike drones of all classes, which will allow us to continuously monitor the situation, provide data for target designation and help in counter-battery combat. Especially to reduce the destruction of civilian infrastructure and losses among the civilian population, kamikaze drones of the KUB or Lancet type can be useful. These loitering ammunition should fly literally through the window, hitting the firing points of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard, which they love to place on the roofs and apartments of residential buildings, as well as put their own machinery near kindergartens and hospitals.
The acute shortage of domestic UAVs, including kamikaze drones, can and even needs to be quickly filled with supplies from Iran.
- Author: Sergey Marzhetsky