A week after liberating Ropotyn, a key stronghold on the road to Melitopol in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, Ukrainian brigades are turning their attention to the next town along the same axis: Novoprokopyevka.
But every indication is that the main assault brigades – the 46th Air Mobile Brigade and the 82nd Air Assault Brigade – will not attempt to directly attack the Russian positions at Novobrokopyevka, a pre-war town of 800 that straddles T0408. Route /0401 runs south through Tokmak to Melitopol, 50 miles away.
No, the glutes are centered easttowards the city of Verbov. Their goal appears to be to free Verbov in order to surround Novoprokopyevka.
It’s a sound strategy. After all, it has worked before for the Ukrainians in several major engagements since they launched a sweeping counter-offensive starting in early June.
The month-long battle for Robotyne was a turning point in the Ukrainian counter-offensive. By slowly grinding through Russian minefields and trenches around the city, the Ukrainian brigades were able to corrode the Russian 58th Combined Arms Army and other Russian formations, destroying a Russian vehicle opposite each. Ukrainian vehicle l Russians destroyed.
The one-to-one ratio in heavy equipment losses defies history. Traditionally, the attacking army must muster three times as many forces as the defending army to have any chance of success, and must expect to suffer three times as many losses as the defender, even in the event of victory.
Ukraine’s growing advantage in front-line artillery—hundreds of Western-made howitzers and rocket launchers that fire cluster and guided munitions—helps explain the equal overall casualties. Significantly, the Ukrainian artillery destroyed three or four Russian howitzers and launchers each Ukrainian howitzer or launcher Russian The gunners are fired.
When the exhausted Russian regiments fled Robotyn on August 23 and the Ukrainian Army’s 47th Mechanized Brigade raised the Ukrainian flag over the ruins of the city, it was clear what would happen next. The next target, Novoprokopivka, can be seen from the higher ground at Robotyne, about a mile away.
but how Ukrainians on the move at Novoprokopyevka speak of their growing experience on the battlefield, 19 months into Russia’s broader war on Ukraine. Borrowing a plan from the Ukrainian marines — which had liberated the town of Oruzhain, 60 miles east of Robotyn, by encircling it and starving out the Russian garrison — the Ukrainian air assault forces, the 46th and 82nd Brigades, turned east rather than rolling south.
The Russian garrison at Verbov – a motorized rifle regiment, an SS brigade and three reserve battalions – is much smaller than the Russian garrison of seven regiments at Novoprokopyevka.
The Russians could divert their forces to Verbov to try to block the attack of the 46th and 82nd Brigades. They could also designate elements of Verbov’s 76th Guards Assault Air Division, which the Kremlin appears to be moving from eastern Ukraine to the south in a desperate attempt to stabilize the front line.
But the 76th GAAD is the last available in the Kremlin. So, if the commanders reinforce Verbov further, they must do so at the expense of other strongpoints along the southern front line.
If the Kremlin does the right thing and reinforces it verbosity Garrison with elements Novoprokopivka garrison, it could create an opportunity for other Ukrainian brigades in and around Ropotyn — including the battle-hardened 47th and 65th Mechanized Brigades — to do what the 46th and 82nd chose. no What to do: directly assault Novoprokopyevka from north to south.
In this sense, the efforts of the air assault forces around Verbov could be the main effort of the Ukrainians in their attack on Melitipol, or it could act as an offensive. transformation to support TRUE The main effort is further to the west. It all depended on what the Russians chose to do: either sit at Novoprokopyevka and hope that the Verbov line would hold, or consolidate their position. verbosity and we hope Novoprokopivka line holds.
It’s an unhappy situation for the Russian forces: the choice between two bad options offered to them by the Ukrainians thanks to the Ukrainians’ clever deployments.
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