July 19, 2024

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have suggested that Russia is relying on infantry-led frontal assaults in its war against Ukraine due to the loss of heavy military machinery and a lack of properly trained personnel.

Source: ISW

Details: The ongoing Russian military blogger (milblogger) discussion of Russian frontal assaults with large-scale infantry highlights the challenges Russia will face employing such infantry attacks to compensate for the issues promoting the current positional warfare defined by General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief.

A Russian milblogger stressed on 11 November that Russia’s practices of launching tactical assaults to storm Ukrainian fortified positions in the forest areas of Donbas would not lead to a broader operational breakthrough at any part of the contact line.

He added that there is no way to train enough Russian troops for the intensive frontal attacks necessary to make a significant advance in Ukraine.

Another milblogger claimed that the Russian forces were about to experience a “real renaissance of infantry combat” as they had fewer tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers around the contact line.

A critical Russian milblogger responded to the comment about “infantry renaissance”, calling it a negative reflection of the loss of Russian heavy machinery and poor coordination at the front, resulting in a shift to assault tactics.

A Telegram channel affiliated with Russian special forces lamented that the reliance on infantry-led frontal assaults was largely attributed to all special forces units deployed in Ukraine, as the Russian command has reportedly used special forces in frontal assaults since the beginning of the war.

The report noted that special forces are not supposed to conduct infantry-led attacks like standard Russian motorised infantry, and some Russian sources are clearly disappointed with the outcome of misusing such special forces units.

ISW analysts pointed out that Russian forces are increasingly relying on infantry-led frontal actions, likely to compensate for the lack of properly trained personnel and the significant loss of equipment.

The analysts summarise: “The Russian General Staff appears to be relying heavily on frontal assaults as the predominant tactic in Ukraine as an important part of the Russian solution to the problems of ‘military parity’ laid out by Zaluzhnyi’s essay on the issue of ‘positional warfare.’

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 11 November:

  • Russian forces launched a large-scale missile and drone strike series against Ukraine on the night of 10 to 11 November, targeting Kyiv Oblast for the first time in 52 days.

  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) was reportedly involved in at least one of three strikes on Russian territory on 10-11 November.

  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to be increasingly sidelining his eldest son, 18-year-old Akhmat Kadyrov, in favour of his younger son Adam Kadyrov [Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia; the Ukrainian parliament has recognised it as temporarily Russian-occupied territory of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria – ed.].

  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced near Avdiivka.

  • Russian authorities have reportedly launched another large-scale crypto-mobilisation wave.

  • Russian authorities continue efforts to fill out the workforce and artificially alter the demographics of occupied Ukraine.

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