Tom Cooper: Nothing inspires ground forces more than the opportunity to see their planes force enemies to flee the battlefield
Austrian military analyst and combat aviation expert Thomas Cooper has been closely monitoring Ukraine's hostilities since the beginning of the Russian invasion. We publish the main theses of his next analysis of the war in Ukraine .
The analysis was published on April 27, 2022.
- The only things that really matter now are that the Ukrainian railway is running at full speed again , that the American HIMARS volley fire systems and the M777 howitzer are already in Ukraine, and that the Ukrainians are already mastering the German Panzerhaubitze 2000, which Germany will provide. … By the way, the Germans are also going to hand over 50 "Cheetahs", which, no matter what anyone says, are not "tanks". mounted on the chassis of the tank "Leopard 1", and even so complex that it takes a long time to train on them).
- The "effectiveness" of Russian cruise missiles was "perfectly" illustrated by the attack on the Zatoka Bridge in the Odessa region, an important link in road and rail connections between southwestern Ukraine and Romania. The Russians aimed three missiles at the bridge: one, without causing any damage, fell nearby, another fell into the water, and a third damaged the bridge. The "higher authorities" stated that the bridge was "blocked", but, according to the Ukrainian authorities, the traffic resumed soon after (even if only on one line - due to repairs on the railway track).
- The Russians are so proud of Caliber's high-precision strike on the munitions base that no one has noticed the absence of "secondary" signs (additional explosions caused by munitions that were blown up).
- Despite eight years of war, Ukrainians do not seem to have figured out how to duplicate such an important and vulnerable infrastructure as the Dniester Estuary Bridge.
- In general, Russia's cruise missile strike is beginning to remind me of Iraq's air strike against the Iranian economy between 1986 and 1987. Whenever the Iraqis inflicted severe damage on oil export facilities on the island of Khark in the northern part of the Persian Gulf, they changed their focus and aimed at something else. Or Saddam, who never even understood the basics of air force control, ordered a missile strike on one of Iran's city centers, distracting everyone [performers] from what really matters ... It all says ... oh- oh ... the military skills of the strategic genius and the "Great Marshal Vladimir" and the ability of "superior bodies" to resist his senseless orders.
- Ukrainian air defense remains effective on the battlefield;
- After 25+ years of endless hype around this type of aircraft, since they were first shown to the public at the Farnborough Air Show, back in, God forbid, 1995-1997, now it's a special pleasure to watch so many Su-34s shot down in this war.
- Nothing inspires the ground forces more than the opportunity to see their planes force enemies to flee the battlefield . Especially in this case, because according to reports from Donbass, Russian Su-25s are really getting Ukrainian troops there seriously.
- BATTLE OF Donbas. During the last two days, Russian "reconnaissance units" [the author had previously ironically said that they were not really reconnaissance, but quite militant. Dovhenky and Velyka Komyshuvakha. And just after they were "quickly stopped", two days ago, on April 25, the Russian army took Dovgenke and entered Dibrovny and Pashkov. The latter lies only 5 kilometers north of the highway and railway connecting Barvinkove with Slovyansk. There is no doubt that the Ukrainians managed to regain control of Pashkov, possibly expel the Russians from Dibrovny, but given the emm ... "quality" of Ukrainian reports, for some reason I'm not sure that things are really good in this area. The only Russian attack in the area,
- The Russians, who are advancing south from Borova, have reached the northern outskirts of Yatskivka, which is not good news either, in part because their artillery seems to have hit a Ukrainian unit buried in the woods south of the morning of April 26. villages.
- Another irony of this war was the search for photographs of whole and working Russian tanks or infantry fighting vehicles: it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them .
- It is also ironic that the Ukrainians still claim that they are holding back the Russians on the outskirts of Zarichny, although it is clear that the Russians were trying to move towards the Lyman, which is 15 kilometers southwest, because on April 25 they ambushed one of the units of the Ukrainian army and captured about a dozen defenders…
- It has never been a good idea to give vague reports on developments on the battlefield, because maps speak quite understandable language.
- Rubizhne has been a field of desperate battle for about five days now. However, we do not have accurate information. Nyzhne and Orikhove [Zolotyi district, Luhansk region - translation) were also brutally attacked: it seems that the Russian army first threw shells and missiles at Ukrainians there, then sent separatists and only then attacked with its own infantry. Not surprisingly, Ukrainians regularly report 10-15 attacks a day. And how polite on the part of the Russians: it was at this time that Lavrov almost in tears narrated the many atrocities against the Russians in Moldova and Ukraine. The way Moscow cares about its "needy brothers" is so touching and so touching.
- There is already confirmation that to the north-east of Popasna the Russians captured what was once Novotoshkivsky - that is, the ruins that remained in its place. After two months of intense shelling, I'm not sure if at least one wall has survived.
- Popasna - or what we once knew by that name - remains a hot spot: the Russians are shelling Ukrainian positions with artillery, missile systems and aircraft - that is, in all available ways, and almost incessantly.
- The Russians have now not only launched an active offensive on Marinka, but are also trying to storm Krasnohorivka, which is north of it, as well as Novomykhailivka, which is to the south. In general, yes, the Russians are "still" moving forward frantically and are still succeeding - especially south of Izyum. But don't be fooled: all their progress is incredibly slow and, in essence, insignificant. They don't seem to have a "second echelon" anywhere to develop any of the minor successes they do. Once again, I do not think that they will be able to achieve at least some significant victory at the operational level. Their operations are primarily based on massive artillery shelling and air strikes, and this is not enough, at least for now:
- However, it should be noted that providing supplies and recreation to troops on the front lines between Rubizhne and up to Vugledar is gradually becoming a problem for Ukrainians . At least, it is safe to say that the destruction of railways in western Ukraine over the past two days was quickly felt in the east. There, Ukrainians are now "nervous" not only by permanent shelling: if the situation cannot be corrected, they may have to repel Russian attacks only with small arms - and this is somewhat ineffective against tanks.
- At the same time, I do not understand what exactly all these [Russian - ed.] Attacks against the massive Ukrainian defensive lines in the east want to achieve. The same troops could be used to attack north or south of the former line of demarcation - they could be much more useful there… but that's me with my advice…
- MARIUPOL As Putin ordered an end to the offensive on Mariupol, Azovstal defenders counted 35 air strikes during the night of April 25-26. Some civilians hiding in the plant's dungeons were overwhelmed with debris, so the Ukrainian military launched a rescue operation. Another critical issue is the situation of hundreds (say more than 500) of the wounded: they are forcibly placed in large groups and in unsanitary conditions. Even access to clean water is a big problem (because there is simply no water).
- SOUTH . The 58th All-Russian Army broke through Ukrainian positions southeast of Zaporizhia: at least, if they did not capture, they approached Trudolyubivka, not far from Orikhiv, and Polohy, north of Molochansk. As always, Ukrainians say the situation is under control, but this could have very bad consequences. Russian artillery for no reason, simply because there are many of them and it has plenty of shells, is subjecting heavy shelling to many settlements in the area: for example, Komyshuvakha was covered by a volley of BM-27 "Hurricane" missiles.
- Further east… To my great surprise, the 70th Russian Motorized Rifle Division survived the Ukrainian shelling from two sides and even captured Novosilka near Zeleny Polye: maybe the defenders ran out of shells?
- Kherson … The situation here, meanwhile, is becoming absurd: on the one hand, the Ukrainian authorities continue to claim an increase in the number of Russian troops concentrated north of the city, a "close" Russian offensive on Kryvyi Rih and active enemy reconnaissance; on the other hand, it reports on the constant successes of the Ukrainian offensive on Kherson, in particular on the liberation of Blagodatny, Kiselivka and Klapai, the attacks on Velyka Oleksandrivka, Novodmytrivka and Bilousove. Thus, the Ukrainians expanded their "corridor" to Chornobaivka, a northwestern suburb of Kherson (interestingly, Kyiv did not confirm the release of Chornobaivka, although it was supposed to happen three days ago).