Ukraine Revolt/Civil War News, Reports, Data, etc.


SampanViking

The Capitalist
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From a purely military perspective I am wondering what is the big deal surrounding Donetsk airport? Why does it seem to be constantly under contention?

With all the artillery barrages being traded why doesn't one side or the other just flatten the place while the other side is there? And if it is already flattened why does either side care to "control" it, or maybe occupy would be a more accurate description?
That is a complex question and its importance lies with two specific factors

1) It is a very big piece of land

2) It is the front line of the conflict West of Donetsk

The two factors are not unconnected. They are also very different from the factors at Lugansk Airport. Donetsk Airport is a large modern International Airport, while Lugansk was a much smaller city/regional airport. Lugansk was also completely encircled and unlike Donetsk had no direct contact with the main body of Kiev controlled territory.

What this means is that Donetsk Airport sits as a large block to the West of the City. The Eastern End and buildings are controlled by Novorossiya and resupplied directly from Novo held territory, while the main terminal in the West is held by Kiev and supplied by the towns and villages west of the airport which are under pro Kiev control.
Between the two ends is a very long and wide stretch of open ground, overlooked from all sides and totally lacking in cover. It is a classic WW1 no man's land and attempts to cross it as futile and costly as a WW1 offensive.

This is then the key problem as; being a large open space that occupies a large portion of the Western end of the city, it has caused a break in the ability of the Novorossiyans to push their low intensity advance. It is not an urban landscape, with roads and buildings to move through, nor is the countryside with deep cut lanes, woodland and hedgerows to move along and no isolated checkpoints to attack and capture. It is completely open and exposed.

Why does it matter? Well, think about any International Airports you know. In addition to being a major block to movement along a considerable arc of the front, it also is going to be a hub for major roads and rail for the West of the City. Not only will these communications serve the airport directly, they will also force all major routes around the circumference of the Airport. If you do not control the site of the Airport, you do not control these routes and your ability to infiltrate West is frustrated at all levels. The biggest element of control is the high building on the site which will allow for local dominance and very effective artillery spotting.

There is no obvious low intensity answer from the Novorossiyan perspective. The only way to resolve the problem would a massive offensive that swept along the pro Kiev front from both the South and North and which encircled the Airport and allowed the main terminal to be attacked from the West.
To that effectively you need not only a lot of men, but also some rather specialist artillery and munitions, the sort that only a major military like the Russian Federations Armed Forces would possess.

It is one reason why I have to admit that the current stories being reported
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are at least credible, even if still completely unsubstantiated by any form of evidence.
I also think that for once, the story is being called accurately.

This was confirmed by US Gen Breedlove on Wednesday, who said "Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops" had been sighted.

Gen Breedlove, talking to reporters on a visit to Bulgaria, said the alleged Russian troop deployment may be intended to reinforce "pockets" under separatist control in eastern Ukraine.

This could, he said, help them to form "a more contiguous, more whole and capable pocket of land in order to then hold on to it long term".
You can add to Donetsk Airport the city of Debaltseve where another vital highways interchange is held by Kiev to the prejudice of Novorossiyan forces.

I hope my answer is clear.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
From a purely military perspective I am wondering what is the big deal surrounding Donetsk airport? Why does it seem to be constantly under contention?
It's a large airport with airfields for all sorts of aircraft. It's just that simple.

The military value is significant for the separatists who would bring in supplies, armament, etc. through it.

Same for the Ukrainians...if they could hold it and establish safe airways into it...they can rapidly bring in troops, supplies, ammo, and equipment. Not to mention for the Ukrainian to base aircraft there if they can truly secure it.

The US fought bitterly for over six months over a much smaller airfield on the front lines of World War II in the PAcific.

It was renamed Henderson Field after the US Marines took it from the Japoanese who had orginally built it. It was on a small island called Guadalcanal. You may have heard of it. Very highly contested airfireld in very bitter fighting.

The advanatges of having an airfied, even if the opposition shells it, are very significant. You can repair the craters and bring things in. But you have to secure it to do that...and both sides will try and do that.

That is what is happening with that airport in my opinion.
 
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pla101prc

Senior Member
it'll be interesting to see how this second conflict plays out in the likely event that it does come into being. we'll probably see less of those shortcomings from both sides that were observed back in august, such as lack of heavy equipment for NAF and lack of coordination amongst government units.

The timing of this renewed conflict, however, suggests that it is not deliberate but rather an escalation stemming from a lack of mutual trust. if the fighting were to resume today, both side will have a little more than a month to make substantial gains before being bogged down once again by inclement weather. I simply don't see how ukrainian government forces can rout NAF from donetsk and lugansk in that time frame, nor does it seem possible for the NAF to realize its objective, which i presume would be an evisceration of ukrainian forces' offensive capabilities.

it particularly intrigues me as to how NAF will design its operation and set its priorities this time around. there are only a few objectives within its reach that are worth risking another open war for, mariupol being the most obvious one but seems unattainable since it is already heavily fortified and would tie up too many NAF forces far away from donetsk. donetsk airport and the salient at debaltsev seem to be two modest but achievable goals. with sufficient armour both can be swiftly dealt with and subsequently provide additional buffer between vital NAF choke points and the enemy.
 
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pla101prc

Senior Member
You beat me to it Miragedriver, although I was waiting for a full resumption of fighting before starting a new thread.

You are right to list the restrictions, but do not be too censorious as; although members are invited to take their dissertations on Neo-Liberalism or Marxist Leninism elsewhere, there are areas of objectives and strategy that will be essential in understanding the looming conflict.

The conflict is about to reignite, I think that is very certain. We are seeing an increase in the intensity of the "violations" with massive artillery duels breaking out around Donetsk and of course, the open convoys courtesy of the Voentrog, whihc have been very ostentatiously moving through Donetsk during the last week.

The Fighting though has not yet fully restarted, so; you may ask, why so sure that it will? The answer is that now Russia has the answer to a vexing and complex question, the lack of which was giving the Kremlin cause for pause.

Lets be clear on one thing, The ultimate Russian objective has always been and remains, the removal of the Maidan Government in Kiev and the installation of a new regime that is at the very least neutral towards Russian interests. Russia has of course the military capability to roll through the Ukraine and capture the whole country within weeks, but this is and remains the option of last resort. This is because, not only would there be a ferocious international backlash, but also because Russia would be moving into a quagmire if it did.
A Kremlin spokesman in credited with saying off the record, that although in Eastern areas of Ukraine, that the Russian Army would be greeted as liberators, the further west you go, the more they would be regarded as Invaders and Occupiers and resisted.
It is a fact, acknowledged by Russia, that the majority of Ukraine does not wish to be occupied by Russia. If Russia has no choice, it will go in, but only in the last resort and it will try all other options first.

The restoration of a none hostile Ukraine, is a job for Ukrainians, albeit Ukrainians with substantial Russian assistance. The resistance must therefore come from within the Ukraine itself. The problem here is that the area controlled by the resistance (The regional Capitals of Donetsk and Lughansk and surrounding countryside) is way to small, only the equivalent of one region (albeit a populous and critically Industrial one). The critical mass for an effective regime changing capable opposition would need to be many times larger.

The problem for Moscow was of course, where exactly could they expand to? where exactly would their backed resistance forces would be welcomed as liberators, where would the public mood be permissive and that critical mass acquired?

Well this is precisely what has changed. The recent RADA elections have; through the mass poll boycotts in the South and East of Ukraine under Kiev control, identified precisely the areas where Pro Russian forces would be welcomed and has done so in detail.

Putin now has the template he has needed to be able to plan his campaign strategy and I suspect that this plan is now complete and being implemented. This plan is nothing more than the consolidation of the overly Pro Russian areas under the Novorossiyan flag and for these newly consolidated territories to then take up the challenge of regime change in Kiev.

Does Kiev know this? I have no doubt it does and is the precisely why, the Ukrainian President called the existing resistance held territories a "Cancerous Growth to be removed".

Russia therefore has all the information it needs and has no more need of delay in implementing its plans. Kiev knows what is coming and sees no point in not getting its retaliation in first. Both sides have no reason to delay the rush back towards full conflict.

The Ceasefire is crumbling and most likely to disintegrate within a few days at most.
sampan, any updates on NAF's strength and numbers? I wonder how far they have gone in terms of organizing themselves into a regular army, with a coherent command structure and training regimen to sustain themselves. and what about their equipment? i have been hearing mixed stories on how many armour and artillery they have how adept they have become at operating them. any input on these matters?
 

delft

Brigadier
It is beautiful clear weather but we expect snow within a few weeks. I suppose both parties are preparing for the change of weather.
 

SampanViking

The Capitalist
Super Moderator
VIP Professional
sampan, any updates on NAF's strength and numbers? I wonder how far they have gone in terms of organizing themselves into a regular army, with a coherent command structure and training regimen to sustain themselves. and what about their equipment? i have been hearing mixed stories on how many armour and artillery they have how adept they have become at operating them. any input on these matters?
It is I am afraid murky in the extreme. Neither is it helped by the continuing (or at least unresolved) infighting between various factions. It is the case that the factions seem aligned with political factions/parties in Russia and that my knowledge of these parties is superficial in the extreme and their study would be a violation of forum boundaries.

What I think we can say, is that when the Kremlin, DPR/LPR Political leadership and military leadership are harmoniously aligned, that the Voentorg opens and when they do not it closes. Currently, since the Novorossiyan elections were held, a leadership approved of by the Kremlin was elected and the Voentorg seems to be open all hours!

We also know that consolidation of local groups into a National army is a part of the plan/process, but we keep hearing that certain high profile commanders are still resistant.

As to the numbers, this is also very difficult to establish. The working figure we keep reading is about 30,000 men. That certainly was the figure in early Sept. We also were being told of several hundred armoured vehicles of all types and about a hundred or so other varied artillery pieces. These figures are most likely the baseline figures and based on battlefield trophies taken over the summer.


What is more difficult to ascertain is the consequence of the Voentorg on both men and weapons, mainly because it is not entirely clear of the basis on which both are made available. This of course does not take into account actual RF formations operating as RF formations.

Again these leads to a question, whereby we ask whether a part of consolidating the Novorossiyans into a single fighting force, allows a Staff of very senior Russian officers to "volunteer" a military leadership role and that for proper RF formations to likewise "volunteer" and operate under their local command.

Not surprisingly, these are aspects of the situation, not being widely advertised.
 

pla101prc

Senior Member
It is beautiful clear weather but we expect snow within a few weeks. I suppose both parties are preparing for the change of weather.
wouldn't it make more sense to use the window of opportunity to make substantial gains and switch into defensive once winter sets in?
 

delft

Brigadier
wouldn't it make more sense to use the window of opportunity to make substantial gains and switch into defensive once winter sets in?
That depends on which party will be most disadvantaged by winter weather, your own or the others. And do you trust your estimate. Besides in murky weather it might be less difficxult to avoid blame for starting a more intensive phase of operations.
Another point is that both sides don't have a unified command. Would for example the fascists on the Kiev side try to force their own side into an all out offensive for which the regular forces know they are not prepared?
 

SampanViking

The Capitalist
Super Moderator
VIP Professional
I am not sure how significant the cold will be in a winter war between two former Soviet Armies.
When I think winter in this instance, my thoughts turn to it being dark for a lot of the time and that this will favour the side with the best/most night vision.
 

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