When the Russians have attacked the vast area of the Donbass, as the Center of Gravity of their military efforts in eastern Ukraine, they have done so by employing other, more primitive tactics, if possible.
Russian attempts to employ their modern combined weapons units, the Mobile Battalion Groups, a kind of demi mobile brigades or light brigades, against the ecumens of Kyiv, in western Ukraine, or Kharkov, in eastern Ukraine, were met with unexpected defeats. Thanks to the effective rejection tactics of the Ukrainian units, employing a mobile defense with cession of space and a favorable terrain for defense, almost always.
After the capture of Mariupol, with its port to the Sea of Azov and its gigantic steel industry Azovstal, the time came to attend and occupy the Donbass’ basin, with the oblast (province) of Lugansk, to the north, next to the Russian border and the oblast of Donetz, to the south, towards the peninsula of Crimea, occupied already in 2014.
In this new performance of the Russian Army, «support» heavy fire is no longer such. It has, as an Army Branch, an Own Use, «per se«. That it is surgical and almost total destruction of Ukrainian positions. This guarantees greater survival to their soldiers in the assault on those positions. Operation, on the other hand, that will rarely be important already.
These are not brilliant tactics, nor exemplary ones they use.
They are similar to the Attrition and Wear tactics employed by Grant at the end of the American Civil War. He systematically chased Lee and attacked him, not caring too much about the cost. But, he wore him down inexorably. And it led him to his surrender at Appomattox in April 1865.
As he won and as in the war is debatable almost everything, Grant was commended for his perseverance, definition and concentration on a decisive goal and other things…
Or, those used by Foch, Generalissimo of the Allies in the Western European theater in 1918. Who hammered uninterruptedly the German positions in some sectors. Until breaking them, bursting behind their lines and trying a shallow exploitation. That always broke the opportune German operational counterattack. And, that only changed his effort to other sectors, when the German resistance was strong or hardened in them.
But this unfailingly exhausted the means available to an adversary inferior to the Allies. And, it led Germany to a humiliating surrender before them. And to the dismemberment of the Second Reich and the establishment of the Weimar Republic. That did not direct positively the desires and wishes of the German people.
They are the tactics of the great mace or hammer on the anvil. In contrast with indirect actions and maneuvers of other generals and theaters of operations and epochs. They have the elegance, cleanliness, speed and efficiency of Foil fencing.
These Russian tactics are more costly, long and bloody. And, they are applicable when:
One’s means are far superior to those of the enemy.
The Russian’ Command and Control structure does not respond effectively to the needs of modern warfare. Regarding the complementary use of maneuver and combat, according to the needs of the command and the taking advantage of the opportunities that arise.
Politicians Only ask the military for victory.
Own commands are mediocre and subject to a «zero fault» control by their superiors. Above all, such commands lack imagination and freedom of action.
We will see bad, costly and painful results.
Campaign’s General Development.
Tactical mobile battalions attack in a sector of between one and three km, according to the intensity of the effort that the brigade leaders want to apply in the area. The mobile battalion, which is the effective autonomous tactical unit of the Russian Army, possesses its own organic artillery. But, for certain missions seeking the wear and tear of the enemy, the division can assign them even one more artillery group in direct support, coming from the reserve of it.
The advance by an attack strip is carried out by a mechanized or motorized infantry company and a tank company, with the corresponding services of the battalion. As fighting takes place on enemy urban terrain, villages and districts, command is exercised by the infantry chief. Which the tanks support from positions further back. Using their powerful cannons with direct fire and HE-type charges, against enemy infantry «support points» and «resistance nests» and anti-tank positions in the infantry zone. In the appearance of Ukrainian tanks and/or Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Russian tanks or a part of them, as decided by the tank command, would quickly switch to anti-tank ammunition and/or smoke charges, if appropriate.
There is no operational exploration by parts of the Russian ground forces here. This function is fulfilled by the many surveillance satellites deployed in space. And, the «unmanned aerial exploration vehicles» or drones launched from the ground by the Army.
It is assumed that all this information collected by several different means and commands, is centralized in a common Intelligence Center.
Responsible for such reception and its analysis and projection for various times, days, weeks, months. Creating a reasonably reliable, up-to-date, continuous and timely Intelligence. That would facilitate to the ground commanders of brigades or mobile groups, in charge of operations.
The mobile battalions in contact only advance a small combat exploration for their different Weapons. To narrow down and outline the various immediate targets that correspond to them.
If the Artillery, Rockets and Tactical Aviation were used at heart in any of the battles of the Campaign, the Russian ground troops would have as mission in that battle the occupation and consolidation of the objective to «assault». In which there would no longer be enemy soldiers, because they would probably have withdrawn in advance to the attack of the Russian ground force.