As the last few weeks of spring have shown, the operational and tactical situation at the Donbass theater of operations has again found a steady tendency to aggravate until the probable resumption of escalation of hostilities in key operational areas along the contact line between the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, as well as controlled by the Ukrainian military formations of the territories of Donbass. Eloquent evidence of this is:
- repeated intensification of artillery attacks by mortar batteries of the 28th and 72nd separate mechanized and 128th separate mountain assault brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in residential quarters of the LDNR settlements located near the contact line (Gorlovka, Dokuchaevsk, Spartak, Yasnoe, Novotroitskoe, Aleksandrovka, Kominternovo, Sakhanka, Molodezhnoye) and advanced fortified areas using both full-time 82- and 120-mm mortars BM-37 and 2B11, and compact 60-mm company mortars M2 "Mortar" and / or KBA-118;
- more frequent cases of firing of grenade launcher calculations of the above brigades and other units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the private sectors of numerous (including the above) settlements located in the immediate vicinity of the contact line with the use of 6G3 / 5 RPG-7V / D / N anti-tank grenade launchers, and machine-gun anti-tank grenades the SPG-9 family “Spear” (“boots”), which led to the partial destruction of dozens of residential buildings, damage to gas pipelines, power lines and substations, as well as injuries and deaths of dozens of civilians of the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics;
- the resumption of regular counter-battery “duels” between the artillery units of the 1st and 2nd army corps of the LDP People’s Militia and the artillery brigades of the Armed Forces with the use of barreled artillery (self-propelled guns 2C1 “Gvozdika” and 2C3 “Akatsiya”, as well as towed field howitzers D-30 , 2A65 Msta-B and 2A36 Hyacinth-B), the initiators of which in all cases without exception are the Ukrainian side.
Again on the verge of escalation
Against the background of the predictable resumption of reconnaissance UAV flights of strategic radar and optical-electronic reconnaissance of the US Air Force RQ-4A / B Global Hawk, which carry out the detection, classification and identification of units of armored vehicles and artillery deployed along the contact line of units of the army of the LDNR NM through onboard AFAR X-band side-scan radars AN / ZPY-2 MP-RTIP in synthesized aperture (SAR) mode and multi-spectral long-focus turret optoelectronic systems SYERS-2B / C with the ability to conduct photo and video shooting in 8 ranges and optically magnify reconnaissance objects of the order 40-50X, as well as in the light of preparations for the start of the implementation of a plan to establish control of Ukrainian forces over the border between the LDNR and the Rostov Region with the further mopping up of government structures of the republics and announced by the head of the foreign ministry, the inveterate Russophobe Dmitry Kuleba the liquidation of the army corps completely and completely confirms the absolutely objective opinion of the majority of competent Russian and Donbass military experts that all diplomatic concepts for resolving the situation in the Donbas within the framework of the “Minsk and Norman formats” that have been living out for the last months.
As for Mr. Zelensky, neither he nor his administration absolutely have any effective levers of influence on the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the apparatus of the National Security and Defense Council “non-independent”, whose senior representatives are working on the agenda and the sequence of actions in close cooperation with specialists from the State Department and the Pentagon through official intermediaries such as US Department of State head Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Department of State Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Walker. Meanwhile, it would be extremely naive to assume that in the light of the circumstances, Moscow is abstracting from the development of countermeasures against the chaos committed by Kiev and will not provide carte blanche to the defense departments and commands of the army corps of the people's republics to implement an effective range of operational-tactical measures aimed at stopping the offensive APU potential in key operational areas of the Donbass theater of operations.
In particular, on May 20, 2020, just a few days after the resumption of precision strikes by the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of the People’s Republic of LDNR and the fortified areas of the republic’s defenders, the defense departments of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics ordered that a series of measures be taken to bring combat units of all military branches of the 1st and 2nd AK NM LDNR in a state of full combat readiness, and in the most dangerous areas - about regrouping in offensive orders (with the simultaneous hasty transfer of reserve motorized rifle, artillery and anti-tank units from the operational depth of the rear zones). Within the first day after the publication of this order in the republican media news sections of eminent Donetsk, Luhansk and some Russian information publications were full of photo and video reports about the rapid march to the contact line on the Northern Front of the LPRP of motorized rifle battalions and tank brigades of the people's militia with the main battle tanks T-64BV, T-72A / AV / B.
A number of powerful counter-battery strikes were also inflicted on the most active firing positions of the barrel artillery batteries, which were part of the 57th separate motorized infantry and 28th separate mechanized brigades of the Armed Forces, which ultimately helped to noticeably cool the most “hot heads” in the Ukrainian General Staff. The intensity of the fire work of Ukrainian artillery decreased markedly.
However, it’s too early to relax. According to informed sources among the local population of the villages of Zachatovka, Kalinovo, Bogdanovka and Krasnaya Polyana, located on the northwestern and northern approaches to Mariupol, at the end of the 20th of May 2020, the operational command “South” of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces began a hasty transfer to Telman operational direction of a large mechanized unit consisting of more than 50 units of heavily armored tracked vehicles (obviously, we are talking about the MBT T-64BV / BM "Bulat", T-80B / BV and various modifications of infantry fighting vehicles BMP-1/2) and cargo vehicles with ammunition for MBT, barreled artillery, anti-tank missile systems and small arms, three 152-mm towed 2A65 Msta-B howitzers, three mine barrels, Osa-AK short-range self-propelled air defense systems and other means, including tankers and tracked armored recovery and recovery vehicles BREM-1 / BTS-5B.
This information indicates the preparation of the Armed Forces General Staff for an attempt to make a lightning fast offensive in the area of the most vulnerable operational area on the Southern Front of the Donetsk People’s Republic, represented by the Telman Isthmus, the operational depth of the rear zone on which does not exceed 35 km (from Petrovskoye to the border between DNR and the Rostov region). And here a quite topical question arises: can the tank units of the 9th Mariupol-Khingan Regiment of the Marine Corps of the 1st AK NM DNI at least temporarily hold the defenses in the area of the Telman Isthmus without artillery support from the 58th combined arms army of the Russian North?
The operational-tactical alignment at the Donbass theater of operations is not in favor of the republics, in particular, due to the moral and technical obsolescence of the small 9K112 "Cobra" family of guided tank weapons, which are the basis of the "smart" MBT T-72B / B1 ammunition consisting of in service with the army corps of LDNR
Taking into account the fact that tank guided missiles 64M72M / M9 / M112 of the 2K124 Kobra complex included in the ammunition of the T-9BV and T-112A / AV / B tanks of the DPR People’s Police were developed within the walls of the Tochmash Design Bureau from 1976 to 1985 years and marked the beginning of the era of the formation of high-precision guided tank weapons, their “equipment” is represented by monoblock cumulative warheads of types 9N138 and 9N144, respectively, with armor penetration of 550-700 mm. In tank duels at the Donbass theater of operations, shells with the above type of warheads will not provide the tank crews of the “republican” T-64BV and T-72A / AB / B / B1 with absolutely no advantages over the Ukrainian T-64BV and T-80B / BV sets of dynamic protection "Contact-1". Indeed, for example, the Contact-4 dynamic protection elements 20C4 / 22C1 increase the equivalent resistance of the frontal armored plates of the turret and VLD of the T-64BV and T-80B / BV tank shells from the effects of monoblock shaped-charge shells from 520-540 to 800-1000 mm ( 50–80%), while the armor penetration of the KS 9M112M2 barely reaches 700 mm.
The only Ukrainian SV tanks that are still vulnerable to tank guided projectiles of the 9M112M2 family are the T-72A / AB equipped with the Contact-1 dynamic protection. They have equivalent resistance to cumulative effects of the order of 400 mm (due to the small physical dimensions of the frontal plates and the use of outdated special bookings based on sand cores), and even the “Contact-1” equipment does not allow an increase in resistance to 750-800 mm, which does not exclude the likely penetration of this armor by means of TUR 9M112M2 "Cobra". Meanwhile, it is worth noting that most of the Ukrainian combatant T-72A in the foreseeable future can be brought up to the level of T-72AMT as part of the modernization program conducted by the state enterprise "Kiev Armored Plant". This program provides for the re-equipment of the standard T-72A with new “Knife” dynamic protection kits, the KhChKKV-19/34 elements of which will increase the equivalent resistance to cumulative shells by 1,9 times (almost up to 800 mm), practically zeroing the effectiveness of the Cobra family of guided shells ".
The appropriate effect in this situation can be achieved by integration into the weapon control systems of the "republican" T-72B / B1 tanks of the modern Svir tank guided weapons systems equipped with the 9M119M1 Invar-M tank guided missiles. Designed in the early 90's. specialists of the Tula Design Bureau of Instrument Making named. Academician A.G. Shipunova ”(now KBP JSC), the Invar-M tank guided missile boasts two key technological advantages that can provide the tanks of the LNR People’s Army Police Corps with parity in confrontation not only with the outdated Ukrainian T-64BV and T-72A / AB, but also with such deeply improved machines as the T-72AMT and T-64BM “Bulat” equipped with the “Knife” dynamic protection.
First of all, it is equipping a tandem cumulative warhead with armor penetration of about 750 mm behind the elements of 4C20 mounted dynamic protection “Contact-1”, 4C22 of the integrated DZ “Contact-5” and the hschkv-19/34 of the integrated DZ “Knife”. In this case, the elements of the above DZ will be initiated by means of a leading cumulative charge, while the main cumulative charge will penetrate the main armor envelope. Penetration of 750 mm will allow the main cumulative charges of the Invar-M tank guided missiles to “crack” the frontal projection armor plates of most of the tanks armed with the APU (from “cardboard” T-72A to more or less protected T-64BV, T-80B / BV and T-72AMT). The only types of Ukrainian MBT, the frontal projection of which will remain invulnerable for the TUR 9M119M1 Invar-M, are modern T-84 BM Oplot vehicles, the means of increasing armor protection of which are represented by even more modern Duplet dynamic defense systems that can counteract tandem cumulative shells, including Invar-M.
Secondly, this is the use of a semi-automatic laser guidance system (according to the "laser beam"), which has significantly higher noise immunity compared to the radio command guidance system used in 9K112 / -1 "Cobra" guided tank weapons systems. Against the background of the Mi-8MTPPB and Mi-8MTPS electronic warfare helicopter recovery program (equipped with the Bizon electronic warfare centimeter complexes and SPS-63/66 Azalea multi-range radio countermeasures systems, respectively), implemented by the Konotop Aircraft Repair Plant as part of the APU upgrade program with advanced facilities EW, replenishment of ammunition "republican" T-72B / B1 tank guided missiles with a semi-automatic laser guidance system is gaining a special degree of relevance.
As for the legitimacy of providing such an “package” of military-technical assistance to the defense ministry of LDNR from the Russian side, it appeared exactly on the day when the Ukrainian side received the first batch of 210 anti-tank guided missiles FGM-148 “Javelin” and 37 transport launch tubes for the "Javelins" under the "package" of military-technical assistance provided through the line "Foreign Military Sales" ("Foreign military sales").