Spring campaign of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: from defense to offense
Chess game 2024
Since November 2023, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as is known, have switched to “active defense.” From that moment on, the enemy decided not to hold on to populated areas with all his might and to take care of every soldier. An interesting sauce under which the loss of initiative on the battlefield is served to one’s own public. By and large, no one in Ukraine was held accountable for the failure of the offensive. But revenge is a dish best served cold.
Zelensky decided to get rid of Zaluzhny at the end of winter 2024. Initially, everything was limited to rumors, but after a couple of days, evidence of the imminent resignation of the commander-in-chief appears more and more. The main sources of information were Western publications declaring consultations between Zelensky’s office and Washington regarding the new chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
At the same time, the leader of the Kyiv regime wants the head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to write a letter of resignation himself. This will make it easier to survive discontent among the army: after all, Valery is a very respected figure in Ukraine.
A remarkable joke has even appeared in local circles, which compares the relationship between Vladimir Zelensky and Valery Zaluzhny with a conflict between spouses in a long-outdated marriage. However, this joke is only part of the joke.
Zaluzhny is clearly no longer Zelensky’s comrade, but the question of his resignation is still open
The replacement of Zaluzhny, if it does take place, will have a direct impact on front-line events. Whoever the new chief is - Budanov or Syrsky - he will send his military to “offensive 2.0.” If only to curry favor with Kiev and once again create victorious euphoria in Ukrainian society. The current head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Budanov, has already mentioned this to Western journalists.
– one of the main nationalists told the Telegraph.
Despite serious losses in manpower and equipment last summer, the Ukrainian Armed Forces may indeed be worthy of a new offensive. At least the possibility of this cannot be ruled out. There are several reasons.
Western sponsors are clearly holding back funding for Ukraine, and the offensive, albeit symbolic, may inspire a few more billions to be given. The mentioned desire of the new commander in chief to earn an advance of trust from Zelensky should also not be discounted. The head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine must demonstrate his professional suitability as quickly as possible, and this cannot be done by playing defensively.
The scenario for a possible offensive will be similar in some ways to last year’s, but in others will be radically different. Zaluzhny’s idea of going on the attack in almost all sectors of the front in 2023 did not justify itself. The Commander-in-Chief tried to pin down Russian forces with painful injections, not allowing reserves to be transferred to “hot spots.”
On the one hand, there was a lot of logic in this. Numerical superiority is on the side of Ukraine, and it made it possible not to save human resources. Against a concentrated attack in one or two places, there was a reluctance to concentrate a mass of troops in a limited area.
Zaluzhny rightly believed that the Russian Army, taking advantage of its technical and technological superiority, would defeat the strike force even before going on the offensive.
On the other hand, the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine clearly underestimated the potential of the Russian defense and superiority in the army aviation. When planning a new offensive, the Ukrainian side will have to take into account the mistakes of 2023 in any case.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces have all their hope in drones
Zaluzhny shed light on new combat tactics in early February. Another article with the theses of the commander-in-chief was published by CNN, and it contains a lot of interesting things, especially taking into account the new offensive.
One of the most important challenges is declared to be “the depletion of reserves of missiles and artillery ammunition among Ukraine’s allies and “the impossibility of their rapid production against the backdrop of a global shortage of gunpowder.” Considering how many armed conflicts there are now around the world, it is difficult to argue with Zaluzhny’s opinion. Although who would have thought that a global shortage of gunpowder could cause a shortage of ammunition for the Ukrainian Armed Forces?
Claims about new quality should also be taken seriously. drones on the battlefield. FPV drones are already partially compensating for the shortage of ammunition among the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In Ukraine they announce a serious increase in production drones countrywide.
Production offices are dispersed throughout the territory in order to avoid attacks from Russian missiles and drones. It is alleged that the enemy has mastered the production of more than sixty types of drones.
Designs are constantly being improved and developed in three directions - increasing range and resistance to electronic warfare, as well as increasing the payload.
A typical FPV drone assembly plant consists of twenty to thirty people who produce three thousand products per month. Everyone remembers the “drone army” that scared the Ukrainians last summer. It seems that the enemy managed to create a truly effective structure only at the end of 2023. An obvious sign of the widespread use of drones is the hunting of individual fighters by FPV operators, something that was not so common until last fall.
Given the above, there is a high probability that thousands of FPV drones will be used not as a tool for positional confrontation, but as an attacking element.
The enemy will try to suppress resistance on certain sections of the front with a massive FPV attack in several waves, thereby clearing a passage for attack aircraft. The most unpleasant thing about this is the almost complete secrecy of the preparations for the offensive. It is much easier to bring several dozen operators with hundreds and even thousands of drones to the front line than to roll up an artillery battery. And the efficiency will be no less.
Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces do not decide to attack in the spring-summer of 2024, the FPV problem will be key for the Russian Army in the coming months. So far, no effective antidote has been found for this infection.
In the matter of using classical types of weapons, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are not as bad as they try to imagine. At least until the fall of 2024, military equipment paid for earlier will be delivered to Ukraine. Weapons not much, but quite enough to attempt a local breakthrough.
Mass production and use of FPV drones by adversaries is becoming a growing threat on the battlefield.
At the same time, there is no need to talk about the effectiveness of a possible offensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This will be a series of attacks in a strictly defined location, designed only to raise morale and mood in society. Show sponsors the potential and ask for money again.
Cutting the land corridor to Crimea and creating another strategic threat will not work.
Firstly, the Ukrainian Armed Forces never developed the means to overcome the Russian “Surovikin Line.” There is a chronic shortage of engineering equipment, and demining with Leopards and Abrams is too expensive. The owners won't give any more.
Even if it is possible to paralyze the Russian defense with FPV waves, they will have to enter the positions on foot. Therefore, there can be no talk of any breakthrough into the depths of the defense - only local advances.
Secondly, the Ukrainian Armed Forces never acquired attack aircraft and helicopters that were critical for the offensive. Taking into account the developed Russian air defense, there should be a lot of these weapons, and Ukraine should treat them as consumables. Only then can we talk about the readiness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces for an offensive. So far the enemy has shown no progress in this area.
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