Russian forces apply tactical adaptations in seizure of Avdiivka — ISW


Some Russian forces may have improved their tactical capabilities and leveraged limited tactical surprise during the final weeks of the Russian effort to seize Avdiivka, suggesting that select elements of the Russian military may have internalized tactical adaptations from conducting offensive operations in Ukraine, the U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on March 8.

Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets published a retrospective on March 8 about the Russian effort to seize Avdiivka in which he stated that Russian forces were able to tactically regroup and shift the tactical focus of their offensive operations from north of the Avdiivka Coke Plant in northwestern Avdiivka to areas near northeastern Avdiivka.

Read also: Kyiv hopes to withdraw and replenish bruised brigades

Mashovets stated that Russian forces achieved this regrouping and tactical shift without Ukrainian forces fully realizing that the regrouping had shifted Russia’s tactical focus.

Russian forces initially began their turning movement through Avdiivka after making tactical gains in northeastern Avdiivka, and Mashovets’ reporting suggests that Russian forces may have advanced in the area due to some tactical surprise.

Read also: Russian air superiority aids offensive in Avdiivka; more aggressive frontline advances expected – ISW

Even limited tactical surprise, in which attacking forces engage defenders at a time, place, or manner for which the defender is unprepared, is a notable development given that both Russian and Ukrainian forces have widespread visibility throughout the frontline.[9] The Russian force’s ability to achieve elements of tactical surprise in such an operating environment with little-to-no concealment is therefore noteworthy.

Read also: Ukrainian forces reclaim control of Orlivka, Donetsk Oblast – Syrskyi

The reported Russian ability to do so near Avdiivka is not necessarily indicative of a wider Russian capability. Russian forces have shown limited tactical-level adaptations on certain sectors of the front, but continued widespread Russian tactical failures throughout Ukraine suggest that the Russian military command has not internalized and disseminated all possible tactical adaptations among all the various Russian force groupings operating in Ukraine.

On Feb. 17, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, reported that after four months of intense fighting, Ukrainian forces withdrew from Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, to avoid encirclement and to preserve the lives of the troops.

Ukraine withdrew from the village of Lastochkyne on Feb. 26 to organize defense and prevent further advances by Russian forces, the Tavria Regional Military Command confirmed at the time.

Ukraine withdrew from the small villages of Severne and Stepove near Avdiivka, Lykhoviy announced on Feb. 27.

The Third Assault Brigade regained control of the village of Krasnohorivka in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 28 after Russia attacked and entered the southeastern part of the settlement.

“Miscalculations in situation awareness and enemy assessment by some commanders have impacted the resilience of our defense on certain fronts,” Syrskyi said on Feb. 29.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine