Updated: Aug 19
American and European military observers in Ukraine described the Ukraine Army’s efforts of the past two days as a “suicide mission” that violated the basic rules of military tactics.
“If you want to conduct an offensive and you have a dozen brigades and a few dozen tanks, you concentrate them and try to break through. The Ukrainians have been running around in five different directions,” complained a senior European officer.
“We tried to tell them to stop these piecemeal tactics, define a main thrust with proper infantry support and then do what they can,” the officer added.
“They were trained by the British and they’re playing Light Brigade,” the officer added, referring to the 1854 disaster at the Battle of Balaclava when misreported orders sent British cavalry into massed cannon fire.
Ukraine’s tanks charged directly into mine fields without deploying mine-clearing vehicles first, contributing to the loss of 38 tanks during the night of June 8, including numerous of the newly delivered Leopard II tanks.
“A couple of Ukrainians tried to pull off a Guderian,” another military source said, referring to German General Heinz Guderian’s breakthrough at Sedan during the 1940 Battle of France. “But Guderian had 3,000 tanks, and these idiots have just gambled away the 30 they have.”
“And without air superiority,” the source added, “it’s a suicide mission.” Russia’s KA-50 and KA-52 attack helicopters each carry enough missiles to kill 20 tanks, and can do so at a standoff distance of 10 kilometers.
Ukrainian air defenses have been degraded by repeated attacks with cheap drones that force the Ukrainians to expend their limited inventory of S-300 and Patriot missiles. Of the 14 Leopard tanks Germany has provided to Ukraine, 3 have been destroyed, along with several of the Leopards provided by Poland.
The Ukrainian high command’s principle military advice has come from British officers embedded at headquarters in Kiev.
A Ukrainian concentration of forces remains possible as to date only three and possibly four Western-trained brigades have been used in Zaporoshye. That would require competent military decisions, not decisions motivated by political desperation.