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Frontline report: Clever Ukrainian tank tactics allow breakthrough in the South

Spectacular Ukrainian tank maneuvers spearheaded assaults that captured vital trenches between Robotyne and Kopani over the weekend. Ukrainian commanders leveraged the terrain and smoke screens to isolate Russian positions before overrunning them.
Photo: screenshot of the video posted by 128 Assault Brigade in Telegram
Frontline report: Clever Ukrainian tank tactics allow breakthrough in the South

Day 598: 14 October 2023 

Today, there are a lot of updates from the Tokmak direction.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

Here, Ukrainian forces continued expanding their bridgehead westward, and, according to the recently released geolocated footage, Ukrainians established control over multiple crucial trenches and fortifications and have almost pushed Russians from the hills back into the lowlands.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainian fighters from the 128 Assault Brigade released a video showing how they conducted a spectacular tank assault on a powerful Russian strongpoint.

Ukrainian commanders used a tactically ingenious approach to breach a complex trench network nestled between tree lines with a small assault unit. They achieved this by strategically selecting their attack route, with the tank element moving left of the tree line, shielded by natural cover. Meanwhile, a smokescreen on the opposite side created a protected corridor for the advance, effectively isolating the unit from potential flank attacks.

The tank crew effectively leveraged their front armor, suppressing the entrenched Russian forces. As the tank closed in, the Russians began to retreat. Shortly after, a Ukrainian armored fighting vehicle with infantry support arrived. The armored vehicle provided machine gun suppressive fire, while artillery shelled the second part of the trench network, causing the Russians to abandon their positions. This strongpoint was cleared in just minutes, remarkably without any casualties.

The Ukrainian General Staff and Tavriisk Group Commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi also reported that Ukrainian forces improved their tactical positions west of Robotyne.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

Here, the main focus of Ukrainian forces became the remnants of the first line of defense that stretch toward Kopani through the fields. Russian sources published videos of how they were striking Ukrainian soldiers inside the newly captured trenches with drones, indirectly confirming that Russians lost control over another trench network.

Russian military analysts also vaguely confirmed that Ukrainian forces marginally advanced towards Kopani. Moreover, some Ukrainian analysts claimed that Ukrainians pushed Russians from two big fields northeast of Kopani.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

So far, I have not encountered visual evidence of the fighting taking place along these tree lines, however, if this turns out to be true, then Russian forces virtually completely lost control over the hill between Robotyne and Kopani. If we look at the topographic map, we can see that this elevated platform gives a substantial tactical advantage. A consolidated control over this area will secure Ukrainian flanks in full.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

In the meantime, Ukrainian reconnaissance teams detected Russian reconnaissance drone operators in the fields near Kutuzivka, which is around 25 km from the front. Interestingly, Ukrainian drones continued to supervise Russians and waited until they got back their drone. Once the operators saw that the Russian drone was coming back, they gave the signal to the HIMARS crews to launch the rockets at the spot. The rockets arrived before the Russians managed to pack the drone and drive away.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

Apart from hitting Kutuzivka, Ukrainian forces also conducted a HIMARS strike on the Russian bases in Tokmak. Russian sources reported that there were at least 4 explosions. Ukrainian analysts speculated the targets of the strike were warehouses with ammunition and equipment because, simultaneously, Russians suffered a sabotage attack in Melitopol.

Map: Screenshot from a reporting From Ukraine video.

The target of the sabotage attack became the railways that were used for supplying Russian forces in the region with fuel, ammunition, and equipment. The operation was carried out by the assets of Ukrainian Special Forces.

Russia’s estimated losses in Ukraine on day 599 of the all-out war, as reported by the Ukrainian General Staff, include 880 troops, 25 armored vehicles, and 33 artillery pieces.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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