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Frontline report: Russia’s failed frontal assault on Avdiivka coal spoil tip shows Russian strategic lapses

In a perilous maneuver, Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to seize the fortified Terrikon – a huge coal spoil tip – in Avdiivka. The botched assault resulted in Russia’s disastrous casualties and again exposed their flawed tactics of using “human waves.”
Russian vehicle on fire after hitting a mine north of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Russia’s failed frontal assault on Avdiivka coal spoil tip shows Russian strategic lapses

Day 599: Oct 15

Today, there are a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast.

Map: Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Regarding the northern part of the region, the freshest combat footage revealed that Russians suffered a devastating defeat. And this is not surprising because, as it turned out, Russian forces conducted an insane frontal attack on Terrikon (a coal mine waste heap, – Ed.).

Location of Russian attacks north of Avdiivka. Map: Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

If we look closer, we can see that Terrikon is a huge artificial mountain right in front of the heavily fortified industrial area of Avdiivka.

Google terrain view of the Avdiivka Terrikon, a coal mine waste heap. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

This mountain was built from waste from the coal mines in the region, and over the years, it has been transformed into an incredibly powerful fortification.

Directions of Russian attacks on the Avdiivka Terrikon. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

As revealed by the geolocated videos, Russian forces were sent to storm the frontal wall of this mountain, and the Russian infantry was supposed to climb it while the Russian tanks lined up in front of it and suppressed Ukrainian fire.

Russian infantry during the attack on Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainian fighters from the 110 Mechanized Brigade that was responsible for holding defense on Terrikon published a video showing how Russians were sending one column of tanks and armored fighting vehicles after another. The infantry vehicles and personnel carriers brought hundreds of troops to the contact line. The troops were landing in the tree lines and waited until other units got to the front to conduct a massive assault.

A munition dropped by a Ukrainian drone falling on a Russian vehicle and infantry near Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainians obviously saw every Russian move from the heights of Terrikon and fired at the approaching Russian columns. Dozens of armored vehicles one by one got destroyed by grenade- and mine-dropping drones, for which the 110 Brigade is famous.

Ukrainian fighters from the 55 Artillery Brigade augmented the fire by unleashing high-caliber shells on the Russian forces. Some assault units also ran into mines, where their conquest immediately ended. In fact, multiple Russian analysts claimed that Ukrainian mines have slowed down Russian advances significantly.

Smoking Russian tank after it hit a Ukrainian minefield near Avdiivka. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Nevertheless, due to the sheer number of troops, the Russians managed to accumulate enough forces and start storming the Terrikon. Today, some Russian sources published a video showing exactly what Russian soldiers saw when they went to storm basically a huge flat wall.

View of the Terrikon artificial mountain from the direction of the Russian attackers. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Moreover, Ukrainians equipped it with machine gun positions and did not let the Russian infantry get close. Russians opened fire at Ukrainian machine gun positions from tanks and ATGMs but could not sustain it for a long time as they quickly got targeted with artillery or drones. Eventually, only one Russian soldier managed to get to the mountain. He managed to climb almost three-quarters of the distance to the first floor before losing his life.

So, the attack on Terrikon was a complete catastrophe. US National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby commented on the recent development in Avdiivka and stated that Russian forces once again resorted to human wave tactics, wherein the Russian military uses masses of poorly trained and equipped Russian soldiers to attempt to advance – just like during their failed offensive last year.

In the meantime, Russian sources started raising the alarm that Russian forces have huge problems with medical support. One Russian source claimed that there is a stark shortage of surgeons in occupied Horlivka and Donetsk near Avdiivka and called on Russian doctors to travel to the front to help treat wounded Russian soldiers as soon as possible.

Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun reported that the majority of Russian casualties in the Avdiivka direction are due to low-quality medical treatment and local hospitals reaching capacity.

Map: Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

In fact, Russian volunteers operating in Donetsk urgently changed the focus of their campaigns and started asking everyone to help with plastic bags for dead bodies because hundreds of bodies are coming in from Avdiivka, and there are simply not enough plastic bags in the hospitals.

A Russian volunteer soldier expressed his discontent about how their commanders are conducting the offensive operation and said that they could potentially compress the Ukrainian perimeter by capturing less fortified Ukrainian-held territory near Avdiivka instead of literally bashing their heads against the wall. Unfortunately for Russians, the Russian generals have no interest in such limited advances and try to speed up offensive efforts at any cost.

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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