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ISW: Equipment losses forcing Russia’s hand in infantry tactics

Russian forces likely rely on infantry-led frontal assaults to compensate for a lack of adequately trained personnel and due to widespread equipment losses.
Assessed control of terrain around Avdiivka as of 11th November, 2023. Credit: ISW
ISW: Equipment losses forcing Russia’s hand in infantry tactics

Russian military bloggers have highlighted the difficulties Russia faces in relying on mass infantry assaults to overcome stalemates on the frontlines in Ukraine, ISW reported.

The Institute for the Study of War said in an article on 11 November, that some Russian milbloggers have emphasized that frontal assaults on Ukrainian positions in Donbas will not lead to broader breakthroughs. “There is no way to train enough Russian personnel for the intensive frontal assaults required for significant advances in Ukraine,” one milblogger said, according to the institute.

Other bloggers claimed Russia is seeing a “renaissance of infantry combat” due to losses of heavy weaponry like tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. However, one critical blogger called this a “negative reflection” of Russia’s equipment losses and poor coordination.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, Russian special forces units have also complained about being used in frontal assaults, which is not their intended role. The institute previously observed that Russia is increasingly relying on such tactics to compensate for inadequate training and heavy equipment losses.

ISW has previously observed that Russian forces are increasingly relying on such infantry-led frontal assaults, likely to compensate for a lack of adequately trained personnel and due to widespread equipment losses.

ISW also reported that the Russian General Staff appears to be relying heavily on frontal assaults as the predominant tactic in Ukraine as an important part of the Russian solution to the problems of “military parity” laid out by Zaluzhnyi’s essay on the issue of “positional warfare.”

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Russian forces launched a large-scale missile and drone strike series against Ukraine on the night of November 10 to 11, targeting Kyiv Oblast for the first time in 52 days.
  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) was reportedly involved in at least one of three strikes on Russian territory on November 10-11.
  • Continued Russian milblogger discussion of widespread Russian infantry-led frontal assaults highlights the challenges Russia will face in using massed infantry assaults to offset the problems contributing to the current positional warfare identified by Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to be increasingly sidelining his eldest son, 18-year-old Akhmat Kadyrov, in favor of his younger son Adam Kadyrov.
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to fill out the workforce and artificially alter the demographics of occupied Ukraine.

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