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Frontline report: Russian military shift tactics with armor assault near Avdiivka

After the destruction of infantry without armor support in recent weeks, Russia switched tactics with a heavy but unsuccessful mechanized assault.
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Russian military shift tactics with armor assault near Avdiivka

Day 651

On 6 December, there were a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction. Here, the most intense clashes continue taking place on the northern flank.

After Ukrainians successfully pushed Russians back to the railways, Russian forces started preparing a new plan of attack.

On 6 December, Ukrainian fighters reported that Russians changed their tactic and started using a lot of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.

This is an important change from what we saw at least over the last month. As you remember, Russian forces stopped using heavy equipment in the northern part of the region because the roads were exposed to Ukrainian fire from all sides and because of the minefields. That is why Russian soldiers had to use their feet to travel to the contact line

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

After the previous Russian massive infantry attack failed due to cluster munitions and machine guns, the Russian commanders decided to support their infantry with armor.

Before launching the main attack, Russian forces conducted a reconnaissance-in-force operation with one tank.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

The goal here was to check whether the tank had a chance of reaching Stepove and, ideally, also demolish Ukrainian firing positions that were identified previous time.

Ukrainian reconnaissance teams spotted the Russian tank in advance, and the units on the ground got ready to meet it. Ukrainians responded reciprocally and also deployed a tank to the region. The moment the Russian tank assumed its firing position, Ukrainians opened fire. As a result, the Russian tank sustained damage, its turret stopped working, so Russians quickly deployed smokescreen and moved back behind the rails.

It seems like the Russian commanders were satisfied with the performance because the next morning, Russians launched a mechanized assault. Ukrainian soldiers reported that Russians used 10 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles and up to 100 troops in the attack.

Ukrainians were not distracted by any other attack and met the Russian assault units right in front of the railways. A fighter from the Khorne Group reported that Russians did not even manage to reach the positions of Ukrainian infantry because the first 4 vehicles were destroyed with kamikaze drones, the other vehicles decided to escape, and the infantry followed them.

Still, Ukrainians counted 40 more fresh corpses. Later that day, Ukrainians reported another wave of attack, this time purely with infantry, without any support from armoured vehicles, but were met with machine gun fire from a Bradley. It seems like the Russian commanders were dissatisfied with the fact that the assault unit retreated prematurely and decided to punish the soldiers by sending them back to finish the job. That did not work out very well.

In the meantime, Russian forces tried to reestablish control over the positions north of the chemical plant.

As you remember, according to the Ukrainian Avdiivka Military Head and geolocated footage from Ukrainian Special Forces, the area was cleared. Nonetheless, recent combat footage shows that a new batch of Russian troops arrived to secure these positions.

Simultaneously, according to the Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainians conducted a successful attack from the chemical plant along the rails and secured their positions.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

It seems like after the previous clashes, the area became a grey zone, and both parties tried to recapture it. Russians attacked it from the north and are now holding the ground, while Ukrainians attacked from the south and are now holding the ground.

Russian commanders understand that the current level of control is insufficient for the resumption of the attack on the chemical plant, which is why the clashes for this strong point are expected to continue.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

To undermine the Russian offensive capabilities, Ukrainian forces conducted a missile strike on the main Russian logistical centre in the region.

After Ukrainians cut off the connection with Horlivka by blowing up a bridge, Donetsk became the main supply hub of both flanks. Residents reported hearing a series of powerful explosions followed by secondary detonations. Ukrainians managed to unveil and destroy a huge ammunition depot on the outskirts of the city.

In the aftermath of the strike, Russian forces are expected to ration their supplies of ammunition and equipment and decrease the pace of their offensive operation, giving Ukrainians an opportunity to improve their tactical position.

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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