On day 392 of the war in Ukraine, the momentum of the Russian offensives across the battlefield seems to be evaporating. The Ukrainian military launched a small-scale counteroffensive around Bakhmut, catching the Russians off guard.
The Battle for Bakhmut
The heavy fighting for the town of Bakhmut continues. The Russian forces have advanced well inside the town. For the time being, the Ukrainian military continues to hold, with its forces situated in the western part of the town.
Over the past few days, the Ukrainian military launched a counterattack to the west of the town in an attempt to ease up the pressure its forces are under in the besieged urban center. The Ukrainians did manage some local successes around the H-32 highway, which has been one of the key resupply routes into Bakhmut.
“However, there is a realistic possibility that the Russian assault on the town is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian MoD units have been reallocated to other sectors,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its most recent update on the war.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did another surprise visit to the front, visiting the frontlines close to Bakhmut and awarding medals for valor to troops fighting for the defense of the town and the wider Donbas.
The Russian Casualties
Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties on the ground in Ukraine.
This week alone, the Russian military and Wagner Group private military company have lost more than 2,500 troops killed or wounded.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 167,490 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 290 attack and transport helicopters, 3,557 tanks, 2,589 artillery pieces, 6,887 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 509 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,434 vehicles and fuel tanks, 272 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,183 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 270 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 909 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Battle for Ammo
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military is working hard to deal with its ammunition shortages. Ukroboronprom, one of the country’s defense companies, has set up an ammunition production line abroad in conjunction with a NATO country and has delivered its first batch of 122mm artillery rounds to the Ukrainian forces.
“The state concern Ukroboronprom, in cooperation with a NATO country, has set up production of 122mm artillery shells abroad and has already shipped a batch to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian defense company stated.
Both sides are using vast quantities of ammunition on a daily basis, making the logistical struggle to keep supplying ammo as important as the actual fighting on the frontlines.
To get a better sense of the ammunition expenditure, on a normal day, the Ukrainian military fires around 5,000 rounds while the Russian forces more than double that number.
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A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
March 22, 2023 at 9:45 pm
Seems like western media is inclined to over state Ukrainian gains in the SVO. A check with the maps published by the ISW shows current gains made by Russian military forces in the Donbas region. Another source even has claimed that Bakhmut has been tactically surrounded by Russian forces trapping some 10000 Ukrainian armed forces. Claiming the fall of Bakhmut. “The first casualty when war comes is truth”.
March 22, 2023 at 11:10 pm
What would happen if Ukraine ran out of dumb artillery rounds, so that all that remained was guided cannon (Excalibur) and rocket rounds (HIMARS)? Would anything change on the battlefield? If indirect fires were all precision strikes, the logistical needs of artillery would crash to less than 1% of their present needs. These logistical resources could then be allocated to assets that deliver much greater combat power. Men and Material would flow to smart weapons like vehicle mounted TOW missile launchers, and drones.
In the Information Age, the King of Battle has been demoted to Private, and will soon be discharged in favor of the longer range, logistically lite, Precision fires of rocket, jet, and propeller delivered warheads.
March 23, 2023 at 4:33 am
Unfortunately, the more dead Russians the better.
Until Russians get their heads out of their rear ends and take out the trash that is Putin and his complete government, their sons are going to die on an insignificant field in Donbas.
March 23, 2023 at 11:43 am
19fortyfive has turned into a Ukrainian fan website. Which is disappointing because of the credentials that some of the authors have.