The war in Ukraine is clearly a brutal affair that surely Russian President Putin wishes he could take back – as it has nearly gutted his once powerful armed forces?
But how will it end? Will Kyiv or Moscow achieve some sort of victory?
We know one thing: social media will be the medium to show us everything that is occurring on the ground.
Rare War Footage Shows Barbaric Ukraine Trench Fight as Drone Films Above
“Ukrainian soldier kills a Wounded Wagner fighter with an AK-74 in the outskirts of #Bakhmut while another soldier cooks a frag towards him,” wrote @Al-iinkishariu, a self-proclaimed “amateur open source intelligence” reporter.
The 35-second-long video, which was recorded by an overhead drone and posted online, has already been seen many times – and it has created some controversy as some viewers argued the Ukrainian soldiers failed to offer the Wagner fighter an opportunity to surrender.
A slightly longer 45-second version shows the Ukrainians enter the trench and engage the private mercenary contractor (PMC), who never appears to return fire.
Clearing the Trench
In the video, the Wagner Group operator never actually appears to raise his hands, nor is there any indication he offered to surrender.
Multiple shots were fired at the individual while grenades were thrown in his direction.
It should be stressed, too, that this was the standard procedure for clearing trenches during the First World War.
The fighting around Bakhmut has increasingly resembled the trench warfare of the West Front, and a number of Ukrainian forces had recently trained with the British Army in conducting assaults on trenches.
King Charles III conducted a surprise “inspection” of the training efforts back in February.
Around 20,000 Ukrainians had reportedly been put through an intensive five-week course to prepare them for combat – and based on this video, the Ukrainians operated as a team and never let their guard up until the threat was neutralized.
Trench Fighting With Modern Weapons
This particular shallow trench, without wooden reinforcement or deep bunkers, is the type commonly – and often hastily – dug by Russian forces as an attempt to hold recently taken ground.
It is unclear from the video if the other Wagner Group or Russian Army forces had already abandoned the position when it came under attack.
As also noted, the Ukrainian forces appeared to be armed with the AK-74, the modernized version of the AK-47 assault rifle that was introduced in the 1970s.
It was developed to fire the smaller 5.45x39mm cartridge, which offered significantly higher velocity. Soviet military analysts had seen the advantages of the small-caliber round after the United States military had shifted from the 7.62mm used in the M14 battle rifle to the lighter 5.56mm M16A1 in Vietnam.
The AK-74 has a slightly higher rate of fire of around 650 rounds/min – which was later improved to 735 rounds/min with the AKS-74U variant – than the AK-47. More importantly for the soldiers carrying the weapon, the AK-74 could be used with a 45-round RPK-74 detachable box magazine – providing the operator with much more ammunition.
An additional improvement was the weapon’s range. Whereas the AK-47 had an effective range of 300 meters (330 yards) on full automatic, and 400 meters (440 yards) on semi-automatic; the AK-74 was effective to 600 meters (660 yards) and 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) respectively.
The extreme range clearly wasn’t a factor in this recent assault.
As the video is quite graphic, we have decided to link to it instead of embedding it. You can watch the video here.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.