The 104th Air Assault Division was supposed to save the Russian campaign on the left bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine.
Instead, the newly formed division suffered “exceptionally heavy casualties and failed to achieve its objectives during its first combat appearance,” the British Ministry of Defense said. mentioned.
Two months ago, Ukrainian marines from the 35th Brigade moved across the Dnipro River and, under cover of artillery, drones, and intense radio jamming, managed to secure a beachhead at the Krynki settlement on the left bank that was under Russian control.
It is a new front in the war, one that the Ukrainians hope to eventually exploit in order to expel the Russian occupiers from southern Ukraine.
Russian marines, supported by a mechanized military regiment, failed to expel the Ukrainians. So, after some quick training in September and October, the 104th Airborne Corps arrived in southern Ukraine and took the initiative.
The 104th, a new 5th division that normally consists of a four-division Russian airborne corps, was supposed to replace the heavy losses the corps suffered in the first 22 months of Russia’s broader war on Ukraine.
Instead, the roughly 2,000-strong division became the victim of an escalating war of attrition. The Ministry in London explained that the division was “poorly supported by air power and artillery, while many of the troops were probably inexperienced.”
It is not clear how many Ukrainian Marines are present in Krynky and the surrounding forest. Some Russian sources estimate the landing force at about 200 or 300 marines.
These hundreds of Marines — and the drone operators, artillery gunners, and electronic warfare forces who support them — held out against thousands of Russians. First Marines from the 810th Brigade. Then soldiers from the 70th Motorized Rifle Division. And now the paratroopers of the 104th Division.
How the Ukrainians managed to hold on, despite being far outnumbered and facing constant bombardment from the ground and air, is no longer a secret. In the weeks before the 35th Brigade crossed the Dnipro River, Ukrainian artillery and drone crews hit Russian radio jamming equipment on the left bank, while Ukrainian electronic warfare specialists installed their own jamming devices.
The result is a dead zone over Kryniki for Russian drones – a free-fire zone for Ukrainian drones. Vehicles and pedestrians are hit from the air within minutes of breaking cover. One Russian observer said: “The situation in the Kryniki region is getting worse for us.” books.
The Ukrainian Marines’ control of Krynki, and their defeat of the 104th Division, does not mean that they are about to set off for the southern Kherson Oblast and head towards the Crimean Peninsula. In the weeks after the counteroffensive in southern Kiev reached its climax, the Ukrainian brigades, having exhausted their offensive combat power, turned from offense to defense.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continued to attack, having better chances in the east, where Russian supply lines are short, than in the south, where people and supplies must move by rail over hundreds of miles.
But by keeping Kryniki, the Ukrainians are opening the door to their choice Recently Launch an attack from this bridgehead.
This possibility clearly matters a lot to the Ukrainian General Staff in Kiev. Ukrainian commanders apparently focused many of their best radio jammers, and a significant portion of their explosives-laden drones, at the Battle of Krynki. Perhaps at the expense of defensive efforts in the eastern sectors, such as those around Avdiivka.
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