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"It's not going to be easy." What awaits Russian and Ukrainian soldiers in winter

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Image source: © РИА Новости / Павел Лисицын

The front froze in anticipation of Russian missile strikes

MOSCOW, Dec 2 — RIA Novosti, Andrey Kotz. Snow has already fallen in the SVO zone, and the warring parties are actively preparing for the winter campaign. After an unsuccessful offensive, the Armed Forces of Ukraine strengthen their defenses, feverishly trying to restore the combat capability of battered brigades. Russian units are pressing near Donetsk and gathering forces. About the situation on the front line — in the material of RIA Novosti.

Turn off the light

At the end of November, the speaker of the AFU Air Forces, Yuri Ignat, reported that Russia had accumulated about 900 long-range cruise and ballistic missiles by winter, not counting kamikaze drones. In his opinion, this arsenal is intended for further attacks on the Ukrainian energy sector. Considering that in a year the authorities managed to restore only a small percentage of the destroyed, inherited from the USSR, the prospect looms bleak.

A frame of a video of a rocket launch at Ukrainian military command, communications and energy facilities

Image source: © Russian Ministry of Defense

In October 2022, Russia, in response to the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge, launched massive strikes on the energy infrastructure. Hundreds of missiles have been fired in a few weeks. By the end of November, almost half of the facilities were out of order, and there were no lights in many localities.

In December, Zelensky said that it was impossible to completely restore the power system. According to Energy Minister German Galushchenko, Ukraine has lost about four thousand gigawatts of generating capacity. Bloomberg estimated the direct damage at hundreds of millions, and the economic losses at billions of dollars.

An attack by the Iskander tactical missile system on the AFU facilities on the territory of Ukraine

Image source: © RIA Novosti / Press Service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Kiev's current concerns are understandable: 900 missiles are capable of finishing off the energy sector. And this will directly affect the fighting. Last year, having sowed chaos in the rear, the Russian armed forces slowed down and then stopped the Kharkov offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kiev had to urgently pull air defense systems from the front line to cover infrastructure facilities, which did not allow it to develop success in the conditions of the dominance of Russian aviation in the air.

A difficult time of the year

But in any case, the winter campaign will not be easy. In military science, winter and summer are considered the most favorable for combat operations, since the soil, respectively, freezes or dries out. In spring and autumn, the advance of the military columns is greatly hindered by the thaw. However, it is difficult to conduct major offensive operations in winter.

A very short daylight period interferes. In addition, the advancing troops are tied to the roads. As a result, there is a narrow formation and vulnerability to attacks from the flanks. A sudden snowstorm can make serious adjustments to the plans — the snow hides pre-determined landmarks on the ground.

There is no "green light" — it is much more difficult for the attackers to move stealthily through the forests, even a small detachment is easy to spot from the air among the bare trees. In the cold, the batteries of drones are discharged faster, which complicates aerial reconnaissance.

The head of the Center for Unmanned Systems with the call sign Inok launches a quadcopter from his hand

Image source: © RIA Novosti / Andrey Kotz

Finally, combat operations in the cold season require maximum strain on the rear services, which need to dress and shoe the entire group, deliver winter fuel and lubricants to armored units on time, and ensure timely delivery of ammunition to positions.

This is especially important for the APU. The fleet of armored vehicles is a motley vinaigrette of vehicles from different countries and manufacturers. Each type of weapon requires its own spare parts and fuel, maintenance specialists. Roughly speaking, the shells from Abrams do not fit the Challenger 2. And it is still unknown how foreign equipment will behave in Eastern European frosts.

"General Frost"

From a tactical point of view, it is much easier to defend in winter than to attack. A military unit dug in according to all the rules with equipped reserve positions, trench lines, caponiers for military equipment and well—established supplies is a formidable force. The enemy has to storm this bastion head-on, under machine gun and artillery fire, getting bogged down in the snow and exploding in minefields. And the defenders can settle in with comfort, which is very important in the cold season.

On the eve of winter, military engineers from Russia applied interesting solutions in some areas. Construction equipment pulls out a pit, a standard marine container is loaded there with a crane. Two pipes are brought out — for ventilation and under the stove. The entire structure is covered with a thick concrete slab and covered with earth. The inside of the container is sheathed with boards or clapboard. The result is a comfortable, dry and bombardment-resistant housing.

"The main friend of a soldier in winter is a stove-stove," says an officer of the 2nd AK with the call sign Leshiy. — We have been storing fuel cells since September. We use firewood, combustible briquettes, and coal. We often cover the stoves with bricks from all sides — this gives additional heat. In winter, we try to feed the fighters with high-calorie food so that they freeze less. So, we always give the guards a sandwich with a thick lump of fat — it helps out a lot in the cold."

The Russian military in the area of the special operation

Image source: © RIA Novosti / Alexey Maishev

"General Frost" is a serious opponent for any army. Whose soldiers stand up to him better will be revealed following the results of the winter campaign, which is already beginning.

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