Looking at 3D models of Kherson Oblast is not much fun because it is essentially 2D.
You can really get a sense when Mark and Kos talk about it being difficult terrain to cross as it is so open and exposed. Ukraine liberated Dudchany last week, and now, it seems they are renewing their offensive near Mylove, so I took a closer look.
Couple of things: the Dnipro is huge! At the near edge of this map it is over seven km across. (I have added a scale, but be warned — since this is 3D in perspective, the far edge of the map will not be at the same scale as the near edge). I don’t know how deep or fast the river is in general, but that is a long way to try and cross. Second, the only cover is the tree rows bordering the fields, and the drainages (nothing natural, not even Kherson is completely flat, because: water). Third, there are a whole lot of communities built up along the river that we aren’t hearing about because they are separated by these feeder streams, making it easier just to travel inland (in normal times) which makes them tactical traps (in war times). Hopefully, they are being left alone.
So Ukraine will be forced to go inland onto the flats, instead of hugging the river shoreline, which exposes them. But looking at the model, you can see the runoff gullies extend farther back into the steppe. If I raise the water table you can see this more clearly.
Now, I have no idea if these are passable or dry enough, or what will happen to them in the rainy season, but those drainages (what are referred to as draws or coolies where I’m from) are not flat and so are not cultivated and hence hold most of the denser foliage. If I was trying to advance toward an enemy and wanted to keep a low profile from the drones I’d want to try moving up these. I have no idea if that is what they are doing, but when I lay down the FIRMS data from yesterday on the map:
It sure seems like those drainages are playing a role in hiding stuff, whether is it ammo dumps or movement and concentrations of troops. Again, just a guess, but I thought it was interesting.
And I can imagine lots of interesting titles to posts coming our way with a name like “Mylove”.