At Kreminna, Ukrainian forces worked for some time to secure Dibrova and Kuzmyne, but attempts to advance from Kuzmyne are reportedly hampered by a sea of mud. Tanks and other tracked vehicles can make progress, but only so slowly that they are subject to pounding by artillery and RPGs. Plus it’s difficult for infantry or wheeled vehicles to move at all.
On the south, Ukrainian forces have been able to work their way through the more solid ground in the dense forests and even reach the outer streets of Kreminna. But the nature of this area means that it’s difficult to maintain unit cohesion, that ambushes are a constant threat, and that bringing up armor in force is nearly impossible. North of the city, Ukraine still holds the highway near Chervonopopivka, may have pushed Russia out of Holykove, and can prevent Russia from moving troops between the Svatove area and Kreminna area without a long detour. But it’s simply not enough.
The reason for all this mess can be neatly summed up in the Kreminna forecast from weather.com.
Every night, the temperature dips slightly below freezing. Every day it’s back above freezing again. It’s been this way for weeks. The mixture of snow, rain, sun and middling temperatures is a recipe for a miserable half-frozen soup that simply makes it impossible to conduct travel off paved highways.
In a lot of ways, the extremely warm winter across Europe is a very good thing. It’s not just making it easier for most of Europe to eliminate the need for Russian natural gas and destroying Vladimir Putin’s economy, the warm weather is greatly reducing the misery caused by Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure. But right now, getting Ukrainian forces into Kreminna means either forcing them down a narrow highway from the north (not good), sending them through the woods in small numbers (not good), or making them swim for it from the west (not good). Which makes sitting still for the moment frustrating, but just about the only answer that doesn’t involve watching Ukrainian forces suffer the kind of disaster Russia just had at Vuhledar.
Okay, these tanks are still in the United States. However, pro-Russian social media has posted hundreds of videos of tanks in Russia that are supposedly on their way to Ukraine. Consider this the feel good response. Man … that that is a lot of firepower.
Of course, no matter how fast the tanks end up moving, they will never match the speed of Russian propaganda. Russian Telegram last night was extremely excited to share the first images of a M1 Abrams tank destroyed in Bakhmut.
It’s clear that some of the pro-Russian accounts passing this around know that it’s a fake. And honestly, there were at least two “confirmed pictures” of Abrams destroyed in Ukraine before the U.S. announced that it was sending the tank, so this isn’t really first. It’s not even the only “Abrams killed at Bakhmut” picture circulated on Saturday. There’s another one going around that includes a palm tree. War is hell on imaginary M1A2s fighting in the deserts of Ukraine.
If you’re wondering why the second half of the drone field guide has yet to emerge, a big part is how the use of drones, and modifications of existing drones, keeps running ahead of my ability to keep up. But even after seeing the most innocuous consumer drone armed with a bandolier of grenades, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite as outrageous as this:
Can those tiny drones actually lift these RPG warheads? I don’t know. Maybe. I guess. The reason the drones are missing their shells is likely because this particular flying Frankenstein is so close to the limit, every gram counts. Presumably a sensitive contact switch is going to get screwed into the nose at the last moment. Even then, without the kinetic impact given by a rocket, these are likely to be ineffective against any sort of armored vehicle. One thing is certain: These are not long range weapons.
If you’re unfamiliar with these FPV drones, watch this video on two popular models cranked out by ubiquitous drone maker DJI.
When you have a handle on the basics, watch a video on some FPV racing or from professional operators using an FPV drone to shoot video. The agility and control allowed by these FPV drones greatly exceeds what can be done using most normal camera quadcopter or hexacopters, making them much better suited to slipping through trees, avoiding branches, and reaching difficult positions. It’s completely understandable why these would best serve as the base of a kamikaze drone. But still, that lash up of warhead and drone just seems outlandish.
Any Russian operators flying such a drone have something new to worry about. Anti-drone drones.
These drones have already been utilized to capture civilian drones flying around airports and in other illegal areas, but the upgraded version is supposed to be to target fast, fixed-wind drones. It would be interesting to see one net a Lancet.
Prepare to have your heart broken. This little girl lived in Mariupol.
Unlike many Twitter videos that have a warning, this video deserves one.
Comments are closed on this story.