by SIMPLICIUS THE THINKER
Today is the first day we can probably say the offensive has truly begun in the sense that Ukraine has launched large maneuver attacks in exactly the primary directions long-predicted as being at the heart of the offensive. Yesterday’s push much farther east near Velyka Novosilka had long been forecasted as the ‘diversionary’ direction, and today they struck the true direction right under Orekhov where for a long time their main force buildup was observed by Russian recon/intel units.
With the large NATO Air Defender exercises—called ‘the largest ever’—set to begin on June 12, we can only assume that today was the opening act of what’s meant to be a ramp up that will crescendo during the exercises in less than a week. Presumably, Kiev is timing it to make initial breakthroughs from now til then, and then inject their much larger reserve force into the breakthrough zone right at the time of the exercises to achieve a truly triumphal propaganda syzygy.
But, judging by today’s results, that syzygy is more a zugzwang. Russian forces dealt a crushing blow to AFU’s meat-vanguard. Let’s break down how it happened in detail; however, before that, first let’s update a few things about the last advance over the past couple days on Zaporozhye’s eastern flank.
I reported last time how Russia managed to retake Novodonetsk under Velyka Novosilka. But I just wanted to add some of the official numbers to contextualize things. In a somewhat uncommon gesture, Shoigu himself actually gave the exact figures of Russian losses during this assault. They were:
71 Russian servicemen killed, 210 wounded.
So as one can see, Russian forces do take losses in these meat assaults by Ukraine. However, Shoigu’s listed losses for Ukraine for the period were:
Ukraine’s losses from June 4 to June 6 were 3,715 soldiers, 52 tanks, 207 armored vehicles, 134 vehicles, 5 aircraft, 2 helicopters, 48 artillery systems and 53 drones, Mr. Shoigu announced.
Many have scoffed at his figure of 3700 casualties, some saying that you can divide this by 10 and it’s still a lot. We must remember this includes wounded, so the KIA is likely much lower. The above figure is for major assaults over the course of three days. If you break down the 3,700 as probably 1000+ killed and 2700 wounded (give or take), how is that an unrealistic number for three days’ time of June 4, 5, and 6? That would mean 300 killed per day. That’s a light day for AFU even in Bakhmut when they were on defense. Now imagine them on offense, exposed and easy to hit.
Another thing, you see those figures like 52 tanks, 200+ armored vehicles—which too sounds like a lot. Once again that’s over three days. But interestingly, just in today’s new assault in west Zaporozhye, we have visual confirmation of 42 pieces of armor destroyed. That’s just from a couple videos from one unit out of dozens/hundreds of units on these lines. And this is just the videos of mass armor knockouts, there are dozens of videos showing individual pieces being knocked out like Lancets taking out artillery, of which there were at least 5-7 new videos today alone. So imagine what the total destroyed figures are when you extrapolate this out?
So, to get back to today’s offensive and the videos which the above graphics are sourced from, here is one of the, showing by some counts 11 armor/vehicles destroyed at once in one of the directions. It was said some of them hit mines while others were finished off by a combination of artillery and Russian attack choppers:
And another of Ukrainian BMP-2s and other pieces of disabled armor being finished off by Russian drones:
Even Jihad Julian threw one of his famous hissy fits:
Russian Spetsnaz group near Lobkov right on one of the directions:
Another Russian unit on the front says you can’t imagine how many enemies died today, “the number is measured in thousands”, confirming Shoigu’s reports:
Meanwhile, this was an AFU units post regarding the new French AMX-10 tanks they used for the first time in combat yesterday. First, note that we also have video confirmation for the first time of the tanks heading to the frontline:
It was initially once again misgendered as a Leopard, but sharp-eyed experts properly aligned it with an AMX-10 profile:
Of course, I already posted 3 of them destroyed/disabled/abandoned last time. But now here’s what the AFU unit operating them says about the mighty French wunderwaffe’s performance:
Not quite a rousing selling point for French engineering, eh?
Here’s a detailed description of the exact assaults that took place:
About the situation on the Zaporizhzhya front to the present moment.
In the area of the settlement of Stepovoye – Pyatikhatki, the enemy advanced with forces up to the MPV from the 128th Guards Brigade with the support of artillery.
Wedged into the defense up to 1 km in depth, was stopped on the northern outskirts of the Lobkovoe settlement, suffered losses, had no success, stepped up efforts with a tank platoon (4 tanks), made an attempt to bypass Lobkovoe from the west and reach the Kamenskoye settlement, with success did not have, lost all 4 tanks and retreated to the previously occupied line.
On the Gulyaipole-Mezhirich direction, he attacked with the forces of the RTGR from the 23rd Ombr, had no success, got stuck in the defense of the RF Armed Forces and retreated.
On the direction of Olgovskoye – Levadnoye, forces up to the RTGR from the 23rd Ombr wedged into the positions of the RF Armed Forces to the depth of the ROP, stopped, as a result of the counteroffensive of our troops, was thrown back and retreated.
On the Novopol – Novodarovka direction, with the help of the RTGR from the 23rd Ombr, with the support of a tank platoon, he tried to attack our positions, but he had no success, he retreated.
In the area of the Vremievsky ledge, west of the Neskuchnoye settlement, forces up to the RTGR from the 31st Ombre, wedged to a depth of more than a kilometer and managed to enter a height of 178.2, 2 km west of the Storozhevoye settlement.
In summary: the enemy seeks to capture the dominant heights in order to begin to create a springboard for a broad offensive and the introduction of 4 reserve brigades from 10 AK into battle.
The above map shows roughly the settlements they attacked on the western flank. But as can be seen from the description above, they made several other axes further east, close to Velyka Novosilka (on its western side).
Bar none the best military analyst on Twitter @MNormanDavies drew up this map of the AFU’s potential plans. The “A” line is the feint around Velyka Novosilka:
Enemy radio networks are overloaded. A large number of enemy equipment, we are told from the ground, has set in motion.
The NgP intelligence channel details: The enemy deployed the forces of 4 brigades of the 10th Army Corps for offensive operations in the direction of Orekhov – Tokmak – Melitopol.
🔴 Composition: 115, 116, 117, 118 OMBR.
🔴 In total: up to 20 thousand people, up to 90 tanks, up to 180 AFVs, up to 120 MLRS, up to 80 field artillery guns and mortars.
➡️ The goal of the enemy: a rapid breakthrough to the south and the blocking of Melitopol from the north.
The plans of the enemy are also known in advance, the calculation of the factor of surprise did not materialize, and this time, a warm welcome is provided.
Several of the above mentioned brigades are part of the special 9 developed by the West and armed with Western armor. However, they have not been committed yet but appear to be getting ready to be used as the breakthrough force after the meat assaults punch a hole in the Russian defenses first.
I said last time that the AFU strategy will be as follows:
They will increase the pressure on all these fronts in order to try to find a weak point. In a sense, it’s a larger scale continued recon-by-fire, but it seems a final preparatory one rather than the initial, much smaller speculative ‘feeler’ ones we’ve had for weeks.
But here’s the kicker. If they don’t find a weak spot and continue to be brutally rebuffed as they have been so far, the AFU plans to simply never announce this as the offensive. They will just pretend they are ‘testing’ Russia and the mythical offensive is still yet to come at some arbitrary and obscure future time.
But if they do find a weak spot, they will throw everything to punch through it and then ex post facto claim this was the major offensive all along. In short, they’re playing the dual psychological game I had already described long ago, the sort of phantom Schrodinger’s Offensive, where the plan is to characterize the actions afterwards depending on their success.
Another analysis from today: