According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russian troops lost at least 130 tanks and armored vehicles near Wuhledar, the New York Times reported. Lieutenant Władysław Bajak, deputy commander of the 1st Mechanized Battalion of the 72nd Brigade, described how the Ukrainians managed to inflict such heavy losses on the invaders.
The largest tank battle of the war for Wuhledar, a town southwest of Donetsk, brought the Russians a crushing defeat and heavy losses of equipment, the New York Times wrote on Wednesday, based on accounts of Ukrainian soldiers. According to the Armed Forces Ukraine Russian troops lost at least 130 tanks and armored vehicles near Wuhledar.
According to Ukrainian commanders, the three-week battle was the largest tank confrontation in the full-scale war that began on February 24, 2022. However, the Russians failed to capture Wuhledar, and moreover, they repeated the mistakes that had already caused them to lose many tanks: they drove whole columns into ambushes, reports the New York Daily.
The Ukrainians learned to lure Russian columns into ambushes
In an interview with “NYT”, Lieutenant Władysław Bajak, deputy commander of the 1st Mechanized Battalion of the 72nd Brigade, described how the Ukrainians managed to inflict such heavy losses on the invaders.
According to the military account, the Russians sent columns of tanks into battle, and the Ukrainians learned how to lure them into ambushes. As Bajak explained, such a column is the most vulnerable if the tank crews panic when they come under fire and the tankers try to turn back.
The Ukrainians did not mine the roads along which the enemy tanks were moving, the New York Times points out, as if encouraging the Russians to advance along them. However, the surrounding fields were full of mines, so when the tanks tried to turn back, they ran over the mines and disabled the entire column.
According to the information provided to the American daily, the Ukrainians first attacked the Russian columns with American Javelin missiles or Ukrainian Stugna-P laser-guided missiles, French Caesar self-propelled howitzers and American M777 ultralight howitzers. When damaged or turning back Russian tanks blocked the entire column, the Ukrainians began artillery fire. “And then there was complete chaos” – said Bajak.
The defeat of the Russians in a tank battle
“We studied the routes that (the Russians) used, and then we hid and waited,” explained another tanker, Sergeant Artem Knyhnycki. The defeat of the Russians in the battle of tanks, machines for which they have a special fondness since World War II, was so complete that even Russian pro-war bloggers began to blame the generals for incompetence and the use of inadequate tactics – writes “NYT”.
Another interlocutor of the journal, the commander of the Hrebenok tank, summed up: “We destroyed a lot of Russian equipment. Their mistake was that they invaded Ukraine.”
In February, Radio Svoboda reported that Russian troops suffered heavy losses in the Wuhledar area. The city, located on a hill, has been attacked by the Russians since the last decade of January. According to Ukrainian military assessments, taking Whledar would mean serious problems for their army, as it would give the Russians the opportunity to control Ukrainian logistic routes.
The city, destroyed by Russian shelling, lies at the junction of the front in the Donetsk Oblast with the southern front in the Zaporizhia Oblast. There is a connecting railway line nearby Donbass and annexed Crimea. Taking it would allow the Russians to move troops faster between the eastern and southern fronts.
Main photo source: PAP/Eugene Titov