How Ukraine has used WW1 tactics to punch through Russia's frontline as Putin reels from turning-point breakthrough | The Sun

UKRAINE has fought tooth-and-nail to punch through Russia's heavily mined frontline in the south – and is getting the edge over Putin's brutes, a top war expert insists.

Heroic defenders in the war-torn country have been employing World War One-style tactics – leaving the red-faced tyrant aimlessly striking in a failing bid to bomb them into submission.

The Russian leader arrogantly thought he could sweep in and seize Ukraine's capital Kyiv within days.

But a year and half into the war, Russian troops continue to stall on their illegal mission.

In June, Putin's butchers crowed they took control of a large area of Zaporizhzhia in the south, as far as Robotyne.

But just three months later, the tables appear to have turned as Ukraine claims to have blown through Russian defence lines and reclaimed Robotyne as they power on with their counteroffensive.

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Desperate Putin frantically threw up fortifications as Russia prepared for the feared Ukraine onslaught earlier this year.

Pictures showed a beach littered with concrete blocks, regions with defensive lines dug out and major roads lined with anti-tank ditches.

Close up, dragon's teeth were seen – which are pyramidal anti-tank obstacles used to impede the movement of war machines.

But Ukraine has stormed Russia's frontline using British tanks and "Tsunami" squads as their onslaught gathers pace.

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John Spencer, Chair of Urban War Studies at the US military academy West Point, told The Sun that such a breakthrough is "significant" for President Zelensky and his warriors.

He revealed how Russia had spent months establishing bolstered lines of defence – with endless mines and "dragon's teeth" tankbusters.

But Mr Spencer, an expert in urban combat, said Ukraine has "slowly but surely" figured out how to "penetrate then clear" mine fields and go through them.

He added: "That's a breakthrough.

"If they're able to surge a force into that breakthrough and then push all the way through, that would be significant for the Russian lines, which stretch 1,000 miles almost.

"But that one breakthrough is what we would call a decisive breakthrough where they could then push through and move forward rapidly."

Mr Spencer said Ukraine's ability to blast through Russian defences has highlighted weaknesses in their set up.

He added: "You want to do a defence in depth, have mini lines and be able to have the flexibility to then adapt to potential breakthrough if you're on the defence.

"But what it looks like Russia did was just defend forwards and put everybody on the frontline.

"So then Russia doesn't then have the ability to manoeuvre forces to stop that breakthrough, which is what you ideally want to do."

Mr Spencer hailed Ukraine's ability to adapt as the war has raged on – especially with it air power limitations.

He said: "What Ukraine is doing hasn't been done since World War One.

"World War One at the end of it saw the tactics which would be successful in breaching mine-wired trench lines like this, by combining the tank, the airplane and the radio – which were all new technologies towards the end of World War One – into what we'd call the Blitzkreig.

"That's what Ukraine has had to figure out what to do but without one of those vital components – air power. 

"So what Ukraine has done moved forward slowly but surely, they adapt to their lessons learned, more mine clearing equipment has been fielded, their ability to cover their forces with long range fires and artillery has increased. 

"And their ability to figure out how to do this without that overwhelming air power that any Western military would use, and then slowly move forces forward with engineers, armoured personnel carriers, and all the equipment they were fielded lately and then figured out how to push through this."

Ukraine also appears to be inching towards retaking Bakhmut, one of the most highly contested battlefields of the war.

The blue-and-yellow flag has been raised in areas around the city,including Kllishciika and Andriivka.

Mr Spencer said: "Bakhmut has been a really curious battle for over a year – it has no real tactical or military value.

"But because war is politics it took on a strategic importance as a very known location."

Up to 50,000 Russian soldiers are thought to have died taking the city – and Ukraine could play to this weakness.

Ukraine now has the potential to circle it and take it, which would be a "significant political information warfare win".

Elsewhere, Ukraine launched a string of bold new attacks to blow up Putin's prized £3billion bridge link to annexed Crimea.

And in the last week, Zelensky's troops have blasted Putin's Black Sea Fleet HQ in Sevastopol twice.

The fleet's commander Viktor Sokolov is understood to be one of 34 officers who died after Storm Shadows blitzed the headquarters.

Mr Spencer noted how there had been a recent uptick in attacks in Crimea – which has been another breakthrough for the country as it is squashing Russia's ability to conduct operations.


He added: "It is the key to the war, it is of strategic value to Russia with the Sevastopol naval base and the ability to influence the Black Sea to stop Ukraine's main economic hub which is the grain exports.

"Ukraine's ability to be able to strike into Crimea has been really significant."

Mr Spencer believes Ukraine's successes have led panicked Putin to lash out and attempt to parade his power in the form of missile strikes on populated areas in a twisted bid to bully the country into defeat.

He added: "We've seen the Russian tactic, when they get upset, they're mad about Ukraine's successes they start attacking Ukrainian civilian locations.

"But this idea that you can bomb a population into submission has been disapproved time and time again but still tyrannical leaders like Hitler or Putin they always try it for some reason.

"They think they can convince the population and their political leaders to give up. It's proven never to work.

"We've seen Russian increase their attacks on Odesa because they're mad.

"It has no military value what they're striking, they're just striking things they think they can hit.

"Ukraine is relying on this air defence capabilities the West has provided and needs to keep providing to take this terrorist tactic away from Putin.

"He is angered he can't hit things, like in Kyiv even hypersonic missiles are getting shot down."

Mr Spencer said as the winter months roll in, much of the landscape will turn into mud – which could work in Ukraine's favour.

He added: "It can cripple the most advanced tanks, so it can limit the counteroffensive.



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"I'm not saying it will stop it, I don't think Ukraine will stop at all, but it will slow down operations for both sides.

"And hopefully Ukraine can capitalise on that and continue to have these major breakthrough and hold what they breakthrough."

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