NEW – February 6, 2023
In January, ours made significant progress, they did it with relatively small forces and quite unexpectedly for the enemy, becoming more active in one area, then in another, and competently using weather conditions.
The enemy is used to American satellite intelligence, and the Americans are used to the cloudless skies of Iraq. In Donbass, it can be cloudy for weeks in winter and early spring. On the Internet, you can read about technologies for satellite sensing of the Earth through clouds and even the walls of skyscrapers. However, this is more reminiscent of the Cold War stories that you could read newspapers from satellites. Of course, there has been progress in technology over the past 30 years, but not so fantastic.
Copters are also not particularly fond of frost and falling snow, especially with rain. Lithium batteries are discharged faster in the cold: everyone can see this when talking from their smartphone in the cold. Expensive copters are moisture-resistant, but not forever, and when precipitation occurs, their mechanisms and microchips deteriorate faster. Precipitation tritely prevails in the picture transmitted even from an expensive copter that is resistant to it, like a tulle curtain in a window without illumination from the inside of the room. Snow also reduces the range of visibility of the copter.
Of course, our forces also need up-to-date information from satellites and copters to prepare and coordinate the advance and operation of artillery. But, in addition, the usual long-term observation helps us to calculate the enemy’s habits of supply, rotation, and correction of natural needs. The longer the night, the more the enemy’s vigilance is dulled by passive defence, and our initiative and advance planning help to sharpen our attention.
Winter long nights are combined with the lack of urban lighting on the ground, since the front line is still moved away from residential areas, and the residential areas themselves do not particularly indulge in an abundance of street lighting. This significantly increases the possible time for our movement of personnel and military equipment, for supply and rotation. It would seem that it is also easier for the enemy to rotate, but again the difference between passive waiting for their fate and active offensive actions plays a role.
Now, instead of “green” snow, and disguise, it would seem, more difficult. But in principle, Donbass does not abound in large plantations, mainly only narrow forest belts, rare ravines and even more rare groves, and in some places abandoned and overgrown with a small undergrowth of fields.
The snow cover is also very moderate, it’s possible to say – on the verge of existence, and not particularly hindering movement, with dry grass sticking out and other vegetation masking the tracks. Russian “smudge” winter camouflage coat is an ideal colour scheme for the current Donetsk weather, cheap, takes up little space in the backpack, easy to change depending on the presence or absence of snow cover.
In winter, it’s possible to use elements of uniforms with a lining made of heat-reflecting material. The developers provide this as an additional element of thermal insulation in severe frost. But this lining provides another masking advantage – reducing the heat spot for the thermal imager. True, it is worse than in the summer in a sniper “ghillie” (with an abundance of tinsel), but it is better than an ordinary summer jacket and trousers. A modern regular winter jacket or a Soviet padded jacket do not contain such reflective linings, but it’s possible to pick up a light windbreaker with such a lining or order a revision of the regular camouflage at a cheap Donetsk atelier.
Our movement even on minimal snow cover, and especially in the dark, requires special skills and the presence of night lights and is much more difficult than in dry weather in summer and is incomparable with a walk through a snow-covered city park. Banal “boiling” in movement, and then freeze during stops, experiencing difficulties in quickly changing clothes or throwing off excess. In addition, it’s necessary to be more careful, subconsciously feel mines and trip wires. However, the significantly lower probability of being detected by the enemy outweighs the disadvantages of moving in light winter conditions.
Experienced hunters and tourists from the northern regions and Siberia help to hone their winter skills, at least one per platoon. A person who grew up in such a Russian hinterland with a large snow cover, long distances and more severe frost, considers the Donetsk winter conditions a trifling obstacle. As practice shows, three or four exits to an observation position together with an experienced hunter or tourist is enough to get the necessary skills for an attentive urban resident of the middle region.
Units fully equipped with Siberians generally consider the Donetsk winter a resort, and older fighters remember Soviet exercises in winter field conditions. Of course, these are not Siberian divisions in the winter cold of 1941 near Moscow against the Germans who were not ready for the winter, but it is somewhat similar. NATO instructors, even “mercenaries” from Eastern European countries with a similar climate to Donetsk, did not really practice their skills of winter movement or observation.
These are just some of the apparent advantages of the Russian fighters, who in January took control of a couple of dozen settlements in the Donetsk and Zaporozhye regions with relatively small forces.
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