How Ukraine descended into bloody trench warfare as Russian troops die for INCHES of land in WW1-style battles
UKRAINE has descended into brutal trench warfare where soldiers fight and die for just inches of land.
The brutal bloody warfare has been compared to the horrific mud-churned battlefields of World War 1.
Pictures show soldiers digging in across the eastern front, with particularly savage fighting in Vuhledar and Bakhmut.
Trench networks are also being dug in areas such as Kherson and Zaporizhia ahead of more attacks by the Russians.
Ukraine has described the bodies of the Russians as simply “piling up” in the muddy boltholes.
But this slogging, grinding warfare is not what many had expected to see in the 21st Century.
It feels like the pictures and stories of the frontline could be from more than 100 years ago.
Nato intelligence said Russia is losing as many as 2,000 men for every 100 yards gained in human wave assaults in Ukraine.
Putin’s troops are suffering “almost World War 1 levels of attrition and with success rates of a matter of metres,” said UK defence secretary Ben Wallace.
Experts believe the Russians’ failure to gain air superiority combined with Putin’s’ impatience has led to this “meatgrinder”.
Putin has a large air force with advanced planes and weapons at his disposal – but instead the war is being fought nearly hand-to-hand, street-by-street and inch-by-inch.
Vlad’s forces haven’t been able to make use their fighter jets and strategic bombers.
At the start of the war many pilots who did fly sorties over Ukraine were humiliatingly shot down.
It is feared however this could change in the coming weeks, with a possible an air assault and missile blitz to coincide with Vlad’s new offensive.
And this week, Ukrainian soldiers were in the UK training for more trench warfare.
Brigadier Ben Barry, who served in the British army, said satellite imagery shows how Russian troops have turned to setting up vast networks of ground defences.
And he added the Russia will actually looking to the battlefields of the Soviets fighting the Nazis in World War 2 for their tactics.
Both sides get a vote and would fight to the death to cast it
Brigadier (Rtd) Ben Barry
“At great effort Russia has been building big linear networks of anti-tank defences, Dragon’s Teeth ditches, and creating sort of all-round defensive hedgehogs at key road junctions and towns,” he said at the launch of The Military Balance 2023 report by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
“What we can’t see is the extent to which both sides have actually fortified towns, towns and villages.”
“I suspect the Russian military planners would seek encouragement from the Battle of Kursk in 1944, where a deeply layered Soviet defence absorbed two large German Armed spear heads, destroyed them with counter offensives and then went over to the strategic offence.”
He added: “So that’s why it’s quite difficult to predict how these dynamics could interact, because both sides get a vote and would fight to the death to cast it.
“My impression on Ukrainian manpower is that there are still quite a significant number of adult males who have yet to be mobilise.”
As the conflict rumbles on, he said the “stalemated” war could last three years.
But Barry added he is “absolutely certain” Ukraine will have prepared a defence “in depth” in the event of a renewed Russian offensive.
He said: “It’s probably concentrating all its armoured units in formations as a counterattack for forces.
“I imagine the Ukrainian command would let a serious Russian offensive advance into their territory, inflicting attrition with artillery fire and anti-tank fire, and would then use its armour to deliver decisive counterattacks before going over to the counter-offensive.
“I’m pretty certain that if the Russian command is applying its own military doctrine, it will be seeking to do the same.”
The Military Balance 2023 report from IISS said Russia faced huge losses from the first moments of the war.
“The forces deployed in the initial attacks do not appear to have been prepared for, or supplied for, sustained high-intensity fighting,” it said.
“Initially poorly coordinated, and with inadequate air, fire and logistics support, these formations suffered very heavy losses.
“Political imperatives to demonstrate success on the battlefield meant that battle-weary units were given little or no time to recover and reset, instead being rapidly thrown back into the fighting.”
It added: “At the start of the war, Russia’s advances lacked the massed artillery fires traditionally associated with its ground forces, while Ukrainian critical national infrastructure was not targeted extensively.”
Taras Dzioba, press officer for the Ukrainian 80th Air Assault Brigade, described the fighting around Bakhmut in the bleakest terms.
“‘There are places where [Russian] bodies are just piled up. There is a trench where… they just don’t evacuate their wounded or killed,” the soldier said.
The Kremlin is believed to have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of tanks, and hundreds of warplanes preparing for the new assault.
Putin has also ordered that by next month his troops should fully occupy the Donetsk region.
Currently, half of the city is under Russian control.
But last week, Putin’s elite marine force of 5,000 men were obliterated like “turkeys in a shooting range” during one of Ukraine’s bloodiest battles.
The huge loss of Russian troops happened during their attempted siege of Vuhledar, a strategic hamlet in Donetsk.
Mike Martin, a visiting war studies fellow at King’s College London, told the FT: “[Russia] isn’t going to [be able to] take over Ukraine with these tactics.”
Dara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at the Rand think-tank, added: “Putin is impatient. He wants a minimum amount of holdings. And some of his loyalists will say, ‘Yes, sir, we’ll do that’.
“He’s using brute force methods to try to do it, just human waves and artillery fire . . . It’s very costly.”
Vlad’s initial onslaught last February saw his forces storm towards Kyiv before they were pushed back by the Ukrainians in a humiliating counteroffensive.
After a calamitous year, panicked Putin is now feared to be preparing for a new assault to coincide with the first anniversary of the war in February 24.
So far, the Russian despot has appeared reluctant to use aircraft and helicopters while he orders his demoralised troops into relentlessly fierce and bloody battles on the ground.
The Institute for the Study of War warned Russia is facing a “significant” loss of both equipment and manpower.
It was one of the heaviest concentrated military losses the Kremlin has suffered since the war began.
President Volodymyr Zelensky this week also described his defenders as a “living wall” in the areas of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine.
“They stand firmly, execute their missions and kill – which is, probably, the most important thing today – kill the enemy as much as possible,” he said.
Zelensky went on: “Amongst all the tough situations on the front in our country, by far the most tense and complicated one is [in Bakhmut].
“I would add the Vuhledar front to this list as well.
“This fortress still lives. By living, I mean as a living wall, consisting of people.
“Such a high price does the history of our country pay for this war.
“Yet, nevertheless, the people are unbowed; they are protecting this city, they hold their positions, comprehending that they are a fortress, which allows the rest of Ukraine to get ready for liberation of all its territories.”
Putin’s future is now believed to be tied to his success or failure in Ukraine.
Russia expected to be welcomed as conquering liberators when they staged their invasion nearly one year ago on February 24.
But instead of flags and cheering crowns, they were met with gunfire and brave resistance.
Vlad is believed to be desperate to try and achieve something in Ukraine – especially with the anniversary so close.
Kyiv intelligence has confirmed they expect a massive new attack sometime in the next week.