The entire front line stretches for about 2,500 kilometers. The Russian army does not need to reinforce any part of this line, since rivers, swamps and mountains form a natural barrier. Additional reinforcements were placed on the weak points of the front: trenches, anti-tank ditches, barbed wire and anti-aircraft guns.
The Ukrainian army is trying to attack these places, but so far it has been slow. “It’s going slower than expected,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently told a BBC interviewer, with mild irritation in his voice. “Some people think it’s a Hollywood movie and expect instant results. It’s not that.’
An offensive takes place in about five phases, say Olaf Brink, a cavalryman (soldiers who work with tanks) and who works at the army headquarters, and Ivor Wiltenburg, an infantryman who is attached to the Defense Academy. Brink was a squadron commander in the last Dutch tank battalion, which was disbanded in 2011 due to budget cuts. They don’t know the exact situation in Ukraine, they point out, but generally something can be said about the (theoretical) strategy behind an offensive, seen from the brigade’s point of view. It is the smallest unit of the army which itself consists of different parts: tanks, soldiers and logistics units. Battle tactics at the front are actually exactly the same as a hundred years ago, they say. Only the use of modern means makes the fights different.
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