The most valuable cargo [truck tires, so useful in overthrowing governments in Kiev!]
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Several UAF units carried out a breakout from Debaltsevo region on February 18. The units exited with weapons and equipment. Maps showing the routes from Debaltsevo to Svetlodarsk and Artemovsk will be posted later.
In the meantime your humble servant, ignoring the tactical-operational and political details of this event, will attempt to calculate the amount of armored vehicles that the UAF managed to take out of the Debaltsevo region.
[Most of the post is a barrage of photographs taken from the Ukrainian media, which covered the “planned withdrawal” in excruciating detail, so that virtually every vehicle that came out was photographed several times. It seems likely those forces on the photographs are “it”, and that no other units made it out.—J.Hawk]
The total count is as follows:
Tanks: 6. In other words, two tank platoons.
BMP and MT-LB: 26. BTR-80: 2. That’s an incomplete motorized rifle battalion.
SP howitzers: 3. Command vehicles: 4. That’s less than an artillery battery.
One BM-21 Grad launcher.
Two UR-77 combat engineer vehicles [used to clear minefields using line charges, which makes them useful as fire support vehicles, though only at very close range].
BRDM-2: 5. That’s half of a reconnaissance company.
If we assume that perhaps some vehicles did not make it before camera or video lenses (which were present in large numbers and which shot everything that moved), we can make an allowance that the actual number of armored vehicles that made it out of the cauldron is greater by 20-25%. Plus a fairly large number of trucks and other wheeled vehicles.
So what was it? A full-strength battalion task force, or remnants of several different UAF units?
For reference purposes:
The surrounded UAF grouping included the following formations:
Up to two battalion tactical teams of the 128th Mountain Infantry Brigade
No fewer than two company tactical teams of the 30 Mechanized Brigade
Subunits of a battalion tactical team of the 25th Air Assault Brigade
11th Separate Mechanized Battalion
25th “Kievan Rus” Mechanized Battalion
40 “Krivbass” Mechanized Battalion
Subunits of the 8th Special Operations Regiment and the 101st General Staff Security Brigade
A company tactical team of the 17th Tank Brigade
One company of the 2nd Right Sector Battalion
Subunits of the Svityaz Police SWAT unit.
Subunits of the Lvov police battalion
At least three artillery battalions
At least one rocket artillery battalion
J.Hawk’s Comment: So it would seem that the UAF managed to extract the equivalent of one battalion tactical team worth of heavy equipment, though likely more personnel exited on trucks or on foot. By comparison, the Debaltsevo grouping was equivalent to 6-8 maneuver battalions, supported by several artillery battalions. So it was a sizable defeat for the UAF, and the artillery losses will be especially painful, considering its importance in the battles of the last two months. The psychological impact of the Debaltsevo Debacle is still to be assessed.