Are you criticizing Russia for the heavy assault on Azovstal? First, take a look at how such cases were dealt with before.

World War II in its time showed the high efficiency of fortified cities. Are the sides taking out tonight

conflict lessons? Discuss

Table of contents

  • Festung
  • Street fighting these days

Apparently, the epic with Azovstal is over. Now it will be the lot of specialists to disassemble it for the foreseeable future, and I am sure we will someday learn a lot of interesting things about it.

The battles for the cities were always the bloodiestprotracted and complex, even the Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu instructed to avoid such operations, but it was easy for him to say - he lived at the same time as Confucius.

In modern operations, settlements cannot bebypass. At the same time, of course, not the residential areas themselves are needed, but roads - iron and ordinary. Interchanges, stations, factories and warehouses are organized near settlements, they are necessary for control. What for? Without this, you will not be able to organize the supply of your own military group to move forward.

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It is much easier to defend a city than to take it - inbasements can be used to store weapons and ammunition, which cannot be taken and easily bombed. Many cities have bunkers and bomb shelters, or just catacombs where you can go during raids. Streets and residential buildings can be dotted with firing points - machine guns, snipers, anti-tank crews.

Storming them is always difficult - it takes a long time andmethodically, street by street, move, clearing already occupied areas and reconnaissance of enemy defenses where they have not yet entered. And no matter how well you prepare, there will be a lot of de facto losses, because you are obviously in the most uncomfortable configuration - a fire tornado of artillery and aviation in such conditions is of little use.

The main work falls on the shoulders of the infantry,supporting tanks and artillery. But for such battles, experienced and well-trained fighters are needed, because this is a battle with an insidious enemy who is almost always one step ahead of you, sees you well and monitors your actions while you have not yet discovered him.


The Germans after a successful counterattack on the Western Front

"Festung" for the Germans is the same as for usthe Kremlin (not Moscow, but as a phenomenon, a term) is a city fortress. During the Second World War, the word returned to active military use, as they began to call fortified cities on the path of the Red Army at the very end of 1944 - early 1945.

The Germans counted on them very seriously -the Russians (in the west - the Americans with the British) had to get bogged down in heavy bloody battles, the pace of their advance had to fall, and the Fuhrer at that time had to have time to prepare the defense of Germany and his new epic wunderwaffe weapons (didn't happen, didn't get lucky).

But I must say, the idea was not without meaning (ifif Hitler really had a miracle weapon) - while the army retreated to the internal defensive lines, parts of the fanatical SS and locals from the Volkssturm and the police were preparing to hold every inch of land. Abandoned ammunition and artillery, which the troops could not drag with them, were demolished from the surroundings.

The streets were blocked by barricades, and wherebarricades - a gap in dead ends and intersections was closed by anti-tank artillery (an inexperienced enemy will run into an obstacle, find a free path, stick his head in there and fall under dagger fire). The bombing was even beneficial - the ruins served as the basis and building material for firing points, and also as a camouflage. Most of the civilians followed the army... who could.

Poznan, Kustrin, Breslau, Glogau - all thisthe most famous festungs faced by the Red Army. But ours were not so unfamiliar with this tactic, since they themselves had similar experience - the same Stalingrad. And it was not for nothing that Chuikov's 8th Guards Army, the one that defended the famous city, became the main "opener" for the festungs.

The 8th Guards Army took the two largest, most important and fortified festungs - Poznan and Kustrin. Solutions for such operations were developed at the smallest tactical level:

  • assault platoons armed with automatic weapons more than standard norms

  • supporting them flamethrowers, mortars and gunners with light anti-tank guns, as well as sappers

  • tanks (first of all, the IS-2 with a 122 mm cannon and a very powerful high-explosive projectile for a tank) and self-propelled guns SU-122 and SU-152 (or ISU-122 and ISU-152 on the new chassis of the IS tank)

Armored vehicles went in three echelons - the first goes tocombat formations of assault groups. The second - at a distance of 500 meters, in order to quickly increase the fire impact when the group runs into large forces or stubborn enemy resistance. The third echelon went for about 1.5 km, covering the first two echelons from the active actions of the enemy, who, with covert movements, could cut off the group from the rest and set fire to all the tanks.

Thus, a multifunctionalbattle group, ready for all surprises. Armored vehicles dealt with machine gunners and snipers, dangerous for the infantry, and the infantry smoked and cleaned the streets from fighters with faustpatrons and identified anti-tank firing points. Engineers cleared approaches and neutralized booby traps.

It is especially worth highlighting the ShISBr - assaultengineering brigades. Their feature was fighters in steel breastplates, which increased survival by 5-7 times compared to conventional infantry. They were needed to break through especially fortified sectors of the front and were directly subordinate to the Headquarters of the High Command - the front commanders often abused the ShISBr and squeezed all their forces into urban battles. It was important to get them out of submission in time, but the festungs also became their profile at the end of the war.

ShISBr in the battles for Kustrin in 1945

But even worked out and honed innumerous battles, tactics did not solve all the problems. Losses remained monstrous. The Red Army stormed the festungs, barely having a 3-fold superiority, and most often went with hardly a 1.5-2-fold advantage in manpower. An offensive operation of this type recommends creating at least a 6-fold advantage in people in the directions of the planned breakthrough. The same is recommended by modern science for street fighting.

Street fighting these days

Today, when the survivability of soldiers is given wheremore value, for the assault on the city and subsequent street battles, a ratio of about 12 to 1 is recommended in all echelons, which allows you to have overwhelming fire superiority. For their actions, an abundance of drones of various types are used, which carefully scan the streets for the activities of opponents.

The Israeli IDF today is perhaps the most prepared army for urban battles

Land drones are searching for mines and theirneutralization. Infantrymen are actively equipped with thermal imagers, smoke grenades, and electronic warfare equipment. Everything is aimed at ensuring that street fights are carefully prepared and not carried out unless absolutely necessary.

In recent events, Mariupol at the expense of Azovstalwith deep underground communications (designed for nuclear war) has become a natural "festung". Settlements in the east of Ukraine have turned into the same festungs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, so there are plenty of such mini-Mariupols now. But units prepared for assault and street fighting, as well as specialized equipment for this, unfortunately, on the contrary, are few.

Was the assault on Azovstal necessary?Let's leave it to the specialists, although we still note (as, indeed, most experts do) that the Azov Regiment and other units did not occupy key and important objects, control over which would be necessary for the troops of the Russian Federation and the DPR. And an even greater part of the operation was not provided with the minimum necessary numerical superiority on the part of the Russian Federation.

The assault on the same Kustrin was an integral partthe main assault - Berlin. It was impossible to leave the city in the rear, its transport hub was decisive for the capture of the capital of the Reich. The Red Army took the cities out of military necessity, and not for prestige, because the main victory is always at the end of the war.

RIA Novosti/Mikhail Andronik