The War on the Dnieper Bridges Rages

But it is being waged by Ukraine

Source: Substack

In April-May when Russia was experimenting with waging a war on Ukrainian rail (linklinklink) by way of hitting electrical substations I wondered why she didn’t attempt that by the more obvious choice of targeting bridges over the giant Dnieper river that bisects the country.

Russia hit the Zatoka bridge in the southwest of the country over the Dniester (a different river) estuary on at least four separate occasions until the bridge was well and truly battered.

It was estimated it would take months of repairs for it to be reopened for rail, but Russia retargeted it again in July for the fifth time.

But of the Dnieper bridges Russia attacked only one and only once, in an attack that barely did any damage. For all intents and purposes, Russia has not touched the strategic Dnieper bridges.

But Dnieper crossing points are being hit now — only it is the Ukraine that is showering them with missiles.

Russia holds the two southernmost crossings over the Dnieper, captured in the first few days of the war. The bridge in Herson and the dam in Nova Kahovka. And since getting the HIMARS system Ukraine has been relentlessly bombarding the two, especially the bridge.

The bridge which lies just 40 km from the front putting it in range of artillery-level weapons is now disabled and the river is crossed via barges instead.

It is quite ironic. I imagined that if anyone it would be the Ukrainians who might be reduced to crossing the Dniper in barges. Instead it is the Russians.

As someone who made river crossings on barges in the 90s when some bridges went up in a different war I can testify that floating on a plank pushed by a rusty tug is not without its charm, but one that even for an 11-year-old doesn’t quite make up for the miles-long lines to get to the other side.

Bosnia-style barge

When a bridge gives way to the 19th century that naturally leads to bottlenecks.

In April-May I suspected that by not going for the bridges Russia was committing a tactical blunder. I no longer think that.

At the time I anticipated that the Russian retreat from Kiev would be followed up by an ambitious, large-scale Russian offensive in the south. In such a case supporting the offensive by frustrating Ukrainian supplies, replacements, and redeployment with attacks on bridges would indeed be of great value. But since Russia subsequently proved capable only of lethargic and local offensives whether the bridges stand or not becomes a moot point.

The loss of bridges would lead to bottlenecks and delays, but Russia’s advance isn’t fast enough or broad to make that matter. Whether a battalion from the Polish border needs three days to arrive to Donbass or thirty doesn’t matter all that much when Russia’s daily advance is marked in yards. In each of the cases, the unit will arrive plenty soon enough to see fighting.

Also since the Russian force is small, the opposing force doesn’t need to be particularly large either. Forces involved are 10 times smaller than the forces that confronted each other in Ukraine 80 years ago. On top of that, only a tiny section of the front between Donetsk and Izyum sees serious fighting. So the logistical strain on the Ukrainians isn’t all that high to begin with. It’s quite possible they could still get enough ammo across for such a localized war via barges and dams.

Another thing is that at the time it was not yet clear how great would the flow of US supplies grow. The US went on to bill its aid “Lend-Lease” but this is no Lend-Lease as history knows it. It’s useful yes, but doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with Lend-Lease. A real Lend-Lease would make the targeting of bridges an imperative, but this does not.

The Russian-style barge is almost luxurious

One question to ask might be why the large offensive in the south that I anticipated after the Kiev retreat never materialized. I think it is because I underestimated by how much the Russian army had already weakened itself by that time.

It did not suffer catastrophic human losses, but it did suffer quite staggering material losses. It turns out the reports of hundreds and hundreds of fighting vehicles lost (many abandoned) in the first two shambolic weeks of the war were largely true. So although all energies were now refocused on the south, because the army had already weakened itself when it was pursuing disparate objectives, this was no longer enough.

So as it tried to break through at Izyum it was not equal to the task, forcing the command to progressively downscale their ambition moving the planned breakthrough further and further east, — and thus aiming for a smaller and smaller pocket.

  1. Abraham Lincoln says

    What a bunch of pro empire lies. It is Zio NATO and the USSA who has shocking loses in material. Russia wants to disarm NATO and ti is happening by allowing stupid NATO to send all its equipment to Ukraine where it can be destroyed by Russia. Russia is losing very little in the way of material and men compared to Ukraine and NATO about 50 to 1 in men.

    NATO has lost so much they can’t fight Russia for more then 2 weeks before surrendering to Russia.

    Soon Russia will break through the last fortified Ukraine lines of defense in the Donbass and then will proceed to Odessa and Kharkov as the EU economy totally collapses resulting in regime change for your bosses “pro empire”

    1. YakovKedmi says

      >>>> “Russia will break through”
      Four weeks ago the Expeditionary Force of Empire Russia made a breakthrough at Pisky city. Today part of the city is still under Ukrainian control, and that unfinished highway overpass at the other end of the town is really holding up the progress of the liberators. An unfinished overpass, at the middle of an open field, without support and supplies, at the corner of Voroshilov street is holding up a mighty army. A paved, double-lane highway is leading to this overpass from the Russian side.

      Dniepropetrovsk is farther from Pisky than the Russian border. If it took six months to get to Pisky, how long will it take to get to Dniepro from Pisky ?

      1. Abraham Lincoln says

        There are 8 years of fortifications in Pesky. Russia wants to lose only 1 Russian to every 50 Ukrainian dead or less so they are going slow. Ukraine has lost more then the size of the entire UK armed forces in dead and over 500k killed and wounded. Around 14 k Russians have been killed or wounded died dn

        1. evilsooty999 says

          I’ve heard this about the fortifications numerous times so why don’t they go round them like Germans did to the much more impressive Maginot Line in WW2?

          Honest question.

          Why are the Russians attacking heavily fortified areas head-on with WW1-style tactics?

          1. Abraham Lincoln says

            Russia does not care about time They don’t go around because they don’t want to damage their economy with a partial or full mobilization when it is not needed. Russia is using 1 soldier to every 3 Ukrainian soldiers. Flanking will require many more soldiers.

            Also so Russia loses 1 man to every 50 the Ukrainians lose. Its strategy is working with huge losses for Ukraine in men and for NATO in material. This is how Russia beat Germany by destroying the German army.

            1. evilsooty999 says

              That’s what I thought: they don’t have enough men.

              Why even start a war they can’t finish? At this rate it’s going to take years and civilians near the front lines are still being shelled so they shouldn’t have bothered invading.

    2. C.A.Powell says

      Abraham Lincoln? John Wilkes Booth did everyone a favor and ended the career of the tyrant, liar, and warmonger Lincoln on April 15, 1865. Lincoln should be dug out of the ground and tried for war crimes.

  2. YakovKedmi says

    Six months after the grand opening, Zelensky is parading himself and burned-out Russian tanks, while in Moscow the secret service has to blow up Dugina to work up some enthusiasm (for something).

    Citizens of Moskva & Leningrad, hastily returning home from their shortened vacation in Crimea, by telling everyone who cared to listen their first-hand accounts of the fireworks on Russian military bases, caused more damage than the explosions themselves.

    1. Abraham Lincoln says

      Why don’t you go and volunteer for the front lines and fight for the glory of racist supremacist global Jewish Judeo Nazi slave empire dictatorship.

    2. Traveller says

      You said it right – the drugged clown is parading himself in the middle of the street in Kiev, in broad daylight. Obviously Ukies are aware that Russians ain’t gona waste any Calibr or Iskander on that coke-snorter, while he makes fool of himself.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.