TechRisky Crossings and Deadly Outcomes: The Battle for Novomykhailivka

Risky Crossings and Deadly Outcomes: The Battle for Novomykhailivka

Russian tanks destroyed in the Nowomykhailivka region.
Russian tanks destroyed in the Nowomykhailivka region.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | OSINTtechnical

4:39 PM EDT, March 29, 2024

One of the most contested areas beyond Avdiivka in recent months has been the vicinity of Novomykhailivka. The Russian forces regularly attempt to navigate through minefields under heavy fire, efforts that often result in numerous wrecks or vehicles being left behind by their crews. This article explores the reasons behind these outcomes.

The defense of this territory is spearheaded by the 79th Airborne Brigade, who have effectively turned one of the roads leading into the town into a "highway of death" strewn with destroyed Russian vehicles.

An alternative avenue for Russian assaults is through the nearby fields. However, these terrains are laced with mines, and attacks are constrained to narrow lanes cleared by specialized engineering vehicles or tanks equipped with mine-clearing plows.

These vehicles, however, become prime targets. Their immobilization leaves the attacking column vulnerable to attacks from various directions by artillery, FPV drones, or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) like the Stugna-P or FGM-148 Javelin. This rapidly results in the assault units transforming into clusters of wreckage and abandoned vehicles, which may spontaneously explode or be targeted by drones.

Reasons behind the explosions of abandoned vehicles

Abandoned vehicles often carry ammunition, which in Russian designs, is not isolated from the crew area, meaning that, given the open hatches, sometimes a single stray fragment can trigger an explosion.

Upon penetration, damaging a single powder charge can set off a chain reaction in the ammunition storage, resulting in a dramatic blast.

Another cause might be a fire, for instance, from flammable liquids leaking from the engine, which then ignites the ammunition storage. A blaze, whether from fuel or another internal component of a tank, is usually marked by thick black smoke, while white smoke indicates burning from powder charges.

The second reason is the targeting of these forsaken vehicles by Ukrainian drone operators. Their goal is to prevent the Russians from retrieving and repairing these vehicles at the back of the front line or deep within Russia. This compels the Russian forces to deploy increasingly outdated and less effective equipment from their reserves to compensate for the incurred losses.

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