Ukrainian forces decimated a Russian column of 11 tanks and armored vehicles.
Ukraine heavily relied on FPV attack drones to obliterate the Russian armor.
Russian military bloggers are increasingly frustrated by Russia’s perceived tactical blunders.
Ukrainian forces deployed FPV attack drones to help obliterate an entire column of Russian armored vehicles, Metro reports.
Video appears to show Ukraine exploding drones, finishing off 11 tanks and armored vehicles. It included three T-72 tanks, five tracked amphibious [MTLBS] armored fighting vehicles, and an infantry fighting vehicle, reduced to burning hulks scattered across the battlefield.
Two tracked armored fighting vehicles were also destroyed, one by an anti-tank guided missile, Metro reported.
The battle raged near the settlement of Novomykhailivka, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which Russia has been attempting to capture since October.
The assault was captured by cameras mounted on the attacking drones and those flying overhead, showing the devastation caused to the Russian column.
The convoy was maneuvering near the front lines along the east of Ukraine and became vulnerable to fire from artillery and swift and targeted strikes from the air by drones.
Leveling Russia’s battlefield advantage
Footage shows the FPV exploding drones accelerating toward the Russian tanks and armored vehicles, with the feed abruptly cutting off just before impact.
Other footage gives a panoramic view, showing the dark shapes of tanks in motion, some bursting into flames as the exploding drones hit, followed by an aftermath of smoking, twisted wrecks abandoned in winter fields pockmarked with shell holes.
The video was dated January 30. According to reports, the battle lasted nearly two and a half hours.
Business Insider could not independently verify the video.
The apparent victory against the armored column matters because Ukraine increasingly sees relatively inexpensive drone technology as a way of leveling Russia’s battlefield advantage.
Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, wrote on Thursday for CNN News that with accelerated technical innovations, the nature of war had changed.
He highlighted the key role played by unmanned weapons systems, such as drones, which help Ukraine against Putin’s forces despite Russia’s significant superiority of manpower and weapons.
FPV drones are an effective and low-cost weapon employed by both Russia and Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.
“Perhaps the number one priority here is mastery of an entire arsenal of (relatively) cheap, modern, and highly effective unmanned vehicles and other technological means.
Already such assets allow commanders to monitor the situation on the battlefield in real time, day and night, and in all weather conditions,” wrote Ukraine’s top military leader.
‘Complete stupidity and incompetence’
While the number of casualties from the wrecked armored column remains unknown, the strikes triggered a backlash among pro-war ‘Z’ channels associated with Putin, expressing frustration over perceived military incompetence, Metro reports.
Russian military bloggers have become increasingly frustrated by the Russian military’s tactics. Russian forces continue self-sabotage by gathering in large groups to attack Ukrainian positions, making them an easy target for Ukrainian drones.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tank, said one Russian military blogger expressed dismay at Russian forces’ tactics at “complete stupidity and incompetence.”
Another Kremlin-affiliated milblogger argued that the Russian military command needs to stop attacking in mechanized columns due to repeated high equipment losses.
The milblogger also criticized the military leadership for failing to account for Ukrainian drone operations and to equip Russian armored vehicles with electronic warfare systems, reported the ISW.
Ukraine, after nearly two years of war, has called on the West to bolster its defenses. The increased use of drone attacks, that have reached targets as far afield as Moscow and Saint Petersburg, has become a strategic focus for Ukraine.
“It’s a war of armor against projectiles. At the moment, projectiles are winning,” Gleb Molchanov, a Ukrainian drone operator, told The Guardian.
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