How Ukraine used World War I tactics to break through Russia’s front line as Putin teetered on a tipping point

UKRAINE has fought with all its might to break through Russia’s heavily mined front line in the south – and is about to abandon Putin’s brutes, a top war expert insists.

Heroic defenders in the war-torn land employ World War I-style tactics, letting the red-faced tyrant strike aimlessly in an unsuccessful attempt to bombard them into submission.

Ukraine claims to have breached Russian defenses in the south


Ukraine claims to have breached Russian defenses in the southPhoto credit: Reuters
Zelensky's troops have retaken control of areas around Zaporizhzhia


Zelensky’s troops have retaken control of areas around ZaporizhzhiaPhoto credit: The Sun
Russian troops desperately built defenses to repel the Ukrainian attack


Russian troops desperately built defenses to repel the Ukrainian attackPhoto credit: Ria Navosti
Ukraine has figured out how to target Russian trenches


Ukraine has figured out how to target Russian trenchesPhoto credit: The Sun

The Russian leader arrogantly believed he could invade and conquer the Ukrainian capital of Kiev within days.

But a year and a half after the start of the war, Russian troops continue to hesitate with their illegal mission.

In June, Putin’s butchers claimed they had taken control of a large area from Zaporizhzhia in the south to Robotyne.

But just three months later, the tide appears to have turned, with Ukraine claiming it has blasted through Russian defenses and recaptured Robotyne as it continues its counteroffensive.

A desperate Putin frantically built fortifications as Russia prepared for the dreaded onslaught on Ukraine earlier this year.

Images showed a beach strewn with concrete blocks, areas with dug-out defense lines and main roads lined with anti-tank ditches.

Up close, dragon’s teeth could be seen – pyramid-shaped anti-tank obstacles designed to impede the movement of war machines.

But Ukraine has stormed Russia’s front line with British tanks and “tsunami” squads as its attack gathers pace.

John Spencer, chair of urban war studies at West Point, told The Sun that such a breakthrough would be “significant” for President Zelensky and his warriors.

He revealed how Russia had spent months building reinforced defense lines – with endless mines and “dragon’s teeth” tank destroyers.

But Mr. Spencer, an expert in urban combat, said Ukraine was “slowly but surely” figuring out how to “penetrate and then clear” and traverse minefields.

He added: “This is a breakthrough.”

“If they can send a force into this breakthrough and then penetrate all the way through, that would be significant for the Russian lines, which stretch for almost 1,600 miles.”

“But this one breakthrough we would call a critical breakthrough where they could prevail and move forward quickly.”

Mr. Spencer said Ukraine’s ability to breach Russian defenses had highlighted vulnerabilities in their defenses.

He added: “You want to build a deep defense, have mini lines and have the flexibility to then adapt to a possible breakthrough when you are on defense.”

“But it looks like Russia only defended the strikers and brought everyone to the front.”

“So Russia then doesn’t have the ability to maneuver forces to stop that breakthrough, which is what you ideally want to do.”

Mr. Spencer praised Ukraine’s ability to adapt to the ongoing war – especially given its limited air force.

Ukraine's ability to break through Russian defenses highlighted the weaknesses of their formation


Ukraine’s ability to break through Russian defenses highlighted the weaknesses of their formationPhoto credit: The Sun
The Ukrainian armed forces have made significant progress


The Ukrainian armed forces have made significant progressPhoto credit: The Sun
Former US Army officer John Spencer told The Sun such a breakthrough was


Former US Army officer John Spencer told The Sun such a breakthrough was “significant”Photo credit: The Sun

He said: “What Ukraine is doing has not been done since the First World War.”

“At the end of the First World War, the tactics that would be successful in breaking through mine-lined trench lines like this were developed by combining tanks, aircraft and radio – all new technologies towards the end of the First World War – into what we call the would call blitzkrieg.

“Ukraine had to figure out what to do, but without one of those vital components — the air force.”

“So what Ukraine has done has been progressing slowly but surely, adapting to lessons learned, deploying more demining equipment, improving its ability to protect its forces with long-range fire and artillery.”

“And their ability to figure out how to do this without the overwhelming air power that any Western military would employ, and then slowly advance the force with engineers, armored personnel carriers and all the equipment they’ve been fielding lately, and then figure out how to enforce that.

Ukraine also appears to be moving slowly toward recapturing Bakhmut, one of the most hotly contested battlefields of the war.

The blue and yellow flag was raised in areas around the city, including Kllishciika and Andriivka.

Mr Spencer said: “Bakhmut has been a really strange battle for over a year – it has no real tactical or military value.”

“But because war is politics, it acquired strategic importance as a very well-known place.”

Up to 50,000 Russian soldiers are believed to have died in the capture of the city – and Ukraine could exploit this weakness.

Ukraine now has the potential to encircle and capture it, which would mean a “significant victory in the political information war.”

Elsewhere, Ukraine launched a series of bold new attacks to blow up Putin’s prized £3bn bridge to annexed Crimea.

And in the last week, Zelensky’s troops have twice blown up Putin’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.

The fleet’s commander, Viktor Sokolov, is reported to be one of 34 officers who died after Storm Shadows’ attack on the headquarters.

Mr. Spencer noted that there has been a recent spike in attacks in Crimea – marking another breakthrough for the country as it affects Russia’s ability to conduct operations.


He added: “It is the key to war, it is of strategic value to Russia with the Sevastopol naval base and the ability to influence the Black Sea to stop Ukraine’s main economic center, grain exports.”

“Ukraine’s ability to attack in Crimea was truly significant.”

Mr. Spencer believes Ukraine’s successes have caused Putin to panic and try to flaunt his power in the form of missile attacks on populated areas in a twisted attempt to push the country into defeat.

He added: “We have seen the Russian tactic: when they are angry, they are angry about Ukraine’s successes and start attacking Ukrainian civilian sites.”

“But this idea that you can bomb a population to subjugate it has been rejected time and time again, but tyrannical leaders like Hitler or Putin still try it for some reason.”

“They think they can convince the population and their political leaders to give up. It turns out it never works.”

“We saw the Russians increasing their attacks on Odessa because they were crazy.

“There’s no military value to what they’re attacking, they’re just hitting things they think they can hit.”

“Ukraine is relying on the air defense capabilities that the West has provided and must continue to provide to deprive Putin of this terrorist tactic.”

“He’s angry that he can’t hit things, like even hypersonic missiles are being launched in Kiev.”

Mr Spencer said as the winter months begin, much of the landscape will turn to mud – which could benefit Ukraine.

He added: “It can disable the most advanced tanks, limiting the counteroffensive.”

“I’m not saying it will stop, I don’t think Ukraine will stop at all, but it will slow down operations for both sides.”

“And hopefully Ukraine can capitalize on that and continue to make these big breakthroughs and sustain their breakthroughs.”

Ukraine appears to be heading toward retaking Bakhmut


Ukraine appears to be heading toward retaking BakhmutPhoto credit: The Sun
Ukrainian warriors raised the flag in key settlements near Bakhmut


Ukrainian warriors raised the flag in key settlements near BakhmutPhoto credit: The Sun
Putin has launched attacks on Odessa


Putin has launched attacks on OdessaPhoto credit: The Sun


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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