Video Above: The Impact of Stinger Missiles, Javelin Missiles and Switchblade Drones in Russia Ukraine War
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Ukraine war is the success and intensity with which a smaller, largely dismounted force of Ukrainian soldiers stopped and even destroyed a heavy attack from Russian mechanized vehicles. Ukrainian defenders likely accomplished this in large measure through sheer intensity, force of will and a collective need to protect their families and children from deliberate Russian attacks on civilians.
Russia Ukraine War
Another key part of their success is purely tactical in the sense that they were able to use dispersed groups of dismounted soldiers armed with anti-tank weapons to stage ambushes, hit-and-run strikes and attacks from elevated or obscured positions to destroy armored vehicles from hidden or tough-to-reach locations.
Yet another key component of this was explained to Warrior by a former Army Commander from Operation Enduring Freedom who led the attacks on Iraqi Republican Guard forces at the Baghdad airport during the initial invasion.
Retired Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, who was an Army Rifle Company Commander, said the Iraqis tried to use intersections, cross-sections and chokepoints to ambush approaching US armored vehicles from tactically advantageous positions. “They had some success” using this strategy, Rutter said, however the US Army was able to quickly prevail in these now-famous encounters.
Recommended for You
Video Above: The Role of Javelin Missiles in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
This strategy appears to also be helping Ukrainian fighters use anti-armor weapons to destroy advancing Russian armored vehicles. Russian mechanized forces were attacked, incinerated and destroyed while crossing bridges or entering more urban areas with buildings or uneven terrain.
This ongoing success naturally relies on certain intangible variables such as pure tenacity, survival instinct and widespread willingness to fight and defy Russia. Yet this “will” is matched with the weaponry and tactical proficiency capable of succeeding.
This is likely why thousands of rounds of ammunition, new shoulder-fired anti-armor weapons and even 1,000-more Javelins are on the way from the Pentagon. They are helping. Combined with a Ukrainian desire to fight, these weapons are succeeding. Following some small initial gains in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, Russian forces are largely stalled at the moment, and some are beginning to raise the prospect of a counterattack if not merely support efforts to “take back” or “reclaim” ground previously occupied by Russians.
Ukraine’s resolve and success, coupled with a NATO and US need to protect Europe’s Eastern flank from continued Russian aggression, is a key reason why the Biden administration has just authorized the single largest support package to Ukraine since the war began, a $2.98 billion military support package designed to provide long-term support and enable industry to produce new weapons for Ukraine.
“We are with Ukraine today, and alongside our Allies and partners, we will stick with Ukraine over the long haul. In light of this enduring commitment, the Department of Defense has decided to provide an additional $2.98 billion in security assistance to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI,” Colin Kahl, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, told reporters according to a Pentagon transcript.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.