Ukrainian commandos conduct amphibious operations on Kinburn Spit


A damaged Russian position, reportedly on the Kinburn Peninsula.

through social media

It’s official: Ukrainian commandos aboard small boats have infiltrated the Kinburn Spit, a three-mile stretch of curly sand and scrub at the mouth of the Dnipro River west of the southern port city of Kherson that the Ukrainian army first liberated of its Russian occupiers. . month.

By capturing the Spit and the adjacent Kinburn Peninsula, the Ukrainians would flank the defensive positions the Russians had built along the Dnieper River. The Kinburn operation could be the first phase of a wider Ukrainian offensive targeting Russian forces on the left bank of the Dnieper.

There are also other benefits. Whoever controlled the Kinburn Spit controlled the mouth of the Dnieper and could direct ships to the Black Sea from Kherson and nearby Mykolaiv. The liberation of the spit helps free the sea trade of Mykolaiv and Kherson.

There were reasons to believe that the Ukrainian military would pause and reconsider after the liberation of Kherson and its pre-war population of 300,000 on November 11. The Kherson campaign was a difficult one. Ukrainian artillery bombarded Russian supply lines in and around the city before attacking with tank and infantry brigades in late August.

Kherson Oblast is mostly open farmland, criss-crossed by rivers, streams and canals. This is miserable terrain for the crews of tanks and other vehicles, who must move in the open air in full view of artillery spotters and gunship pilots. We are not sure how many Ukrainians died in the liberation of the northern Kherson Oblast and the city of Kherson. potentially thousands.

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Russian troops are badly damaged in Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces in the oblast may have suffered only slightly less. But instead of pausing for a well-deserved rest along the right bank of the Dnipro, on the southern outskirts of the town of Kherson, the Ukrainians immediately swung right, conducted a small amphibious operation and landed special operations troops on the Kinburn Spit.

There were rumors of a Ukrainian landing on November 14, three days after the liberation of Kherson. Videos were broadcast showing Ukrainian commandos in rigid-hulled inflatable boats as far as the mouth of the Dnipro.

The British Ministry of Defense concluded just a week later that Ukrainian forces had control of the three-mile headland. On the same day, the Southern Command of the Ukrainian Army gave the go-ahead for the Kinburn operation. Two days later, there was clear photographic evidence of Ukrainian troops on the spit.

Ukrainian landing ship ‘Yuri Olefirenko’ before the current war.

picture of the Ukrainian Navy

It is unclear how far the Ukrainians have advanced along the adjacent peninsula and how far they are plan To continue now. Southern Command spokeswoman Natalia Lyumnyuk urged Ukrainians to keep quiet about the Kinburn operation.

Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces are among the best in the world. But the command only had 1,000 men at the end of February on the day Russia escalated its war against Ukraine. While Kiev has certainly expanded its Special Operations Command since then, it is still a small force – and lightly armed.

The narrow, undeveloped Kinburn Spit is good terrain for fast light infantry marching in small boats, but the adjacent peninsula – and, to the east, the open farmlands of southern Kherson Oblast – may favor heavier troops.

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If Ukraine wants to liberate part or all of the Kinburn Peninsula to facilitate sea traffic between the Black Sea and the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv, the commandos may be able to handle the operation on their own. But if Ukrainian commanders intended to use the Kinburn operation to flank Russian mechanized brigades on the left bank of the Dnieper, they might have to land heavy troops on the peninsula.

that is easier said than done. The Ukrainian armed forces have built up a large force of small boats to patrol the Dnipro and conduct raids along the river. These boats cannot lift a mechanized battalion.

If there’s a wild card, it could be a 240-foot amphibious ship Yuri Olefirenko, apparently the last surviving large ship of the Ukrainian Navy. In October, a video purportedly depicting aging circulated online Yuri Olefirenko Firing missiles at Russian troops on or near the Kinburn Spit.

If Yuri Olefirenko In fact still active and conducting operations around Kherson, she may have been in a position to move heavy forces to Kinburn. This could make the peninsula a viable starting point for flanking maneuvers targeting the left bank of the Dnipro.

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