TopBadger wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 10, 2022 9:40 am
So - lets assume for a moment that Russia has indeed pulled out of Kherson and now is only on the Crimean side* of the Dnipro. What is Ukraine's next move?
The Russians will be relying on the river to form part of their defensive line and pummel units that cross. I'd expect Ukraine would need to bring more artillery to bear to push Russian Artillery out of range of the landing areas before crossing en-masse.
Contested river crossings are always difficult. Attempting one of the lower Dnipro is utter madness, unless a sufficiently intact bridge could be captured, a la Ludendorff Bridge.
Another approach would be for the Ukrainians to use the river as a defensive line, put counter batteries in Kherson to keep Russian artillery at arms length from the city, and swing troops around via Zaphorzhzhia to push south to Melitopol. This avoids having to cross the river under fire and taking Melitopol severs the last supply lines to Russian's south of Kherson (including Crimea) which might force mass surrenders rather than mass fighting.
This is where the long range precision fires become really relevant. This map from DefMon3
illustrates it neatly.
Unfortunately, M31 can't hit everywhere it is needed to. The Russians appear to have moved their command and aviation favilities out of Chaplynka to the location marked on the map precisely because of this. MGM-140 would put it - and any remaining supply routes out of Crimea and indeed the repair work on the Kerch Strait bridge in danger. Ground launched Small-Diameter Bombs, which have apparently been requested by Ukraine, would cover that whole southern strip, but not reach so far into Crimea.
In general, it isn't sensible to credit major successes to just one weapon system, and that is still true here, however I've seldom seen a contribution more significant than that made by GMLRS - the M142 HIMARS and the M270 MLRS firing M31 rockets have been the decisive factor in Kherson.
*left bank? I thought it was right bank but perhaps I'm not looking at the banks from the correct orientation
Think like the river.