The Closing Days of Bakhmut
The battle of Bakhmut will go down in the history books as the bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war. As well as being the turning point of the war in Russia’s favor. Since August after the fall of Popasna (15 miles east of Bakhmut), we knew there was always going to be a “final battle” for the capture of the rest of the Donetsk region which would put an end to this war that has been going on since 2014 really.
But we just weren’t sure as to where it would take place, 8 months later we can safely assume it was Bakhmut that would break the camels back for the Ukrainian army. Just like Stalingrad, Verdun, Midway, and many others it will be remembered as the turning point.
Although not as deadly as the 3 battles I mentioned previously in terms of death toll, I think there can be a case to be made about the firepower in Bakhmut matching that of Stalingrad. Since less troops are required to man the front now than in WW2 the death toll will be lower, but artillery can fire at faster rates, soldiers have automatic guns, tanks are massed, and missiles are readily available for use.
The Final battle
Going back to the battle of Bakhmut, it has been a “fortress of death” for both sides, but particularly the Ukrainian side, especially with the last 3 weeks of the Russians and Wagner forces applying pressure from all directions. Here are a couple of maps to illustrate the situation. This is March 30th.
And this is Today, April 13th.
You can see the situation on the flanks haven’t really changed much since the last week of March while the situation in Bakhmut city itself has deteriorated for the Ukrainians. And we know why this is the case, Wagner removed all of its troops from the flanks of Bakhmut in the North and South, they ended up being replaced by regular Russians troops of the VDV brigades and paratroops (elite brigades).
With the excess manpower and experience that they’ve gained from fighting on the flanks for 2 months, they repositioned them into the center of Bakhmut and threw everything they had to break the deadlock (and they did). The Ukrainians have set up defenses along the railway that separates West Bakhmut from the center, once Wagner breaks through this rail line, the Ukrainians will only have one place left to barricade themselves, at the high rise buildings all the way to the West.
We are also seeing a record number of tanks being used in Bakhmut itself by both sides, indicating a increase in the intensity of the fighting. I will tell you one thing, it is in Russia’s interest to quickly secure Bakhmut, free up the 20-30k troops in Bakhmut and rotate them to the flanks, because most of us know by now Ukraine will try to counterattack to relieve the city.
Despite the amount of casualties the Ukrainians have taken (close to 200,000) they still have a great deal of men they can call upon to replace those casualties. The war is still far from over but how fast the battle of Bakhmut ends will determine who keeps the momentum. I will reiterate what I have always said, the war will reach its climax/peak in May through July.