Ukraine launches 'silent' amphibious assault on strategic Black Sea peninsulaControl of the Kinburn Spit allows for dominance of the Dnipro river entrance and the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv
ByJoe Barnes, BRUSSELS CORRESPONDENT22 November 2022 • 2:58pm
A fisherman sails his boat on the Dnipro River as smoke rises from an oil reserve in Kherson CREDIT: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
Ukraine’s military has launched a "silent" assault on the strategic Kinburn Spit as its Kherson counteroffensive enters a new phase.
"The enemy there pulls up forces from the temporarily occupied territory, so they can afford to restore their reserves even after we inflict damage," Captain Natalia Humeniuk, a military spokeswoman, said.
"Nevertheless, we continue our combat work. As soon as the results are available, we will report on it. For now, this military operation is in silent mode."
The Kinburn Spit is a small, sandy peninsula formed where the Dnipro River meets the Black Sea.
The strip of land, which is strategically important because it allows control of Dnipro and the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv, is now the last piece of land occupied by the Russians in the Mykolaiv region.
Before the war it was popular with ecological tourists, but has since been used by Russian forces to conduct routine artillery and missile strikes on Ukrainian-held territories.
It was used by Moscow to target tug boats and grain barges operating in the mouth of the Dnipro River, according to Ukraine's military.
Ukraine's southern operational command has previously described the area as the "focus of the enemy's life force, weapons and equipment".
Last week, Kyiv's forces confirmed the destruction of a Russian "base point" on the Kinburn Spit, as the area became a "zone of active military operations".
In a broadcast on Ukrainian television, Captain Humeniuk said Russia's hold on the region was "not powerful enough to withstand a large concentration of troops".
She also claimed the stormy weather in the area would give Ukraine the advantage in any battle over the sandy outcrop.
"At these times, it is usually very stormy there. And it is impossible to hold on, even to just stand in one spot. Very powerful winds, storms, even nature washes away and drains the enemy from this land," she said.
Western military analysts claim recapturing the peninsula would give Ukraine's forces a staging post for future operations on the left bank of the Dnipro, where Russia withdrew its forces after ceding control of the southern city of Kherson.
The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think-tank, said: "Control of the Kinburn Spit would allow Ukrainian forces to relieve Russian strikes on the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea coast, increase naval activity in the area, and conduct potential operations to cross to the left (east) bank in Kherson Oblast under significantly less Russian artillery fire compared to a crossing of the Dnipro River."
Translation of Russia's manual on how to be a soldier. Hoew effective would a sr NCO or jr officer be that had to buy their own thermal imager, NVG, laser rangefinder binoculars, batteries and chargers for all of the above...
And reportedly already in action:
I guess Turkey is confirming that they have supplied Ukraine with the missiles/MLRS
More on the Kinburn - possibility the Ukrainians are not just mounting raids but have a lodgement?
Ukrainian Commandos Have Made an Amphibious Landing On The Kinburn SpitDavid Axe
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Nov 23, 2022,01:53pm EST
A damaged Russian position, reportedly on the Kinburn Peninsula.
VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s official: Ukrainian commandos riding in small boats have infiltrated the Kinburn Spit, a three-mile finger of sand and scrub curling across the mouth of the Dnipro River west of Kherson, the southern port city that Ukrainian forces liberated from its Russian occupiers earlier this month.
In seizing the spit and the adjacent Kinburn Peninsula, the Ukrainians would flank the defensive positions the Russians are building on their side of the Dnipro River. The Kinburn operation could be the first phase of a wider Ukrainian offensive targeting Russian forces on the left bank of the Dnipro.
There are other benefits. Whoever controls the Kinburn Spit controls the mouth of Dnipro and can dictate who sails ships from Kherson and nearby Mykolaiv into the Black Sea. Liberating the spit helps to liberate Mykolaiv and Kherson sea trade.
There were reasons to believe the Ukrainian military would pause and reconsolidate after liberating Kherson and its pre-war population of 300,000 on Nov. 11. The Kherson campaign was a hard one. Ukrainian artillery spent months bombarding Russian supply lines in and around the city before the tank and infantry brigades attacked starting in late August.
Kherson Oblast mostly is wide open farmland, crisscrossed by rivers, streams and canals. It’s unhappy terrain for the crews of tanks and other vehicles, who must advance in the open in full sight of artillery spotters and gunship pilots. We don’t know for sure how many Ukrainians died liberating northern Kherson Oblast and Kherson city. Potentially thousands.
The Russian army in Kherson Oblast is badly damaged. The Ukrainian army in the oblast might be only slightly less afflicted. But rather than halt for a much-deserved rest along the right bank of the Dnipro, on the southern edge of Kherson city, the Ukrainians promptly pivoted right, organized a small amphibious operation and landed special operations forces on the Kinburn Spit.
There were rumors of a Ukrainian landing as early as Nov. 14, three days after the liberation of Kherson. Videos circulated online depicting Ukrainian commandos in rigid-hull inflatable boats speeding across what appeared to the mouth of the Dnipro.
The U.K. Defense Ministry just a week later concluded that Ukrainian forces were in control of the three-mile spit. The same day, the Ukrainian military’s southern command alluded to a Kinburn operation. Two days after that, there was clear photographic evidence of Ukrainian troops on the spit.
The Ukrainian landing ship 'Yuri Olefirenko' before the current war.
UKRAINIAN NAVY PHOTO
It’s unclear how far along the adjacent peninsula the Ukrainians have advanced—and how far they intend to advance for now. Natalia Humenyuk, a southern command spokesperson, urged Ukrainians to stay silent about the Kinburn operation.
Ukraine’s special operations forces are some of the best in the world. But the command had just a thousand people on the day back in late February when Russia widened its war on Ukraine. While Kyiv since then surely has expanded its special operations command, it still is a small force—and lightly armed.
The narrow, undeveloped Kinburn Spit is good terrain for fast-moving light infantry riding in small boats, but the adjacent peninsula—and, farther east, the open farmland of southern Kherson Oblast—might favor heavier forces.
If Ukraine’s aim is to liberate some or all of the Kinburn Peninsula in order to ease sea traffic between the Black Sea and the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv, the commandos might be able to handle the operation on their own. But if Ukrainian commanders aim to use the Kinburn op to flank the Russian mechanized brigades on the Dnipro’s left bank, they might need to land heavier forces on the peninsula.
That’s easier said than done. The Ukrainian armed forces have built up a sizable force of small boats for patrolling the Dnipro and conducting riverine raids. These boats cannot lift a mechanized battalion.
If there’s a wild card, it might be the 240-foot amphibious vessel Yuri Olefirenko, apparently the Ukrainian navy’s last surviving big ship. In October, video circulated online reportedly depicting the aging Yuri Olefirenko firing rockets at Russian forces on or near the Kinburn Spit.
If Yuri Olefirenko indeed still is operational and operating somewhere around Kherson, she might be in a position to move heavier forces to Kinburn. That could make the peninsula a viable starting point for a flanking maneuver targeting the Dnipro’s left bank.
In seizing the spit and the adjacent Kinburn Peninsula, the Ukrainians would flank the defensive positions the Russians are building on their side of the Dnipro River.www.forbes.com