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Special Forces told about the operation on the left bank of the Kherson region

Special Forces told about the operation on the left bank of the Kherson region

Defence intelligence Kherson Region SOF Ukraine War with Russia

In August 2023, the Defense Forces of Ukraine successfully conducted a highly complex landing operation in the lower reaches of the Dnipro, thanks to which a tactical bridgehead was created on the left bank of the Kherson region, near the settlements of Krynki and Kozachi Laheri.

The LB.ua publication tells about the progress of the operation.

Acquisition of experience in amphibious and raid operations

The commander of the special unit of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine with the call sign “Shaman” said that at first Ukrainian Special Forces had learned to curb the sea element.

“Before that, it was generally learning. We understood that we have some experience in naval operations, in particular, boat raids on the still filled Kakhovka reservoir on Energodar in the fall of 2022. And this, in truth, was quite complex, because in general, the sea, that is, the water route, was about 40 kilometers,” he said.

“Shaman” says that the process of preparing for the Energodar operation was the acquisition of experience. The Special Forces devoted a lot of time to training, the soldiers of his unit were several times on the left bank not only near Energodar, but also upstream of the Dnipro, near the village of Ivanivske, and below.

“The guys made landings, maneuvers, and operations. I have to mention another unit that was landed. These are divers from the Special Operations Center “Omega”. The most qualified, cool guys, the largest possible piece of experience we took in them. And 73rd Maritime Special Operations Center of the Special Operations Forces performed mine clearance tasks there, also successfully,” “Shaman” said.

Creation of a bridgehead on the left bank of the Kherson region in the summer of 2023

Operators wanted to carry out a really significant mission that would be important and would change the situation at the front. The chance to carry out the operation was given by the undermining of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, after which most of the mines were demolished or covered with sand. Some interaction was carried out on the spot with adjacent units, in particular the Odesa Territorial Defense unit.

“With a proposal to carry out the operation, the fighters turned to the then commander of the group of forces in the southern region of Kherson region,” said Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapaty, who now holds the post of Deputy Chief of the General Staff for training. Drapaty took the idea enthusiastically.

“We understood that in the summer of 2023 – in the conditions of conducting a counteroffensive in Zaporizhzhia – we will not have to count on large forces. Therefore, some small groups decided to do what we can. They adequately assessed the forces, counted our means. There was quite a long period of preparation. Realistically, it took more than a month. But without luck, nowhere in our business,” continued “Shaman.”

During the preparation for the operation, it became clear that the enemy was planning a rotation.

They realized that the enemy had been planning a rotation: one main enemy landing brigade, which held the defense on the left bank of the Dnipro just above the Antonivka Road Bridge, went to the Zaporizhzhia direction. According to “Shaman,” they were also replaced by amphibious, but newly formed units from the occupied Crimea.

“When new enemy forces entered the positions, we noticed that they were not sufficiently aware of the situation. This was a joint operation of various components of the Defense Forces with the participation of a large number of special forces. And although she did not succeed the first time – I frankly say, in general, the operation was quite cool. We went into the territory of the enemy, into the inter-position space, and at once there were several quite intensive warheads with enemy observation posts. Some were almost in full force destroyed or captured. After that, they were divided into zones of influence,” says the Special Forces’ officer.

“Shaman” mentioned the commander of a reconnaissance platoon of the 222nd Separate Battalion with the call sign “Vito,” KIA in the area of the operation.

“Pretty humid, good guy who also did the lion’s share of this operation with his reconnaissance platoon. At a high level, the guys worked. That is, we are already divided on the left bank of the Dnipro. Directly, my unit destroyed the enemy in one direction, the 8th Regiment of the SOF in the other, and the reconnaissance of the TDF under the command of “Vito” fell to mine directly the road, that is, the logistical route to the village of Kozachi Laheri. He really did a very good job with this,” says Shaman.

Then it turned out that the enemy was not aware of the situation. The head of the reconnaissance of the landing regiment came to the Russian paratroopers. Russian officers performing tasks in the area tried to find out the situation and made reconnaissance directly on the contact line. This allowed the Ukrainian Special Forces to take them prisoner.

“…all significant enemy officers were captured in that area. There was another platoon commander, a senior lieutenant, but he did not reveal what was happening at all. A certain number of sergeants also captivated. They took them directly when they didn’t understand anything.”

For example, after capturing one observer post, the Special Forces advanced along the shore and noticed that an enemy watch, numbering about six people, was coming towards. An ambush was immediately organized.

“He led this group to replace the observation post, which had previously been destroyed,” the Russian sergeant. “He shouted a password ahead of himself. One of my group commanders came forward and spoke to him. He did not understand that these were Ukrainian Special Forces, a dialogue began, which made it possible to take them captive almost in full force”

“This was the first stage of the operation. He was not as complex as the following, because somewhere in a few days the enemy found out what was happening, but could not change the situation on the battlefield. The road was captured. They captured such, I would say, a bridgehead on the left bank – not the islands on the Dnipro, but the land on the left bank with places for landing,” says the commander of the DIU special force unit.

Call sign “Beaver,” commander of the composite tactical group of the 8th Regiment and 144th Special Forces Center

According to “Beaver,” on the first day of the operation, the enemy lost seventy-three troops.

At the junction of the positions of the Russian battalions, where the Ukrainian Special Forces began to work, the enemy was completely disoriented. Their observer posts on the shore did not play a role, because Russian servicemen were transported to the rotation exclusively at night. And those who took positions were not shown what should be done there.

The Russians discharged radio stations, the water ran out, they drew it from the Konki River. So when the fighting began, they could not understand where our troops were coming from.

“We went through the boat station on the left, and the guys from the DIU moved along the shore to the road, which went on the route to the village of Kozachi Laheri. And on the first day, our special forces in positions in the trench near the road between Kozachi Laheri and Oleshky captured the enemy intelligence chief and his deputy. And two of their special forces groups that came for reinforcements, we laid mortars for the most part and a little while shooting,” says “Beaver.”

The general picture was such that the Russian servicemen who entered there in the early days were generally disoriented. Most of them were destroyed. Russians could not find an answer as to why this was happening.

On the third day, when Russians drove two APCs and a car, they were also knocked out. The enemy could not send any reinforcements, because he did not know where to send him.

The enemy advantage was only in a significant amount of artillery, but the wooded area leveled this advantage. There were five to seven Orlan UAVs above the site of the operation, which did not actually land. On the fourth day of the operation, after the soldiers of the SOF and the DIU got out, the soldiers from the TDF came in, gained a foothold in the directions and began to increase their presence and control the situation.

“Our losses were that we did not know that the enemy could remotely mine, which is how he mined the Konki River. The Dnipro itself is useless to mine, because there the stream blows away. But in Konki there was actually no stream. And, unfortunately, a large number of our explosions on boats were on these mines,” says the Special Forces’ officer of the SOF.

Call sign “Shaman,” Special Forces commander of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine

“Shaman” said that after that there had been a number of such tense events. The fighters began to stumble upon mining in the water by boats. Then the Shaman first saw how bottom, anti-landing or anchor mines worked.

“It’s a pretty scary thing and that element needs to be considered. But credit should go to my guys. Realizing that not all routes are safe, realizing that the enemy directly during our operations, at night launched mines along the current or, it is possible, mined by copters from the air, that is, understanding the complexity of water routes, no one stopped performing the operation even after the losses. Yes, unfortunately, we then suffered heavy losses. Every soldier’s life is really quite a painful loss. I am talking not only about the Special Forces, but in general about all the servicemen of the Defense Forces of Ukraine. But then the guys died for a pretty correct idea, performing a strategically important mission,” he says.

According to the commander of the DIU special forces, no one expected that it would be possible to create such a zone on the left bank. There was such a period – two or three days when the enemy was embarrassed, the line of his defense on the front edge was broken. And with appropriate weapons, the Ukrainian Forces could develop that success much further and better.

“I understood that the counteroffensive that is taking place in Zaporizhzhia does not leave us an alternative option, but we had such a chance. It’s going to be harder for us now, I understand that too. Well, it turned out as it happened, we will not do anything about it,” continued “Shaman.”

The subsequent result was quite natural – they began to expand the bridgehead on the left bank of the Kherson region.

Defence intelligence Kherson Region SOF Ukraine War with Russia