As things are moving fast on the Kherson front I drew up a few maps to explain the situation.
A short thread🧵:
In Kherson the russians hold a sizeable bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnipro river (shaded red), which could only be supplied by two bridges, one
just a bit North of Kherson and the other over the dam at Nova Kakhovka (purple pentagons).
Since the arrival of M142 HIMARS both crossing have been pounded heavily by Ukrainian forces.
Since August the Antonovsky bridge near Kherson is impassable for vehicles (photo), while
the dam at Nova Kakhovka is still passable for trucks, but not heavy vehicles (photo).
Over the last month Ukraine has been wearing the russian forces in Kherson down: through artillery fire, constant probing attacks, drone attacks, and by destroying their ammo and supplies.
russia brought in pontoons to supply its forces in the South near Kherson (photo), but thanks to HIMARS Ukraine has been hitting and sinking these pontoons.
Now Ukraine went on the offensive in the North and quickly overran the starving, demoralized russian forces there.
This is the same map as in tweet 1, but seeing this map makes it easier to understand Ukraine's initial attacks (blue arrows):
One attack pierced the russian line near the Dnipro, using the 5 km wide river to cover its eastern flank. At the same time Ukrainian troops attacked
from their Inhulets bridgehead - thus fixing the russians forces there in place.
Meeting little resistance Ukrainian forces pushed South to Dudchany. This meant that the russian troops still holding the front in the North are now at risk of being encircled. The latest news
indicate that these russians are already fleeing from there (red arrows).
Kherson is steppe = a flat landscape with some thin treelines as only cover. There are no natural barriers, which makes it impossible for the russians to set up an improvised defensive line.
The russians can't stop retreating until the next natural barrier: either the Dnipro river or the Inhulets river
Retreating over the Dnipro Nova Kakhovka would make more sense for the russians, as
(Photo of the landscape in northern Kherson - ideal armored warfare country)
here their trucks and light vehicles can still cross and once on the left bank the russians could set up a defensive line to secure the rear of their forces fighting in Zaporizhzhia.
The other option is to retreat South to the Inhulets river (blue line).
Retreating to the Inhulets would be what a complete moron does... so the russians will do it.
Let's look again at the map with the second phase of the operation in Kherson: the russians retreat either over the Nova Kakhovka dam or over the Inhulets river:
if they retreat over the dam they will have to leave all their heavy vehicles behind, if they retreat over the Inhulets they will have to abandon most of their vehicles for lack of fuel.
And if the russians retreat over the Inhulets, the Ukrainians can cross the Dnipro and
establish a bridgehead on the left bank, from which they can attack towards Crimea and Melitopol. At Kakhovka they can also cut the water to Crimea.
In short the russians only have bad options (putin the "strategic genius" at it again).
Some russians will flee over the
Nova Kakhovka dam, but most will retreat over the Inhulets... and as said that's the most moronic option, because then the russians there will be boxed in by Ukrainian troops from three sides, with M777 howitzers able to hit almost every spot, and
AHS Krab, PzH 2000, Zuzana 2 and CAESAR able to hit every spot. And the only supply line will be pontoons, whose landing spots on both sides of the Dnipro are in Ukrainian artillery range.
Retreating over the Inhulets is retreating into a death trap. Once Ukrainian M777 can
hit the pontoons no ammo, no fuel, no food - nothing will reach the 15,000 russians stuck there. It's starve to death or freeze to death or surrender for them.
And they can't flee across the Antonovsky bridge as Ukrainian spotters will see them & artillery will shred them.
And in fall/winter they can't swim across the 1 km wide Dnipro river with its freezing water, as that would mean death by hypothermia.
putin just annexed Kherson, so he refuses to give it up... which means he has doomed all the russian troops there to death.
This is a textbook example how a smart, capable, flexible, motivated army can use terrain, enemy incompetence, and operational art to beat a cretinously led army.
We're gonna see more of this, because putin is a moron and General Zaluzhnyi is a genius.