Amidst the persisting conflict in eastern Ukraine, a new chapter unfolds in the southern region along the banks of the Dnipro River.
Ukrainian Marines, seeking to broaden their tactical foothold, have extended their presence to the left bank of the river, where conditions, while slightly warmer, present their own set of challenges.
Russian Troops’ Challenges and Unconventional Tactics
Reports emerging from this theater of conflict suggest a growing desperation among Russian troops, grappling with a lack of relief and apparent struggles in resupply efforts.
In response to the relentless assault by Ukraine’s agile and adept first-person-view (FPV) drones, Russian forces in the southern front have resorted to a rather unorthodox approach—a makeshift rocket launcher affixed to an unarmored transport truck.
The crude adaptation witnessed in the form of this unarmored truck sporting an RBU-6000 (stands for Reaktivno-Bombovaja Ustanovka 6000) launcher has drawn attention, circulating across social media channels.
While this isn’t the first instance of Russians employing improvised RBU-6000 vehicles, this iteration stands out for its apparent shortcomings.
You thought there would be nothing surprising – but no. MT-LB with RBU-6000 launcher.
The RBU-6000 was adopted in 1961. Almost all Soviet warships are equipped with it. It fires depth bombs RGB-60. pic.twitter.com/OVEdkN9nhT
— Andrei_bt (@AndreiBtvt) September 23, 2023
The RBU-6000: Its Role and Limitations
The RBU-6000, originating from a 1961 update of World War II’s hedgehog technology, was originally designed as a naval anti-submarine weapon.
Consisting of 12 250-pound RGB-60 unguided rockets, it boasts a formidable range exceeding three miles—making it an ideal component in countering submarines threatening naval vessels within close proximity.
While its utility in today’s era of anti-submarine helicopters and submarine-fired cruise missiles might be debatable, the RBU-6000 continues to be standard equipment on most large Russian warships.
On land, however, the effectiveness of the RBU-6000, typically serving as a large mortar capable of firing salvos, faces considerable limitations.
Historical instances from World War II show its adaptation by the British and Australian armies for ground-to-ground roles, but the current Russian doctrine primarily emphasizes its use in shore-bombardment roles from ship mounts.
Potential Impact and Implications
The recent deployment of the RBU-6000 on an unarmored truck raises serious doubts about its operational effectiveness.
Unlike its integration with the Burya fire-control system on naval platforms, the ground-based variant is likely to rely on manual aiming, which could result in significant inaccuracies.
IMAGE of another sign of Russian desperation. This is a flat bed truck mounting part of a Russian RBU-6000 Smerch-2 anti-submarine rocket launcher, normally found on Russian frigates, being used in the Krynky,Kherson area by Russian troops. #Ukraine #UkraineWar #UkraineRussiawar pic.twitter.com/ffYX7g7KEd
Considering the havoc wreaked by Ukrainian forces, especially through FPV drones, on Russia’s purpose-built and fully integrated armored rocket launchers near Krynky, the truck-mounted RBU-6000 not only faces the challenge of hitting targets effectively but also remains extremely vulnerable to Ukrainian air attacks.
Discontent and Desperation Among Russian Soldiers
In a revealing report by AP News published last November 26, intercepted audio conversations from the front lines in Ukraine shed light on the sentiments and struggles of Russian soldiers engaged in the conflict.
A growing number of Russian soldiers want out, as suggested in secret recordings obtained by The Associated Press of Russian soldiers calling home. https://t.co/cEA46ynKQm
— Ground News (@Ground_app) November 27, 2023
These secret recordings provide a rare peek into the Russian perspective on the current battle, which is rarely featured in Western media due to strong Russian government rules.
Coded Language and Sentiments of Despair
According to the intercepted calls, coded language is employed by soldiers, with references such as “200s” for the deceased, “300s” for the wounded, and shockingly, “500s” for those who refuse to partake in combat, indicating an increasing prevalence of soldiers seeking to avoid engagement.
The recordings captured soldiers expressing disillusionment with the realities of warfare, lamenting the brutal conditions and the lack of valor in the face of death.
One soldier, speaking from the Kharkiv region in Ukraine, starkly portrayed the grimness of the situation:
“There’s no f—— ‘dying the death of the brave‘ here. You just die like a f—— earthworm.”
As the conflict persists into its second winter, these intercepted conversations underscore a growing sentiment among Russian soldiers who desire to exit the war theater.
The soldiers’ diverse backgrounds — ranging from professional soldiers initially deployed by Putin’s full-scale invasion to individuals from various walks of life, coerced into serving in arduous conditions — portray a poignant picture of the toll exacted by the conflict.
Mobilization Concerns and Growing Discontent
Despite efforts by Moscow to entice individuals into contractual military service, the annual autumn conscription draft in October saw approximately 130,000 young men conscripted, raising concerns about potential future mobilization.
Though Moscow asserts that conscripts won’t be deployed to Ukraine, they automatically transition into reservist status after a year of service, making them viable candidates for future mobilization.
Krynky, Ukraine. Servicemen of the Russian 26th Regiment would like to go on rotation after losing 3 companies of personnel. But instead, they're being sent to the islands. Looking for help from Shoygu. pic.twitter.com/rq65ZG39IR
— WarTranslated (Dmitri) (@wartranslated) November 24, 2023
Authenticity of Accounts
Going back, the authenticity of these intercepted calls, according to AP News, has been verified by cross-referencing information through conversations with relatives and soldiers and researching open-source material related to the phone numbers used by the soldiers.
These conversations, recorded in January 2023, paint a poignant portrait of men who found themselves unwilling or unable to evade mobilization due to financial constraints or a sense of patriotic duty.
While these conversations may not entirely represent the sentiments prevailing within Russia’s armed forces, they reflect growing desperation among some soldiers, mirrored by an increase in legal actions against those refusing to participate in combat—an indicator of the discontent simmering within the ranks.
Conclusion: ‘Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures’
The limitations of this makeshift weaponry in the conflict zone paint a picture of desperation among Russian troops in the face of evolving warfare tactics.
The lack of precision and susceptibility to countermeasures further underscores the vulnerabilities of such unconventional adaptations in modern warfare scenarios.
While the adaptation of weaponry for land-based operations isn’t unprecedented, the efficacy of such adaptations in the ongoing conflict remains questionable. The inherent risks associated with utilizing a lumber-braced truck as a platform for a naval rocket launcher epitomize the lengths to which forces might go when faced with dire circumstances.
The potential consequences of employing such unorthodox weaponry extend beyond mere inefficiency. They could significantly impact the broader military strategies and tactics employed by Russian forces in the region. As Ukrainian forces capitalize on their technological advantages and adaptability, Russian troops may need to reconsider their approaches to maintain any semblance of operational effectiveness in the evolving theater of conflict.
The conflict along Ukraine’s Dnipro River brings to light Russian troops’ desperation, marked by unorthodox tactics like the RBU-6000 rocket launcher on an unarmored truck. Intercepted calls reveal soldiers’ discontent and desire to avoid combat despite Moscow’s conscription efforts. This desperation mirrors vulnerabilities in Russian strategies and emphasizes the need for adaptation against Ukraine’s evolving tactics. The soldiers’ struggles highlight the personal turmoil within Russia’s military ranks amidst the ongoing conflict.