Russian troops in Ukraine have gone to great lengths to avoid detection and attack by using tree branches and strawand even strips of carpet, to hide tanks and other armored vehicles, in what analysts call a startling lack of sophistication for such an advanced army and further evidence of how poorly prepared some commanders were for the sustained struggle that has developed.
Camouflage, whether for personnel or equipment, is a critical part of warfighting, even as technological advances such as drones, satellite imagery and infrared sights have made it more difficult to hide in camps. modern battle. It works by distorting shapes and reducing heat signatures, in effect tricking the eye into creating doubt and confusion.
However, for some observers who have closely followed the conflict in Ukraine, Russian forces, despite their military superiority, have shown an impressive degree of amateurism. They point out the videos that circulate on social networks and that show a series of tricks.
In one of them, allegedly captured in combat by a Russian soldier seeking cover amid a group of idle armored personnel carriers, a mosaic of what appear to be small pine trees is visible along one side of the vehicle. It is a vision thatsmells of despair“, said Mike Jasona retired US Army armor officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The tactical procedure of the US military, noted Jasonconsists of covering entire vehicles with lightweight camo nets when they are not moving, even for a short time. Ukrainian units have been seen using combinations of netting and foliage to help break up the shape of armored vehicle hulls. The pines, according to Jasonson “better than nothing”, but they seem to indicate that the unit in question lacks a basic proficiency to use camouflage or simply did not have the proper equipment to begin with.
Other images from Ukraine they show armored personnel carriers with what looks like barnyard hay strewn across their tops. In another video shared on social media, Russian troops can be seen covering a vehicle with rugs or other heavy cloth.
Jason supposes that it could be an attempt to reduce or distort thermal signatures, that anti-armor weapons – such as missiles Javelin of American manufacture that are supplied to Ukraine– use to set their goals. An altered signature could make it more difficult for a gunner to distinguish between a Russian armored vehicle and a civilian car, though a trained explorer would oscillate between a thermal scope and binoculars to pick up other signs of enemy activity, he said.
The US military is coming out of its own complacency following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which camouflaging vehicles in fighting insurgents was often an afterthought.. The new training indicates a return to basics like the use of camouflage netssaid Jason. Netting and other fabrics can aid concealment, and the use of foliage to distort the contours of vehicles can help give crews vital seconds to react to an engagement or attack themselves. But its usefulness is limited in the age of drones and satellite imagery.said Jasonwhich makes camouflage an effort primarily to fool the human eye.
the apparent The Russians’ lack of modern camouflage netting is the latest example of what analysts are calling a series of tactical blunders. since the invasion began at the end of last month, which reaffirms the belief in United States and in Europe that the president Vladimir Putin and his high-ranking military commanders failed to anticipate the strong resistance his troops faced.
To the bewilderment of many Western observers, Russian soldiers have shown a tendency to talk on unsecured radios and mobile phones, which has allowed enemy intelligence to intercept their communications. Military planners have also failed to distribute enough fuel and food, leading troops to abandon vehicles on the spot and, in some cases, to surrender.
Just as puzzling, according to analysts, is that Russian units are, in fact, well versed in camouflaging their vehicles, and there is evidence that they have done so in previous military exercises. As recently as 2018, Russian state media touted its army’s advanced camouflage prototypes, which it said were capable of mirroring the surrounding environment.
Rob Leea Russian military expert and senior member of the Foreign Policy Research Institutesaid that the uneven use of camouflage in Ukraine it can point to the commanders’ lack of preparation and guidance to subordinates, or attest to their overconfidence from the start that this fight would be easy and the Ukrainian government would quickly fall.
It’s clear, he said Leethat the commercial and smaller tactical drones provided to the Ukrainians by Turkey is allowing them to detect Russian units to carry out air and artillery attackswhich may lead some to resort to ad hoc solutions such as equipping their vehicles with bits of bush or simply pulling them off the road and hiding them in the trees.
“Russia”, he added, “don’t have a good answer”.
(C) The Washington Post.-