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Trench Warfare in Ukraine, 2024

Battle for Bakhmut, Ukraine

As the day grew brighter, a Ukrainian battery opened up from a stretch of woods directly behind the trench. The Russians replied immediately. Suddenly, a mighty crash with a steep pillar of smoke rising, marked the Russian missile impact. It was not possible to distinguish the hisses, whistles and bangs of our own artillery from the ripping crash of Russian shells and then to get a sense of the lines of engagement. Alarmingly we seemed to be under attack from all sides, so that, the trajectories of the various shells and missiles were criss-crossing apparently aimlessly over the little warren of trenches where our unit was sheltering. This alarming effect, for which we could see no cause, disquieted us and made us think, who would volunteer for this? This manifestation of bellicosity seemed as distant and peculiar as though these were events on a distant planet. Feeling unafraid, feeling invisible, disbelieving I was a target to anyone must less being mutilated. Returning to my unit, and surveying the mangled terrain with great indifference, the times and intensity of the bombardment were noted.

Sometimes one hears a whistling, fluttering sound, following a dull discharge. Mortars! You rush to the nearest dugout steps and hold your breath. Mortars explode differently, altogether more excitingly than the usual shells. They are violent and devious an almost personal vitriol, they are treacherous. Rifle grenades are a scaled down version of them. One rises like an arrow from the Russian lines, with its reddish brown metal head scored like squares of chocolate, ensuring it splinters properly. Should the horizon light up at night at certain places then everyone takes cover from the well sighted mortars.

Following the inevitable preliminary bombardment, the Russians charged our lines and attacked our adjacent section under Lieutenant Volkhov. The attackers crept up to our wires, and after one of them gave a light signal to their own machine guns, through a striking surface attached to his sleeve, they charged our lines as the last of their shells were falling, All had blackened faces. Only one got through our wires. Time and again sometimes involving one thousand men, the Russians were shot down only for the same result, slaughter, with more and more Russians used as cannon fodder.

Source: Fighting in the Donbas, eyewitness accounts


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