Russian Assault Repelled near Tonenke, Armor Company Annihilated

Update (0644 EST, April 1st, 2024):

The Institue for the Study of War has offered several additional details on this battle:

“This appears to be the first report of any elements of the 90th Tank Division participating in assaults following the Russian seizure of Avdiivka and ISW previously assessed that elements of the 90th Tank Division, alongside other Russian units and formations, likely represent a sizeable uncommitted operational reserve that the Russian military command can commit to continue and intensify efforts to push west of Avdiivka. The elements of the 6th Tank Regiment appear to have failed in their March 30 attack near Tonenke, however, suggesting that elements of Russia’s uncommitted operational reserve near Avdiivka may be too degraded or otherwise unable to lead further Russian advances westward in the short term.

The scale of the Russian mechanized assault on March 30 is significant. Russian forces have not conducted a mechanized assault this large since the beginning of the Russian localized offensive effort to seize Avdiivka in late October 2023, when Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed almost 50 Russian tanks and over 100 armored vehicles on October 19-20, 2023.[23] Ukraine’s ability to defend against the March 30 assault, particularly near Avdiivka where Ukrainian forces have been forced to quickly withdraw to new, defensive positions following the loss of the settlement, is a positive indicator for Ukraine’s ability to defend against future large-scale Russian assaults and the expected summer 2024 Russian offensive operation. Ukrainian officials, justifiably so, continue to warn about Ukraine’s ability to defend against the expected summer Russian offensive effort in the face of ammunition shortages, manpower limitations, and delayed Western assistance.”

At approximately 0800 EST, initial battle damage assessment from Tonenke, Donetsk Oblast came in from pro-Ukrainian forces after an unsuccessful Russian armored assault near the village near Adiivka. After a full day of fighting on March 30th, 2024, 12 Russian tanks and eight infantry fighting vehicles were destroyed by a combination of Ukrainian indirect fires and FPV drones. The following images are from Telegram page Supernova_plus:

Russian sources have not commented on the battle and there are no reports of Ukrainian casualties. A short video of the engagement is shown below:

Tonenke is a village that lies due East of Adiivka which fell to Russian forces in February 2024. Russia claimed to have captured Tonenke on 21 March 2024, but Russian milbloggers largely did not corroborate the MoD’s claims.

Live map Ukraine. Center cross is Tonenke.

On March 30th, the United Kingdom Defense Journal made this report:

“Russian forces have maintained a gradual advance west of Avdiivka. In late March 2024 they almost certainly took control of two villages – Tonenke and Orlivka – and are continuing to contest others in the area. Russia has continued attacks along several other points on the frontline but has made little progress in recent weeks.

Russia maintains a significant quantitative advantage in the conflict, overmatching Ukraine in munitions and equipment numbers. It is likely recruiting approximately 30,000 additional personnel a month and can highly likely continue to absorb losses and continue attacks aimed at wearing down Ukrainian forces.”

This report is a clean indication that the front line in the region is in flux after the fall of Adiivka as Ukrainian forces are establishing new strongpoints. Russian ground forces obviously felt confident enough to mass and deploy such a strong local offense against whichever Ukrainian defenses are in the area.

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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