Ukrainian-Russian War Simulated – Ambushes!

*This article is merely educational and an exploratory endeavor into the sad state of affairs currently happening in Ukraine. I want to let everyone know that my whole heart lies in support of the Ukrainian people and their sovereignty I wish you all the best in these trying times...


In 2016, fresh out of university, I wrote an essay defending how great of a teaching tool ARMA III could be for up-and-coming journalists and future war correspondents, a tool to be used by forward-thinking teachers and willing students. Moreover, a tool for understanding, rather than learning per se. My intention with this series of articles is to try and make some sense of what’s going on in the first major conflict between two similarly equipped and technologically advanced nation-states.

Inspired by the antics of Real and Simulated Wars, a Wargame Blogspot I can truly recommend for its quality and bite-sized content as well as his quick tactical analysis of usually small-scale engagements. I love the way the author simply exploits how US Infantry Destroys Soviet Armor, his first mission with a Marder 1 AIFV, and World War 2 desert maneuvers. It’s all a very eclectic mix of small portions of wargaming content. If all of this sounds like an endorsement, it’s because it is.

Given this, I’ve decided to borrow his format and simulate a Ukrainian ambush on a Russian Motorized Rifle Company during the first days of the invasion. I’ve set up the scenario but it’s the AI that’s going to be doing all of the legwork. So if some decisions don’t appear that smart, you know why.

The Russian regular forces are accompanied by a depleted Spetsnaz acting as an on-foot recon element. The Ukrainian forces are defending the only serviceable concrete road for miles around this specific location. The Ukrainian forces are a bunch of rag-tag and disorganized mix, with civilians who recently took up arms fighting alongside remnants of the Ukrainian military that fought on that same road a couple of days earlier. They’re armed with a couple of Javelins, two tripod-mounted DShK heavy machine guns, and have some on and off intel of a nearby drone with one single precision-guided missile left. Other than that, it’s all AKs and PKMs. Let’s get into it:

This is the road and as you can see, there’s only one roadside complex of buildings suitable for a close-ranged road ambush.
The Ukrainian view of the road, with one DShK manned by a member of the Ukrainian Military while another one is packing a Javelin and a recently volunteered civilian, has his RPG ready at a moment’s notice. The second DShK is currently being transported into the building.
On the clearing to the east remnants of the last fight, a couple of days earlier can be seen. With several destroyed BMPs and a Russian Helicopter downed. A couple hundred meters away from the road improvised barricades are housing a couple of Ukrainian soldiers.
This is their PoV on the barricades. On the ground, you can see the spent cases of the M72 Law.
Same location, overlooking the main road.
The motorized elements finally approach the Spetsnaz squad acting up as the recon element.
About two to three hundred meters away from the complex, a brave and lone member of the Ukrainian Forces spots the first Russian truck waiting by the side of the road while the Spetsnaz squad is trying to spot and access the Ukrainian forces nearby. The unit reports back to the ones at the complex the location of the truck and a couple of minutes later.
A hit! The Javelin strikes true again and kills nearly everybody inside the truck. Everyone else scrambles for cover!
The Spetsnaz units advance forward down the road under the cover of both the forest to the right and the rocks on the left to engage and call for help for the nearby BTR a couple of clicks back. The other trucks try to reverse.
Meanwhile, nearly all the Russian forces have scattered to the woods on the left of the road with some casualties being reported on the right. Meanwhile…
Another truck is hit! This time by the volunteer managing the RPG!
However, this time the Russians won’t let things slide and the help they asked for is finally arriving, nearly 20 minutes later.
The Russian response is devasting and kills three of the 5 soldiers on the roof and continuously peppers the building to keep the remaining units down and unable to fire back. With no more immediate threats around and with the rest of the BTRs way more under-gunned than the BTR and still far behind, the call for air support is made.
The Ukrainian drone operator spots the operational BTR-80 and fires a guided missile.
It’s a hit! Now depleted, the drone will act mainly as a recon.
With the roof cleared and the RPG response ground to a halt, the support BTRs start moving forward and pinning down the last remaining forces on the complex.
The Russian Forces managed to close in enough to advance towards the entry of the complex. Notice in the background the BTR-80 destroyed by the drone strike.
Russian Forces surround the building and capture the complex.
Overhead, a disaster was averted by canceling a last-minute close-air-support mission Russian Air Force.
With the Russians closing in, the Ukrainians firing from their improved blockade positions East from the road decide it’s time to pull back to fight another day after inflicting heavy casualties on the Russian units attempting to flank them from the forest. It seems that the Russians won this time…
Or did they?

3 thoughts on “Ukrainian-Russian War Simulated – Ambushes!

  1. One comment. I have been trained to perform that very kind of ambushes against an advancing enemy. The time was the late ‘80s and the place would have been Germany (west). It was absolutely out of the question to stay for 20 minutes after the first shot had been fired, trading bullets and rockets with the enemy. By this time, we could be sure to be wiped out by the supporting elements of the unit we had attacked: artillery, helicopters, planes… not forgetting foot elements who would try to envelop us.
    Only in a deliberate ambush could it be envisaged to remain on place… but that kind of affairs would have requested a more favourable ground, i.e. not open terrain, and way more troops fielded against the enemy.
    There is a very good YouTube video by The Chieftain, who was a tanker in the US Army, where he states that it is way too early to draw conclusions based on the short edited combat images that flourish on the internet and in news report. He takes the example of a very well publicised ambush on a Russian column, filmed from a drone, on which a tank is seen being struck by some AT missile fired from the left of the screen. Playing a longer unedited version of the video he shows that the tank is not destroyed by the explosion, as impressive as it is, but continues to move in an attempt to escape. And he also shows several AFVs of the column immediately reacting by turning towards the place where the missile had been shot and pumping heavy metal, while dismounted infantry is also manoeuvring towards the attackers… leading him to think their fate is most uncertain, unless they have left the place immediately after the first shot.

    Liked by 1 person

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