Vuhlehirsk battle anniversary

Author: Yurii Butusov

Jan. 29 is the anniversary of Vuhlehirsk battles. Vuhlehirsk is a key town, control of which enabled holding the western face of the Debaltseve bridgehead from Horlivka. In the morning of Jan. 29, 2015 after preparation fire, an armored unit of Russian mercenaries from the 3rd motorized rifle brigade and ‘Oplot’ brigade attacked the positions of the 13th armored infantry battalion, former area defense battalion of the Chernihiv region. The key town was covered by one company, reinforced with an anti-tank battery of the 26th artillery brigade. “Svitiaz” Police Company was holding the number of facilities in the city’s downtown.

The enemy's T-72B1 rode over a dug-out shelter of "Vovk" strong point and was destroyed.

танк т-72б1
The image shows the T-72B1.

Another three tanks of Russian mercenaries were destroyed upon tripping anti-tank mines. Kyiv taxi driver, tank commander of the 13th battalion Andrii Musienko together with his crew destroyed several units of the enemy's armored vehicles, as seen on images - at least one IFV and one multi-purpose armored tracked tower. However, soon after his tank went out of order due to technical reasons. The same reasons prevented another tank at the "Vovk" strong point from opening fire. The 13th battalion's equipment was in a very bad technical condition due to wear and tear.

Anyway, the northern part of Vuhlehirsk was lost pretty fast; the defense broke up there over several hours. During the day of Jan. 29, the enemy occupied the entire part of the town. We also lost all of the equipment at our strong points. However, a number of officers and soldiers of the 13th battalion, as well as "Svitiaz" police officers had not left the southern part of the town and continued to hold their positions.

карта углегорск

During subsequent battles on Jan. 29-31 we attempted to regain control of the town with separate units from the 1st battalion of the 30th mechanized brigade, the 25th armored infantry battalion, and the National Guard battalions - the 2nd "Donbas" and the 1st after Kulchytskyi. A battle team of the Kulchytskyi battalion entered the town from the south, destroyed one IFV and one Ural truck belonging to "Oplot."

However, out attacks were poorly coordinated and organized, and they were too late, which allowed the enemy to mount defenses.

40 soldiers of the Kulchytskyi battalion were not supported by other units; for some reasons, army units did not cover from the south. Having entered street fighting in the north of the town, "Donbas" battalion, the 30th brigade, and the 25th battalion had not advanced much. The enemy incurred serious losses, but our units also had casualties. "Donbas"'s recon platoon, however, got a chance and joined its comrades from the 1st battalion of the National Guard.

On Jan. 31 our units were commanded to leave Vuhlehirsk. The attacks of the enemy at the south of the town had been repulsed, and given reserve reinforcement, the area could be held longer. Why was there the retreat order? Why not all of the officers conducted their duty? Why not all of anti-tank defense equipment fired, the armor defense at first place? These issues are currently being investigated by the Main military prosecution.

The defeat of Vuhlehisrsk was of key importance for subsequent defense of the bridgehead for it opened the western front of the defense to the enemy. Having opened the road from Vuhlehirsk, the enemy seized Lohvynove village on Feb. 9 without fight, and cut the main road for Ukrainian army supplies. Together with the enemy's advancement to height 307.9 near Sanzharivka on Feb. 13, this led to our army's communications being intercepted and made subsequent defense of the Debaltseve bridgehead impossible.

But there were people in Vuhlehirsk who did not fear and fought till the end. There were National Guard soldiers, infantrymen, tankmen, who fought heroically; there were fresh draftees, who had not retreated without an order.

We remember them. This will be a topic for an article and for a "Story of war" episode.

Yurii Butusov, Censor.NETИсточник: https://censor.net.ua/en/r371654