Saturday dawn events are encapsulated the fog war. The information is incomplete and does not allow to describe the course of events with certainty. Everything seems to indicate that the Ukrainians did not cause any significant harm, but did it themselves Reality The implementation of such a large and daring attack on Sevastopol is of paramount importance. From the fragmentary information, a picture of the operation is conceptually outdated, but very modern in terms of the weapons used.
Search for Russian ships
According to an official statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainians used seven naval and eight UAVs in the operation. All of them were going to attack the ships and the naval base in Sevastopol on Saturday morning. This is confirmed by the reports of the residents of the city and the many records they recorded. Around hours At five in the morning the first explosions were heard, and even after sunrise the unknown could be seen. fires In the military zone near the port and explosions on the road.
The operation was not officially recognized by the Ukrainian army, and no information was provided about it. However, recordings of drones soon appeared in the Ukrainian media. Journalists could only get it from the army. At the beginning of the first recording, you can see the attack on the Russian marching frigate Admiral Grigorovich. The shape of the ship leaves no doubt. Recorded in infrared so you can see it clearly. It may be assumed that the ship was attacked on the Sevastopol route while entering or leaving the base. The recording did not show any counter-reaction from the Russians. They may not have noticed the tiny Ukrainian drone. Unfortunately, it is impossible to infer the effect of the attack from the recording. The video stops when the drone is close to the side of the frigate.
The next part of the video shows scenes from the Sevastopol road and the stern of a ship or ship that are difficult to recognize. Then we can see the interior of the base, with the docks and mooring. Several Russian ships distinctively stand in Sevastopol, from the stern to the shore. The last frames show the side approaching some of the ships that were apparently targeted. The effect of the attack could not be evaluated.
The Russians officially admitted that the minesweeper Iwan Golubek was damaged in the attack. Her side can be seen in the second part of the video. In addition, the floating dam in Yuzhnaya Bay was damaged. It is one of the arms of the main Gulf of Sevastopol. Among other things, submarines dock in it and are surrounded by a dam. It is the only structure of its kind in the bay, according to a former Russian sailor who lives in Sevastopol and tweets. This means that the Ukrainian steamboats reached the heart of the base and tried to attack the most valuable units of the Black Sea Fleet, namely the new Warszawianka-type submarines. Currently, it is used mainly for launching maneuverable Kalibr missiles in Ukraine.
The second video released by the Ukrainians shows the activities of the motorboats in broad daylight. Perhaps also on the way to Sevastopol. It does show that they are being fired from a Mi-8 rotating helicopter and possibly some ship cannons, judging by the size of one of the water columns. The target is the Admiral Grigorowicz-type frigate again, based on the occasional visible silhouette on the horizon. In two different shots you can see the ship from both sides, so film was probably glued together from shots taken by two motorboats, attacking from both sides. Instead, one circled for so long, despite the fire, that it was able to either surround the frigate or get close to the other. Again, it is impossible to assess the consequences of the attack. The video does not show any approach to the frigate.
According to pro-Ukrainian sources, the frigate of the Admiral Grigorovich type was seriously damaged, although not in such a way that it was in danger of sinking. In addition, several other units sustained minor damage. However, there is really no evidence for this. There may be some leaks from Russia over time.
Probably destroyed one of the motorboats
Simplicity and complexity of add-ons
Not surprisingly, there were no spectacular sinkings of many ships. Such attacks are difficult to carry out, although the Ukrainians used modern technologies in their operations. This was not the first time. Back in September, a small, unmarked remote-controlled boat was discovered on the shore near Sevastopol. A few meters long, made of plastic, a jet-ski drive, a head with cameras, a communication antenna and an unspecified amount of explosives with a contact detonator in the bow were probably planted. The person who was found likely had some kind of malfunction or ran out of fuel before reaching their destination and was washed ashore.
Footage of Saturday’s attack shows elements of the remote-controlled boats appearing to be similar to those found in September. Everything indicates that the Ukrainians created a small and relatively simple fleet of remote-controlled boats to launch sabotage attacks. It is a mystery how they get to Sevastopol and how they are controlled. If they are launched from the coast controlled by the Ukrainians, then they have to travel about 300 km from the Odessa region. That’s a great distance for such a small motorboat. Alternatively, they can be fired from some of the larger civilian units used by the Ukrainians. However, it is difficult to imagine that the Russians will miss him and not work against him. Although it cannot be ruled out, the Russian army has already faced negative surprise with the level of operations several times. The method of control is also a mystery. The recordings show that it is clearly controlled remotely. So either they have technology that allows them to communicate with an operator located very far away, or the Ukrainians have some camouflaged operators in and around Sevastopol. It would be an achievement to have an effective cross-horizon communications system installed on these small boats. Placing a decent number of operators in Sewastpolou as well.
Once the small Ukrainian boats hit the water, it must be hard to spot and hit them. They barely get out of the water and are maneuverable. The water flowing through them must cool well, which also limits the visibility of infrared rays. The small dimensions and plastic construction make it difficult to detect radar.
The difficult struggle of the Black Sea Fleet with a country that does not have a fleet
So the technology used in the construction of Ukrainian boats is a mixture of simplicity and sophistication. However, the very concept of their use is nothing new. It was successfully introduced into the history of naval warfare by the Italians during World War II. They were small motor boats of the MT series, which could accelerate to 33 knots (about 60 km / h) with a load of 330 kg of explosive. Large ships took them to the target area. Then they were directed by a man whose job was to guide the canoe towards the target, speed it up and jump. They were never suicide devices. The only success of the 1940’s MT steamboats was in their first run. They severely damaged the British heavy cruiser HMS York in Souda Bay on the island of Crete. After that, there were no more successes, which indicates how difficult it is to use such a weapon. Most often the boats did not reach the work area at all. If they arrived, the two men would have a hard time locating the target in the dark, and even if they did, a competent and ready opponent had no problem in destroying them. Success requires surprise and happiness, and this is difficult to achieve in a war in which things usually go wrong. Therefore, countries with real fleets are unlikely to invest in such inefficient and difficult to use tools. Rather, it is carried out by rebel and terrorist movements, but on a small scale and without resounding success.
Al Qaeda evoked the potential effectiveness of such attacks in 2000 when it attacked the USS Cole. The terrorists used a motor boat loaded with explosives driven by a suicide bomber. At the time of the attack, the American ship was anchored on the way to the port of Aden. The crew was surprised and paid dearly for it. The explosion caused a hole several meters long in the side of the ship and killed 17 sailors. The destroyer was badly damaged, but returned to service after repairs. Since then, most countries’ fleets have taken coastal safety and the threat posed by small powerboats more seriously. The attack on the USS Cole never happened again.
The Ukrainian attack on Sevastopol shows that the Russian army is not doing its job according to its standards. The threat posed by this type of boat is a well-known fact. A month ago, they received a very important warning in the form of a Ukrainian boat that washed ashore. Despite this, the Ukrainians managed to break through the Sevastopol base with their small motorboats and sail alongside the prized frigate. However, the Russians may have been lucky, as there is no indication that the attack caused any massive damage. However, the mere fact of its implementation is another blow to the prestige of the Russian fleet, which is unable to secure its most important base in the Black Sea. Fighting with a country that does not have a fleet.
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