The Battle for Antonov Airport: A Turning Point – Gun Reviews and News


Battle is soiled with surprising inflection factors. Earlier than there may be hope, afterwards there may be none.

Each battles and wars are characterised by curious tipping factors. It’s bizarre. Such stuff appears to tackle a spirit of its personal. By means of the lens of historical past, all of it appears to be like so clear. On the time it will need to have been completely terrifying.

Athens and Sparta have been the area’s two main naval powers some 2,400 years in the past.

Army historical past is rife with such stuff. In 405 BC the Spartans and the Athenians confronted off in a naval battle that was epic for its period. The ensuing Battle of Aegospotami through the Peloponnesian Battle decided the trajectory of Western civilization.

The Battle of Aegospotami ended with a convincing Spartan victory.

The Athenians and Spartans have been pretty evenly matched. The battle might have gone both manner. Nevertheless, The Spartans beneath Lysander took benefit of some poorly-timed management errors and finally both seized or sank 170 of the 180 out there Athenian Males-o-Battle. Lysander subsequently decreed the demise penalty towards anybody caught taking grain to Athens. 

The decline of Greece facilitated the ascendency of Rome.

Confronted with the prospect of hunger, the Athenians capitulated in 404 BC. Had Athens been victorious, then Greek democracy would possible have been the driving pressure behind the event of contemporary civilization. Because it was the Romans stuffed that void, so right here we’re. That’s little doubt an oversimplification, however it’s nonetheless thought-provoking.

Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a 35-year-old school professor and Christian theologian, held the road towards repeated assaults by decided Alabama infantry and, with an surprising bayonet cost, finally saved the Union.

The Battle of Gettysburg was precipitated by Accomplice forces looking for sneakers. The following battle for Little Spherical Prime got here right down to the determined actions of some determined males. Whereas the battle dragged on as wars are wont to do, the Confederacy by no means actually regained the initiative after that seminal second.

The Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor reworked the way in which mankind considered battle. I had a relative who was there, and the expertise modified him.

Equally, the Battle of Halfway represented the turning level within the Pacific Battle. The Japanese have been a most formidable energy in that specific pond. Their shock assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, represented a watershed second within the annals of contemporary warfare. It appeared the Imperial Japanese Naval was unstoppable. Then AF grew quick on water.

That is CPT Wilfred Holmes. His contribution was crucial to victory at Halfway.

Unbeknownst to the Japanese, American codebreakers have been studying their mail. The IJN had been utilizing the time period AF to explain the target for his or her subsequent main conquest. The American management was not sure what AF could be. Captain Wilfred Holmes recommended they ship a message within the clear that Halfway’s water purification facility was on the fritz. 24 hours later the Japanese transmitted that “AF was quick on water,” and the Individuals knew they have been coming. 

SBD Dauntless dive bombers ravaged the Japanese fleet through the Battle of Halfway.

It price the attacking American Job Drive 34 of 41 deployed torpedo bombers and most of their crews, however the Zero fighters all dropped right down to the deck the place the searching was good. On the similar time, Commander Wade McClusky’s SBD Dauntless dive bombers rolled sizzling from altitude and despatched three of the 4 Japanese fleet carriers to the underside. The remaining flattop Hiryu joined them quickly thereafter. Although the battle floor on for 3 extra years, the Japanese have been doomed after Halfway.

The battle in Jap Ukraine roars on as I sit comfortably typing these phrases.

Equally, the battle in Ukraine appears to have had a turning level. As I kind these phrases the Russians and Ukrainians are busy slugging it out within the east. Although everyone appears to be an knowledgeable, no person actually has any concept the way it will prove. Nevertheless, Russia’s finest hope for fulfillment evaporated on the Antonov Airport on February 25, 2022. This was D+1 after the preliminary invasion. That was the day Vladimir Putin fairly possible misplaced his tidy little battle.

The Setting

Stephen Ambrose was the preferred historian of his technology. As soon as people like him get carried out with the battle in Ukraine we’ll perceive it higher. For now we simply do one of the best we are able to.

Bear with me right here. It’s robust to get the main points straight on a battle earlier than the historians have moved in as a military of literary occupation to dissect every little thing about it. If I miss a bit within the ongoing fog please forgive me. I used essentially the most dependable sources I might discover.

This man is only a freaking animal. I do know he’s acquired his warts, however Volodymyr Zelenskyy is essentially the most charismatic chief the world has seen in generations.

Putin anticipated the world typically and Ukraine particularly to only roll over and die. Within the leadup to their Particular Army Operation, the Russians hallucinated up their commonplace load of steaming crap to justify their efforts. Political maneuverings, a couple of pitifully staged propaganda movies that regarded like they have been produced by youngsters, and a few epic lies in regards to the Nazi leanings of Ukrainian management served as rocket gas. The truth that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and had misplaced family within the Holocaust was an inconvenient spot of actuality within the in any other case schizophrenic Russian narrative.

Putin spent these arduous younger studs in huge numbers in his failed try to take Kyiv.

The unique Russian battle plan, such because it was, envisioned a speedy decapitation strike led by Russian Spetsnaz and VDV airborne forces to get rid of the Ukrainian management and pave the way in which for his or her alternative by Russian stooges. Alas, the American intelligence equipment is essentially the most well-financed and succesful in human historical past. The CIA uncovered the Russians’ intentions and communicated them to the Ukrainians in loads of time for them to arrange. Regardless, it was nonetheless a really iffy factor.

The Goal

That is Antonov Airport circa 2012 earlier than the Russians and Ukrainians blew all of it to hell.

Antonov Airport is located a mere 10 km outdoors the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Seizure of this strategic goal would permit Russian airborne forces to determine an air bridge and subsequent lodgment from which to neutralize the federal government and take the town. Taking Kyiv was the important thing to taking Ukraine. Taking the Antonov Airport was the important thing to taking Kyiv. Every part stood on this.

Earlier than. The An-225 Mriya was the most important cargo aircraft on this planet. We rented it sometimes to hold outsized spacecraft components and the like.
After. The world’s solely An-225 fell prey to Russian airstrikes. Sigh…

The Antonov Airport was also referred to as the Hostomel Airport. It was residence to the world’s solely An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft, the most important such plane on the planet. The CIA had supplied particulars of the Russian battle plans and the half that Antonov Airport performed in them to the Ukrainians the month earlier than. When the Russians attacked, the Ukrainians have been prepared and responded with overwhelming pressure.

As a helicopter pilot myself, I simply need to say that the Ka-52 is one wicked-looking gunship.

The Russians led with an enormous air assault consisting of both 20 or 34 (relying upon what you learn) heavily-loaded Mi-8 Hip helicopters escorted by Ka-52 gunships. Present intel signifies that the troops concerned have been drawn from the 11th and 31st Guards Air Assault Brigades. Because the Russian airborne job pressure got here in low over the Dnieper River, Ukrainian defenders opened up with machine weapons and MANPADS (Man-Moveable Air Protection Methods). An indeterminate variety of Mi-8s have been hit, a number of of which crashed into the river. No less than one Ka-52 was introduced down as effectively. In a surreal tackle trendy battle, this engagement was streamed in real-time. You may watch it on YouTube. It’s certainly charming.

These stills have been taken from the cockpit of a Russian Ka-52 through the assault on Antonov Airport. The An-225 will be seen within the center body on the left. This specific helicopter was ultimately shot down and its crew was rescued by Russian forces.

The idea of the operation had these heliborne troops seizing the airport for a follow-on pressure in eighteen Ilyushin Il-76 fixed-wing transports. Nevertheless, earlier than they may safe the airfield the Russians have been attacked by a blended pressure of Ukrainian Nationwide Guard troops, Ukrainian particular operators, and a few significantly tooled-up heavily-armed Ukrainian personal residents. A number of Russian Su-25 floor assault plane flew in help, whereas the Ukrainians answered with no less than two Su-24s and a MiG-29. 

The Ukrainians declare to have shot down two Il-76 transports within the opening days of the battle. The left image is purportedly from one other Il-76 downed in 2014.

The ensuing harm to the runway left the airfield unable to help the Il-76s, so that they turned again. Alongside the way in which, no less than one or probably two of those large heavily-laden plane have been shot down. Considered one of these lumbering cargo planes was purportedly downed by a Ukrainian Su-27 fighter, although this has not been independently verified. As a former paratrooper myself I’d sooner not dwell too lengthy on what that regarded like. Relying upon its configuration the Il-76 will accommodate between 125 and 140 fight troops. That may have been a large number.

The battle for Antonov Airport was determined and pitiless.

After a vicious battle, the Russian paratroopers have been pushed off of the airfield and into the encompassing woods. One of many defending Ukrainian items was the Georgian Legion. The Legion’s commander, Mamuka Mamulashvili, later claimed that his males had expended all of their ammunition through the battle. In response, Mamulashvili commandeered a automotive and proceeded to run down retreating Russians with it. Their 4th Fast Response Brigade later posted photos on their Fb web page of a few of their members proudly holding a Ukrainian flag liberally perforated with bullet holes.

The Stream of Battle

The Mi-8 Hip is the usual Russian assault helicopter. It has been round since 1967.

A number of stuff occurred pretty shortly after that. Russian armor pushed south from Belarus, whereas airborne and air assault forces struggled mightily to achieve a toehold. The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed the operation concerned greater than 200 fight helicopters, however these guys are dangerous to lie about stuff. Whereas the Russians did certainly finally acquire management of the airfield and surrounding areas, it was not earlier than the Ukrainians had totally cratered the runway.

The determined serpentine Russian armored column that attempted to maneuver on Kyiv made it so far as Hostomel however finally did not take the capital.

Regardless of the way you slice it, the Battle of Antonov Airport was a massacre for all concerned and an unqualified catastrophe for the Russians. By all accounts, the preliminary assault wave was basically obliterated. The Ukrainians fought again with BM-21 Grad a number of launch rocket techniques, Mi-24 assault helicopters, and copious tube artillery. By 27 February, two days into the invasion, intercepted Russian radio transmissions revealed requests for evacuation. The Hostomel debacle is what ultimately spawned that notorious 40-mile armored column that stalled heading towards Kyiv. These troops did ultimately make it to the airport, however they have been so depleted by then as to be unable to maneuver successfully on the Ukrainian capital.

I’m advised there may be a number of stuff like this cluttering up Ukraine as of late.

Inside a month Russian forces have been gone from the world. The Russians introduced that that they had simply been kidding after they spent their most interesting fight formations on a failed effort to take Kyiv and that that they had actually solely cared in regards to the Donbas all alongside. Of their haste to depart the Hostomel space, the Russians destroyed or deserted giant portions of kit. When the Ukrainians regained the airport they discovered the stays of seven tanks, twenty-three BMP’s, three APC’s, one anti-aircraft system, three helicopters, two subject artillery weapons, and sixty-seven vans, jeeps, and varied navy autos.

Again when he was simply wrangling polar bears and flying his personal ultralight airplanes I used to assume this man was form of cool. Now I understand he’s a homicidal sociopath.

Solely time will inform the last word end result of this ghastly battle. If the West stays the course, the Ukrainians hold being superior, and Putin doesn’t fully lose his thoughts and toss a nuke within the combine then the Ukrainians have an actual shot at successful this factor. Sadly, there stays a number of blood and heartache standing between now and such a positive end result. I simply hope humanity learns one thing from all this. In some unspecified time in the future, we actually ought to evolve to the purpose the place one psychotic dictator’s hubris is inadequate to provoke and maintain battle between nations.

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In regards to the creator:
Will Dabbs A local of the Mississippi Delta, Will is a mechanical engineer who flew UH1H, OH58A/C, CH47D, and AH1S plane as an Military Aviator. He has parachuted out of completely good airplanes at 3 o’clock within the morning and summited Mount McKinley, Alaska, six instances…at all times on the controls of an Military helicopter, which is the one manner smart people climb mountains.
Main Dabbs ultimately resigned his fee in favor of medical college the place he delivered 60 infants and sometimes wrung human blood out of his socks. Will works in his personal pressing care clinic, shares a enterprise build-ing precision rifles and sound suppressors, and has written for the gun press since 1989. He’s married to his highschool sweetheart, has three superior grownup kids, and teaches Sunday College. Flip-ons embody classic German machineguns, flying his sexy-cool RV6A airplane, Depend Chocula cereal, and the film “Aliens.”

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