A New York Times article on Saturday, June 29 dealt with Russia’s increasing use of motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and dune buggies to attack Ukrainian defensive positions. The theory seems to be that they can cross open spaces quickly, avoid obstacles and become much less noticed than armored vehicles, which become targets for drone and artillery strikes.

NYT quotes a Ukrainian military officer Lt. Mykhailo Hubitsky who said: “They move fast, they spread out and they swerve.”

The grim truth is that just as in its meat grinder assaults, the more Russian soldiers ride into battle on motorcycles, the more Russian soldiers die while riding into battle on motorcycles. As they approach Ukrainian trenches, if Russian artillery has failed to provide sufficient suppressive fire, they are exposed to the full force of the defending troops’ small arms and machine gun fire.

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Figures compiled by the open-source analyst Andrew Perpetua indicate that since February almost 100 motorcycles and as many ATVs have been intercepted or destroyed – mostly by Ukrainian FPV drones – with dozens more damaged and their riders killed or wounded.

A video published on Telegram by the Ukrainian 72nd Mechanized Brigade on July 1 showed the aftermath of a combined motorcycle and armored vehicle assault near Vuhledar, that shows at least 15 destroyed and damaged motorcycles lying beside destroyed heavy vehicles. The milblogger Necro Mancer described the scene as “motoricide.”

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“The latest air raid alert in Kyiv was a UAV threat. Over the past two weeks, this is at least the fifth actual attempt by the enemy to attack the capital using drones,” says Kyiv military official.

Even though these motorcycle attacks result in huge casualties – just as the Russian infantry’s meat grinder assaults did – the Russian commanders persist in using them, apparently believing that eventually their numerical advantage will win out. According to Ukraine’s Center for Defense Strategies the Russian army’s 5th Motor Rifle Brigade, fighting around Krasnohorivka in the Donetsk region, has formed a special motorcycle platoon.

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The Russian milblogger Alexander Sladkov recommends that every Russian brigade should follow the example of the 5th Brigade and should form its own motorcycle platoons that could be used for “delivering the necessary cargo and evacuating the wounded,” and, of course, carry out combat missions.

It seems likely that more videos of destroyed motorbikes and ATVs, like that posted by the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, will continue to appear on Ukrainian social media in the coming weeks and months.

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