LATEST: Ukraine’s ‘Ridiculously Powerful’ 82nd Air Assault Brigade Is Finally in Action

The Ukrainian military has never acknowledged the existence of this unit, but leaked Pentagon documents identified it as the single most powerful formation likely to be involved in the offensive. The newspaper Forbes on May 3 described the unit as “ridiculously powerful.”

If those documents are accurate, the Ukrainian command plans to amass about half of its best NATO-delivered infantry armored vehicles in this brigade; specifically, 40 tracked German Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 90 US-made Stryker wheeled infantry combat vehicles. Both the Marder and Strkyer vehicles are equipped with excellent day/night sensors and sights, auto-cannons and enough space for a squad of infantrymen. This is, according to that report, the only AFU formation that will be operating these two vehicles.

Neither Marder nor Stryker is, under normal circumstances, capable of taking on a tank but, according to the Pentagon papers the Ukrainian high command plans to support these vehicles with 14 British Challenger 2 tanks, which by most accounts will represent the most powerful and best-armored tank on the entire battlefield. According to Forbes, two battle-tested Ukrainian combat units – the 25th Airborne and the 80th Air Assault Brigades – sent tank crews to the UK where they trained on the Challengers, before being assigned to the 82nd.

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Arguably, the combination of highly mobile NATO-standard infantry fighting vehicles supported by these extremely capable tanks, will make the 82nd a force tailored to advance quickly to seize ground. On paper, the 82nd looks very much like a formation task-organized to drive through a breach in defensive lines made by other forces.

Ukrainian official army media has shown images of Marders, Strykers and Challenger 2 operating in Ukraine but, as yet, never together. This could be good Ukrainian information security or it could be evidence that the 82nd doesn’t actually exist. If a photograph or report of two of these three vehicles were to surface from well behind known Russian lines, that would be a strong indicator the 82nd was exploiting a breakthrough.

Well-concealed Challenger 2 tank in Ukrainian army training, April 2022. Official Ukraine Defense Ministry Photograph.

A cautionary note would be, according to leaked information the infantry vehicle component of this unit only began training in March. If committed to combat as described on paper, the 82nd would be a generally green formation fighting together as a unit for the first time.


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Comments (3)
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Ukraine, when you camouflage your tank go and chuck some branches over the track Mark's leading up to where you are sitting as your track Mark's show exactly where you are sitting. Glory to Ukraine.

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@Ray, Well spotted, although I think this was probably a stop for a photo and not a permanent position
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Enemy positions which resist heavy armor and shelling to capture such as that operation viewed in the Youtube video titled The Cyclops position are well fortified manned positions. Very costly to disassemble or dislodge enemy personnel from.
CS gas (teargas) canisters are The most cost effective and portable infantry tools for this purpose. It can be the most effective means to rout and extract quickly the buried enemy for Ukrainian infantry. Once an enemy surfaces disoriented above ground, regular infantry tools and methods may be deployed.
Gerhard Brunjewerte
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Russia don't have the brains necessary for a counteroffensive. Ukraine knew that to have success in a counteroffensive, has to keep everything secret to the last minute.
It looks like they were right, softening the terrains in strategic pinpointing and psychologically targetting arms forces. That is suggesting the multidimensions of a counteroffensive. The blame games of the russian commands is an opportunity that would benefit Ukraine. The hunt is open and the birds are flying.