Battlefield Blockade: Russian Mine-Laying Complex Hinders Ukraine’s Offensive

The Zemledeliye system enables the rapid deployment of 600 mines across an area equivalent to a football field within a few minutes. This capability allows Russia to establish a dense minefield, serving as a deterrent against Ukrainian forces.

The Ukrainian detachment was stuck in the middle of a Russian minefield.

Recently, Ukrainian media released drone footage revealing a tragic incident on the battlefield. A Ukrainian shock detachment, upon disembarking from their armored vehicles, was swiftly incapacitated by a meticulously laid minefield operated by the Russian forces.

The harrowing scene unfolded as anti-infantry mines detonated one after another, leaving the Ukrainian soldiers with no chance to retaliate or fire a single shot. Tragically, the entire group of soldiers was swiftly eliminated from the battle.

Furthermore, the same minefield seemed to have inflicted damage on nearby M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, likely caused by anti-tank mines or Russian artillery shells.

The images serve as a grim reminder of the hazards faced by soldiers during conflicts, highlighting the devastating impact of well-planned minefields in modern warfare.

Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal asserted that Russia had established the “largest minefield in the world” along the front lines. He highlighted the utilization of the Zemledeliye remote minelaying system (ISDM) as one of the primary weapons deployed by Moscow for this purpose.

In 2021, the Russian army introduced a revolutionary system known as Zemledeliye into their arsenal, which saw its first deployment in the war in Kharkov province, northeastern Ukraine, in March 2022. Unlike conventional artillery, this system was assigned to engineering units due to its unique capabilities.

In response to Ukraine’s large-scale counter-offensive, the Russian military began using the Zemledeliye extensively during the construction of defensive lines in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia provinces in recent months.

The Zemledeliye complex comprises a combat vehicle and a loader mounted on a KamAZ 6560 8×8 truck chassis, ensuring excellent maneuverability across diverse terrains. The cockpit of the vehicles is heavily armored, and additional smoke grenade launchers have been integrated to enhance protection against enemy UAV attacks.

The launch vehicle is equipped with advanced features, including a satellite navigation system, a weather observatory, and a central computer. These technologies allow the crew to calculate various environmental factors and optimize minefield positions’ ballistics. It even enables them to set precise firing ranges to create safe passages for infantry.

The combat vehicle is equipped with two platforms, each featuring 50 122 mm launchers. Each launcher can deploy up to 12 mines, covering distances of up to 15 km. Consequently, a single Zemledeliye vehicle can lay up to 600 mines over an area of 105 m in length and 70 m in width, equivalent to a football field, within a matter of minutes. Additionally, reloading can be carried out near the battlefield in under 15 minutes.

An outstanding feature of the Zemledeliye system is its capability to program mines before launching. Operators can set mines to self-destruct or deactivate after a specific period, mitigating potential dangers to civilians in the future.

Furthermore, the complex can construct a digital map pinpointing the minefield’s exact location, facilitating communication and coordination with other units. This ensures that friendly forces can navigate around the minefield safely, avoiding casualties.

The Zemledeliye system represents a significant advancement in military technology, combining powerful offensive capabilities with precision and safety features, making it a formidable asset for the Russian army in modern warfare scenarios.

ISDM Zemledeliye possesses the capability to deploy both POM-2 and POM-3 anti-infantry mines. The POM-3 model is equipped with a seismic sensor that effectively detects human footsteps, activating when enemy infantry enters its damage radius of approximately 15 meters.

Additionally, ISDM Zemledeliye has a range of anti-tank mines, with the most prominent being the smart mine PTKM-1R. This advanced mine is specifically designed to target armored vehicles while avoiding civilian vehicles. It utilizes sophisticated acoustic and seismic sensors with a range of about 250 meters to detect potential targets from a distance. Once an armored tank comes within a 50-meter radius of the mine, the PTKM-1R launches its combat ammunition.

The projectile is equipped with heat sensors and radar detectors to accurately identify the armor of the target vehicle. It then activates its penetrating warhead, precisely aiming for the roof, which typically has thinner armor compared to other parts of the vehicle. This sophisticated targeting system ensures effective and precise neutralization of armored threats.

According to military expert Tufail Bakshi, Zemledeliye offers a strategic advantage by enabling the swift deployment of mines in areas without allied forces, effectively transforming a fixed defense into an active offensive measure. This tactic can be used to block enemy retreats and reinforcements as per the mission’s requirements.

When anti-tank mines are dropped from artillery or motorized vehicles, they are relatively easier to detect compared to mines buried and concealed by engineers. However, armored crews often face limited visibility and may be unable to avoid these mines on the ground. Armored infantry can assist in detecting and defusing mines, but this process significantly slows down their advance.

Even if the attackers discover a minefield, they face a difficult choice. They can either wait for engineers to clear the mines, leading to a loss of momentum, or risk advancing through the minefield and incurring casualties. Moreover, Zemledeliye allows Russia to rapidly deploy mines in cleared areas, hindering enemy withdrawal efforts or trapping them in the minefield. This proves to be a formidable obstacle for the adversaries.

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