This is not a good time to be a Ukrainian soldier on the frontlines facing off against the Russians. I want to show you two videos where you can see how two different Russian weapons are employed on the battlefield–the Zala Drones and the TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrower. For those who say this is just Russian propaganda, I would note in passing that Ukraine is not posting comparable videos showing it wreaking havoc on Russian positions. This is another case of the dog not barking–i.e., if there is a dog in the house you would hear it barking if you banged on the door. No bark, probably no dog.
The ZALA drones carry explosives. Think of them as a Kamikaze aircraft without a fanatic pilot on board ready to end his life for the glory of the cause. The guy or gal flying these drones is sitting in a comfortable chair in a safe location. He or she can see the panicked troops on the ground scrambling for cover.
Brian Berletic offers up some details:
These are drones produced by Zala – a subsidiary of Kalashinikov Concern – that fly over potential targets before swooping in to destroy them.
They do not fire munitions. They are the munition.
The Kub (pictured second) is smaller and intended for anti-personnel missions. The Lancet (similar appearance to a missile) is larger and used on vehicles and buildings.
This is video evidence that the Russian drones are destroying US M777 howitzers.
Then there is the TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrower. I can hear Jim Morrison of the Doors singing, “come on baby light my fire.” Here is a picture of the unit:
The Military Times provides a nice summary of its capability:
The TOS-1A is used to clear out buildings, field fortifications and bunkers. It is also effective against light armored vehicles. The heavy flamethrower system is generally similar to multiple launch rocket systems, however it fires different types of rockets and has a much shorter firing range. . . .
There are at least two types of warheads – incendiary and thermobaric. The thermobaric weapons are also called vacuum or fuel-air explosives. This type of munitions releases a large cloud of flammable gas and causes massive explosions. It is used to clear out buildings, bunkers and other fortifications. The TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system launches a single rocket, or a pair of two rockets within 0.5 s. Full salvo duration is 12 seconds when launching rockets manually an 6 seconds when launching all rockets in automatic mode.
The key point is that this is not a stand-off weapon system launched from far away. It is up front with the troops that are advancing on entrenched, defended positions. Judge for yourself:
These two videos help explain why Russia and the Donbas militias are moving forward steadily while Ukrainian troops are either dying or retreating. No other good options.
I close with Jim Morrison: