The Wagner mercenary unit fights for Russia in the Ukraine war. The blood toll of the troops is particularly high. This is also due to the cruel “Human Wave” tactics the group uses to conquer territories. An insider reveals new details.
They come in human waves. tens of thousands of fighters. Most of them die. But with this tactic, the fighters of the Wagner group of mercenaries succeed in at least conquering small areas.
As the British military historian Chris Owen writes on Twitter, an insider has now revealed on a Russian Telegram channel how a “Human Wave” attack works:
The first eight fighters go ahead as an assault force. As the insider reports, this first wave consists of the best trained and well-prepared soldiers. “Whatever happens, this group needs to get to the firing line,” the insider said. “Whatever happens” is not a phrase at this point, but an order. If you fail, you face execution. Say: He who pinches dies.
When the Assault Squad is within firing range of the enemy positions, the survivors dig in. “Digging is taught meticulously. It’s happening very quickly,” the insider said. The position where the stormtrooper is is marked, for example with a piece of clothing on a tree. Even if all Stormtrooper fighters are killed, the following fighters now know where to find the trench.
So the first eight attackers only have the task of establishing fire contact, building the trench and transmitting the position. If they all die in the process, that’s considered collateral damage.
While the stormtroopers – or what remains of them – take up position, the Russian artillery tries to fire on the Ukrainian positions. But if there isn’t enough ammunition, there will be no support. This is often the death sentence for the fighters of the storm troop at the latest.
Now the next eight soldiers are sent into battle. They are called “The Musicians”. They try – with much lighter equipment – to advance to the position of the stormtroopers. They are supposed to start when the artillery has finished firing. In theory at least.
The insider writes: “Sometimes there is an order to get started before the shelling ends.” The “musicians” would have no choice but to follow this order. “There are few survivors here,” the insider said. Even with the stormtroopers, the chances of survival are low, here they are even lower.
“There are always 8 fighters in a wave. Usually four waves are set up to occupy a section. But there were battles around the small town of Soledar, where it took 14 waves to conquer a sector of the front. Of course there were survivors, but the number of victims was 100 or more. And that for just one section.”
And by victims we mean the dead. The insider writes: “Anyone who is wounded does not collapse or stay down. Why not? Because then his own people will shoot at him.”
But why does Wagner use this tactic when it costs so many lives? “It’s the only way to get results and move forward,” the insider said. “The defenses around Soledar and Bachmut are cleverly laid out. It takes years to get through that. The regular Russian army has neither the ability nor the desire to advance here. That’s why the task was handed over to the Wagner fighters.”
The Wagner Group recruits tens of thousands of fighters in Russian prisons. The inhuman view: They have enough men they can burn as cannon fodder. And they practically exchange human lives for small pieces of land.
The insider: “If they deploy a regular regiment here, many soldiers will die and still may not get any results. An attack with more than 50 percent losses is therefore not bad if it produces a result.” The Wagner group could simply send out as many waves as needed to achieve a breakthrough.
That is why there are no efforts to withdraw the Wagner units and let the regular Russian army fight for Bakhmut. The cruel conclusion: The current tactics only become a problem when there are no more human supplies.