SF provides an abridged translation of the third part (source) of this series. Pics are taken from the original text.
THE THIRD PART
By August 27, the course of the battle for the Ramouseh Artillery Academy complex had dramatically changed. The “opposition” (in other words Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies) lost some key points, including the Um Al Qara hill, and the initiative.
SF comment: This map shows the military situation in the area on April 10, 2017. It allows to see the location of the Um Al Qara hill (white circle):
Controlling Um Al Qara, the Syrian Arab Army was able to shell the road between the Ramouseh neighborhood and Khan Tuman. The hill was also a good foothold for an advance on the armament college in the Ramouseh Artillery base complex. The Syrian army already launched attempts to do this, but it was not able to advance in depth of the Ramouseh Artillery Academy complex and to entrench in the area. Thus, the militant supply route was changed and run through the center of the academy complex in the direction of the Hikma school. Government forces aimed to cut the supply line off. Thus, militants had to prevent the government advances from the direction of the armament college and the aviation college.
Militants implemented an intense shelling of the possible points of accumulation of government forces: the area of the depot, the aviation college and the dining facility.
In the morning, government forces launched another advance. The SAA’s artillery units started shelling of militant positions in the academy college. The T-72 battle tank moved to the depot in order to support the attack.
The government advance started with an attack on the Yellow Building. The battle tank made few shots, the BMP infantry fighting vehicle moved to the building and dropped an assault team. Soldiers entered the building through holse in the walls. The BMP vehicle moved for reinforcements.
After another artillery strike, the BMP-1 once again moved to the Yellow Building, hiding under dust clouds. The T-72 once again moved to a corner of the depot in order to provide a fire support to the BMP.
Holes in the roofs of the depot and the dining facility were results of militant artillery strikes.
The BMP-1 was moving to the Yellow Building, but the T-72 didn’t lean around the corner. Most likely, the decision was made because of a success of the first assault team. The tank was not able to fire at the building because it could hit army troops. Other targets were not seen.
Meanwhile, the BMP-1 vehicle stopped near the Yellow Building’s corner and was hit with a RPG.
A red circle shows the launch point. The BMP-1 was not burning. This is why militants attempted to repeat a shot in some time.
A square and a circle show militants. The “circle” used an RPG. The “square” provided a fire cover for the “circle”.
The opened hatch of the BMP driver allowed to see a fire in the vehicle. However, two assault teams and a BMP crew were in the Yellow Building.
In turn, the SAA launched artillery strikes on the area from which the RPG launches had been made.
Militants also used their artillery: mortars and a 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer.
and a 130 mm towed field gun M-46
If we suppose that the video shows the real positions of militants, then the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer was deployed at Hayy al Muhamin.
A look at the area (with trees):
According to the available data, the range is 14,2 km. Considering the barrel wear, this is almost the maximum range.
It is not clear where the M-46 gun was located. Considering shades, the M-46 gun was firing from the same direction, but it could be deployed at a larger distance. Its maximum firing rage is 27 km. In other videos, the M-46 gun was firing from the area where the 2S1 Gvozdika was deployed.
The militants’ artillery showed a quite good accuracy. When the BMP-1 was near the Yellow Building, the militants hit a building near the depot.
The ellipse of the M-46 gun’s shots dispersion:
- A short semiaxis: +/- 11 m projection to the sides;
- A long semiaxis: +/- 26 m projection in the direction of the fire.
The firing position was chosen well – it fires almost along the frontline. The long semiaxis allows to shell militant positions located +/- 50 m without a threat to hit own allies. The SAA’s artillery units have similar positions on heights behind the cement plant.
The building was already damaged – a shell destroyed a wall with a brust wave.
The both sides were shelling the Ramouseh Artillery Base complex – there were hits near the depot and in depth of militant positions.
Meanwhile, the BMP-1 vehicle hidden by dust clouds reached the Yellow Building and received 2 hits from a building located behind the Yellow Building.
It’s possible to see a trace of the explosive jet of the second launch. In turn, government forces shelled the Yellow Building.
This situation didn’t discourage government forces. Another BMP vehicle was heading to the area from the Hamadaniyah neighborhood.
The BMP dropped an assault force near the depot and moved back to the government-held area. On a high chunk of the road it was hit from a SPG recoilless gun and stopped.
The both sides continued to shell each other.
a compression wave front
It could be seen that the whole area of the Ramouseh Artillery Base complex was under an artillery hire. Something was burning behind the artillery college.
Another attempt to send a BMP vehicle to the depot resulted in another hit at the BMP. It crashed into a guide sign.
Government forces deployed more battle tanks additionally to the T-72 battle tank in order to neutralize SPR and RPG firing positions.
Militant ATGM crews became active again.
Unfortunately, the quality of the video is bad.
Let’s try to check the best shot.
A T-72 battle tank is at a foreground. A BVP-1 AMB-S is behind the tank. Another T-72 battle tank (its gun is seen from the corner) is behind the BVP-1 AMB-S. The armoured recovery vehicle’s lift arm could also be seen. A red square shows the target of the missile. But it is not a BMP vehicle despite the video description.
A white jeep was the target.
In some time, the ATGM crew launched another missile against infantry near the depot.
There is a possibility that the goal of the strike was to prevent the infantry advance in the direction of the aviation technical college.
However, it was a round short of target despite a big cloud.
The SAA continued increasing the support group and deployed more T-72 battle tanks. One of T-72 tanks hid behind the burned BMP-1 vehicle and started shelling buildings near the Yellow Building – firing positions for militant ATGM crews could be there.
The ATGM crew decided to launch the third missile.
Meanwhile, the T-72 started changing its position creating white clouds.
The anti-tank guided missile hit an earth wall near the road.
The T-72 left the road area and joined other government hardware pieces near the depot. There were 4 battle tanks.
Only one of the battle tanks in the area was able to provide a fire support to fighters in the Yellow Building (leaning around the corner). Others would be hit by an RPG because they would not have a cover. It’s possible that government forces were planning an atack on the aviation college and two battle tanks had been set to support it. However, they were waiting behind the depot. One of the BMPs near the Yellow Building was burning. It’s possible to see the white jeep hit by the ATMG.
The 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer resumed shelling.
The new position was located near the previous one – near an obstacle zone of the college and a suburban settlement under development (Cordoba Hills).
The distance was 11,8 km
This time rounds hit nothing.
The picture allows to see two damaged BMP-1 vehicles and a smoke from the BMP burning near the depot.
In some time, the artillery shelling halted.
Using the moment, people left buildings to take some air.
After a little while, soldiers took some air, got a meal and decided to rest near the wall. The fire in the BMP ceased.
Suddenly, something hit a tank near the corner from the direction of the Yellow Building.
The hit resulted in almost no light, the cloud divided into two parts and some glaring object moved to a rampant.
It looks like some armor-piercing capped incendiary shell with tracer hit the tank’s apron wheel. The problem was there was nobody who was able to use this round. We didn’t see battle tanks and cannon artillery pieces belonging to militants at this part of the front. The militant video was created to show as a result of the M-46 field gun, but it is unlikey that it was able to do this. It’s more unlikely that somebody will use armor-piercing shells in the 20km range. Most likely, it was a result of the shot of an SPG used against the BMP vehicles on the road. The tank remained near the depot for a long time and militants found a position near the Yellow Building (or inside it). The projectile likely catched a concrete ramp and deformed. The projectile hit the apron wheel but didn’t caused a full effect. However, the track assembly was likely damaged. The tank remained at the same place until the end of the day.
In a while, few mortar shells hit the area near the tank.
The shelling continued and few shells hit the area near the dining facility.
After this, the storm of the aviation college was delayed and two tanks withdrew. Most likely, no BMP vehicles were near for the advance after the morning failure. Furthermore, troops likely needed to get reinforcements to develop the advance. The infantry advance through an open space in a situation when militants had artillery pieces was irrational.
Then, a military mortar shell hit the dining facility’s roof.
This was the third hit.
Along toward the evening, two new BMP started deploying more reinforcements to the area.
A BMP-2 vehicle was moving to the depot.
Should a car tyre behind the turret save the BMP from a SPG projectile?
A BMP-1 vehicle was passing the burned BMP-1 vehicle.
During one of the deployments (when the both BMP vehicles were near the depot), two shells hit the area. One fell directly between the depot and the nearby building.
a big dust cloud appeared
This caused a chaos among defenders of the building and they left it.
There were some 9 people in the building: two moved to the depot, 2 (maybe injured) remained near the wall.
About nightfall, the last remaining BMP vehicle moved to the government held area.
Military launched a counter-attack from the direction of the damaged BVP-1 AMB-S vehicle located near the Yellow Building.
5 militants were seen on the video.
In few minutes, a smoke appeared in windows of the Yellow Building. First participants of the run appeared from a breach in the wall.
More and more participants were joining the run and came under fire.
A underbarrel grenade hit the area. Considering the dust from hits, the fire came from windows of the nearby building. Thus, those who were able to pass the sector were safe.
The 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer joined the shelling.
This was one of the most dramatic moments of the battle – militants showcased it as a “fight of 5 against 50″. The video looks like a small group of fearless militants turned a large group of pro-government fighters back. But is it true? First of all, the numbers provided by militants look questionable. The video starts showing a militant advancing from the burned BMP. (the first from the five) But was it the start of the militant advance? No doubt it’s possible to show in the video that only 3 militants entered the Yellow Building. It also should be noted that only 26 government troops fled the buiding desppite the militant propaganda claims.
The second moment is less obvious. During the previous week, the building’s side turned to Hamadaniyah was repeatedly shelled. As a result all walls there were damaged. However, the building itself is long. Roughly, in a one third from the damaged part there was a tower. This was the top of the flight of stair. In general, stair flights are one of the most solid parts of any building. This is why the Yellow Building’s stair flights were likely not destroyed. Rubbles appeared there and the rest of the building was not significantly damaged. There militants were able to create firing positions allowing to prevent offensive attempts of the government assault teams. At the same time, the firing positions were out of range of the SAA’s artillery. The fact that militant artillery units didn’t fire at the Yellow Building during the day contributes to this idea. Also, there were no traces of shelling when militants started their advance. In such a situation, it would be impossible to cross an open field without a fire cover. (It’s a suicide) Another moment is that nobody was firing at the advancing militants from the building. This circumstantially confirms the hypothesis that there were impassable rubbles in the building.
Thus, the situation could be seen in another light. Soldiers had not been able to secure the whole building during the morning assault. In the evening, the “opposition” deployed reinforcements and recaptured the wholle building. They even coordinated their assault with an artillery shelling. The 2S1 Gvozdika’s shell flies about a minute.This is why the strike, which we saw, had been made before the start of the assault. Most likely (considering that soldiers fled almost simultaneously), soldiers were only on the first flour. In this situation, If a group of militants reached the positions of government forces through the second flour, it could push government troops to retreat just throwing grenades to the first flour.
8 soldiers were killed during the retreat. (one body could not be seen in the image)
Then, the both sides started shelling the area. Militants were aiming to prevent the government counter-attack. Government forces were responding to the militant assault.
Something hit the area near the dining facility. Smoke clouds appear in depth of the militant positions.
The BMP vehicles damaged in the morning remained on the road.
Militants showed another M-46 field gun involved in providing an artillery cover.
The 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer continued shelling from the same position.
Shells hit aside
The next shell hit closer to the target
The shelling created a barrier preventing a possible counter-attack.
A bit later, the SAA shelled the Yellow Building. In turn, militants shifted the fire in depth.
In some time, the situation became calm. We could see a white smoke near the Yellow Building, the al-Ameria neighborhood and damaged blocks of the artillery college and the nearby buildings.
The militant ATGM crew saw a T-72 near the depot.
Government troops were seen on the steps.
The BVP-1 AMB-S was an easier target, but the ATGM crew decided to fire at the T-72 battle tank.
We could see flying pieces of the spare parts and accessories kit and a tarpaulin from the machine gun.
However, the tank survived. There were no fire or a visible damage. A big dust cloud behind the tank and the path of the anti-tank guided missile allow to conclude that the missile hit the spare parts and accessories kit behind the tower. But this is just a hypothesis. Anyway by that moment, the tank had already been damaged.
Next day, a TV crew of ANNA News arrived the Hamadaniyah neighborhood. Most likely they were informed about the yesterday morning success but didn’t know about the evening failure. However, they made a reportage about the involvement of Liwa al-Quds fighters in operations in this area.
The ANNA News video allows to see the damaged BMP-1 vehicle that we had seen earlier.
The BMP-2 (with a car tyre behind the tower) and BMP-1 vehicles arrived as a reinforcement.
A white minivan was carrying injured soldiers.
A field commander of Liwa al-Quds, Adnan Said, told reporters about a field hospital that works in this neighborhood.
According to Liwa al-Quds’ commander, 920 people visited the hospital since the start of the storm of Aleppo. This number includes fighters and civilians from the 1070 Apartment Project and the Ramouseh neighborhood. If we use a common coeficient 1 killed/3 injured, some 300 people were killed in clashes. If we split the casualties into three, we could conclude that 100 people were killed in the 1070 Apartment Project, 100 people were killed in the road area and 100 people were killed in the junction area.
A prominent person appeared in the video.
Unfortunately, Liwa al-Quds’ operations commander, Mohammad Rafi, was killed during the liberation of Aleppo.
Meanwhile, the BMP-2 vehicle was full.
The vehicle started another voyage.
A bulldozer could be seen in the corner.
The T-72 battle tank escorted the BMP vehicle.
The same spare parts and accessories kit blew up from the anti-tank guided missile hit.
On August 29, government forces changed the tactic. During the day, they were deploying infantry. The assault was launched during the night. A part of the Yellow Building was captured. The pro-government video showed killed militants but they had been likely killed as a result of artillery shelling.
In the morning, government forces continued regrouping. New units moved to the Ramouseh Artillery Base complex in order to secure the captured buildings and to develop the momentum.
Militants were calm. This is why reinforcements were arriving by foot.
Fighters are running to the academy. A commander with a radio was moving in another direction. Some soldiers bewared a fire from the al-Ameria neighborhood less than from the Yellow Building. So, they were moving on the other side of the earth rampart.
An assault group moved to the well-known fence near the 1070 Apartment Project. It (or at least part of it) is resting in the shade of the fence.
Inside the artillery base complex, soldiers were moving among buildings. A group of soldiers was running from the dining facility to the depot.
The quality of the video is low but we can see a red pickup.
Its wreckage after the ATGM hit is seen here.
The BMP-2 vehicle and the armoured recovery vehicle were also there.
The same video allowed to see a mock airplane.
A look at the burned BMP vehicles near the Yellow Building.
The damaged vehicle is well seen on the video. There are also an apron wheel of the burned vehicle and bodies of dead soldiers.
A look from the depot’s window.
The small building near the depot lacks of a wall. Soldiers were outside near the wall. This area was hit with an artillery shell few days ago.
The infantry movement drew attention of the ATGM crew. It chose a group in the shade near the dining facility.
The same area was hit with an ATGM on August 27. But who care?
A soldier was run to the area almost at the same time when the missile was launched.
The ATGM gunner is hidden.
This time the hit was precise.
One of the soldiers was pushed with a burst wave.
However, this ATGM launch didn’t help militants to get the academy back.
The damaged T-72 battle tank remained near the depot’s corner. This is why government forces didn’t deploy many tanks there. They used a Shilka self-propelled gun to suppress militants firing positions.
In the night, militants attempted to retake the lost points but they failed. The SAA likely entrenched in the academy.