Russian reservists said they were ordered to attack a Ukrainian strong point armed only with “firearms and shovels,” according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
“The ‘shovels’ are likely entrenching tools being employed for hand-to-hand combat,” it said in an intelligence update tweeted on Sunday. An entrenching tool is a digging tool used by military forces.
Designed in 1869, the ministry described the lethality of the standard issue MPL-50 entrenching tool as “particularly mythologised” in Russia.
“Its continued use as a weapon highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting which has come to characterise much of the war,” it said, adding that evidence has shown an increase in close combat.
One reservist told the MoD that they were “neither physically nor psychologically” prepared for attack.
According to evidence obtained by the ministry, there has been a rise in close combat, which it says may be the result of a Russian insistence on an offensive despite being short of munitions.
In December, Russian citizens were crowdfunding to equip soldiers deployed in Ukraine with socks, winter clothes, sleeping bags and body armor. This came after troops complained they were short of basic equipment, which Russian officials said were teething problems.
Source – CNN