West Point Expert Gives Ukrainians Advice on Conducting Effective Urban Warfare Against Russian Troops

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John W. Spencer currently serves as the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point. He’s also Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast. Ergo, he knows something about urban warfare.

On Twitter, he gave advice to civilians resistors in Ukraine, especially Kyiv, on how to resist the Russian invasions. His tweet thread reads as follows:

  1. So I’ve been asked what my advice would be to civilian resistors in Ukriane, especially Kyiv. Someone with no military training but wanting to resist. Here are a few things #Kyiv #UkraineUnderAttack :
  2. You have the power but you have to fight smart. The urban defense is hell for any soldier. It usually take 5 attackers to 1 defender. Russians do not have the numbers. Turn Kyiv and any urban area leading to Kyiv into a porcupine.
  3. Go out and build obstacles in the streets! Start with any bridge you can find (they should have been destroyed). Block them with cars, trucks, concrete, wood, trash, anything! Then block any spot in the city where there are tall buildings on each side. Already tight areas.
  4. If it is a street you still need to use. Build a S pattern obstacle that still slows a vehicle down. Think police check point (which you could set up if you wanted to catch saboteurs before military reach your location)
  5. Once you have obstacles (never stop building). I really mean thousands of barriers/obstacles. You can decided places to fight. Places to shoot from or ambush any soldier or vehicle that stops or slows down at your obstacles.
  6. Do NOT stand in the open and shoot or throw anything (to include molotov cocktail) at a Russian soldier or vehicles. Shoot from windows, behind cars, around alleyway corners. Build positions (concrete best) to fire from.
  7. You must prepare for the Russians to start using artillery to help their troops. Make sure the places you choose to shoot from are strong. If in a building, make holes in the walls so you can shoot from and bigger ones to move to other rooms or buildings. You must survive.
  8. Yes, use your molotov cocktails. Think about where you will stand to throw (then run). Dropping from windows above vehicles most ideal. Vehicles without weapons on top the most vulnerable, but if it is armor, choose where to hit.
  9. Form into groups. Ideally 3 to 5 and decided where to shoot at Russians from. You get to decide. Best if coordinated with another group and using your obstacles to slow something and shoot at from concealed and protected positions.
  10. Again, your survival to fight is important so think hard about where you will shoot from. Elevated positions down long streets. Shoot and run. Ambushes. Aim for the windows and doors of non-armor vehicles. Soldiers in open. One of the greatest fears of a soldier is a sniper.
  11. You are not a sniper, but you can put fear in their hearts if they think there are snipers everywhere. Again take care of yourselves to be able to resist. Drink water. 3 days without water and you won’t be able to fight. More later.





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