Written by Sergiy Sergiyovych
Since The People`s Project started delivering produced blindages to the front line we, along with designers, are looking for a feedback. We established the first blindage at the front line 3 years ago. All the time since we have been talking to the military and military engineers. We have used an expertise from the field, and carefully read reviews, tips and suggestions till now. We fixed all the flaws and mistakes of the first blindage and improved the design drastically.
However, the perfection has no limit. We asked competent professionals to express their opinions about the design of blindages. A civil engineer of the Kiev Utilities Service Andriy Kobzar was the first one, who agreed. First of all, Andriy is an ATO veteran. He served in the ranks of Notional Guard first, and then joined the Artillery Brigade right after. During his service he participated in a lot of confrontations, saw and destroyed a lot of enemy blindages.
Andriy Kobzar and the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak. Photo from personal Facebook page
“People’s blindage is a quick and space-rigid design. It is a great thing, which can qualitatively improve the level of modern field fortifications. First of all, people’s blindage allows to get rid of the the improvised designs, made of a scrap and sticks. Usually, constructions like that are sculpt with surrounding material, and the quality of materials is not always good. And there are also scientific standards of strength and resistance of structures under artillery fire. In here every mistake worth of a human blood. On the late night of January 8 of 2015 I, along with colleagues rushed to help the neighbors at the positions nearby. They were logjamed at the blindage after shelling. It should be noted, that the Grad projectile landed nearby, not directly into the blindage. The explosion moved the ceiling of a flimsy construction, which was made with a gross violation, using the central balk with short logs attached to it. The price of this mistake is lives of 2 defenders of Ukraine buried alive under the soil. The design of the people’s blindage takes into account the possibilities like this, and is strengthened against landslides”, – said the engineer.
The first layer of the upper ceiling
“Also, people’s blindage is a valuable because of the endless resource for strengthening. The design allow to be enhanced against shelling with any scrap materials. People’s blindage is a priceless discovery in an environment, where construction need to be erected instantly. All parts perfectly match. Even a basic complication of the blindage provides a descent protection against a small caliber. With a little upgrades its strong enough to withstand 122 millimeters projectiles. And even bigger caliber seem not that ruining, if 7 or 8 layers of joined logs enhanced with a soil of a medium density are applied. Nowadays, the people’s blindage is a huge step forward”, – Andrew summed up his opinion.
The People`s Project blindage can be additionally strengthened with any materials
To help Andriy evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a design came a specialist, a researcher of a historic fortifications, an author of a numerous scientific articles on the study of fortification Mr. Maxym Yushchenko. The scientist was involved into and conducted personally numerous expeditions to the fortified areas and lines of defense in Ukraine and abroad. During the war he served as a springer. That is why he can speak about the blindages for hours.
Maxym Yushchenko in a Donetsk region, 2014. A pit for a dugout on the background. Photo from the personal Facebook page
“Given the fact, that military engineers in ATO called a blindage a pit, covered with 2 or 3 layers of logs max, without any walls, the people’s blindage exceeds it many many times,” – said the expert.
Then Maxym reminded an obvious truth. Without additional training and strengthening even a metal monolith structure will not survive through the direct hit of shell.
” I would Like to remind, that protection from the explosion of 152 mm projectile can guarantee only 150 cm wide ferroconcretic layer, made out of a cement of a brand “600”, and crushed granite. On top of this the entire layer should be armored with the net of iron rods of 10-12 mm in diameter. Also, it should use as a base a thick layer of i-beams with 5 mm thick metal plates between them. Or at lest 5-6 meters of clayey soil. It is stupid to expect the same thing from 1 layer of the wooden beams, even if they are armored with iron rods.”
The view from the inside of an almost finished blindage. The head of The People`s Project Maxym Riabokon and a Marines unit commander
“In general the constructions of the people’s blindage is fine. It is a fast-mounted block with a protection at the level of light a light shelter. It protects against the shock wave, fragments and an explosion of the projectile up to 82mm. However, even for this coverage you need additional layer of a meter thick to stop the 82mm projectile or a shock wave. You can support that with protection a thicker materials, even pour a concrete of 3 meters thick on top; there are special measuring tables for that. Naturally, an additional layer of coverage is not the problem of people’s blindage manufacturer, but its user,” – concluded his assessment of Maxym.
In addition to the current construction estimates, Andriy Kobzar and Maxym Yushchenko know a lot about the artillery shelling, military losses and methods of protection. They gave some advice. A number of them refer to the improvements of the design, which we can not publish. We will share it with the Kravtz family, who produces the peoples blindage. One advice which can be useful at the front line now we will share. The engineers recommended to not connect blindages into the T-shaped designs. They say it is weakens the overall strength and safety of the structure. If you have to combine several dugouts, it is better to put residential units in a row, with a common passage and exits at both ends of the range. This will facilitate the production of the joint embankment, and soldiers have more chances to survive, even if one of the exits will be ruined with a direct hit. In addition, at the ends of the row, engineers suggested to arrange household units. They will serve as buffers, and will some against of the debris and a shock wave in case of a close explosion.
This particular blindage is already set at the front line near Avdiyivka
In general, thoughts of our experts are once again the same. People’s blindage is a great base for any further fortification and improvement. At a time, when units of Ukrainian defenders are moving forward, and need to equip more and more of new positions, lightweight prefabricated blindages, which can be mounted within hours is a great opportunity to protect from the enemy bullets or shrapnel. Each soldier and commander think, how to increase the security of the basic design. And even if it ever will be a talk of creating our own Maginot Line, a system of fortifications for a decades long trench war we are sure, that people’s blindage can serve as an excellent foundation that can be strengthened infinitely.
We believe that the war will end up in our rapid victory. Before that happens we will improve and strengthen blindages, which protect lives of Ukrainian soldiers against enemy shelling. We once again ask you to help, because all the materials to produce shelters we buy for your donations collected in terms of The People’s Blindage Project. Right now we prepare an advance payment for the production of the next 5 blindages, which will be send to Mariupol. Your donations will be very relevant wight now. They will help to protect the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. Joint he project to save life.