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A pillbox created of premade slabs with concrete walls and embrasures / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Defense in Concrete: How the Third Line of Defense is Created in Ukraine (Photo)

A pillbox created of premade slabs with concrete walls and embrasures / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
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Faced with challenge and taught by experience, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are building concrete fortifications according to the standards and requirements of the battlefield

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has published a photo report from the new line of defense against the russian invasion which is being created across the frontline. Most of the photos here depict the fortifications created in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, although Defense Express also included some pictures from other regions of the warzone for illustrative purposes.

Amidst the critique of a missed opportunity to create properly fortified defense lines, Ukrainian authorities have focused on making formidable strongholds that take into account the realities of the battlefield and the needs of the troops occupying them. The photos reveal pillboxes made of pre-made concrete slabs, anti-tank dragon's teeth, and reinforced trenches.

Read more: Ukraine Lacking a Fortified Line of Defense is a Problem, and It Must be Solved Quick
Pillbox assembled of premade slabs
Pillbox assembled of premade slabs. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

The pillboxes are assembled right in the pit and covered with earth afterward.

Pillboxes are placed low the surface
Pillboxes are buried deep below the surface. Undisclosed location / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
After installation is complete, the pillbox is covered with soil
After installation is complete, the pillbox is covered with soil. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

The interior is additionally secured with anti-spall liners, the embrasures can be closed with armored plates.

The walls are sturdy and protected from spalling
The walls are sturdy and protected from spalling. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

The pillboxes though remain only an element in a system that is a defense line. They are connected through a zigzag trench. It is important for two reasons. First is so that if an explosion occurred inside the trench, the fragmentation dispersal was confined to a minimum. Second is that in case enemy infantry managed to get inside the trench, their range of fire would be limited.

Trenches are made in zigzag manner
Trenches are made in a zigzag manner. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Additionally, the trenches will soon get strengthened not only by walls but by a roof as well, in order to protect the personnel from improvised explosive devices dropped by enemy aerial drones.

On the approaches to the defense line, so-called "dragon's teeth" pyramids are placed to obstruct the advance of armored combat vehicles. The barrier will be complemented by minefields.

Dragon's teeth
Dragon's teeth. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Crucial to note, construction of such defense lines is a process taking a lot of time and resources, not only money but equipment as well which is lacking and is not available to the military directly, only via civilian contractors.

Moreover, raising these fortifications is only possible in the rear, while the second line of defense — one level closer to the enemy — is mostly made of wood and pre-made shelters: so-called "capsules," like in the photo below, from the Avdiivka operational axis.

Armored capsules are placed closer to the frontline
Armored capsules are placed closer to the frontline / Still frame credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

"If the security situation and weather permit, the work on fortifying the defense lines is carried out practically without a break. Currently, the biggest problem when building defense lines is enemy drones. They often prevent the involvement of the necessary engineering equipment, threaten the lives of our soldiers, military engineers, civilian brigades, and slow down the pace of work," said Lt. Gen. Ivan Gavryliuk, Deputy to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine during his trip overseeing the construction.

Here are some more photos of third-line fortifications built in Ukraine.

Anti-tank ditch
Anti-tank ditch. Undisclosed location / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
trenches
Trenches will be covered with a roof or canopy. Sumy region / Photo credit: Anton Sheveliov for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Reinforced trenches. Zaporizhzhia region / Photo credit: Vitalii Pavlenko for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Embrasure for firing. Sumy region / Photo credit: Anton Sheveliov for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Construction works. Sumy region / Photo credit: Anton Sheveliov for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
The height is enough for a soldier to stand freely. Sumy region / Photo credit: Anton Sheveliov for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Read more: ​What Kind of Engineering Force has russia, That Managed to Create Powerful Fortifications in Ukraine