Google updated a large area around Lugansk airport with images of August 31st. By then the airport already looks devastated by all the attacks that it had endured:
This is the first time I have seen this on satellite images. It means and actual battle is going on RIGHT THERE at that moment!
Here you can see a Russian BTR approaching:
Here you can see two tanks in the trees, while tracks indicate others have gone there already before them:
Those tracks lead to bushes with four smoke columns:
That attack must have failed and the wrecks are burning.
Nearby we can see another field with a lot of tracks, a lot of which end op in the trees, like the first two tanks we saw:
The enlarged area shows how the tracks go INTO the trees. Yet, we can not see the tank, because it is hidden there.
The field also shows impacts of mortars and larger ones of 25 meters diameter. This is the same size as the impact crater at the occupied military base near Donetsk Airport, what was reported to be a Tochka-U.
Even though shelled, this area shows no burning wrecks.
Looking from the other side, we can see how these tanks have taken position in the treeline towards Lugansk Airport:
This is the Ukrainian position they are facing: two BTRs:
That Ukrainian position is here:
Here are a lot of Russian support trucks, likely with ammunition:
Some big ones that might even be S-300 air defense:
It would be a bad idea to have an attack like this without having air defense.
This shows (most likely a D-30 122 mm) artillery positions with left behind crates and shells:
That has been use prior to the current attack and contributed to the damage seen on the airport.
This shows the same kind of artillery positions:
Each time they pick a slightly different spot.
Some weird things going on here:
But it is part of a larger thing:
A lot of tracks and they lead INTO the trees over a long line. And it is near a railway...
So this looks like some serious stuff has been delivered here and then set up a camp in the bushes. Just to move to the final attack positions the next day or so.
Two batteries of artillery close to each other. One MSTA and the other 2S1 Gvozdika:
Another location with a lot of tracks near a railway:
You already guessed: for supplies and/or troops transported by the railway.
Very spread out artillery position, what also seems to be MSTA.
It is closer to the front line, so that may be the reason why they spread out like this, to prevent being an easy target together.
These are fortified positions, but there is nothing in there:
The situation before the Russian invasion:
These positions might be used to fall back to in case of a counter attack.
Closeby is a field that is being plowed by Ukrainian mortar shells:
But there is nothing there! No vehicles, no tracks. I wonder who gave these coordinates...
Maybe at the edge of the field there is something that nay have been hit.
Now this is HUGE!!! In all remarks! (August 26th)
The colored area has a diameter of some 175 meters. This was the situation before:
It is the biggest explosion we have EVER seen in Ukraine. It is fired on Russian positions, but there seems to be nothing there...
Some people suggest this is an exploded gaspipe. And that looks quite possible!
This one DOES seem to have damaged vehicles:
It is a fortified position which has been shelled and the white stuff (ashes) indicates something may have burned there.
Some intact vehicles can be seen along the treeline South.
A video has been released showing an actual Russian attack on this forward Ukrainian position:
It shows at least 3 BTRs with infantry moving towards and firing at this position. When a Ukrainian T-64BV shows up, they hit it with their RPGs. It disappears in the smoke and later reappears (or another one) and fires at the BTRs, destroying two of them.
The destroyed BTRs are even visible on the satellite image, including their tracks:
In this way the entire battle can be traced down:
Red is Russian tracks from BTRs
Blue = Ukrainian tank(s)
Blue area = Ukrainian position
A Panoramio-photo shows the Ukrainian camp at that location:
Very likely this all happened a couple of days earlier and by now (on the 31th of August) it is taken over by the Russians.
END OF UPDATE
Do you see the tracks here?
This is another Russian battle formation advancing BEHIND a village and taking positions IN the village and in the treeline next to it.
It's hard to detect the vehicles in the village, because of trees, but I had been able to locate some (red dots).
Why do the Ukrainians park their cars packed like this in group out in the open, while an attack is going on? A little bit strange...
Ukrainian position, two tanks and a BTR:
Two more Ukrainian tanks and a BTR:
Two BTRs and a tank and something else (bottom):
These are all the Ukrainian positions (besides the buildings themselves of course):
That's it for now. There might be more out there in GE, but this gives the main impression of the Russian army attack on Lugansk Airport:
Blue = Ukrainian positions.
Red = Russian formations
Orange = tracks and traces of old firing positions
It can be interpreted like this:
There are 2 main attack forces with heavy armor and tanks (1. and 2.).
A third is a back up between these two.
Artillery A is closeby for accurate support (the closer the more accurate)
Artillery B is directed to the NW and NOT to the airport! This must be a COUNTER artillery unit, trying to counterattack and silence Ukrainian artillery in the NW.
S are support with ammunition and air defence.
Yellow circle (North) = huge impact prior to this attack that seems to have missed its goal...
So there you go. This is how Russia expelled the Ukrainians from their Lugansk Airport.
I found a third Russian artillery position and a Ukrainian one from August 26th. On the 31st the this one may have been on the same location or it might have repositioned a little bit. But they were present for sure.
There's also this most intensive use field for MLRS attacks I've ever seen
Next to it is another one used for artillery:
It's located at 20 kms distance from Lugansk airport. It is visible on the Aug 31st image and thus this has been used prior to (and as a preparation on) the Aug. 31st attack.
It's possible to draw line over the plumes to get an approximate direction where they are firing into:
On a larger scale:
The red lines are the extensions of the previous ones. The redisch area is a 20 km range. Since there is nothing there they likely shot a lot further than that.
Here is an INTENSIVELY used heavy artillery area that has been used prior to the Aug 31st attack:
There are also MLRS launch positions visible and interestingly, fortified positions and trenches on the Northern side, where the Ukrainian army would have come from at that time:
Some vehicles are still visible.
This is the location on a larger scale:
This location is intensively used, but it does not look the same as artillery positions AND it is in between bushes. This looks like and abandoned camp:
It lies behind the big artillery area and tracks lead to and from there:
Guess what happened here? (Before Russian attack on Lugansk airport Aug 31st) pic.twitter.com/VGMIbyZbFxCamp and firing positions of MLRS team:
— Ukraine@war (@DajeyPetros) January 12, 2015
Also see: Mapping Russias army camps INSIDE Ukraine