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Ukraine, Part II
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Having in my previous article outlined the political and ethnic shenanigans leading up to the Ukraine conflict, this article examines in some granular detail the current progress of the war in light of what appears to be previously recognized limitations in the Russian logistics chain and the development of their war doctrine, including the use of nuclear weapons.

Observers of the Ukraine war have been surprised at the initial Russian movement towards Kiev, then its apparent retreat, until we see a current Russian force disposition amounting to a belt running interior to the southern, eastern, and northern border of Ukraine, not much more at its furthest than 100 miles in all positions from the Russian or Belarus borders.

In addition, it seems obvious that either due to a distaste for causing civilian casualties or a simple lack of capability, the Russians have been able to take few Ukrainian cities outside of the near Donbass and, most recently, Mariupol.

However, clues to what is going on and what may happen next may appear in a group of not-well-publicized articles written by U.S. military defense specialists.

In a little noticed article in War on the Rocks, Alex Vershinin, a recently retired Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army, “pointed out in 2021 that the Russians, in contrast to the Americans and NATO, have very limited logistics capabilities. He estimated that the logistical chain of a Russian invasion, say of the Baltics, would be limited for a significant period of time to a range of an incredibly short 45 miles from the Russian border. This, he says, is due to the fact Russia has an extreme shortage of road transport as compared to Western armies. In Russia, the main transport is by rail. Unfortunately for Russia, Russia uses the wide 1.520 mm gauge railway, while the rest of Western Europe, including the Baltics, uses the narrow 1.470 gauge railway. Accordingly, anything shipped by rail must undergo significant border delays while bogies are exchanged, not only creating delay but offering an ample targeting opportunity for enemy forces. In that “delay time,” Vershinin postulated, NATO could bring its rapid-deployment reinforcements into play, creating a much more difficult struggle for the Russians.

How does this impact the Ukrainian war? Although Ukraine uses the same gauge railway as Belarus and Russia, like most European countries, all the rail hubs are in the major cities. The principal rail hubs of intersecting rail lines appear to be Kiev and Kharkov, neither of which the Russians have yet been able to take, apparently afraid of being bogged down in another Stalingrad. However, without access to the cities through which the rail lines run, can the Russians actually supply their troops adequately with rail? According to a recent Bloomberg article by Mark Champion, “How Ukraine’s Rail Network Threw Russia’s Military Off Track,” not likely:

Ukraine — unlike Western Europe — uses the same gauge of railroad as Russia. That infrastructure, though, can’t be used to bring supplies until troops control the towns that sit on them, in particular key junctions such as Kharkiv, Sumy and Chernihiv in the north, or Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia in the south. …

The problem for Russia is that its military needs to take major cities to access the rail network, Vershinin [cited above] said by telephone from Virginia. “The other problem is that the Russians have not brought enough manpower,” he said. “This is a huge country, and every time they need to take a city they also have to leave force behind to hold it.” That means the military also can’t yet run out temporary pipelines to deliver fuel, because they don’t control the territory and can’t rely on locals not to destroy them. Instead, oil tankers have to be sent by road, putting further stress on a limited resource.”

In Ukraine, Russian units have had to travel long distances from supply depots. That isn’t necessarily a failure, but it means there have to be pauses in an advance to allow supplies to catch up. That creates a special problem for Russia because its military carries three times as many artillery pieces and multiple launch rocket systems as the U.S. military does. Reloading just the rocket launchers of a Russian army — units of which there are several in Ukraine — takes as many as 90 trucks per volley, based on Vershinin’s math.

“Once Russian forces control the railroads, they’ll be able to move fuel, ammunition, and equipment to the front much more efficiently [emphasis added], according to Roger McDermott, a Russian military specialist at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think tank. That suggests even darker times ahead for the Ukrainian armed forces and civilians on the receiving end. Despite the “mystifying lack of planning,” the Russian military historically has tended to make early errors and then learn quickly from them, according to McDermott, who also works at the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[2]Roger N. McDermott specializes in Russian and Central Asian defense and security issues and is a Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies, The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, Senior International Research Fellow for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Affiliated Senior Analyst, Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen. McDermott is on the editorial board of Central Asia and the Caucasus and the scientific board of the J ournal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies. He recently wrote The Reform of Russia’s Conventional Armed Forces: Problems, Challenges and Policy Implications (October 2011). “If you get hold of one of the old Soviet maps of the rail structure, you can start to make sense of why they are putting so much importance on a place like Kharkiv,” McDermott said. “Once they have the rail hubs and can control the rail roads, they can start to fix a lot of the problems they’ve had.”

If not, the only alternative is supply by trucks, which puts the Russians almost in the same place as they would be had they invaded the much smaller Baltics with their nasty, narrow-gauge track. Unfortunately, in addition, most of the big highways go through cities, even if the Russians had enough trucks. Going “off road” in the muddy springtime is unlikely.

A look at the present Russian-conquered territory would appear to provide indirect evidence for this logistical thesis. The Russian-acquired territory resembles a fringe, or ring, lining the border of the Ukraine — almost from Odessa on the West, along the Black Sea coast to the Russian border (Mariupol is the last Ukrainian city to fall on that border), and up from the Black Sea along the Western border of Russia through part — though not yet all — of the Donbass, with an additional northern strip extending somewhat north of Kiev. Crucially, as noted, except for Mariupol, no cities, and thus no railroad hubs, have yet been taken. This belt varies in width, but appears to approximate 50 to 100 miles at the maximum. This disposition of Russian success would appear to accord with the logistical issues noted in the above-cited article.

Of course, over time, as supplies are moved forward, the Russians can move deeper into Ukraine, railroad or no railroad, if they can neutralize the remaining Ukrainian armed forces.

On top of these problems, the Russian Army at the time of its entry into Ukraine and now is on a peacetime, rather than a wartime, footing. Not only is the army thus smaller in gross numbers that it would be if put at full-strength wartime footing, but the reduction in strength, as is common in many armies, is expressed in a way that makes offensive operations even more difficult than a mere uniform shortfall of troops would suggest. Specifically, in contrast to, say, 50 years ago, the bulk of troops are brought to the front in armored vehicles. It typically takes a crew of two to man these vehicles (apparently these buggies are more complex to drive than a Honda). The carriers can hold eight soldiers, which leaves 6 combat infantryman that dismount and commence fighting. Many armies, of which to its regret the Russian Army appears to be one, maintains its reduced peacetime force not by reducing the number of armored personnel carriers, but by keeping the personnel carriers constant and removing infantry. So if there are so few troops that there are only 3 or 4 men per APC, given that a minimum of two will have to be non-combat-infantry drivers, that leaves only two, instead of eight, infantrymen per-APC.

Thus, a 50 percent reduction in troop levels to achieve a peacetime force level can reduce actual combat infantry by an astounding 2/3rds— instead of 6 infantrymen per APC, you now have only two. Plus the ubiquitous two drivers, of course. If you toss in a repairman or two — these vehicles seem constantly to be breaking down — plus men to drive the oil tankers to refuel the vehicles, you have a significant reduction in combat capability. This supposition has been confirmed by the many captures or kills of such vehicles containing only 3 to 4 persons — essentially “ghost” APC’s as it were.

Did Putin, a former FSB (not Army) man realize this? Were his senior military leaders too afraid to inform him? Putin appears to be oblivious, showing more concern for his domestic poll ratings than for the military requirements of the invasion. In late April, Putin had the opportunity to extend the contracts of existing soldiers for a year, while adding a new cohort of 130,000 soldiers. Despite the reported rage of his generals at the decision, he refused. So the veterans will soon be returning home to be replaced by green conscripts. Shades of Vietnam’s one-year rotations?

Moreover, Putin seems to have rejected out of hand a declaration of full mobilization, which could raise north of a million potential soldiers in addition to those already conscripted. Fighting a significant war with less than significant means has never been a good idea, and may not work out well for the Russians either.

Nevertheless, the Russians appear to be grinding on, though at the edges, within their apparently limited logistical leash.

But if the Ukrainian army is resupplied (adding insult to injury, by railway, of course) from the West, its firepower and combat effectiveness will presumably increase substantially just as the Russians finally mover their supply sources up far enough to allow them to move farther in.

A foretaste of this is exemplified in a Wall Street Journal report by Thomas Grove, March 5, 2022, in which he reports that Ukraine is starting to strike the logistics hubs just inside the Russian border to disrupt Russian supply even through their already too-short logistical supply line. Ominously, these strikes may become much more effective if US supplies get through:

The Institute for the Study of War said in a report that Ukrainian forces will likely continue to conduct cross-border strikes to disrupt Russian logistics, possibly with drone or missile strikes. But new weapons that the Ukrainians will receive from the West are much more powerful than anything they or the Russians currently have, raising the possibility of more strikes deeper inside Russian territory. (Emphasis added.)

See also: Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, and Mason Clark, “Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 4, 2022,” May 4, 2022, Institute for the Study of War.

Thus, to defeat the Ukrainian armed forces, or perhaps, as the Wall Street Journal indicates, to avoid defeat itself, the Russians will need, among other things, to interdict the massive supplies of high-quality armament coming in from the West, primarily by rail, or risk a completely new and more dangerous kind of war against an enemy with a bunch of nasty weapons presumably not anticipated in the Russian war plans.

Romania, Slovakia, and Poland (the three countries other than Hungary that, apart from Belarus and Russia, border Ukraine) are permitting re-supply through their countries, which presents a significant logistical challenge for the Russians. How are the Russians likely to interdict these shipments?
Plan A would be for the Russians, from long distance, via conventionally armed missiles or air power, to bomb each of the rail lines near but inside the Ukraine border to keep all the rail lines permanently disabled. I have seen no analysis of how much materiel this would take and how likely it is to be accomplishable.

Plan B would be to take advantage of the fact that the West uses 1.435 mm narrow-gauge track, whereas Ukraine (like Belarus and Russia) uses 1.520 mm wide gauge track. This means that each train incoming from the West to Ukraine needs to stop for quite a while, while the whole train is crane lifted up and the underlying wheeled bogies are changed to the proper gauge. (See the video at “Ukraine wants to connect to Europe in 1.435mm” — Mediarail.be — Rail Europe News). Russia could thus wait until trains were halted, changing their bogies at or near the border. This would afford Russians the time for a leisurely and, presumably, more accurate and devastating strike on actual supply trains. This could in theory simply wipe out any and all incoming freight trains without the nuisance of the intensive bombing required to permanently disable track.

The countermove of course would be for Poland, Slovakia, and Romania to construct 1.520 gauge railways a few miles into their national borders and change bogies there. The temptation for the Russians would be to bomb inside those NATO countries, giving rise to a potential NATO Article 5 response, leading to a significant escalation. Oh-oh. The brilliant Poles already thought of this. As we sit today, a 1.520 gauge track goes from Lviv in Western Ukraine to the Eastern Polish rail terminal at the city of Przemyisi. (For pictures of the beautiful, restored [so far, until Russian bombing] rail station, see the previous link.) So, perhaps the sneaky Poles would change bogies in Przemysi, not at the Ukraine border. Whoa! Do the Russians bomb that straight off and trigger NATO Article 5? Or do the Ruskies wait until Putin gets angry and then trigger Article 5, not to mention destroying a lot of historic architecture to boot?

In evaluating the likelihood of such sustained pinpoint conventional attacks, one must note that the accuracy of modern missiles and other armament depends heavily on microchips. It is not clear if the Russians have their own foundries from which they can re-supply these super accurate missiles. If not, then the sanctions regime — interdicting microchip supply from Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and Western Europe (think ASML) might result in the Russians being completely out of weaponry once their existing inventory was depleted. This would impede their ability to conduct the precise strikes required for Plans A or B.

Note this excerpt from a recent RAND report setting forth RAND’s analysis of current Russian military thinking regarding escalation to nuclear weapons:

One report [citing certain Russian-language sources], for example, noted that the maintenance of a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons is, in part, a means to respond to a large-scale (i.e., not localized to a single region) NATO conventional aerospace attack involving thousands of cruise and ballistic missiles, and that Russian tactical nuclear weapons could be used in the early phases of such a war. The lack of ability to respond in kind to a conventional aerospace attack with precision munitions has been described as NATO’s “escalation dominance,” because Russia, given the assumption of inferiority in precision munitions, platforms, and enabling infrastructure, could be faced with the choice between capitulating on unfavorable terms or escalating to nuclear use with the accompanying risks of mutual assured destruction that would bring. As a result, since 2011, Russia has been attempting to reduce the quantitative imbalance by rebuilding its own conventional long-range strike capability and capacity as a form of nonnuclear deterrence. Clint Reach, Vikram Kalambi, and Mark Cozad, Russian Assessments and Applications of the Correlations of Forces and Means, RAND (2020), at p. xiii, RAND_RR4235.pdf

This implies that Russia may not be able to effectuate Plans A or B, since it appears — according to its own analyses — not to have sufficient precision conventional capability.

Indirect evidence suggests this situation may be playing out now. There is no evidence more than two months into the war that the Ukrainian railway passage to the West has suffered serious interdiction. In fact, the ISW report cited above notes as of May 4:

Russian forces intensified airstrikes against transportation infrastructure in Western Ukraine on May 4 but remain unable to interdict Western aid shipments to Ukraine. Six Russian cruise missiles hit electrical substations near railway stations in Lviv and Transcarpathia (the southwestern Oblast of Ukraine) on May 4.[1]Sokolovski states “In a future World War the basic weapons in ground theatres will be nuclear weapons, used primarily with operational and tactical missiles and front line air forces (bombers, fighter bombers, and fighters). In addition, Strategic Missile Forces and the Long Range Air Force will deal nuclear blows to targets in the zone of the advancing fronts.” pp. 410-411. A senior US defense official reported that Russian aircraft conducted 200 to 300 airstrikes largely targeting transportation infrastructure in the last 24 hours.[2]Roger N. McDermott specializes in Russian and Central Asian defense and security issues and is a Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies, The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, Senior International Research Fellow for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Affiliated Senior Analyst, Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen. McDermott is on the editorial board of Central Asia and the Caucasus and the scientific board of the J ournal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies. He recently wrote The Reform of Russia’s Conventional Armed Forces: Problems, Challenges and Policy Implications (October 2011). The US official added that these Russian strikes are likely intended disrupt Ukrainian transportation capabilities and slow down weapon re-supply efforts but have been unable to do so. (Emphasis added.)

Thus, it might be concluded that, for one reason or another, the Russians are incapable of executing Plans A or B. Now it is worth mentioning that the reports from ISW may be less than fully accurate as regards Russian victory or defeat, given that it is a think tank founded and operated by the notorious Kagan family (of which Victoria Nuland is an in-law). However, it certainly gives a bird’s eye view into how the Neocons see the future of this war proceeding — direct attacks on Russia never contemplated during 8 years of US aid to Afghanistan. This all could be very bad news. For everybody, including the West. Even for those at ISW’s and RAND’s Washington DC office.

Plan C. If Plans A and B fail or are impracticable, another tactic the Russians would be tempted to use, which would be consistent with publicly announced Soviet military doctrine pre-1982 (see V.D. Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy; translated by RAND Corporation for the U.S. Air Force, 1963, at 411), would be the much easier task of dropping tactical nuclear weapons on railways near to border, as well as highways.[1]Sokolovski states “In a future World War the basic weapons in ground theatres will be nuclear weapons, used primarily with operational and tactical missiles and front line air forces (bombers, fighter bombers, and fighters). In addition, Strategic Missile Forces and the Long Range Air Force will deal nuclear blows to targets in the zone of the advancing fronts.” pp. 410-411. This would accomplish two objectives: First, due to the greater power of the nukes, a handful of not very accurate bombing runs or missile hits would take out the entire surrounding railroad. Second, the bombing would create a radioactive radius around all border rail facilities which would impede border crossings by rail (or road). This tactic was discussed in Soviet Military Strategy, at 414, where it was noted that a likely strategy in a war involving tactical nuclear weapons would be the laying down of an entire radioactive belt, which would prevent troop passage until the radioactivity died down. This (plus a no-fly zone) would effectively cut off supply to the Ukraine from the west.

If, in response, NATO ground troops massed to attack Ukraine, Russia would then presumably lay down a nuclear “field of fire” to create a radioactive band stretching from the Baltic to the Belarus border consistent with old Soviet nuclear war doctrine (Ibid.). This might prompt NATO to invade through pleasantly radiation-free Belarus, thus bringing Belarus (and undoubtedly Russia) directly into the war. At that point, even Putin’s restrained 2020 doctrine of nuclear weapon use would permit any and all use of nuclear weapons, as a defense of the homeland. The result probably would be strategic-level nuclear strikes on any concentrated NATO ground formations, plus supply depots.

Since much of the supply to the NATO troops would presumably also go by rail, the best way to disrupt NATO troop movements and re-supply would be the nuclear destruction of European cities such as Warsaw and Berlin, since such cities are the principal railroad hubs, the destruction of which would cripple movement of supply by rail.

Needless to say, the nuclear bombing of Warsaw, Berlin, Munich, Prague, etc. with 500 kiloton warheads, wiping out, in addition to the railways, a good part of the civilian population of those historic cities, including, let it be said, a lot of newspaper editors and “talking heads,” would further escalate the war, perhaps uncontrollably.

In addition, to the extent any supplies were coming directly from the US to mainland Europe, the use of missiles and submarines to interdict and sink sea freighters and air-to-air missiles to destroy air transport in flight would further escalate matters. The consternation inside Western capitals might trigger unpredictable responses.

Thus, the very weakness of Russian conventional forces — either in accuracy or in inventory of weapons, if that proves to be the case — could lead it to the use of tactical nukes, with unpredictable consequences. And even if current Russian armament is enough to effectuate Plans A or B, what if, once the inventory is run down, Russia is unable to replenish the inventory due to, as noted above, sanctions on various hi-tech components such as microchips.

What a contrast to Joseph Stalin! What comparative humiliation! Stalin methodically prepared for a massive war in which he assumed the Soviet army supplies would have to be replenished solely from Soviet sources. He spent 8 years building up — with assistance from such Western companies as Ford (which was of course also helping Hitler!) — a massive vertically-integrated production system, from mines and oil, to factories for all components, all replacement parts, to finishing factories for all types of armament; in addition, during the war, substantial R&D continued, further enhancing Russian-made weaponry.

It is said that Russia still has significant inventories of relevant weapons, and that the Ukrainian war has reduced Russian stockpiles by only 20%. But after 10 more months, 20% goes to 100%. In contrast to Stalin, therefore, it appears that Putin’s infrastructure preparation may have been amateur hour. A display case of fine looking weaponry good for 8 or 9 months, with nothing in the back room for spares. He may have been misled into believing the war would be so short that existing supplies were more than ample. If so, he made the same disastrous mistake, ironically, of which Hitler, in the reverse position, has been accused.

The tragedy will be if, instead of inducing negotiation or retreat, this situation impels Putin to up the ante to the nuclear level.

A wise statesman such as Kennedy or Nixon would give Putin a path of face-saving retreat, through some negotiated settlement that met some, if not all, of Putin’s relatively modest pre-war demands. However, our leaders are neither wise nor statesmen. Not only are they effectively refusing to negotiate — still demanding the Crimea! — they now accuse Putin of war crimes and assert that they will prosecute him if they win. Astounding. They appear to be leaving Putin the choice between (1) national and personal humiliation and possible harassment and jail time (remember Saddam Hussein anyone?) and (2) nuclear war. We may have met our man. He may well just choose Monty Hall’s door number (2) and “let ‘er rip.” Personally, at least, what does he have to lose?

Hey, wanna buy a condo in New York City?

Or, on reflection, would a shack in Tierra del Fuego with a real deep basement and about 4,000 cans of Spam and bottled water be more to your taste?

Notes

[1] Sokolovski states “In a future World War the basic weapons in ground theatres will be nuclear weapons, used primarily with operational and tactical missiles and front line air forces (bombers, fighter bombers, and fighters). In addition, Strategic Missile Forces and the Long Range Air Force will deal nuclear blows to targets in the zone of the advancing fronts.” pp. 410-411.

[2] Roger N. McDermott specializes in Russian and Central Asian defense and security issues and is a Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies, The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, Senior International Research Fellow for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Affiliated Senior Analyst, Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen. McDermott is on the editorial board of Central Asia and the Caucasus and the scientific board of the J ournal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies. He recently wrote The Reform of Russia’s Conventional Armed Forces: Problems, Challenges and Policy Implications (October 2011).

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. “Hey, wanna buy a condo in New York City?

    Or, on reflection, would a shack in Tierra del Fuego with a real deep basement and about 4,000 cans of Spam and bottled water be more to your taste?”

    Hmmm, I could use a nice condo in NYC, no lie, but upon further thought I’m going with option B.

    • Agree: Legba
  2. Other than drawing a comparison to Stalin and his superior strategic planning, this article is nothing but a bunch of incompetent speculations and artificial arguments.

    For example this laughable Plan A and B option the Russians are supposed to follow. You couldn’t come up with anything more stupid than that. A complete drivel. For your information – it only takes a few days to restore a damaged railroad and it doesn’t cost much. Therefore it doesn’t make any sense to waist a missile on that. Especially considering that most trains in Ukraine run on electric power, and there is only a small number of service locomotives that run on diesel engines. Those are not used to pull trains but to move carriages around the hubs. So in order to disrupt the Ukrainian logistic chain, there is no need to destroy the railroad – instead the Russians demolish the electrical substations, feeding it. To restore a substation takes a lot more time and resources.

    Furthermore, the assumption of Russia’s inferiority in precision munitions, platforms, and lack of ability to respond to a conventional aerospace attack is absolutely false. The Russian surface-to-air defense systems are superior to the American ones and everybody knows that. Ask Saudi Arabia and how the Patriot is working for them. Not very good. Hope I don’t need to post photos to illustrate it. The Houthi rebels have blown up enough of Saudi oil refineries for everybody to see how weak the Patriot and THAAD systems are, if they couldn’t intercept even a regular cruise missile attack. At the same time, the Russians have demonstrated that the missiles they have are very accurate and reliable. All the attacks on the Khmeimim base in Syria have failed. Russia has excellent weapons.

    And speaking of microchips, there not only Europe, Korea and Japan – there is also China. The alleged dependency of Russia on Taiwan is exaggerated. The whole article is a propaganda piece, doesn’t reflect the real situation and is full of misinformation. The Russian veterans are not going to be replaced by green conscripts. Only the professional soldiers are sent to combat operations. Unlike in Ukraine, where people in their fifties are captured on the streets and sent to a front line in Russia there is a law, protecting the people which only allows the contractor servicemen to participate in a war, unless there is an existential threat and the professional forces are incapable of containing it. And finally, the Russians have plenty of trucks.

    • Agree: Antiwar7, fran, siberiancat
    • Replies: @Notsofast
    , @RoatanBill
  3. Cookie says:

    The solution to Russia’s problems is to reduce you enemy to the same level of logistics as you have.

    The Russians have gone a long way to doing that by fighting close to its line’s of supply and making Ukraine have to transport its material over a vast distance, these supply lines (rail) have been hit of late (Russia is slow sometimes) but now they are going in the right direction.

    The next phase of disruption is to target Ukrainian food storage and road system.

    An army marches on its stomach so to disrupt food means transport systems are tied up supplying food instead of arms and according to figures Ukraine has a lot more stomachs to fill.

    Also if China is in on the game they should start buying rubles with their store of greenbacks putting more pressure on inflation in the U.S.

  4. Notsofast says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    …..the russians have plenty of trucks…… exactly, i had to laugh when i realized that the premise of the article was that the russians lack the truck technology to be able to supply their troops! if only the russians hadn’t wasted their time developing the sarmat and had focused on building a dependable 4wd truck, the fools.

  5. Wokechoke says:

    The entire article depends on the notion that mud in spring doesn’t bake once you get into June and July. That area gets very dry and dusty. Rivers dry up at the right time of year.

    http://ww2images.blogspot.com/2012/12/

    The Soviets used to call the German Offensives “The Summer Germans”. I suspect the Russians given their massive number of vehicles will tend to push forward again as the ground dries up in the heat of summer. The Donets and tributaries will be more easily fordable. Could favor The Ukies if they have enough Armor and IFV I guess.

  6. fran says:

    The entire premise of this article is based on information provided by the neocon Kagan/Nudelman clan, who have a vested interest as belligerents in this conflict. You’re literally relying on information from the same people who mailed anthrax around the country in order to drum up war with Saddam over his imaginary WMDs; the same people who spent TRILLIONS “democratizing” Afghanistan only to see the entire project collapse before US troops even left the country. That’s well beyond mere incompetence; that’s treasonous theft. It’s actually somewhat impressive that you managed to waste 3,900 words arguing fantastical strawmen without citing a single verifiable fact, instead opting to psychoanalyze Putin and draw parallels with Stalin… for some reason. The only thing missing are some references to Harry Potter and Marvel comics, and your article would fit right in on Mother Jones.

    • Agree: Notsofast, Kratoklastes
  7. Mihai says:

    Yes, dont let the robber leave empty handed from your house, lest he may lose face.

    Nice advice (on behalf of the robber).

    Putin is not threatened, nobody attacks Rusia. He can remain an outcast until his peaceful death, far from the justice he deserves. The role of outcast and permanent threat to peace was not given to him by some “West”, he alone brought it on himselfand and on his people by his multiple aggressions.

  8. sonny six says:

    russia is nothing but a proxy army for china, get ready for the chinese army to enter the battle, remember korea. this will turn nuclear

  9. anonymous[323] • Disclaimer says:

    Small correction – the railway lines in most of Europe, and in more than half the railway lines in the world, are 1.435 metres in width, not 1.470 as noted above. The 1.435 dates back at least to early 1800s UK railway pioneer George Stephenson, 4 feet 8.5 inches in Anglo measurements.

    There is a story that the width is based on old Roman chariot wheels, separated by enough distance to accommodate being led by 2 horses, and continued in ruts left by carriages etc in the 2000 years since.

    Article on global railway gauges here:
    https://railroadrails.com/knowlege/railway-track-gauge/

    As regards the ‘tactical nuke’ scenario the article suggests is increasingly likely, let us hope as some commenters have suggested here, that nuclear weapons are a hoax and do not exist, with Hiroshima and Nagasaki having been proven to be chemical firebombings like Tokyo and Dresden.

  10. anon[382] • Disclaimer says:

    “In evaluating the likelihood of such sustained pinpoint conventional attacks, one must note that the accuracy of modern missiles and other armament depends heavily on microchips. It is not clear if the Russians have their own foundries from which they can re-supply these super accurate missiles. ”

    It seems to me it’s the American military that is very vulnerable to chip shortages from foreign – even “enemy” – sources.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  11. meamjojo says:

    “remember Saddam Hussein anyone?”

    I do. We fished him out of a hole in the desert and dragged his sorry ass to court. We’ll do the same to Putin, even if we have to drill through mountains to get to his personal hidey-hole (assuming he hasn’t first blown his brains out like Hitler did in his bunker).

  12. meamjojo says:

    Pooty has a new Excedrin headache:
    ———-
    Finland’s president declares support for joining NATO
    12 May 2022

    Finland’s president and prime minister announced Thursday their support for an application for NATO membership, setting in motion a process that will culminate in the alliance’s ninth enlargement since its founding in 1949.

    Why it matters: Finland will more than double the length of NATO’s borders with Russia once it is officially admitted into the alliance. Sweden is expected to make an announcement on NATO membership on Sunday. The transformation of Europe’s security landscape is a nightmare for Vladimir Putin — but one triggered by his own decision to invade Ukraine.

    What they’re saying: “Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties,” said Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna in a joint statement.
    ….
    https://www.axios.com/2022/05/12/finland-nato-application-sweden

  13. – Inhowfar this is wishful thinking is hard to say.

    Vlad´s refusal to mobilize (even to extend!) can be simple vanity –
    misguided at best towards an enemy that will fight to the last goj – or it can be
    confidence, and so far he hasn´t struck the humble one as stupid.
    It can not be concern over his popularity at home.
    That they use BTRs for transport would be the mud – I remember a winter they
    had to use APCs to get birthing persons to the hospital – so we´ll see.
    – The Russians use broad gauge not because it is better (as Speer/Hitler envisioned
    for the projected high-speed rail) but because they have always been paranoid like rabbits
    about invasion from the West. So the fact they did not destroy rail infrastructure
    (but for electrical) nor major bridges – with two ominous exceptions can mean
    they are not able.
    – The Red Army was made for that kind of terrain, and they will not have forgotten
    everything; if anything the transition is bound to have hurt the Ukies more:
    How worthless Western armies – even with total air superiority and overabundant
    supply – are against a near-peer opponent was driven home by the Republican Guard´s
    attack on Khafji.
    – A hundred years ago the Italian general Douhet theorized that “the decision in the
    air precedes the decision on the ground”. I fail to see how the Ukies could regain
    air superiority, short of Russian collapse (or full ZATO intervention).
    – Ukie morale has so far shown much better than expected; however it hits the eye
    Kiew has put all their psycho eggs in a handful of baskets: Kharkow, Mariupol and
    Odessa, and the majority of their active component are still holding the fortified
    line of contact in the Donbass. I read that as them not trusting their “own” people
    farther than they can lift a piano with their pipi (the stories about “blocking detachments”
    I do not take at face value, but the Soviets and even the French had them so it wouldn´t
    be out of character).

    Of course all of that are idle musings but rest assured the Nudelmann kamarilla
    all have dachas in Tierra del Fuego – and in the Crimea.
    And they sleep like babies.

  14. Curle says:
    @meamjojo

    Who is ‘we’ Kimosabe?

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  15. Notsofast says:
    @meamjojo

    why don’t you crawl back into your troll hole?

    • LOL: meamjojo
  16. Sean says:

    If Russia uses a nuke ir two it will be well within Ukraine and on the Ukrainian army. NATO would do nothing directly, just like they have so far

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  17. @meamjojo

    I do. We fished him out of a hole in the desert and dragged his sorry ass to court. We’ll do the same to Putin, even if we have to drill through mountains to get to his personal hidey-hole (assuming he hasn’t first blown his brains out like Hitler did in his bunker).

    Well, how did this work out in the end?

    • Replies: @Wokechoke
    , @meamjojo
  18. Wokechoke says:
    @siberiancat

    The “we” is a sort of admission of Jewishness.

    What did Saddam ever do to Americans? The only people withcause to really hate him are Shiites, Kurds and Kikes.

    • Agree: siberiancat
  19. Sean says:
    @meamjojo

    Saddam was attacked long after the invasion of Kuwait because him remaining in power necessitated an American Army remaining in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi populace (Bin Laden was not the only one) was outraged by the presence of infidels protecting Islam’s holiest places). I think defeat in Ukraine is something that Russia will simply fail to acknowledge. They will not come to terms and Ukraine will not be able to move on.

  20. meamjojo says:
    @Curle

    “We” does not include you. You’re meaningless and don’t count in anything.

  21. meamjojo says:
    @siberiancat

    “Well, how did this work out in the end?”

    Dead by hanging.

    After his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam Hussein took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’a and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

    • Replies: @Notsofast
  22. Notsofast says:
    @meamjojo

    any way we can convince you to do the same?

    • Agree: JR Foley
    • Replies: @JR Foley
  23. TG says:

    Interesting article! “Amateurs talk strategy and professionals talk logistics” indeed!

    I was really confused about why the Russians weren’t bypassing the cities, but now I think I get it.

    Initially Putin thought he could take all of Ukraine like he had Crimea. It wasn’t so much a mistake as a gamble – and he might have come closer to pulling it off then we think. If the Americans hadn’t given the Ukrainians the targeting data for the large transport planes carrying paratroopers to the airport near Kiev, and they had managed to decapitate the Ukrainian leadership…

    So initially Putin didn’t want to destroy the Ukrainian infrastructure, he thought he could use it himself. Now he must be desperate to do so – too little too late, or will he pull it off?

    But of course, the west could run out of precision weapons as well, it will take years just to replenish what has already been used up. Some reports suggest that Ukrainian successes are due to using very expensive weapons like candy. And remember how much of the western supply chains run through China and Taiwan etc., it’s not just the Russians that are vulnerable here.

    Of course none of us are very well informed, but one bit of news caught my eye. Apparently an entire battalion of Russian troops was massacred trying to cross a pontoon bridge in a ‘surprise’ attack. Maybe the Russians really are stupid! I mean, the US would be giving real-time satellite and other intel to the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians would see the pontoon bridge going up, and zero in all of their artillery. They would then see the Russian forces moving over the bridge and could just pound them to dust. That sort of thing is likely how the initial Russian assaults were beaten. Haven’t the Russians gotten the memo yet?

  24. Now it is worth mentioning that the reports from ISW may be less than fully accurate as regards Russian victory or defeat, given that it is a think tank founded and operated by the notorious Kagan family (of which Victoria Nuland is an in-law).

    Yeah… if you’d led with that at the first mention of the dreck produced by ISW and the rest of the Nudelman propaganda crew (including “Lemme just quickly wet my dickBetrayUs), we all could have stopped reading.

    The notion that a 1963 translation of a pamphlet on Soviet military strategy is remotely relevant to forming expectations about present Russian doctrine, is just fucking bizarre.

    It would be like claiming that you could form sensible expectations about next year’s offensive structures based on a photocopy of the Packers’ offensive playbook from Superbowl I.

    There will be some big slow guys and some smaller fast guys, and a relatively-skinny white guy standing behind the line calling plays and throwing the ball now and then” is about as far as you could get. This ‘analysis’ rises to roughly that level.

    Russia owns the airspace above Ukraine. It can destroy rail hubs in Ukraine’s West, at its leisure – and it appears to be doing so… slowly and methodically.

  25. @Sean

    Not to channel Herman Kahn, but what is the smallest blast radius the Russians can achieve with a single warhead and what is the maximum amount of Ukrainian combat power that can be enclosed by that radius at one time…and, of course, what is the probability that Russian intelligence can pick that right time to maximize the effect?

    • Replies: @Sean
  26. JR Foley says:
    @meamjojo

    Saddam was a pal of the USA and the Bush family in earlier years. Remember it was the USA who supported the same Saddam when Iran was fighting Iraq. Then the USA turned on Saddam as they will with Zylenskyy–when a con man comedian runs out of appeal –he is forgotten overnight. Actually the USA –the ONLY country that adheres to Democracy – Freedom and Human Rights —really did NOT hate Saddam but they wanted the OIL and the rest was to make a big “cock and bull” story for the average Homer Simpson type in the USA to believe and don’t forget Building 7 with Fire Chief’s “We decided to PULL it ! and London’s BBC announcing Tower 7 —–45 minutes prior to it happening in the Big Apple over the pond. And now about Buks in Ukraine taking down MH37 and the missing air traffic controller working in Kyiv and the Buk was in the inventory which Ukraine inherited with the collapse of USSR and Poroshenko’s father ( Waltzmann) is a Jew and Boss of Ukrainian Mafia—
    IT was the USA’s FBI who removed #1 Boss of Bosses from the Top 10? WHY????

  27. JR Foley says:
    @Notsofast

    This is a pretty hard feat —from a basement window.

  28. dimples says:

    “Thus, a 50 percent reduction in troop levels to achieve a peacetime force level can reduce actual combat infantry by an astounding 2/3rds— instead of 6 infantrymen per APC, you now have only two.”

    I am really struggling to understand what the author is trying to say here. Apparently due to peacetime downsizing, the Russians have too many APCs, thus there are less infantrymen in each APC. Well why not leave the now useless excess APCs behind at home? Is that too difficult??? What is forcing them to take all the excess APCs to battle??? Is this a trick question??

  29. @Here Be Dragon

    While reading the article, I thought to myself there’s no mention of China anywhere. Russia has control of the sky over Ukraine so aircraft can take out individual targets with smaller munitions thus not wasting missiles.

    Then I thought about all the videos I’ve seen of Russian trucks going through the bogs to make their deliveries. Russian trucks are some of the best in the world because they have to be for normal times.

    The article is a one sided view that simply ignores that which counteracts it.

  30. Sean says:
    @Johnny Rico

    To begin with they will not want to kill many people. An attack on he rail lines supplying Ukraine’s Donbass army would be the safest option. A ten-kiloton explosion for a crater of third of a kilometer wide plus a greater area contaminated might be tempting.

    • Thanks: Johnny Rico
  31. Cookie says:

    Its time for Russia to try to blind the stratagists in the West who are directing this war from their eyes in the sky.

    This means attacking the satellite downlink software.

    These eyes in the sky are directing stormtrooper activity at Russian soft-targets causing heavy losses.

    Its time for Russia to create some subterfuge of their own and ambush with the knowledge they are been watched constantly.

    These tactics must be in conjunction with the main effort of attacking and degradation of the Ukrainian supply lines and storage facilities.

    Russia must continue to evolve their tactics to meet the reality on the ground, and to understand what the stratagists in NATO are trying to do.

  32. @anon

    Russia has one 90 nm prototype scale foundry. I can’t remember the wafer size but it is not big. There is a 28nm unit on order from SMEE an untried Chinese firm. Delivery within 5 years.

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