Who knew the Russians would be so damn inept… and woefully ill-prepared for a foe that could offer any true resistance? I didn’t. None of the experts did either, as like 90% of them had the Russians either taking Kyiv in four to six days or the country in a week to two weeks.
I know I was a lonely voice among my analyst friends in saying the Ukrainians would not roll over and collapse, that they would give a serious fight…. And that the Russians had nowhere near enough assets for their plans/goals.
But this level of fight? It damn sure exceeded my expectations.
Yeah, yeah… the Russian army performance has been crap and their plan has obviously been proven to be crap too… but the initial weight of their assault was no joke. I mean, the initial successes *were* successes- unfortunately for them, they were not able to capitalize on the first few hours of successful gains.
And as the last six weeks or so have shown, Russian combat doctrine and training- along with equipment and Logistical Ability- have NOT lived up to any sort of previous expectations. Between inadequately trained troops (conscripts!?!), poorly maintained gear, a garbage logistics plan and zero cohesion in battle plans… it boggles the mind how bad they have shown themselves. Worse performance is yet to come, I think… how much worse, is a damn good question.
What my nerdy, armchair-quarterbacking self is seeing and thinking…
The Ukrainian Resistance has done far better than expected…… and over the last two weeks, has managed to push Russians along out of places they were abandoning… and give non-retreating Russian Forces something to think about in other places. This includes giving defending Russian troops a drubbing in spots, gaining territory back from them. This is going to snowball a bit, as the West/NATO continue to up-arm the Ukrainians. And that up-arming is a interesting thing….
I figure the AFV deliveries should really start to be felt soon- its all tanks they know how to use and stuff that is Upgraded and Maintained… Might be Soviet Era tanks… but they have modern Western weapon sights, updated reliable engines and electronics. And they are not conscript troops…
We have seen how well the Javelins work, along with so much other light and medium Anti-Armor systems. Some say that the Era of the Tank is over because of how well they are working… I disagree. And I disagree for a couple reasons.
- Armor is not a be-all/end-all martial component. Tanks can help you in the Assault, using their weight to shove an opponent back. But they require SUPPORT… because of the prospect of a brave defender with aforementioned Javelin or other Anti-Armor weapon who is not suppressed…
- Proper doctrine for their use. As stated, armor needs to be supported on the offensive. Motorized Infantry, tactical air elements… all things that can be utilized to assist armor to survive and deliver its fire against a foe. Without it, you get what you get so far… and this was proven three times in the last five or so years, with both Soviet style and Western Style equipment; in Syria for purely Soviet style and Iraq twice- early on with Soviet Style armor and later with Iraqi western-style armor getting stomped by ISIS.
In my opinion, if you have properly trained crews and a good doctrine for armor use… plus supporting arms, the Tank remains very viable. The US proved this ad-nauseum (granted, twice it was against the Iraqi’s) over the years… and the Ukrainians are trying to do same to the Russians. And they seem to have had *some* success with the same gear.
It is a bit harder, truth to tell, with being outnumbered but they are managing. And its going to improve, I think, as the better equipment comes into play. The Ukrainians are better trained… and have morale on their side. Both help immensely.
Speaking of supporting arms… The Ukrainian Air Force apparently STILL exists and is STILL flying missions.
Russian propaganda claims the Ukrainians have no craft left… Considering that Mariupol resistance was being supplied by helicopter until recently… and that two SU-27’s recently hammered the occupied Snake Island (of “Russian Warship- go Fuck Yourself” fame) with a sortie… Wow.
Now, given what both sides claim to have killed/destroyed is most likely inaccurate by a lot (or massively in the Russian case), one can draw a few conclusions as to the health of both side’s armor and air assets.
And its not looking good for the Russians.
Putin’s Army started out with a massive advantage in Air, Armor and Artillery. Over the last several weeks, those advantages have been reduced greatly or worse for all but their Artillery. And its not going to get any better.
There is plenty of concern for the possible use of nuclear weapons or Chemical Weapons. And these are damn valid concerns. That they have not, is a good sign. That there has been saber rattling on their being used… Dude. Not surprised… but using them NOW is a tacit admission to having lost/being in a losing position.
I still expect gas to be used in the Azovstal Steelworks plant… as Chemical Weapons can get into places that explosives cannot… It’s part of their old doctrine, as I recall… and Russia has lots of experience in using chemicals. That it is regarded as a line that should not be crossed… well, I’m not sure Vlad cares at this point. So much has gone wrong with this entire “Special Military Operation”, between Intelligence Failures, Doctrinal failures and the incredibly poor performance of his vaunted Military… that nothing really is off the table. But it is a line that crossing would show exactly how desperate He is for something resembling a success.
That it HASN’T yet, is surprising. But either there is concern for gassing their own or there is concern over their delivery systems even being of viable function (remember the poor maintenance issue?) which makes employing them problematic. If you are gonna use that stuff, you want to be sure the delivery systems work….
Same goes for the Strategic Rocket Forces. Given the 40% or so failure rate of their CONVENTIONAL missiles, it makes one wonder if the Strategic systems have the same potential problem. 40% failure is abysmal…. And that is on systems that should be far easier to maintain. So in my opinion, despite the saber rattling, there *could* be hesitancy on using for both reliability issues… and that Red Line.
I think more the former than the latter… I mean, the sanctions are biting Russia hard and its become apparent how much of their ability to do things or make equipment relies on Western parts. Add in the previously discussed Kleptocracy issues that undercut everything else’s capabilities… so why would *that* one facet of their forces be immune?
Pretty scary, eh?
The other thing going on… is the Home Front morale of the Russians. With attacks on mobilization sites, mysterious fires and explosions at places FAR from the border show issues in his backfield.
When you add in the reported VPN downloads allowing civilians to bypass the Internet Blocks the Kremlin had put up, the façade Putin has thrown up to delude his populace…. Has developed more than a few holes in it.
That May Day parade speech… some delusional wording that will only be believed by those without a means to access outside information. And that number, that percentage of his populous… is going down daily.
This war is going to drag on through the Summer unless Ukraine’s counter offensive really does kick them out or something happens to Vlad to cause a pullback. Because Vlad is not gonna back down- because he can’t.
And that the west is STILL more or less on the same page… makes it that much worse for him.
New stories to post within the next few days. Possibly by Saturday.