UKRAINE: some perspective, cannons and mobilization

UKRAINE: some perspective, cannons and mobilization
UKRAINE: some perspective, cannons and mobilization

When the war lasted only a few weeks, I assumed that the Russian attack from all directions would end in the spring, because Russia does not have the resources to continue an attack of this magnitude. That’s probably what happened. But when will this whole war end? Honestly – I don’t know. But what I can tell you are a few of my thoughts that will estimate how the conflict could develop if something else doesn’t happen. I’m going to try to make everything significantly shorter, so I expect the “you’ve forgotten this detail yet” comments, and I quite welcome them, the debate is useful. As usual, I will try to look at the matter from the most general point of view, from the point of view of doctrine and such. But to the point. 1) mobilization Russia has had a mobilization army since the times of the USSR. The USSR was planning a major war with NATO in which the whole country would be involved. It mobilizes. When you want to mobilize, you have to have everything ready for the recruits – officers, instructors, facilities, equipment, plans, organization, etc. Therefore, the full strength of the units is planned after mobilization. But Russia has not yet mobilized. It’s one of the reasons why they send a battalion tactical group (BTG) – not only is it smaller and more operational, but you create it very simply by choosing the currently combat-ready one with the best equipment from a brigade or regiment. Under these circumstances, BTG is actually a pretty good idea. The problem with the mobilization army is that certain roles in the army are difficult to mobilize – officers, operators of some equipment, pilots, etc., you cannot train them in a few weeks or months. So, logically, you fill these functions with professional soldiers, and you mobilize the ordinary infantrymen, drivers, cooks, etc. But you have enough equipment and ammunition in the warehouses for everyone. That is why we also see old technology on the front, such as the T-62. The mockery of their deployment is not quite appropriate (unless it is the mockery of the fact that Russia otherwise boasts state-of-the-art technology). It is a question of doctrine (you hear this from me often, at least those of you who know me personally). Understand, when you have a professional army, there is no point in maintaining a lot of old equipment, it costs money. It is better to sell old unused equipment (this is not always the case, but in principle you do not need a lot of surplus). When you have a mobilization army, it makes sense to store older equipment for secondary units, etc. If you have a hundred tank crews, you simply need a hundred modern tanks. If you have a hundred tank crews and mobilize another hundred, you need 200 tanks. When there are a hundred older types (which only cost you to maintain because you have them from the past), you still have a hundred more older tanks that can fight or will take time and effort to destroy. And you can put them somewhere where it won’t be such a problem. Well, if Russia did not mobilize, it has large reserves of T 62 tanks, which are capable of combat. If they are not receiving other tanks due to combat losses, breakdowns, lack of service, corruption, etc., they have somewhere to go. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. Keeping older tanks in reserve is not a mistake (it is a mistake to have the modern ones destroyed and stolen). The problem arises when at a certain moment you do not have enough crews. In the case of occupying a country without resistance, it does not matter so much (Czechoslovakia 1968), there you need a number of tanks as a demonstration of power. In the case of resistance from the occupied country, tanks and armored vehicles go with incomplete crews and without adequate infantry protection, so they can more easily become the target of anti-tank defenses of enemy units – and this happened, for example, at Kiev. You can’t rotate soldiers between the front and rest, it leads to fatigue, desertions, mistakes, violence against civilians, etc. This is happening everywhere. Putin is facing some pressure from both sides in terms of mobilization. There are about three groups of people in Russia – supporters of the war (smaller group), the silent majority and opponents of the war (smaller group). Opponents of Putin are only interested in the sense of how to scare them or lock them up. However, radical supporters criticize the government for acting incompetently, losing the war and not mobilizing. The silent majority does not criticize anything, but is glad not to mobilize, they want nothing to do with the war. And it is impossible to satisfy both at the same time. Ukraine, on the other hand, mobilized. It was a big mess at the beginning of the war, she wasn’t properly prepared for it, now she has about as many soldiers as she needs. (Understand, you can’t mobilize everyone, someone has to work, the art is to mobilize enough to win the war and keep the economy running as well as possible at the same time). Those mobilized are trained, even in Western countries, and receive good equipment from the West. However, they lack heavy technique for overall superiority, which comes slowly. This is tolerable in defense, but it is not possible to attack like this on the entire front, but locally. 2) artillery There is a great article about artillery on the Internet. I’ll put it in the comments. Artillery is important in both offense and defense, but more important in offense. It can destroy bunkers, equipment, it can nail the enemy to the ground while you are attacking, it can annoy him, keep him awake and let his guard down when you are not attacking. Russia has a lot of artillery. That is why, for example, in the battles in the Donbass, Ukraine was able to give a terrible fire because they simply have many times more of it. However, Ukraine receives artillery from the West, where quality replaces quantity, and if the pace of supplies and training continues, it is said that in about March the effectiveness of both armies in artillery fire will be equal. Here, however, there is aerial parity and, thanks to various factors, both air forces can operate to a limited extent, but they do not often launch attacks on the enemy’s territory. The importance of artillery has therefore increased due to this, among other things, because they are not so afraid of air attacks. But cannons need ammunition. If the West will deliver at a sufficient pace (which may not be necessary for technical reasons, this war has tested how sufficient our supplies are), Ukraine will not simply run out of ammunition (in addition, modern Western systems need dramatically less ammunition to knock out a target – with Excalibur cartridges, the chance of a hit is almost certainty). If Russia consumes ammunition at the rate of Donbass, even if it produces new ones, according to some estimates, they will run out in the fall of 2023. That is a long time, yes, Russia has huge stocks of ammunition, and artillery has always been green in Russia. However, if everything goes at the given pace, then perhaps sometime in the spring, Ukraine will begin to outnumber Russia in artillery, and next fall, it will have a significant upper hand in the winter. If the Russians are tied up in supplies of winter equipment and the terrain allows for an attack, if air parity is maintained, then there will be a good opportunity for an overall advance (since you need artillery superiority to attack in such a conventional style). 3) Ukraine’s advance Then why is Ukraine attacking now? Well, I don’t know everything and can only guess. On the one hand, rasputica is coming – what doesn’t happen before may not happen for quite a few months (and you don’t want to drag out the occupation when they are killing your civilian population, taking children to Russia for re-education, stealing practically everything and so on). You don’t want to keep the country at war for too long, the help of the allies doesn’t have to last forever either. You don’t necessarily need numerical superiority in defense, so you can concentrate surpluses in one place and create a local outnumbering. Apparently they also surprised the Russians by attacking in more places, and the element of surprise with better command works wonders, as the losers have proven many times. Then Russia also has to move troops, which is slow and difficult, and during the movement the troops do not fight – see the attack at Kherson and then at Kharkiv (and when the Ukrainians destroy your bridges and warehouses on top of that, it’s even worse), and their counterattacks will be greatly exhaust. Finally – Ukraine may be convinced that the actual state of Russian troops (supply, morale, equipment, etc.) allows such an attack. The course of the offensive indicates this. If I had to guess, I rather do not think that the pace of the attack of the last few days will last until the end, and that Ukraine will drive the Russian soldiers out of the country, including Donbabwe and Luganda, within a few weeks (although I would like to). I think Ukraine’s advance will cost Russia a lot and that it will happen again, however the attack will slow down if Russia creates a new meaningful line of defense (and it could, it has the capacity). But they must create it quickly, with sufficient distance and artillery support. However, this does not mean that Ukraine’s progress cannot be repeated elsewhere with similar success (there is talk of a concentration of units near Zaporizhia, for example, so it will probably be somewhere else, like the last time). According to my information, he is preparing this static defense, and overcoming it will be significantly more difficult than the progress of the last few days. (However, if they prepare it insufficiently with loopholes that allow it to be bypassed, they won’t help each other) Of course, all this, if the help of the West lasts, if no other countries are directly involved in the war, if someone does not go completely crazy, and so on. My general tip – Russia will try to switch to a static defense on some more distant and shorter line, the priority will be Donbas.

From the author’s Facebook (September 18, 2022)


The article is in Czech

Tags: UKRAINE perspective cannons mobilization

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