I am sure that most readers of this blog are acquainted with the great analysis offered by Andrei Martyanov, Doug MacGregor, Brian Berletic and Scott Ritter. While we may occasionally disagree on tactical issues, I am pretty sure we all agree on the strategic picture of what is unfolding in Ukraine and its implications for a New World Order on the international front. (I will comment at the end of this piece on the recent news about American military KIA in the recent battles around Bakhmut.)
Another name that must be added to this list of superb analysts is Big Serge. If you want to understand what the Russians are doing in the Donbas in terms of military strategy please take the time to read his latest, Russo-Ukrainian War: The World Blood Pump. Stated succinctly, he nails it!
I want to highlight some of the salient points from his latest treatise (and it is a genuine treatise). Big Serge (he takes his name from Sergei Witte, the first Prime Minister of the Russian Empire) provides a nifty map that should help you understand the four major lines of defense that Ukraine erected since 2014. Russia cracked the first line at Lysychansk in early July (#1). It is now in the process of breaking through at Marinka (#2) and Bakhmut/Soledar (#3).
The next map shows the enormous military force that Ukraine has committed to the Bakhmut/Soledar sector. Here is a cheat sheet to help you understand the military symbols on the map (I apologize for the different sizes of the images, I am not a graphic artist and take what I can get):
This should help you read and understand the map. If there is an “X” above the box that represents a brigade. A “II” means it is a battalion (300 to 500 soldiers).
Big Serge provides a refreshingly clear explanation of Russia’s tactics for destroying the Ukrainian defensive lines — pound it relentlessly with artillery before committing troops to do the clean up.
Russian forces, primarily Wagner PMC and LNR units, have been slowly but surely collapsing this Ukrainian stronghold by making liberal use of artillery. In November, now former Zelensky advisor Oleksiy Arestovych admitted that Russian artillery on the Bakhmut axis enjoyed roughly a 9 to 1 tube advantage, which is turning Bakhmut into a death pit.
Big Serge’s penultimate section explores one scenario that could eviscerate the Ukrainian troops that remain in the Donbas and open the road to Kharkov and the Dnieper River.
Now, about the news that a former U.S. Marine is a prisoner and an AWOL Navy SEAL died in battle in the Donbas. Retired US Marine Michael Winter, is reported to be among prisoners captured by the Wagner Group in Soledar. Winter reportedly participated in US military operations in Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. and is talking to his captors.
The news is not so good for the family of Daniel Swift:
A Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class Daniel Swift who had gone AWOL, was killed in Ukraine on Jan. 18 after suffering injuries with a unit under attack by Russia.
The US Navy confirmed that Swift has been in “an active deserter status since March 11, 2019,”https://t.me/Aq701/20281
A sad reminder that guys like Daniel Swift may have incredible physical skills but they are not bullet proof. He made a choice and has suffered a terrible consequence. My condolences to his family and friends.
Is AWOL longhand for CIA in these instances?
Larry Johnson says
Could be a cover story.
Probably sheep-dipped from the word go, after all, Lee Harvey Whatshisface was one too. Some boys just want them some adventures, but I reckon not all of the personal outcomes can be anticipated with any degree of accuracy. Now, with P.O. Swift, his outcome was a roll of the dice. I knew one guy who was with me In Somalia, who came to the USA from a country of interest as an adult, boy howdy, big Intel Gummint took a liking to him and poof, he was gone. Another time, I ran into another guy in the OMA office down Langley way that I met during Strat. Debrief School. He was kinda non-commital-like about what he’d been doing lately. I am sure that coverage of this unique, huge, Russian front like war needs all kinds of military, intelligence, and other specialty personnel to get specific, detailed information on all possible aspects of this one-of-a-kind war. Alas, I came to the New World from a boring country, with a boring language. After I got out of the military the first time, had I wanted more excitement and adventures, I should have joined La Légion étrangère, but my excitement and adventure quotient had been met, so I did not. Twelve years later I went back to Uncle Sugar’s Misguided Children, and I didn’t get blown away the second time either ……….. and so it goes in the family, it does not in others, I suppose.
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
You can be certain that it’s a cover story.
RuAF destroys UAF armor in Zaporozhye region. Pieces coming together in the puzzle.
HMS Terror says
Comments under that video say it’s ancient history, from 2014. I wouldn’t consider Trollstoy a reliable source.
Who will write that story first is the question. With the governments of the Western world built on a foundation of lies, their entire universe has come to function on a plurality of those who are dedicated to them–at least for the moment. They have the staffing to deal with mountains of bs in a fairly consistent way. With no access to military info, I can only imagine the convoluted and rare info we’ll ever be in a position to report on. That is ENUF for me, but the liberties taken with human life and death w/o consequences remains so infuriating it asks for some type of repercussion for these Narcassists.
Ay Caramba says
But you consider the commentators are?
HMS Terror says
No, but several indicators besides the comments point to it being an old video…
– I had a “I’ve seen this before” reaction on viewing
– I’ve previously noted that Trollstoy plays fast ‘n loose with facts
– there is what appears to be a burning T-34 starting at the 7sec mark. T-34s were pulled from museums and deployed in Donbas in 2014/15. None today.
– video originates from “@UNION360”, who began and ended their Twitter career in 2015.
All in all, the balance tips towards “Fake”.
there is a ww2 tank (t-34)in that video at sec 7 lol
HMS Terror says
I too noticed it. Didn’t see your comment before posting mine.
Joe Grogan says
At least monthly I try to visit the grave of a deceased family member buried at Arlington National Cemetery. For about the past 6 months I’ve been seeing things like multiple Navy buses, band, honor guard, et al., and a youngish looking grieving family (spouse?).
Something’s going on. Americans dying for NATO/Globohomo as our own country is invaded daily and eviscerated by the hour.
Charles E. Fromage says
The deep state lies about the biggest events talking place in this country and controlled state-run MSM easily covers for them – so lying about / ignoring a few dozen/hundred US Spec Ops guys getting killed in Ukraine would be a piece of cake.
I suspect the lid of that simmering pot is about to come off (Americans dying in Ukie land). Perhaps the Daniel Swift story is sort of a trial balloon to see how it goes. Probably a mass casualty “training exercise” plane crash coming soon.
P.S. Did you see that even though Swift supposedly went AWOL in 2019, his military record is blank for much of 2014 and ’15? Maybe it wasn’t his first trip to the Ukraine rodeo…
Manuel Verdugo says
Desgraciadamente para uds. los soldados de USA no han peleado una guerra digna desde la 2da guerra mundial y solo han sido utilizados como mercenarios. Todas esas fuerza de las que uds se enorgullesen, para el resto del mundo, solo son matones al servicio del dinero.
Based on the date he went AWOL; he probably was a deserter when he was killed.
Michael Creighton says
Good point. Many mercs decided to get out once they realized the situation was futile. Whether killed by Russians or Azov for desertion we will likely never know.
Lou Brooks says
Yep, must be a cover story. A U.S. military member with this skill set generally does not go AWOL and if they did you can almost be assured the government would use every resource at its disposal to find him.
Eric Newhill says
Some of the most recent crop of these SOF guys are a little unhinged. He may, indeed, have gone AWOL to fight in Ukraine, feeling like it was the right thing to do and that his command was wrong for not getting involved. Millenials are a weird cohort. Then again maybe sheep dipped.
Paul Greenwood says
You mean like trapping his passport at entry ports. Or maybe simply cancelling as he was in transit as they did with Snowden ?
Vallhalla Rising says
That was my first thought e.g. that he was a three letter agency operative–not really awol
A Boyles says
Very interesting visual representation of the forces in the front lines – I have never heard of Big Sergei before but will check out his book, it sounds like an intriguing read. Thank you again Larry for your concise & informative POV.
His Blog is first rate.
For clarification: Big Serge is a blogger who writes on a substack page. Larry is referring to a long essay on his blog/page. I second Larry that it is an excellent piece.
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
Big Serge is an excellent analyst, and he confirms what I said months ago: that Russia is replicating the original plan of Falkenhayn at Verdun, to let the enemy bleed itself to death holding on to territory it should logically abandon.
Big Serge is a military historian with almost encyclopedic knowledge. And his rendering of the military situation as it now stands is very accurate. However, this “SMO” is called that for a reason. It is not a conventional war– in fact, just part of a wider war, that is only partly military, and mostly economic. A point that Serge made in one of his earlier articles that the SMO has several functions – one is nation building, the creation of Russian patriotic consensus. The longer the war goes on, the greater the consensus. Positive consensus, of course, depends on progress, without too many negative consequences on life at home and without huge losses.
Most people just assumed that the Russians wanted to get the SMO over as soon as possible. Me, too, in the beginning. But I now think that the Russians realize that going slow is the better way, as long as progress continues. The longer the SMO continues, the more it wears down, not just the Ukrainians but Europeans and Americans too, whittling away at their economies.
At the same time, the Russians are re-inventing their military. They now have a substantial military advantage.
I do not think that you will see any bold strikes in the Kharkov region. There is really not much there.
Not as long as Zelensky keeps on throwing untrained, poorly equipped troops into the fire . The Russian advantage in artillery was noted from the beginning of the conflict and it is growing. US strategy is retrograde – it looks backwards to WWII and validates itself with American “success” destroying Saddam’s army. But that war was not a peer-level war. The US had the technology; Saddam didn’t. Now it is Russia that has the technology– and the industrial base. The US has advantage in neither area.
I would expect the Russians to keep on destroying the UAF, brigade by brigade. Once the eastern part of the contact line collapses, they could (if they wanted) take Seversk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Konstantinovka and cut off UAF troops to the south. Will they? I am sure they will take their time with this.
It will make no difference to the war that the Media presents, however.
“A strategy of destruction requires one more precondition: an extraordinary, immense victory.” American strategy has focused on destruction. An example is the Iraq War. An immense victory wrought by overwhelming force. This is not what the Russians want in this “fraternal” war. So don’t look for Hollywood style “offensives”. Far better for the Russians to let Zelensky destroy his own forces for them. So, no strike from east to west,as Ritter once suggested — or from Belarus.
Paul Greenwood says
Really ? You do know that CIA contacted Saddam’s generals and offered them large sums of money not to fight, don’t you ?
Just as Hitler inspired his generals with gifts of estates and large cash payments (Rommel did nicely as a favoured son) so the Americans buy off opposition whether military or political
Saddam made a big mistake by ruling with fear as his main tool. He did not engender loyalty, made many enemies and that was his downfall.
His military, as you stated, took money from the enemy to stand down. Billions of cash dollars were flown in.
Not all of course, but a great many.
If they had of been patriotic and loyal they could have mounted a much more deadly insurgency,
To add to my recent posts, the Russians have mounted operation in Zaporozhye region. Slavyangrad here: https://t.me/intelslava/43560 The Ukrainians are predicting three offensives against them, from Belarus, Lysichansk and from the East, more or less as Big Serge says. So it is unlikely that the Russians will do that.
Big Serge provides excellent analysis. It’s important to realize that he doesn’t write on Ukraine very often. He said some time ago that he will concentrate on military history in general and write on Ukraine when he feels he has something to say. His analysis is always top notch.
Only to those they killed.
I feel more sorrow for the rat caught in the trap.
And Mr. Winter? May he never be traded as a prisoner of war. A thorough beast of burden deserving a compassionate disposal.
Yep, life sentence of hard labour breaking rocks in a Siberian work camp.
One meal of gruel a day. No bedding. Thin clothing. And a regular injection of his employer’s “counter-measure”.
See how long he lasts.
Thanks for the Big Serge link. That was a fascinating read. Seems extraordinarily grounded in reality.
When do they all go to the US southern boarder to defend the home land?
Whoops, inappropriate question.
ATTENTION : narrative adjustment.
Do not mention the $billions of tax payer bucks recycling initiative . Only repeat “DONATIONS” fair share, digging deep, like minded support.
Putin still bad and only appears a winner. ( fake propaganda)
Debt ceiling levitating by the gonzillion trillions at the same time as eggs are going up, ……chickens not happy!
Don’t mention the “garage” as the credibility slaughter continues 24/7 until moral improves.
I must say I am highly suspicious of the claimed sizes of Ukrainian units, especially around Bahkmut. The absolute leathering many of them have received leads me to believe there is likely only 50% of the actual manpower in a large number of “Brigades”.
I find the unit sizes on these maps to be very misleading.
By late April 1945, many German “divisions” had less than 1,000 men instead of 12,000 to 15,000 if they were fully manned and equipped.
I suspect that at this point, most Ukr. “brigades” would be more accurately described as battalions.
The map shows 28 brigades, 3 regiments and 4 battalions between NW of Soledar and Toretsk, a distance of 42 km, perhaps 50 km along the front line.
At full establishment, this would imply 100k to 155k men or 1.3k to 2k troops deployed per km of front with one third in reserve. This would also imply each battalion defends only several hundred meters of front.
Somehow, I have my doubts.
Good point! The analysts reporting 24-35 Ukie brigades in Bakhmut should tell us what those “brigades” are made up of! Maybe, local cats, dogs, mice, chickens, cows, foxes and whatever 4 legged creature calls that area its natural habitat. They are at regimental strength at best, 1.000 to 2.000 men tops! From many estimates, there are about 50.000 Ukranians in that cauldron. The soldiers stationed there were Ukraine’s best troops. Once they are eliminated, all of Ukraine will quickly follow suit. Then, it’s Nato’s choice.
Logistics are also a major issue in such conditions, the Rooskies have destroyed the Log Spt of the Ukranian Army.An Inf Bde insufficiently supplied with food/comms/ammunitions/Med spt and all other associated “home comforts” maintains the fighting capability of a Company. Hence the old saw “Amateurs talk tactics while professionals concentrate on logistics. IMO all Russian Arms are extremely professional, NATO politicians? not so much.
Paul Greenwood says
I was surprised to read recently that in WW2 British Divisions were actually bigger than German or US Divisions
Nowadays British Army has shrunk its Battalions to meet reduced manpower from those days of you’re when 1000 men were regarded as Battalion strength
Thanks Mr. Johnson. This is info i had not heard before.
From big serge substack you posted
Two operational depth objectives in particular have the potential to shatter Ukrainian logistics and sustainment. These are, respectively, Izyum in the north and Pavlograd in the South. A Russian thrust down the west bank of the Oskil river towards Izyum would simultaneously threaten to cut off and destroy the Ukrainian grouping on the Svatove axis (S on the map) and sever the vital M03 highway from Kharkov. Reaching Pavlograd, on the other hand, would completely isolate the Ukrainian forces around Donetsk and sever much of Ukraine’s transit across the Dneiper.
It looks like the russians have begun the above at Zapôrozhia towards pavlograd and duma of military summary who probably read big serge substack is speculating about the russians also coming in from the north.
Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 20.01.2023
I’ve heard of him but in my dim understanding of internet and such I figured he was on some platform I don’t get, like Telegram or something. That “something” now being revealed to me as “Substack”. What in the hell is that? And can one just read it or do you have to sign up, get an account, and all that?
I was asked for money before I read a sentence. As in, on the titanic scooping up coins before it all goes down.
Eazy Peazy says
Just click on ‘continue reading’ and you’ll bypass email & login requests.
In my experience with Subatack you’re solicited for funds and to subscribe but you can refuse and then read the content. I think authors are helped by thus arrangement and I certainly support any mechanism that supports independent reporting and analysis.
Click on the link Larry posted and just read it. Not difficult.
A.BENJAMINE MOSER says
NICE, THAT YOU ARE HELPING THIS PERSON, WHICH HAS LOW INTERNET COMPREHENSION.
You mean big mouth capitals.
Turning low rent.
substack is pay to read. independent writers use it.
Jack Gordon says
I read Substack every day, many different contributors. Some I contribute to because I want to support their work; others, no, but even many of them allow me to read entire posts for free. In my view, use of Substack is a sine qua non if you want to know what is afoot in the world. (A corollary to this, of course, is that watching television, even a little, will inevitably make one dangerously stupid.)
Substack is a blogging platform. It was designed as a way for writers with quality content to be able to get paid for their work. It is up to each page owner to decide how much of their content to release for free and what to charge. (Similar to newspaper paywall.)
Some of the best independent writing and analyses on the internet is now found on substack. Journalists like Glen Greenwald and Matt Taibbi have migrated there. If you have an interest in Covid, there is Alex Berenson, Robert Malone, Eugypsius. And on the Ukraine conflict there is Big Serge.
J. Miles says
And, of course, the ineffable, brilliant Clif High …. who never fails to enlighten. You can find his Substack links from Telegram SciFi World.
James Johnson says
substack is great. but it is easy to oversubscribe. many topics. i mainly do covid analysis. all offer free but other features if u pay.
Kevin Zealberg says
Encourage everyone to give Big Serge’s article a read. The use of the acoustic sound system called Penicillin for counter battery operations to locate enemy artillery by acoustic sound ranging made my jaw drop. I commanded a sound and flash platoon as part of a Target Acquisition Battery during the early 80’s in Germany. The sound portion was six microphone-like devices dug into surveyed points on a 3 to 5 km front. TA wires were hooked into each one and ran back to an operations center where a team of three soldiers plotted out the direction of where sound of the firing unit came from and triangulated the grid coordinates to about 100-200 meter accuracy. The more operational devices in the ground the better the accuracy. This was a WWI system used also in WWII, Korea and Vietnam that was no way suitable to maneuver warfare. My soldiers all knew this as they told me they would rather die as forward observers or infantrymen rather than digging some piece of junk in the ground that probably wasn’t going to work. The US Army abandoned this system in the late 80’s when the Q36 radar entered the game. The Russian’s didn’t give up and modified each one to be mobile as they go up on a pole and not in the ground. Each probably has their own GPS system and digital communication link. No survey or wire crews needed for installation the old way which took one to two hours if you were lucky depending on the terrain. I think the WSJ mentioned the Penicillin system this past week and how it was wreaking havoc on the Ukrainian artillery. Countering this system is a top priority. Radars are the more accurate system, but leave a bigger signal for counter-counter battery operations. Our sound and flash instructor Mr. Lacy back at Fort Sill was a survivor of the Target Acquisition Battery massacred at Malmedy by the SS in WWII and the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. He was a very decent, gentle man. I know he now rests in heaven because of all the hell he went through in those two wars.
” I know he now rests in heaven because of all the hell he went through in those two wars.”
As a willing participant in an (another in a long list) illegal war of aggression (Korea) he will most certainly be in Hell (if one believes in fairy tales of course) where he rightly deserves to be.
Oh no. The soldier’s heat is pure.
Al Nevsky says
Illegal war of aggression, I agree, but North invaded South to start the Korean war.
just saying says
“North invaded South” sounds a bit like US civil war. Someone should have sent troops in order to stop that illegal war of aggression, and stage false flag operation as justification, and save the world by causing permanent instability in the region.
just saying says
I guess what makes Penicillin better than those old systems is advanced signal processing that was not available back in the day (in addition to better microphones & stuff), and integration with sensors of other types (infrared in this case, although I assume it’s possible to integrate it with radars is some way).
System being passive sounds like a very big plus, because it can be turned on for long time periods without being shot at. Turning on regular radars can be done only when needed, in order to increase accuracy of detection.
Carlton Meyer says
Does the infrared see the gun blast or can it track hot projectiles?
just saying says
Projectiles. Enemy guns tend to be far away, and behind obstacles. I guess you could see the blast if you had direct line of sight, but that would mean that the enemy also has direct line of sight. In that case canon would be probably firing at you. 🙂
Here’s infrared footage of some rockets:
The IR detector is on a telescopic boom that can be hidden in the woods and elevated above the treeline to “see” the projectiles. I would think that the IR detectors are quite small, and “invisible” to UAVs or other reconnaissance systems. The IR detector would serve the purpose of determining the ballistics (and hence origin) of the projectile(s). The seismic phones can probably improve the accuracy of the origin of the projectile(s), and probably also the identity of the armament that launched said projectile(s). I qouls bet that the phones do not need wires for communication with the targeting computer(s). Makes target acquisition and selection a lot easier. (This post is a sheer guess!)
These mercenaries who have the skills of Iraq, Syria and Libya, did not think about the millennial knowledge of history that one should not go to war against the Russians, deceived in wars that are children’s kindergartens compared to the war with the Russians. And everyone will end up like that, many felt it, and fled, those who remained are dead or captured. I noticed with Winter the Palestinian scarf he wears, it is easy to kill Palestinian children and women, but with Hezbollah it is different, and with the Russians especially in the whole history of events in time, but these people who love war, do not read and have no knowledge.
Larry, I agree that Big Serge’s strategy of pushing down the Oskill would lead to a rapid collapse of the second line; however, it is really unclear to me that Russia wants to end the meat grinder – rather than having to go search for the western artillery, they are brought to the front and get a shot of penicillin – an incredible technology.
I also enjoy the (infrequent) perusings of WIll Shryver (imetronics) – he has had some very good tactical discussions.
Paul Greenwood says
Bild-Zeitung in Germany today reports that the failure of PUMA IFVs in exercises when 18 of 18 failed was down to “poor maintenance” and 3200 hours of backlogs because the Bundeswehr lacks maintenance crews.
Also the BW had trained its maintenance crews on older models without schooling them in the upgrades.
Wonder how far this “leak” is to show the futility of expecting Ukraine to maintain maintenance-intensive German hardware ? It is common knowledge German cars are not reliable and a curse to the owner in maintenance costs………….tanks and IFVs are not any better
martin mkultra7 says
greenwood,I am a retired auto mechanic and can testify to the continuing myth of german engineering.for the last 20 odd years those German cars are junk.Too many times after hours and hours of troubleshooting the result is it isn’t worth repairing.If you still love German or American cars ,lease them do not buy them,that way you get a new car every 3-4 years with warranty,when even the dealer can’t fix it you get a new one.
Yes martin, agreed. In the late 90ies the CEO of MB stated to shareholders that production costs had been cut by 30%. They applaused. Of course the buyers of the new cars did not.
We cut ties with MB last year after too many electrical gremlins and average build quality. And then there is the fragile timing chain (cast gears) on the 4 cylinder engines, ongoing since the late 90ies.
The last indestructible and well built were the W124 & W126 models.
German engineers design wonderfully elegant $20 solutions to $.50 problems.
Larry, if you’re on a MAC you can resize images in Preview, which comes with the OS. Tools from the pull-down menu, then Adjust Size. Make a safety copy first because Preview saves changes without asking, one of the stupidest things I’ve seen on the Mac after “information hiding.”
Jams O'Donnell says
You can change that in ‘Settings: Desktop and Dock – ‘Ask to keep changes when closing documents’
Jim S says
Looks like preliminary attacks by Russian mechanized units kicked off in the Zaporozhe sector yesterday (the 19th). I believe this is in line with Col. MacGregor’s assessment. Could be the major offensive we’ve all been looking for.
To disagree with Big Serge, this will be over long before April. The correlation of forces looks to be such that Russia can probably push all the way to Ukraine’s western borders if she wanted to. She won’t, because 1. she’ll wait to see which way NATO jumps as the Ukrainian Army collapses and 2. I don’t think Russia wants Kiev (Odessa, yes, but not Kiev–Kyiv it will remain). But Russia will secure Donbass for good soon.
Talks about sending NATO tanks to Ukraine is probably strictly for public consumption. I don’t think the West ever expected Ukraine to defeat Russia. The question is whether or not Ukraine has held out long enough for the West’s purposes.
But if Germany really must send tanks to Ukraine it could buy back the 200 Leopard 2s it sold to Greece, the purchase of which helped bankrupt Greece, and for which Germany refused to renegotiate the debt, which in turn caused Greece to sink further into indebtedness. Greece might be willing to part with the tanks for, say, 10 times the original purchase price.
Yes, by all means, Erdogan will then make life difficult for the Greeks in any possible Land engagement, as the Turks have Leopards also. As of late, I’ve not heard of their desire to unload them. After all, bad Leopards are better than no Leopards.
Jim S says
HIMARS would be a great weapon system at a quarter of the price, but right now its just too expensive to use. Likewise the Leo 2 is/was good kit, price tag aside. I’m just saying Greece couldn’t afford it.
Was good kit. You we havent heard anything lately of HiMARS, and no plan to send any – Russia is very good at GPS spoofing – see what happened to the Tomahawks in Syria, my guess is they figured out how to spoof HiMARS GPS signal rendering them useless (or dumb artillery at a ridiculous price that break down).
HMS Terror says
Hmm, I’m more inclined to wonder whether Ukraine will fold sooner than the Russians would like. (IMHO) they need a long, slow, inexorable march to allow the political and economic developments that will push the West and its Globalist agenda off its high horse to mature.
The world is watching the US/EU/NATO stand down as the proxy they’ve invested so heavily in is methodically disassembled. The longer the world watches, the more naked the US/EU/NATO appear. The more naked they appear, the more countries will feel emboldened to ignore them and take an independent stance.
Judging by the sombre reports coming out of Davos, and more recently out of Ramstein this is having an effect. I expect next year’s meeting at Davos to resemble a funeral.
Jim S says
Good point. I expressed something similar elsewhere last March. But I’ve been trying to game this from the globalist perspective, and if defeating Russia outright is off the table a protracted morass is the next best thing. Still, comparing the mood in Davos and the mood in Moscow does indicate that the Russians have a better sense of timing (and a better understanding of the tactical situation on the ground; someone like Kissinger doesn’t bother with such details because he doesn’t need to, but in this case expectation is so skewed from reality that it must be badly throwing off strategic calculation).
My concern is that there might not be a next year, that these nutjobs would rather burn everything down than lose power; moreover, that they may have been planning to burn down the world all along.
Cato the Uncensored says
Ukraine has to hold out at least until the next Zelensky Labor Day Begathon.
Paul Greenwood says
Western borders are less important than Odessa
Lou Brooks says
Absolutely agree. All this posturing by Poland and Belarus is to ensure the Poles take no more than western Ukraine back as their own. I have no doubt that Polish and Russian representatives are discussing just how far and how much for Poland to take. Poland does not want a conflict with Russia, they know the cost will be higher to them than to Russia, as well, Poland has just as strong of a need for Russian natural resources as other Euro countries. They want their old lands back but don’t want to alienate themselves from Russia.
I certainly believe that western Ukraine will go to Poland, Romania and Hungary. Transnistria, Odessa and associate Oblasts along the southern coast to Russia. Ukraine will be nothing more than a few central Oblasts whose future will rely on tourism and technology.
Big Serge as in the Big Surge for Ukraine that is a mere Looney-tunes pipe dream!!!
A.BENJAMINE MOSER says
NICE, THAT YOU ARE HELPING THIS PERSON, WHICH HAS LOW INTERNET COMPREHENSION.
Hmm. Last year, whilst teaching students about Stalingrad, I drew a map of the Stalingrad Kesselschlacht on the board and said. ‘I have a feeling you will be seeing something similar next year’.
I do still think that the Russians will do the opposite of what everybody thinks and which they have encouraged people to think. Under NATO ISR, traditional deception tactics are now deliberately out in the open. Witness all the Twitter ‘tank trains’ and the footage of the Kharkov relief forces forward elements being airlifted, alongside clips of road bound convoys, suggesting a major counter thrust. In reality the opposite was happening.
“I’ve heard of him but in my dim understanding of internet and such I figured he was on some platform I don’t get, like Telegram or something. That “something” now being revealed to me as “Substack”. What in the hell is that?”
FGB3 you can get all of Bigserge’s posts here :
Sam Davis says
The Russian General Surovikin (and associates) organized the withdrawal from Kherson (Ukraine).
The main reason Surovikin ordered Russian forces to withdraw was that the Russians had just comprehensively stopped the Ukrainian offensive. All was relatively quiet. Any counter-offensive would have punched a hole right through the Ukrainian lines, their forces would have been encircled, and destroyed. It was imperative that the Russians were pulled back before the precarious state of the Ukrainian forces became known.
At this time the Ukrainians were way overextended and were not able to fight this two front war. One front had to be closed down. As the front east of the Dnieper river was by far the stronger, Surovikin had the Russians abandon the front west of the Dnieper. To make sure that the Russians could not easily reopen this front, Surovikin had the southern bridges over the Dnieper blown up. That’s right, Surovikin blew up the bridges useful to the Russians. Surovikin never touched the bridges that were of vital importance to the Ukrainians. In fact, the northern bridges over the Dnieper are all still standing.
Surovikin claims that the 30,000 Russian soldiers west of Kherson could not be supplied with the necessary ammunition, etc. This of course is total garbage, considering that they had just done exactly this in stopping the Ukrainian Kherson offensive. Surovikin’s claim is simply a lie. Remember, back in February the whole 30,000 man army, with all its equipment, had crossed to Kherson within a couple of days. Similarly, when they withdrew. Thus in the weeks where the civilians were pulled out of Kherson, the 30,000 man army could have been heavily reinforced, and supplied with enough equipment to smash the Ukrainian forces, but, of course, this was not wanted.
Since there were no good excuses for pulling out of Kherson, Surovikin had to grasp at straws, suggesting that artillery/missile strikes could cause the sudden breaking of the Kakhovka dam, which would wash away the bridges, and trap the 30,000 man army west of the Dnieper. Of course, even thousands of hits on the dam would not result in catastrophic failure. A gradual uncontrolled leakage of water may have occurred, resulting in a short-term flooding of some areas but nothing that would wash away bridges. (And even if the bridges were lost it would be easy enough to resupply the men by landing craft, ferries, and other boats. Resupply by aircraft would likely be too dangerous.)
Another reason that the Russians were ordered out of Kherson is that the Ukrainians had no way to stop a determined advance toward Odessa. Without Kherson as a staging area the Russians would no longer have this option. If the Russians had tried to advance on Odessa they would have met minimal resistance. The reason the Ukrainians have to continually tell you how strong their forces are, is because they are not strong.
It is clear that as long as Surovikin (and associates) are in charge, there will be no Russian attempt to cut Ukrainian supply lines as the Ukrainian army would collapse in short time. The talk of a winter offensive to cut the supply lines is just talk. It will not happen as it would quickly lead to a Ukrainian defeat.
Surovikin will continue to claim that attacking into the teeth of the Ukrainian defenses is the only way to save Russian lives. As the Ukrainians sit in their concrete bunkers and mow down any exposed Russian forces, Surovikin will tell us that things have to be done this way, to save Russian lives. Any talk of finding one of the thousands of weak spots in the Ukrainian line, breaking through the line there, and attacking the concrete bunkers from the back, will be taboo. Since frontal attacks require wasting huge quantities of ammunition such attacks will probably continue till the Russians exhaust their supplies. The best tactic for destroying fortified positions will never be allowed.
And then Putin will give Surovikin a medal.
So, where have we seen the withdrawal of an army just after they had won the battle, so that they ended up losing. Yes, when Hitler ordered Manstein to withdraw just after he had broken through the southern front, and essentially won the world war two battle of Kursk. About that battle, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, the commander of Army Group South said;
“Speaking for my own Army Group, I pointed out (to Hitler) that the battle was now at its culminating point, and that to break it off at this moment would be tantamount to throwing a victory away.”
what a load of tosh.
you clearly have absolutely NO map reading skills, go take a course irl on compass and map use.
Paul Greenwood says
It was a withdrawal that even took away Russian cultural artefacts including statue of Catherine The Great.
The greatest feat an army can perform is the immaculate tactical withdrawal without rout………had Lord Gort obeyed Churchill in May 1940 the British Army would have been lost thanks to Belgian treachery – however by falling back to Dunkirk he saved 227,000 men to fight another day………and those soldiers walked from Belgium to Dunkirk
Personally, I would simply obliterate these defensive lines with my heavy weapons and march to Dnieper unmolested. But that’s just me. I like to do things the easy way.
But if it floats your boat to fight it out with weapons that wouldn’t look out of place on the 19th century battlefields of the Franco-Prussia War,* hey, who am I to judge?
A war which Big Serge covers most brilliantly, I might add, in his History of Battle series.
I’m hoping Big Serge will analyse the Spencer repeating rifle, the wunderwaffen of its time. Invented in 1860, ready for mass production a year later, or just in time for the start of the Civil War, it never did find much of a roll on the battlefields of that war, excepting for versions of being used by certain Union cavalry units, most notably those led by George Armstong Custer, who recognized the value of the weapon system earlier than just about anyone.
Would the Union have won the war in 5 minutes if all of of their soldiers were carrying repeaters? No, I don’t believe so, I think it would’ve taken at least 10.
(They would’ve won in 5, but only if they had used their Gatling guns, which they chose not to use for some strange reason …. because they were Buddhists?)
Which leads me to ask, how did two modern armies, almost one quarter of the way in to the 21st century, get themselves engaged in the most intense confilct since the Korean War, and not go into battle fully equipped with drones?
Tens and tens of thousands of them, for every battlefield use imaginable – excepting firing nukes at each other, of course, as we humans would never such a thing, being the civilized species that we are.
It boggles the mind, it truly does.
*”Let’s go toe to toe with our howitzers, shall we?”
“By George my existential enemy, that’s jolly good idea!”
Wow that was a fantastic link. Great read. Bookmarked for sure.
That’s another excellent article over at Big Serge. Since he doesn’t take comments except from subscribers, I’ll take the liberty of posting my comment here:
I’ll have one of everything please!
“Gradually, and then Suddenly” seems to be the keyword here. What we see is the conjointment of exhaustion/elimination of the Ukrainian forces/equipment, heavy force concentration around Bakhmut, weakening of all other fronts, all fronts including Bakhmut at breaking point, huge readied reserves of the Russians, huge advantage in firepower and supply lines, weather getting colder, running out of meat to be ground in static attrition, huge boost in home morale in sudden big developments … etc. Given that a policy of completing the roll-up of the Bakhmut region is already a certainty, I see every reason for going for a lot else at the same time, i.e. rolling up all the main fronts simultaneously – and I’d have thought the developments of all these fronts could be hugely faster than what we’ve seen of late, purely on the “Gradually, and then Suddenly” basis, because everything is coming to fruition together (not coincidentally, in my view).
The time is ripe. By the way, when fruit ripens it produces ethene gas, which is also a stimmulant for other fruit to ripen faster, so that it all tends to ripen “Gradually, and then Suddenly” together – I think the Russian General Staff have engineered something similar here.
If all the main fronts can be quickly broken in a heavy broad push, that will open the roads for a push to cut off Odessa including Black Sea landings, catch the Romanian border, and secure the land route to Transnistria. A big bite, eh? Bringing in Gerasimov would make sense here.
He is on Twitter so you could comment there and reach him.
Dr. Vilmos Holczhauser says
Dear Mr. Johnson, I’m wondering whether JACQUES BAUD wouldn’t deserve to be added to the list.
He did an excellent analysis early into Smo.
Haven’t read him since so will do so
Cheers for the reminder.
Russia is perfectly positioned to fight a war in Donbass and basically annihilate the whole Ukrainian army + mercenaries in a slow and steady grind. This is happening already on two fronts – Kupyansk-Liman and Bakhmut. The 3rd front (Zaporozhie) was just opened but IMHO not for the sole purpose of a big-arrow offensive but to put more pressure and absorb more Ukr troops. Now it has become a large-scale attrition war EVERYWHERE, not just Bakhmut. Expect another front to open – north Ukr – but again, no big arrow – just more attrition and more pressure. This will also prevent western powers from direct involvement because there are no big-arrow offensives to sell to western populations as triggers.
Once the attrition reaches critical levels Ukraine will be offered peace terms. If it doesn’t accept, pressure will be dialed up with a slow moving territory acquiring grind. This strategy prevents loss of life on the RF side and achieves its goals, including absorption of NATO equipment in the process and demilitarization of the whole collective West. IMHO, the strategy is brilliant.
Liborio Guaso says
According to the graph, the number of soldiers grouped in the region is considerable and if they cannot do anything with total Western support, what they must face is a wall of the Russian military. And if, in addition, the Russians take down a plane or helicopter that takes flight, that explains why the only news is about bombings of the civilian population.
Mike D says
It does not appear that there will be huge changes in western country’s positions on Ukraine. 2023 could be a year of total frustration, protest in the West. A brutally hot summer in Europe and the requirement to not use AC in restaurants and bars could tilt the game board. . Perhaps some nasty assassinations are on the menu in the fall.
Excellent to follow during next season’s NFL games
Larry, my list has always included Big Serge. He’s a great historian. In addition I recommend another, readingjunkie dot com.
How convenient for the “we are not directly involved meme”. Deserter. So you give your life for your country and get thrown under the bus as a deserter. Wow these guys must make some big money. Like the front lines in Ukraine would not be an easy place to find a deserter.
Been Big Serge fan for a while, but yeah very interesting. His perspective makes you realize how long all this stuff has been going on for. Was he the guy who highlighted the US die hard attachment to WW 2 tactics?
So much to read, so little time.
Early in the war the Ukrainians were running advertising for mercenary openings at $1,000-$2,000 a day depending on qualifications. No doubt funding coming from CIA black ops budget, but I have seen nothing to verify if that kind of money was actually being paid or how many just volunteered, like some sort of well armed Friends of the Library or soup kitchen idealists.
I recently saw one video clip by an American ex-military in Bakmut asking for more help to be sent who actually enlisted in the Ukrainian army and was serving as the NCO of a platoon. That would mean he is not legally a mercenary, but it also means he can only get Ukrainian NCO pay.
“Serge Schmerge” i sez !
what’s the gender identity of these batallions? how diverse are the tank crews??
has the infantry undergone modern western sensitivity training??
As is well known diversity is THE force multiplier.
How can one be expected to gauge the capabilities alledgedly presented on this map without at least covering the most basic and important battlefield fundamentals.
Is this modern western backed warfare or not !!
And dont get me started on this 6 weeks training for leopards/abrams/etc. 6 weeks is barely enough time to cover pronouns !! get real.
Kiev regime has morphed into Soylent green. Disturbing video from Erwan Castel showing excavator trashing ukros military corpses
Hi – can you post a link? I can’t seem to find these. Thanks much.
any other page of his I should follow in addition to alawata-rebellion? He’s been pretty quiet of late, I suppose it’s related to his involvement at the front.
“Russia is perfectly positioned to fight a war in Donbass and basically annihilate the whole Ukrainian army + mercenaries in a slow and steady grind.”
That’s assuming that the Ukrainian army will continue to march heedless into the various kill boxes to get slaughtered like farm animals. Am I on record (;–) as of way back to the near beginning, that this is the worst performance by an army in military history, and clearly in the months that have transpired since, it has only gotten worse.
What are those awards they hand out every year for bad acting in the movies, the Golden Rasberry Awards? Well let’s give the Ukraine army a Golden Rasberry for all-time historical achievement, shall we?
But we must not take it for granted that Ukraine army will continue to self-annihilate, if for no other reason than the Americans won’t let them. At some point saner heads will prevail in Washington, as they must, if this insanity in Ukraine is to continue, and they will tell the military leadership in Kiev, if there is such a thing, hey, you have now lost two entire armies and are about to lose a third, it’s time now to retreat into your big city fortresses and force the Russian army to show itself.
We may well lose this fight, but we cannot lose, AND SAVE FACE, if it becomes widely known that a private military outfit and a couple of smallish sized militias destroyed the equivalent of 3 of our armies all by themselves.
Working hand in hand, we must make the Russian army do something before YOU agree to an ignominius surrender, and if that means a portion of your forces must survive long enough only to be slowly and systematically starved to death in Kiev, Kharkov, Sumy, and so on, then that is how it has to be.
And the slower the better, btw, as it will give us time here in Washington to come up with even more dastardly schemes for the eventual partitioning of our Russian foe.
Note: I will say this, the lack of confidence in the ability of the Russian army to do anything other than pull lanyards from 20 klicks behind the front lines is reaching epidemic proportions in the pro-Russian blogosphere.
I am the only one left on the internet that believes the Russian army is capable of defeating the shattered remnants of a tragically inept enemy that has already been previously, smashed to bits twice?
Eric Newhill says
Well said, MAX424.
I also can’t figure out if the Russians are competent war fighters or if it’s just that the Ukros are so terrible.
Ask all the Syrians who named their newborns Putin.
Eric Newhill says
Rag tag, drug crazed, jihadists with automatic weapons bolted into pick-up truck beds are hardly the equivalent of a large, modern, organized, NATO trained and armed army. The US would have smashed ISIS and friends if it hadn’t implemented the duplicitous policy of coddling some of them so they could “take out” the Syrian government.
More US army fandom and ignorance from the resident troll.
ISIS is a creation of the US.
Hoorah! My country right or wrong! Support the troops! We are the greatest!
These empty slogans must echo in your ‘trailer’.
Afghan Rag tag, drug crazed, jihadists with automatic weapons bolted into pick-up truck beds had no problem winning.
The secret is revealed simply: the Russian army in Ukraine does not allow war correspondents and bloggers to approach it. The Russian military does not give interviews, do not shoot propaganda videos, do not make urgent money charges for quadrocopters, heat generators and wool socks.
I can recommend you the PolitWera channel, on which Larry Johnson was a guest several times, paired with Andrey Martyanov as an interpreter. But even on this channel you will not see representatives of the Russian army, but you will learn a lot of “good” about the blogosphere.
Alex Thrace says
The fact that there has been not even a reasonable peace offer put on the table to the Russians, point tells you that this war is policy and not an unfortunate happenstance of Russian “agression”.
The Russian strategy is actually brilliant, slow steady progress, entrapment, goad NATO into de-arming itself, a few tanks here, a few missile batteries there, all plump targets for Russian artillary, By the time NATO finally cleans the glass navel (a glass navel permits one to see where they are going when their head is up their you-know-what) and realizes that it has nothing left and no way to replenish.
I don’t expect the likes to Susan Rice, Ron Klain, Victoria Nuland et al to be cognizant of the finer points of war logistics, but surely someone at the Pentagon or the the German Ministry of Defense would have seen the dim glow of the lightbulb finally coming on.
My son in law told me how good the new Amazon Jack Ryan series is. I gave it a try, maybe not a fair one, after 30 minutes all I saw was the brave, warm and fuzzy, freedom loving CIA
against the evil murdering Russians who want to destroy the world. I couldn’t stomach any more, unless it someone tell ms me it turns around later, that is on the reject bin.
old coyote says
Thanks Larry! Great Stuff! ‘Big Serge’ is obviously one of the great students (and propounders) of military AND nation-building histories. Beyond his great analysis of the ongoing conflict, the most important takeaway for me in this excellent piece of the current war in the Ukraine came at the very end:
“in the event of a coup or state collapse, new governments are virtually never formed sui generis – they always arise from preexisting institutions and hierarchies. Why, when the Soviet Union fell, did political authority devolve to the Republics? Because these Republics were Schelling points – branches that one can grab for safety in a chaotic river.”
This is why building local community is VITAL for the coming chaotic times!
Tim Lundeen says
Big Serge is awesome. His history of movement warfare posts are first rate, both in terms of the actual battles and the political context.
This war is completely out of control. McGregor posted photos of new Ukrainian reservist that look like they are 15 or 16 years old. As for the mercenaries they fight for money. Used to be if you fight in foreign army you would lose citizenship. There are many good reasons for this policy and it needs to be enforced.
I hope the world is not on an inexorable path to WWIII. Sec. L. Austin is calling for more weapons and sacrifice to the bone by the West. Ukraine is continuing to feed itself into the meat grinder. When all is said and done and someone asks, “Why did you do it?”, will they say,”I couldn’t have done anything differently.”? Maybe all the dead Ukrainian soldiers would say the same thing. Ukraine seems like a runaway train heading for a washed out bridge. The West cannot imagine defeat. The Russians are certain of victory. The US is willing to lose to anyone but Russia. The “honorable” alternative to losing face is suicide.
OT perhaps but today Celente hosted CoL D printing McG which some readers may enjoy.
Eric Newhill says
Yes. Big Serge is top notch in my book. A must read.
Sorry to duplicate my post but my phone is going haywire.
My message should have read:
OT but Gerald Celente hosted Col Douglas McGregor today and I’m sure some of your readers will enjoy.
In his very interesting situational report, Big Serge writes:
“My suggestion would simply be that NATO does not believe in Ukrainian victory.”
And indeed, probably not. NATO knows well that Russia is bleeding Ukraine dry, waiting for the moment that it can go in for the kill.
However, let`s consider for a moment the possibility that NATO, in turn, may be employing a very similar tactic towards Russia: Waiting for Russia to deplete its own armour, all the while hanging on to its own full battle inventory, necessary to – perhaps – in turn bring Russia to its knees. Impossible? Maybe.
For one thing, this would go some way towards explaining NATO`s hesitancy in supplying further heavy weaponry to Ukraine: Not out of necessity perhaps, but due to calculation.
Whatever the truth, chances are that we will be finding out fairly soon.
Carlton Meyer says
Like most western military watchers, I was confused by grinding Russian tactics at first. We expected big arrow offensives to break thru and encircle Ukrainian units and take lots of prisoners. I think I know why they are using this slow attrition tactic.
1. Donbas is now part of Russia. They don’t want a million unhappy Ukrainians living there who might cause trouble. Drive out all the civilians with a slow advance. After the war, allow Russian civilians to return and Ukrainians who want to live in Russia and promise loyalty. The others can stay in Poland.
2. The Russians don’t want to shatter Ukrainian units causing thousands to flee to the cities where they can put up an much better defense. The Russians don’t want to fight in the cities. They want Ukrainian soldiers to come out to open farmland and get slaughtered by artillery.
3. The Russians don’t want to encircle units and capture 200,000 Ukrainian soldiers who they must guard, feed, and release one day who may cause problems in the future. Best to kill anyone who dares oppose Russia in a bloody grind.
This is bloody and slow, but a much better long-term strategy.
Westerners refer to it as Russian propensity for prevarication but Russians themselves have a saying: ‘The slower you go, the quicker you will arrive’
Condolences lol. The guy went to fight for the Nazis and was given a one way ticket to Bandera. Good riddance.
Will zalensky be allowed to get away with this? Will the Ukrainian army allow him to bugger off to Miami with his zillions of dollars.
One would think that there is probably a lot of very pissed off people in the military that have had to deal first hand with the death and destruction that the actors policies have caused.
Will be PMC Wagner doing the role of Chuikov 62nd Army?
Juan Valdez says
I fear that we are being primed for an inevitable nuclear war with Russia.
Most everyone is now familiar with this PSA from NYC:
Yesterday, there was an article in ‘Popular Science’:
The best—and worst—places to shelter after a nuclear blast
“The best place to hide out is in the corner of a small room as far inside the building as possible. For example, a closet that lacks any openings is ideal.
The “good” news is that the peak of the blast lasts just a moment. The most furious winds will pass in less than a second. If you can survive that, you’ll probably stay alive—as long as you’re not in the path of the radioactive fallout.”
This type of insanity is something I haven’t seen since I was a child in elementary school doing “duck and cover” drills.
It is there for a reason.
Only God can help us now, friends, because the psychopaths in charge aren’t going to suddenly become wise and reasonable. people.
I remember the last Cold War, I grew up in it, this is what was served up to us;
it’s only 30 mins and by the end you’ll have probably lost the enthusiasm to try and survive, especially if you’re living close to a likely target!
they didn’t sugar coat things back in 1982.
if you want something longer and darker there’s this from 1984;
watching this sort of stuff as a teenager left me wondering if the people supposedly running the world are all insane.
The war must continue until the ratings improve!
The US long term strategic goals are well planned out to at least Feb 12th.
Michel - Louis LONCIN says
A l’adresse des proches de Daniel Swift : “Qui de sert de l’épée PERIRA par l’épée” … En langage XXIème siècle … “Qui joue les Rambo n’est pas assuré de survivre pour faire des Rambo 4, 5, 6, 7 ….” !!!
Learned about Big Serge about 2 months ago. He is still on twitter. Read his latest referenced by Larry. From other sources, the Russians in the next few months will have have won most of the war(Odessa?). The West is acting more and more irrational and hysterical. Will the hysterical West plunge Europe into a continental wide war in some fantasy dream of pushing the Russians back several hundred miles?
The last line of defensive positions in Kramatorsk are reinforced concrete pillboxes and in depth…tied in to the forest belts and river valley of the Donest and Oskil river systems in the NE but I can’t see what they tied into in the south west…just flat open terrain… interesting to note Melitopol is the target NATO is pushing for….there seems to be an fascination with Sevastopol in the Western camp. With Melitopol in NATO hands a flanking move west and around Pavlograd would be untenable…..with what troops would Ukraine throw at Melitopol? By now there has to be close to 4 or 5 U.S divisions in Romania…..armed with weapons systems the U.S is making such a big deal publicly on sending to Ukraine recently….oh look Stryker brigade on hwy E97….them Ukrainians sure mastered those LAV quickly hahaha. Side note…. I can’t stress enough the massive compensation being offered to these Western professionals…. Swift may have been AWOL for the cash…it’s feasible…with tacit approval… And according to the translation….his Kevlar helmet failed him …he succumbed to a massive brain injury as a result of a rifle grenade or rocket propelled grenade.
Gavin Longmuir says
We need to think about what “victory” means. Clearly, Russia wants to stop the abuse & killing of Russian-speakers in the Donbas — but that is not enough for victory. Based on Russia’s unsuccessful attempt to start negotiations before entering the Donbas, what Russia really wants is peace on its borders.
The only way for Russia to achieve that peace is for NATO to follow the Warsaw Pact into the mists of history. While there are currently creaks & groans from some of the NATO members, there is also the Finnish party girl trying to take her country into NATO. If Russia simply squashed the Ukraine, that might very well re-invigorate and expand NATO.
Russia certainly faces a real challenge in establishing a peaceful non-threatening neighborhood on its western flank. It is not at all obvious how to accomplish that real “victory”. Taking things slowly on the military front may make great sense. And the ultimate victory may depend more on the economic war (which Russia & China are slowly winning) than on the battlefield. For all our sakes, I hope that NATO dies peacefully.
Tom Weiss says
Since NATO caused this war (and so many others) peace can only come from the end of NATO.
A NATO army (Polish) will likely enter western Ukraine this year and start a direct war with Russia. This will cause NATO to split between hawks (US/UK) and doves (based on Germany and France) and we have a new security structure in Europe by 2024. That’s what Russia is waiting for, they know Ukraine is finished and are getting their army in position to fight NATO.
Anthony Martin says
From the position of my armchair: Classically, the aim would be to rapidly apply ‘mass’ at the right time at the ‘key point’ and then ‘roll up the flanks. From the linked article; it seems that the Ukrainian forces are in a a poor situation and that, when (and if) the Russian forces make a move they will attempt to do so decisively. Anticipate an ‘indirect approach’. In which case, the Ukranians/Nato/US will be looking at a either a strategic retreat or annihilation of the Ukranian forces. In order to prolong a war of attrition, the former would have to be initiated without hesitation. Note: I recall reading (Liddell Hart ?) that had Lee retreated with his army instead of defending Virginia, the Civil War might have concluded differently with the Union Army chasing the Rebel Army indefinetely.
Vallhall Rising says
Great read by Big Serge….but the SMO is still puzzling to me even from a multi dimensional war sense. If US military targeting teams knew about well dug in enemy defenses, the US Air Force would rain hell on whatever was left after Army attack helicopters pummeled them. Oddly, we hear very very little about Russian combat air power playing a role in the SMO fighting…I mean Russia is fighting close to a classic combined arms ground war but the ground is only one warfare dimension.
The more I think about the lack of Russian naval or air forces NOT being used the more I realize that Russia is likely reserving its naval and air forces for the real war e.g. WHEN the coalition of willing NATO countries enters into direct conflict with Russian forces…it’s coming…too much is at stake to allow a diplomatic resolution.
I think it’s economy of effort….the grinding down of NATO/Ukrainian forces with tube and rocket artillery to great effect so why fear losses of multi million dollar aircraft. I believe there is a high altitude combat air patrol and troops are being protected by low to medium altitude AA defense….there are of course rotary wing and ground support sorties but judging from the amount of flares used…there must be concerns about MANPADS ……I suspect the “other” weapons Putin spoke of are being held in reserve for the main event….and bear in mind the USS Cook incident…. True Russian EW potential is not even quantified by the West….most probably
“Oddly, we hear very very little about Russian combat air power playing a role”
It depends where you look and who you listen to!
Russian Air is very active, just not reported in Western media:
e.g. RuMoD daily briefing, 22 Jan:
“Operational-Tactical Aviation, Missile Troops and Artillery of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have neutralised the command post of 128th Mountain Assault Brigade of the AFU near Lezhino (Zaporozhye region), as well as 74 AFU artillery units at their firing positions, manpower and hardware in 119 areas.”
RuMoD Telegram channel frequently posts videos of Su-25s and Ka-52s striking ground targets.
Since the introduction of HIMARS, it is clear the Russian Air Force has been given primary responsibility for counter-air operations in the battle area. Pre-HIMARS, two thirds of claimed aircraft kills were by air defence systems. Since Himars, almost 100% by fighter aviation.
Vallhalla Rising says
Thanks Itexpat I’ll check out the RuMoD Telegram channel to get a better vibe for the use of Russian Air power…I am used to the USAF doing their “shock and awe” on fixed targets and seeing video after video of the battle damage assessment…not seeing the Russians pumping a lot of that out but could be intentional on their part or maybe my open source intel feeds just don’t highlight it (as you pointed out).
Paulo Guerra says
Why does the American Ayatollah have a Keffiyeh in Ukraine? Because he’s a trophy collector like any serial killer. And now, for the first time in his life, he has hit head-on with a force from the same championship where he usually goes around collecting trophies! Badass or Bad luck this time?
Paulo Guerra says
The best explanation for the war in Ukraine:
Les Priest says
From Telegram today; a fresh Russian war movie about the fighting in Mariupol. Script by a Wagner combat leader. Producer Prigozin! Two hours of infantry combat in a factory complex as 3 sections of ‘white’ try to push ‘blue’ out some buildings to get a forward air observer up high. No nationalities, Russian weapons. Not Hollywood!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4ZxWaRHhnQ Best in Hell