Revisiting my first strategic analysis of Russia’s mistakes

March 6 Ukraine War update

March 6 Ukraine War update

Here we see how Russia has split its attack into four main axes: targeting Kyiv from the north, a northeast axis aimed at Sumy and Kharkiv, the western axis pushing out from the separatist Donbas region, and the southern axis pushing out from Russian-occupied Crimea. So already, you’re splitting your army into four different groups.

But that’s not all! The Kyiv axis is split into two, with one element that pushed through Chernobyl and another that’s now stalled just east of it in Chernihiv. The northeast axis is split into two prongs, which are directed at Kharkiv and Sumi separately. The Donbas axis is … pushing out all over. The southern axis is split between elements pushing east toward Mariupol in Ukraine’s southeastern-most corner, and west toward Odesa through Kherson, and now stuck at Mykolaiv.

Add them up: I count prongs in Kyiv, Crimea, and northeastern axes, plus at least three more out of Donbas in the west. So roughly nine. That leaves Russia with around 10,000 to 20,000 troops per axis. Still a major force! But suddenly not as daunting as the nearly 200,000 that surrounded Ukraine pre-invasion.

But troop numbers aren’t even Russia’s biggest problem! On last week’s The Brief, VoteVets’ Jon Soltz spoke about his experience as a logistics officer during the American invasion of Iraq. The U.S. had one major axis from the south, and a diversionary one in the north via airborne drop. That’s it! And even then, with just one major line of attack, the U.S. and its allies had a tough time keeping units supplied. We’ve seen Russia’s utter inability to resupply its troops, but now they’re supposed to do it on NINE lines of attack?

No wonder their ground troops have essentially been at a standstill since Friday.

[Update: Freakin’ solid. I would write the exact same thing today, with full 20/20 hindsight. Also I see the link to my first logistics story, so let me post that here as well as it’s similarly helpful.]

Ukraine update: Let’s talk some more about logistics. It’s the reason Russia is losing this war

Wednesday March 02, 2022 · 5:03 AM PST

I served in the U.S. Army as an MLRS fire direction specialist. That is, I was command and control for rocket artillery, like the Russian GRADs that are now leveling entire cities. My job was to keep my MLRS platoon, three launchers, properly supplied.


My MLRS battery had nine of those launchers. I wanted to make sure I was remembering correctly, since it’s been 30 years since I served. Luckily, I found an MLRS battery org chart:


One of my unit’s HEMMT ammo trucks in action.

To support nine MLRS launchers, we needed four HQ vehicles (M577, my home for three years), 12 HEMTT ammo trucks, to shuttle ammo from weapons depots to the launchers. Two fuel tankers. Eight 2.5 ton trucks—for ferrying food, small-arms ammo, and mechanical spare parts. Two 5 ton trucks, for the same purpose. One recovery vehicle, to tow broken vehicles away (which happened like every five miles of movement). And 26 Humvees—to carry leadership (both officers and and non-commissioned officers), mechanics, the guy who ran the armory, the guy who ran our supply room, a decontamination specialist, guys who fixed broken radios, medics, and a bunch of other people I’ve forgotten. Here’s the details if you’re really interested.

In total, the battery had 64 vehicles. Or 55 vehicles to support the nine vehicles actually shooting anything. In terms of troops, the battery had around 300 soldiers. just 27 of them sat in those nine MLRS launchers. That’s what “logistics” means. If you see an army has, say, 1 million people. Just assume that the part of that army that shoots stuff is a fraction of that number, maybe 75,000-150,000. You need a massive operation to support the people shooting stuff—fuel, food, ammo, spare parts, and other equipment.

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By dreamer_live

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