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ukraine military vs russia

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Eh, you seems to have neglected that big shipment of Russian army ATGM launchers they got. You know, from Putin's 'humanitarian' convoy?

I would also assume mines are playing a role as well. Seen a lot of photos of many mine types but not much hard data on effects on vehicles.

I'm wondering how big a role that would play in the Black Sea 2017 conflict.

Will mines in the Black Sea change from the shock force construction/function?

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Mines appear to have some role in the fighting. Earlier on when Ukraine was still responding poorly to the separatist expansion and hardening of positions there were several instances of vehicles hitting mines. Some reports of soldiers being blown up here and there as well. But for the amount of fighting that's been going on, the amount of reports isn't very high.

I think the primary reason is that the front lines have been quite flexible. Is it wise to mine a position on Monday, lose it on Tuesday, then go back in on Wednesday only to hit one of your own mines? How about mining your positions Monday, advancing on Tuesday, then have reinforcements hit the mines on the way forward? Remember, mines only work well if they are not readily visible. That means either you never expect to have to move over the mined area or you keep excellent records and make sure that every unit operating in the area, now and into the future, knows exactly where the mines are. Anybody here confident that either side can pull that off with any degree of success? Anybody? Nobody, eh? Smart group :D

Steve

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Yeah, in GW2 there was an incident where intel believed an entire Iraqi armored brigade was coming into the flank of an advancing US Army force, through a fairly identifiable pathway. They laid down FASCAM and the enemy force never made it that far. I don't remember if it diverted into another direction or broke up after air interdiction, but whatever the case it didn't happen and the way was now blocked to US forces. Obviously in this case it wasn't very important, but the point did seem to get registered that "oh yeah, once deployed mines kinda don't take sides". Sure, sure... not news, but I'm guessing that having it happen for real brought it more into focus.

Steve

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It seems like the ukrainian forces got better and better during the conflict. Is the same thing true for the rebels/russians? How do they compare to their state during the beginning of the conflict?

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The Ukrainians have gotten better, and are getting better, for three primary reasons:

1. The Ukrainian armed forces was deliberately under funded and corrupt for various domestic and foreign political reasons. The war quickly sorted out those who were in the armed forces for the wrong reasons and those who were there because they wanted to fight for their country. So the first thing was to "get rid of the deadwood".

2. The initial problems with an inept military without a serious action ready force were very quickly revealed with no way to hide the problems. The public and the new political powers demanded things get better. There is still a LONG way to go, but things have definitely improved a lot.

3. Combat experience from 10 months of mobilization and 6 months of active combat has produced plenty of volunteers with useful combat experience who want to remain in the fight.

This is not the case on the Russian side from what I can tell.

1. The separatists are inherently disorganized, poorly coordinated, and often working at odds with each other. High casualties in some units, poor living conditions, and fighting for the wrong reasons (i.e. money) has kept fighting qualities of many units pretty low. In fact, yesterday there were several credible reports about a pitched battle between a rogue Don Cossack group and civilians in Antratsit, in which the Cossacks apparently suffered a defeat (this was apparently about their repeated theft of humanitarian aid). Which causes less than good combat, results which hurts morale, which produces poor combat results, etc.

2. Russian soldiers fighting with their units in Ukraine are not able to leave whenever they want to, but that's not true for Russian mercenaries, "vacationers", and actual volunteers. Out of this mix of people, While some units have been in Ukraine the Ukrainian separatists may feel they are defending their homeland, but the Russians don't have such a clear reason to be fighting. For the Russians not under direct military control, dying in Ukraine is not a top priority for them. So they walk or drive back into Russia.

3. Russian units are rotated in and out of Ukraine relatively quickly. While some units have been in Ukraine for long periods of time, it seems that individual personnel are rotated out after a short time. This is to avoid problems with hiding the war from the Russian people and the world. Which means the soldiers themselves do not get much combat experience before they are out of Ukraine.

4. Russian operational and strategic staff, on the other hand, are no doubt gaining a lot of useful experience that is increasing competency.

When I look at the matchup on a small unit basis, I'd say that overall the Ukrainians have better experience and much better morale compared to the Russian forces, far better experience and morale than most separatist units.

Steve

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Steve,

When I look at the matchup on a small unit basis, I'd say that overall the Ukrainians have better experience and much better morale compared to the Russian forces.

Steady on Steve.. ;).

According to the Financial Times who had reporters in the area during the four or five day Russian counter attack that turn things round the Ukraine’s were utterly overmatched and it was a “quality..” issue not quantity.

Jane’s have also been impressed by the Russian units training and performance.

The BBC’s reporters are also often not very impressed by the Ukrainian units they come across. Very mixed bag.

But time will tell.

In time reliable, balanced and unbiased reports of what happened and the performance of various units will come out. But it will take time. Organisations such as Jane’s will be the some of the first and in time various militaries such as the US who are incredibly open with much of their training and education material will go public. Without any spin. But as the US is player in this that could take a while.

Jane’s are very good. They are staffed by very knowledgeable people and totally spin free. Their business would crash instantly if they spun anything. (BTW Jane’s does agree that Russian units are rotated in and out quickly. And also as you acknowledge I think in one of your lists in often very small numbers. The list of units looks a lot more impressive than the actual numbers present. )

The Financial Times are hugely Europhile, chattering classes, anti-Putin but they don’t actually mess with “facts..”. As they see them.

All the best,

Kip.

PS As an aside... way back when I was about thirteen and even then riveted by which side won and lost militarily and economically and why.... I used to be puzzled by the fact that “information.. data..facts...” in many FT columnists articles did not match up to their conclusions. Of course now I know what I was reading was spin ;). But note... even then they did not mess with the facts.

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Right, so that is why even the Ukrainians have called the move towards Mariupol a "diversion". It would be lunacy to try and take Mariupol, even though various separatist leaders claim the could do it any time they wanted.

Oh, and by the looks of it I'd say very few refugees from a fight in Mariupol would go to Russia. They would either go to Ukraine, which is their home country, or they would stay and fight a guerrilla war. Or did you miss all the media coverage of average people of Mariupol helping dig anti-tank ditches and marching in support of Ukraine? It is not an area overly friendly to Russian hostilities. Which is why it was so quickly lost to the separatists. The majority of the population does not want to be swallowed up by Russia or the fake state of Novorussia.

Well, I was talking about Donetsk... What about Mariupol, population is different. "Successful" biusnessmen close to authorites, their well paid employees, officials with their families, some students - for the "united Ukraine", others - not.

Yes, there was a lot of complaints. I always take complaints from the front (any front, any war, any time period) with a large degree of skepticism. For sure Russia sent "old stock" of weapons to offer protection from discovery of where the items came from, but I do not believe for a second that 3 out of 4 malfunctioned. I can believed that inexperienced crews might have driven 3 out of 4 missiles into the ground and blamed the equipment :D

Even if 3 out of 4 RPGs were defective, that truck alone had a couple hundred on it. So again I say that your characterization of separatist weaponry in the Spring of 2014 is not accurate.

I don't think so, there were experienced men, who could distinguish bad equipment from inproper use of it.

They didn't have enough AT weapons - that is a fact. Yes, they had RPG-18 - but it is worse then RPG-7 and disposable. RPG-18 against T-64... Not too good.

1. The separatists are inherently disorganized, poorly coordinated, and often working at odds with each other. High casualties in some units, poor living conditions, and fighting for the wrong reasons (i.e. money) has kept fighting qualities of many units pretty low. In fact, yesterday there were several credible reports about a pitched battle between a rogue Don Cossack group and civilians in Antratsit, in which the Cossacks apparently suffered a defeat (this was apparently about their repeated theft of humanitarian aid). Which causes less than good combat, results which hurts morale, which produces poor combat results, etc.

2. Russian soldiers fighting with their units in Ukraine are not able to leave whenever they want to, but that's not true for Russian mercenaries, "vacationers", and actual volunteers. Out of this mix of people, While some units have been in Ukraine the Ukrainian separatists may feel they are defending their homeland, but the Russians don't have such a clear reason to be fighting. For the Russians not under direct military control, dying in Ukraine is not a top priority for them. So they walk or drive back into Russia.

3. Russian units are rotated in and out of Ukraine relatively quickly. While some units have been in Ukraine for long periods of time, it seems that individual personnel are rotated out after a short time. This is to avoid problems with hiding the war from the Russian people and the world. Which means the soldiers themselves do not get much combat experience before they are out of Ukraine.

4. Russian operational and strategic staff, on the other hand, are no doubt gaining a lot of useful experience that is increasing competency.

When I look at the matchup on a small unit basis, I'd say that overall the Ukrainians have better experience and much better morale compared to the Russian forces, far better experience and morale than most separatist units

Let's make an experiment - launch CM SF, set regular motivated Syrian mech company reinforced by tank platoon with some 122 and "Grad" batteries against "fighters" with experience from conscript to green with poor motivation and few AT weapons. :D

They held Slyavyansk for 2 monthes, right? How was it possible? Not only Slavyansk, what about Saur-Mogila that was held by 20 men? And other towns, that wasn't taken by Ukrainians or were taken back. Before August counter-offensive.

You will say, that that was 6 moths before. Well, for now we don't see why everything is different. Only airport defense? Some other defensed? Both sides are bad in offensive.

fighting for the wrong reasons (i.e. money) has kept fighting qualities of many units pretty low

Hm, do try to analyze or...? That is not serious. Like 90% Chechens it militia e.t.c.. Though, would I read Ukrainian sources I would think so, probably...

It is not a polititcal question, to show that "people support Novorossya" or "are opressed by prorussian bandits and mercenaries", it wrong from military point of view.

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Stuff

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I'm in no position of authority, but please stop beating that horse. It's beyond dead.

You won't reach an agreement. In fact, I'm not sure if you'll be able to agree on disagreeing. From what I can tell, since you both believe that your point of view is the right one (Which it might be. I'm not here to judge that), neither of you will be able to convince the other one.

I love to follow a good discussion, but this is quickly getting sad. You both are running in circles and, unless you really enjoy beating dead things, all you do is waste your time.

Thats my advice. Feel free to go on if you want to. I just wanted to make sure that you don't think that you are doing something productive.

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According to the Financial Times who had reporters in the area during the four or five day Russian counter attack that turn things round the Ukraine’s were utterly overmatched and it was a “quality..” issue not quantity.

You have to be VERY careful about first hand reporting. What would a journalist say about the quality of German forces in June 1944 if he had been with a Luftwaffe ground unit in the face of the Bagration offensive? How about a Stomach Battalion in Normandy on June 7th?

Absolutely the Ukrainian quality is not even along the entire front. In the south, where the disasters happened, an entire Brigade (51st IIRC) wound up getting disbanded because of incompetence of leadership. Field commanders at higher levels also had a lot to be desired during the Russian counter offensive. And the volunteer battalions are a mixed bag.

But the core of the Ukrainian forces seem to be doing very well overall. They do appear to be doing better, even tactically, vs. the average separatist unit in an average engagement. Even against the Russian counter offensive they performed pretty well in most places. The big problems came from the fact the Russians launched an attack deep in their rear from Russian territory. And they were overstretched and ill prepared for such a strike, yet the breakout of surrounded Ukrainian forces was largely organized and disciplined in many places, spirited individuals in others.

Jane’s have also been impressed by the Russian units training and performance.

The takeover of Crimea was very impressive. They had no resistance and were numerically superior with a disorganized enemy that was explicitly instructed not to shoot back. So that's not the best thing to judge.

In the active combat areas, I'm judging Russian performance mostly by results because the Russians won't even admit their forces are there, so reliable information about ground combat from their perspective is absent. The Russians who have spoken out about their actions haven't impressed me, but of course those accounts are understood to be from the ones most disillusioned with their treatment and/or experiences. The encounters prior to the counter offensive showed that Russian units could stall Ukrainian offensive action in places, but not reverse it. Which is why the large scale Russian counter offensive was required. And even then, the northern part of the front changed little and the southern front recovered quickly. What we don't know is how far back the Russians intended to push the lines. I suspect they were aiming a lot higher than what they achieved.

The BBC’s reporters are also often not very impressed by the Ukrainian units they come across. Very mixed bag.

I have a very low opinion of BBC's reporting of the conflict on the ground. Slow to the draw, conclusions that are missing the main point, leaving big things uncovered, etc. Better than the Guardian and most US publications, but still not very good in terms of military reporting. And the reporting is getting better. Still, the description of "mixed bag" is an accurate description of the Ukrainian forces overall.

In time reliable, balanced and unbiased reports of what happened and the performance of various units will come out. But it will take time. Organisations such as Jane’s will be the some of the first and in time various militaries such as the US who are incredibly open with much of their training and education material will go public. Without any spin. But as the US is player in this that could take a while.

Reliable information vacuum, anecdotal reporting, etc. is a big part of the problem we face here.

Jane’s are very good. They are staffed by very knowledgeable people and totally spin free. Their business would crash instantly if they spun anything. (BTW Jane’s does agree that Russian units are rotated in and out quickly. And also as you acknowledge I think in one of your lists in often very small numbers. The list of units looks a lot more impressive than the actual numbers present. )

And this is the sort of information I've based some of my conclusions on. Units that are rotated quickly might not see any significant fighting. Or take a bunch of casualties and get pulled out before the survivors have a chance to refine lessons learned. Not true for the Ukrainian units, by and large, which are in the line every day for months on end. There will be a difference in quality because of this unless the two forces are fundamentally trained/equipped differently. For example, the most combat experienced unit in the Iraqi military didn't stand a chance against the average US Army counter part. But I don't see that sort of difference here in Ukraine.

Steve

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Well, I was talking about Donetsk... What about Mariupol, population is different. "Successful" biusnessmen close to authorites, their well paid employees, officials with their families, some students - for the "united Ukraine", others - not.

The same oligarch that supported the separatists until he realized that Novorussia wasn't going to work out? The same oligarch that has Russian militias under his direct control within Donetsk and Luhansk to guard his properties?

I don't think so, there were experienced men, who could distinguish bad equipment from inproper use of it.

You do not understand how soldiers view their equipment and their situation. And I'm not even talking about the ones who have political motivations that have nothing to do with reality.

They didn't have enough AT weapons - that is a fact

Really? What is your definitive source for this information? How do you define "enough"? They had enough to cause Ukraine serious armored casualties. According to some figured Ukraine lost almost all the armored vehicles they had in service in the ATO at the start. Breakdowns, abandonment and other things for sure played a big part. But when I watched a video in May (or perhaps June?) of a few Ukrainian BMPs burning with dead scattered around them, I suppose this was done by the separatists shouting angry words?

Yes, they had RPG-18 - but it is worse then RPG-7 and disposable. RPG-18 against T-64... Not too good.

Of course it isn't, which is why the Russian government sent in T-64s and then T-72s into Ukraine. Similarly why the Russian government sent in MANPADs to take out Ukrainian aircraft.

But you made the false charge that the separatist were using WW2 AT rifles to combat Ukraine's armored vehicles. I showed you real facts that this was untrue. You now admit it, but dismiss it as not relevant. I'm surprised you didn't mention that the separatists were fighting Ukraine only with T-34s and IS-3s vs. T-64s.

Let's make an experiment - launch CM SF, set regular motivated Syrian mech company reinforced by tank platoon with some 122 and "Grad" batteries against "fighters" with experience from conscript to green with poor motivation and few AT weapons. :D

Sure, but what are you trying to demonstrate? Nothing that I find relevant. The pre-Poroshenko fighting never looked like this at all. The offensive launched by Poroshenko looked like this in places, but for the most part it was small unit actions with very little AFV support because Ukraine was very short of armored vehicles. I am unaware of even a single situation where a full mech company was deployed in a concentrated way. And Ukraine did not use much artillery overall because the separatists were in urban areas and Ukraine's artillery control wasn't very good early on.

They held Slyavyansk for 2 monthes, right? How was it possible?

The biggest reason was that Ukraine didn't try to retake it. Sure, early on they tried a quick rush into the city and it failed because of all the things wrong with the Ukrainian military at the time and the fact that the separatists were very motivated to fight. When Poroshenko decided to go on the offensive Slavyansk fell quickly and a large amount of Girkin's AFVs (dozens IIRC) were lost in the retreat.

Not only Slavyansk, what about Saur-Mogila that was held by 20 men?

Similar to above, but with the exception that Saur-Mogila was never held by just 20 men. There were large numbers of separatist units in the area and this was deep in separatist territory.

And other towns, that wasn't taken by Ukrainians or were taken back. Before August counter-offensive.

Before Poroshenko there was almost no offensive activity from the Ukrainian side. They were trying to resolve it peacefully while they got their military into shape for an attack. Look at the map of the held territory from the start of the Poroshenko offensive until about August 15th (when the Russian counter attack started to take shape). Now look at between August 15th and today. Then tell me what you are talking about because I really have no idea :D

You will say, that that was 6 moths before. Well, for now we don't see why everything is different. Only airport defense? Some other defensed? Both sides are bad in offensive.

You insist on pointing to events in the Spring and very early Summer, and refuse to look at anything since. I am not the one that needs to change their perspective. You are operating almost exclusively with extremely outdated, and even factually flawed, arguments.

Hm, do try to analyze or...? That is not serious. Like 90% Chechens it militia e.t.c.. Though, would I read Ukrainian sources I would think so, probably...

It is not a polititcal question, to show that "people support Novorossya" or "are opressed by prorussian bandits and mercenaries", it wrong from military point of view.

The last assessment I saw that seemed reasonable is that there are about 25,000 active fighters in Ukraine now, 5000 or so Russian military, 10000 other Russians, and 10000 Ukrainians.

Steve

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I realized that I left out one important detail in my above posts. I have been describing the Ukrainian performance at the tactical level appropriate for Combat Mission. Specifically, Battalion and lower. That is important because I don't have the same good things to say about Ukrainian capabilities above that level. Especially on the offensive. All aspects need major improvement, with supply and communication logistics being the two most important aspects that hamper offensive action the most. Unfortunately for Ukrainian soldiers, levels of command above Battalion are more difficult to "learn on the job" and are far more influenced by politics (military and civilian) than lower positions. Which means they are more difficult to change basic doctrine and bad application.

On the other hand, it appears that the Russians are significantly better at coordinating units and communication above the Battalion level. This is not terribly surprising to anybody that knows the history of Russian and Soviet command legacy. Coordination, though not nearly as flexible or capable as NATO, has generally been quite good over the years. Even in situations, such as Chechnya and Georgia, where major problems were discovered at the time of operations (i.e. a surprise to Russian higher command), the middle level of command was still fairly competent.

We can see the difference in the performance of the two forces at the higher level. The first Ukrainian offensive (before Poroshenko) attempted to be bold and ran into major problems which low level defensive moves (i.e. uncoordinated separatist and Russian counter attacks) were able to exploit. The second offensive (ordered by Poroshenko) was more deliberate out of necessity, but also ran into some logistics issues that would be unthinkable in a NATO force. And it really ran into problems when it was disrupted by the Russian counter attack in the rear. Higher level command was not capable of responding to such an attack and therefore lower level commands had to sort out the disaster on their own. Which is why the northern front held much better... the Russians didn't get into their rear.

The Russian counter offensive, on the other hand, showed that Russia is capable of conducting a deep operation at a rapid pace. Just what you want when being on the offensive. The result was a dramatic turn around of the situation in the southern front. Having said that, the result was partly because of Russian skill/training, partly because of incompetence of higher Ukrainian command as well Ukraine's inability to effectively use air power. If the Ukrainian force had been NATO, I doubt the result would have been even close to the same.

Steve

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Really? What is your definitive source for this information? How do you define "enough"? They had enough to cause Ukraine serious armored casualties. According to some figured Ukraine lost almost all the armored vehicles they had in service in the ATO at the start. Breakdowns, abandonment and other things for sure played a big part. But when I watched a video in May (or perhaps June?) of a few Ukrainian BMPs burning with dead scattered around them, I suppose this was done by the separatists shouting angry words?

I say it because I'd seen many comments and posts from there. "They move tanks, we have only AKs" - common report.

What about BMP/BTR - PTRD, DShK, NSV. IED's. Artillery. Even PKM can do something to side armor. Tanks - different story. Like in Chechnya war - reports about multiple RPG hits. Damage to external equipment, few destroyed. That in case, when they had RPGs.

Of course, now things are better. (for militia)

Sure, but what are you trying to demonstrate? Nothing that I find relevant. The pre-Poroshenko fighting never looked like this at all. The offensive launched by Poroshenko looked like this in places, but for the most part it was small unit actions with very little AFV support because Ukraine was very short of armored vehicles. I am unaware of even a single situation where a full mech company was deployed in a concentrated way. And Ukraine did not use much artillery overall because the separatists were in urban areas and Ukraine's artillery control wasn't very good early on.

Hm... Ukrainians set 3-4 tanks on each their roadblock. Only tanks. There were several battalion combat groups, each from brigade. They had a lot of AFV's, may be they didn't use it concentrated in one point...

a large amount of Girkin's AFVs (dozens IIRC) were lost in the retreat.

I heard about 2 tanks (1 stuck in ditch, 1 exploded on mine) and 2 BMPs. And famous "Nona" that was left due to run-out.

Similar to above, but with the exception that Saur-Mogila was never held by just 20 men. There were large numbers of separatist units in the area and this was deep in separatist territory.

20 men - only at the height. Guards of forward observers, in fact. There were a lot of artillery, thay shelled attackers a lot.

Before Poroshenko there was almost no offensive activity from the Ukrainian side. They were trying to resolve it peacefully while they got their military into shape for an attack. Look at the map of the held territory from the start of the Poroshenko offensive until about August 15th (when the Russian counter attack started to take shape). Now look at between August 15th and today. Then tell me what you are talking about because I really have no idea :D

Well, Strelkov's militamen didn't think, that they were not offending and were trying to resolve it peacefully... There were a lot of airstrikes, shelling every day.

The last assessment I saw that seemed reasonable is that there are about 25,000 active fighters in Ukraine now, 5000 or so Russian military, 10000 other Russians, and 10000 Ukrainians.

If you don't count milita "military police", roadblock personnel, other rearward personnel and estimate militaries for August - probably good estimate. I would say, that vacation guys were maximum in 2 battalion groups, less then 1000 men, but probably you have different opinion.

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An interesting video of a tank being chased by a Ukrainian UAV, which is then fired upon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyJ7kwItLfs

Will our tanks in CM:BS be able to shoot down small UAVs? :D

The shooting soundtrack accompanying the video seems edited in afterwards.

Best way to keep drones at bay is wait until a windy day to bring out your tanks!

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I've had a hard time getting any real grasp on the scale of this conflict even though I've followed it somewhat closely, and this is especially true regarding the separatist side. The estimation of 25 000 thousand fighters on the separatist/Russian side at present is one of the first 'hard', if still 'best guesstimate', numbers I've come across. Would the numbers have been significantly higher in August-September, during the counter offensive? And how many AFVs (lets say BRDM-sized and bigger, and include SPGs firing from inside Russia) would have been part of it? I understand that any number would be highly speculative, but are we talking 100 or 2000, or what?

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So in your opinion Steve what do you believe will happen over the next few years from a military action perspective?

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I just assumed that Drones don't routinely have microphones and what we heard was what was happening at the drone operator site- arty sending some hurt.

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-Eddie-,

The drone operator desperately needs training on how to fly the drone so that the camera can see the target at all times. Good find, and peculiar looking imagery. Looked sort of faux 3-D to me.

Regards,

John Kettler

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I say it because I'd seen many comments and posts from there. "They move tanks, we have only AKs" - common report.

What about BMP/BTR - PTRD, DShK, NSV. IED's. Artillery. Even PKM can do something to side armor. Tanks - different story. Like in Chechnya war - reports about multiple RPG hits. Damage to external equipment, few destroyed. That in case, when they had RPGs.

Of course, now things are better. (for militia)

You made a false claim of "fact" that the separatists did not have good AT capabilities at the beginning. I provided you with photographic evidence that they had a large number of AT-18s in April. You do not seem to be impressed by this, but instead stick to the fantasy that they were meeting Ukrainian armor with WW2 anti tank rifles and unkind words. So here's some more evidence for you to ignore. This was the cache of AT weapons captured in early July when Slavyansk was abandoned:

BrynsA0CQAEOOrH.jpg

Hmmm... I don't see any PTRDs in this picture, despite Girkin saying that is all he had to defend Slavyansk with.

Hm... Ukrainians set 3-4 tanks on each their roadblock. Only tanks. There were several battalion combat groups, each from brigade. They had a lot of AFV's, may be they didn't use it concentrated in one point...

As far as I know they never concentrated their forces as you described.

I heard about 2 tanks (1 stuck in ditch, 1 exploded on mine) and 2 BMPs. And famous "Nona" that was left due to run-out.

From one report I just reviewed, written at the time, losses were stated to be:

2 BMP, 2 BMD 1 tank. 20 armored vehicles and 50 trucks and other vehicles arrived to Kramatorsk. So about 20% of AFVs lost in one action. This gives some sense of the scale of the separatist armor even in June/July.

20 men - only at the height. Guards of forward observers, in fact. There were a lot of artillery, thay shelled attackers a lot.

Again, 20 men on the hill itself is believable. But 20 men in total defending the hill? Fantasy. The positions around the hill were defended and the group on the hill itself were there to direct artillery fire. A classic hill defense. And when Ukraine took it the separatists had a very hard time taking it back. They only took it back when the Russian Army drove into the rear and obligated Ukraine to abandon all positions in the area.

Well, Strelkov's militamen didn't think, that they were not offending and were trying to resolve it peacefully... There were a lot of airstrikes, shelling every day.

Of course there was a lot of fighting. Both sides were conducting back and forth battles. But there was no general offensive action by Ukraine until after Poroshenko was elected. Once the offensive started the separatists lost ground very quickly. A lot of ground. And even with the Russian counter offensive only a portion of that ground, in the south, was retaken.

If you don't count milita "military police", roadblock personnel, other rearward personnel and estimate militaries for August - probably good estimate. I would say, that vacation guys were maximum in 2 battalion groups, less then 1000 men, but probably you have different opinion.

The total I gave is for all armed men within DPR/LPR. There is no statistics I know of to support the notion that 24000 out of 25000 are Ukrainian. Where do you find this information? It is unbelievable to me based on everything I have read since this conflict started.

Steve

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nice picture... RPG-28s at the front .. 1000mm armor penetration .. not in the game... unfortunately... ;)

how can you prove it was taken in slaviansk ? not that I doubt it.. there has been a steady flow of modern weapons coming in. Remember, no such thing as an open reliable source in war.. especially this one ! and on both sides

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I've had a hard time getting any real grasp on the scale of this conflict even though I've followed it somewhat closely, and this is especially true regarding the separatist side. The estimation of 25 000 thousand fighters on the separatist/Russian side at present is one of the first 'hard', if still 'best guesstimate', numbers I've come across. Would the numbers have been significantly higher in August-September, during the counter offensive? And how many AFVs (lets say BRDM-sized and bigger, and include SPGs firing from inside Russia) would have been part of it? I understand that any number would be highly speculative, but are we talking 100 or 2000, or what?

There are no definitive sources of information, of course. What is for sure known is that the number has moved up and down dramatically since the conflict started.

From memory, in the very early days the initial wave of Russians and Russian organized Ukrainians seizing buildings and surrounding military bases was in the low thousands. Considering they were spread out over a vast amount of space, this is not a big number. They relied on the heavily corrupt Donetsk and Luhansk police to not respond. At the time there was plenty of evidence to suggest money was used for this purpose.

The number of forces went up dramatically after this period. I just looked around and found a statement from Girkin that said his force went from 350 to 4000 by June. The original Vostok was said to be 1000 by Khodakovsky, it's leader. Other forces probably brought the number up to 10-15000 at the time.

In late August NATO estimated that 1000 Russian Army forces were actively fighting in Ukraine, but that number has been all over the place. I think it is unlikely it was that low during the height of the counter attack in mid August.

Impossible to know how many "volunteers" moved over from Russia. In one day OSCE counted 600+ moving over the border, but they also saw a constant flow of fighters coming back over the border. Sometimes lightly wounded, often times not.

The numbers are likely lower now due to the bad weather and prolonged length of the conflict. I think it is very safe to say that whatever the size of the Russian military presence in Ukraine is today, it is far less than it was in mid August.

As for AFVs, Grad launchers, artillery pieces, etc... the number have been going up steadily. Safe to estimate several hundred armed vehicles minimum.

Reports in the last two days cited Russian 16th and 22th Special Forces Brigades were involved in a large attack on the Donetsk Airport. According to early reports, they were caught in a firetrap (indirect and direct fire) and suffered large numbers of casualties. Ukraine claims 110 KIA and about 38 WIA (about 1/2 were probably from Motorola or another unit). Reports state that many of the KIA were the result of WIA that were not evacuated before they died from blood loss or exposure to the cold. There are also reports that the fighting stopped only when senior Ukrainian and *Russian* officers appeared and secured a cease fire for the Russian KIA and WIA to be evacuated. We will have to see what comes of these reports, but I think the basic facts are likely accurate (even if the KIA/WIA count is perhaps inflated).

Steve

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Reports in the last two days cited Russian 16th and 22th Special Forces Brigades were involved in a large attack on the Donetsk Airport. According to early reports, they were caught in a firetrap (indirect and direct fire) and suffered large numbers of casualties. Ukraine claims 110 KIA and about 38 WIA. Reports state that many of the KIA were the result of WIA that were not evacuated before they died from blood loss or exposure to the cold. There are also reports that the fighting stopped only when senior Ukrainian and *Russian* officers appeared and secured a cease fire for the Russian KIA and WIA to be evacuated. We will have to see what comes of these reports, but I think the basic facts are likely accurate (even if the KIA/WIA count is perhaps inflated).

Steve

Ukrainian reports about "brigades of Specnaz" attacking airport show that they have troubles there, nothing more. "Kiborgs" can't lose to that "vatnik" milita. :)

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