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Strategic and tactical realities in CMBS

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On the Naval Infantry forces - there is a brigade plus a bunch of various battalions available in theater (I would assume that the later are doing security duties and thus hand wave them).

The brigade could be used in a push out of Crimea north wards or participate in naval assaults. Some VDV units historically were sea lifted (in 080808 war they were sea lifted to Abhazia).

Edited by ikalugin

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Finally I can contribute to this if only slightly.

That pretty much jibes with what I was thinking :D Yes, I mentioned the Baltics and Romania for their logistics and proximity to Ukraine, not because they have significant (or any!) air forces to put into the fight.

I deliberately did not mention Bulgaria. That's a tricky one from the politics standpoint. As is Hungary. It is likely they would come to some sort of internal arrangement within the back rooms of NATO HQ to take a more low profile role in a war against Russia. At least as their internal politics stand at the moment. Bulgaria might allow refueling, emergency landing, and other logistical aid, but I am not quite sure they would allow combat sorties from its territory. Similar thing for Turkey.

Steve

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But, ok, if the scenario in the manual is just glorified flavor text, then so be it.

Yes and no. We based the game on our projection of what would happen if Kiev had a change in power away from Russia's sphere of influence. That easily produced the Crimean and "separatist" elements since that is the sort of thing Russia does when it's neighbors decide to do something it doesn't like. The annexation of Crimea was a bit of a surprise, but in hindsight Putin didn't have much chance and I'm convinced he expected to soon have a land bridge. But I won't get into the specifics of why, because that would get us off topic :D

Now, at this point in our story making we decided we had to start going with "almost worst case" scenarios because only they got us to a full shooting war between NATO and Russia and yet not an exchange of nukes. The most likely course is sorta what we have now, though personally I'm a little surprised Putin didn't take any of the numerous face saving ways out of this mess before he had to suffer major consequences. But again, that is off topic.

With that mindset in place, the CMBS storyline is basically a theoretical outcome of both sides making major diplomatic miscalculations. As a result Russia decides to wage full on war against Ukraine and NATO has already decided that it won't stand for that. I have seen more than a few people with insights into the thinking of NATO and specific countries that it in this scenario it is likely that the Baltics and Poland would invoke Article 5 and that it would be (largely) compiled with by all NATO members (see previous comments about Bulgaria and Hungary).

The logic for Article 5 is that Putin, and past history, shows that the Baltics are very much in Russia's crosshairs. If Putin is going to wage war on Ukraine, it would be argued that the Baltics would be in direct threat of similar action. Based on what has happened to the Baltics recently, I think that concern is more than justified. The countries totally fed up with Russian behavior would lend their weight of support behind the Article 5 move.

Keep in mind that Poland already invoked Article 4 once back in March:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/us-ukraine-crisis-nato-meeting-idUSBREA221VS20140303

Article 4 is basically the means by which NATO is put on notice that it needs to pay attention to a specific or general threat that a NATO member feels is present but not rising to the level of an Article 5. We presume that, as happened in real life, several nations would call for Article 4 consultations soon after Russia's probable intent to invade was sensed and that planning for war would start then. That is, in fact, what has happened already with NATO moving forces eastward and stepped up training/exercises short term, plus talks of larger movements for mid to long term.

There is also a route short of Article 5. NATO's involvement in the Balkans was based on the (stupidly late) realization that a war of genocide on the borders of NATO was a threat to European stability and harmony. I was there in 1992 and the number of refugees, even then, was massive. Petty crime rates went up, demands on government services rose too. Etc. I am pretty sure that consensus within NATO is that action by them should have happened much earlier. Certainly the UN proved to be a poor method to contain the mass murder going on there.

So take your pick. NATO either goes in under Article 5 or as a more voluntary action, but either way the forces go in.

We are deliberately being vague about what forces are present due to us wanting to keep the storyline flexible. In basic terms, we think the various rapid reaction forces would enter Ukraine and set up positions on the western side of Dniepr or, perhaps, just over the river in bridgeheads. Heavier forces would be moved into place over a period of weeks and months. As has happened in this war, we are presuming it goes through the winter in a low level state and in the next campaign season NATO counter attacks.

Steve

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Steve, in manual it says that Russian units are filled to full strength using reservists. What is the stance on the reserve units?

Lower quality equipment and lower levels of "soft factors" (Leadership, Experience, etc.).

We came up with this element for reasons similar to what I said a few pages ago. It doesn't appear that Russia has enough standing armed forces to handle a full against Ukraine *AND* occupation of a large amount of territory *AND* guard against NATO *AND* keep a lid on the Caucuses *AND* maintain general border security *AND* maintain various other roles (academies, training, depot repairs, etc.). At the very least the Russian military would need to presume that they would not and therefore activate reserve units to ensure that there was enough time to get them ready for deployment before things got too bad.

If it were me, I would use the best active units to push into Ukraine and use reserve units to hold territory. Reserve units would then rotate, as quietly as possible, into less important positions outside of the theater in order to free up better trained/equipped forces for more important duties. For example, a reserve unit goes to the border with China which rotates a better unit there to the Caucuses which allows a unit there to move into Ukraine. I do understand that redeployment of usually regional forces comes with significant headaches, but those headaches would likely not be as important in a war setting.

Steve

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Why keep any Army units in Caucasus (apart from those deployed abroad ofcourse)? Security there is done by the MVD/Internal Troops/FSB and many, many other organisations (both federal and local in nature). I can't even remember the last time the Army unit had to participate in some form of operation there (counter terrorism wise).

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Why keep any Army units in Caucasus (apart from those deployed abroad ofcourse)? Security there is done by the MVD/Internal Troops/FSB and many, many other organisations (both federal and local in nature). I can't even remember the last time the Army unit had to participate in some form of operation there (counter terrorism wise).

Then why are there such significant forces garrisoned there? Deterrence, especially against Georgia. And there is also the implied threat of the army should there be another uprising that the immediate internal troops couldn't handle. As unlikely as that is, one can argue that it is unlikely because they are there. The whole point of having forces in a place is so you don't have to find out what happens if you don't :D

Steve

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Then why are there such significant forces garrisoned there? Deterrence, especially against Georgia. And there is also the implied threat of the army should there be another uprising that the immediate internal troops couldn't handle. As unlikely as that is, one can argue that it is unlikely because they are there. The whole point of having forces in a place is so you don't have to find out what happens if you don't :D

Steve

Military inertia (ie the same reason why US forces were in CENTAG and not NORTAG).

Georgia is checked by 2 brigades stationed in South Osetia and Abhazia (those are actually reinforced brigades), plus the local militias, plus the base in Armenia.

What kind of uprising? Something that 27k troops (Internal Troops in the North Caucasus area only) with 700 AFVs, artillery can't handle? Ahh, I forgot all other non Armed Forces units stationed there.

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To elaborate on Internal Troops (as they would be the militarised organisation taking care of any separatist movements):

- they were in 2013 170 thousand strong, expected to be fully proffesional by 2015 (not sure how it works out, but still)
http://www.ng.ru/regions/2013-03-10/1_voiska.html
- they have heavy weapons, sufficient to fight insurgency (IFVs, APCs, artillery pieces and various other arms, troops are essentially motorised infantry), no organic tanks though.

- There were around 17k special forces (in 2010, I don't think that that has changed) within the Internal troops alone (much less in MVD in general and lets not forget the FSB).

http://argumenti.ru/army/n222/47582

 

Sure not all of those forces could go to Caucasus (because they also have other functions), but that is the point of the Caucasus area security forces - they do not require the Armed Forces to conduct their counter terrorism/insurgency operations.

Edited by ikalugin

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Military inertia (ie the same reason why US forces were in CENTAG and not NORTAG).

Georgia is checked by 2 brigades stationed in South Osetia and Abhazia (those are actually reinforced brigades), plus the local militias, plus the base in Armenia.

What kind of uprising? Something that 27k troops (Internal Troops in the North Caucasus area only) with 700 AFVs, artillery can't handle? Ahh, I forgot all other non Armed Forces units stationed there.

One of the things this game has taught me is how small the zone of control of a military unit is.  If you assume that the minimum size for a patrol or outpost is a squad, the amount of ground even very large forces can control gets very small relative to even a medium sized district.  It decreases even more if the ROE even pretend to care about civilian casualties. This is relevant for both the Caucasus and any Ukrainian territory the might Russians take.

Edited by dan/california

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Oh, there is this video that was uploaded today from the Ukrainian side. 

Video probably from october/november.
1. No snow.
2. He speaks about "our (recently) completely burned out vehicle". This BTR-80 was destroyed in october.
Edited by Bydax

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Sure not all of those forces could go to Caucasus (because they also have other functions), but that is the point of the Caucasus area security forces - they do not require the Armed Forces to conduct their counter terrorism/insurgency operations.

 

Terrorist attack in the December where halted only with use of local MVD forces.

 

And for case of uprisings we have internal troops with a lot of SF unitis in it.

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Lower quality equipment and lower levels of "soft factors" (Leadership, Experience, etc.).

We came up with this element for reasons similar to what I said a few pages ago. It doesn't appear that Russia has enough standing armed forces to handle a full against Ukraine *AND* occupation of a large amount of territory *AND* guard against NATO *AND* keep a lid on the Caucuses *AND* maintain general border security *AND* maintain various other roles (academies, training, depot repairs, etc.). At the very least the Russian military would need to presume that they would not and therefore activate reserve units to ensure that there was enough time to get them ready for deployment before things got too bad.

If it were me, I would use the best active units to push into Ukraine and use reserve units to hold territory. Reserve units would then rotate, as quietly as possible, into less important positions outside of the theater in order to free up better trained/equipped forces for more important duties. For example, a reserve unit goes to the border with China which rotates a better unit there to the Caucuses which allows a unit there to move into Ukraine. I do understand that redeployment of usually regional forces comes with significant headaches, but those headaches would likely not be as important in a war setting.

Steve

 

Greetings from Finland, this is my first post to this forum.

 

Thank you for all the participants in this topic, it has been a fun and very informative subject to read. I'm eagerly waiting for the CMBS to be released. I even bought new computer to play the game. 

 

As beign aging reservist by myself, I would love to see some reserve, Category B or C units in the game. No matter what conflict would it be, real or fictional, all the sides would use and deploy similar units to the operational area to hold the ground and occupy area, to free better units to more critical tasks. And when or if the conflict escaletes to "worst case scenario", these troops would be used to direct combat tasks (like German Volkssturm in Seelow heights in 1945) to fullfill the gaps and lack of more suitable infantry combat units.

 

Ukraine has it's national guard activated last year and Russia has long history of deploying and arming pro-russian militias in occupied territories (like all major military powers have done in most of the large scale armed conflicts over the past decades and centuries). Seeing catergory B or C units in CMBS with simplified OOB, older and/or lighter equipment and more modest soft factors would be a fresh experience.  B)

 

Ps. While our nicknames are quite similar, I hope all of you won't confuse me and member "Weer" with each other.

Edited by wee

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Greetings from Finland, this is my first post to this forum.

 

Thank you for all the participants in this topic, it has been a fun and very informative subject to read. I'm eagerly waiting for the CMBS to be released. I even bought new computer to play the game. 

 

As beign aging reservist by myself, I would love to see some reserve, Category B or C units in the game. No matter what conflict would it be, real or fictional, all the sides would use and deploy similar units to the operational area to hold the ground and occupy area, to free better units to more critical tasks. And when or if the conflict escalets to "worst case scenario", these troops would be used to direct combat tasks (like German Volkssturm in Seelow heights in 1945) to fullfill the gaps and lack of more suitable infantry combat units.

 

Ukraine has it's national guard activated last year and Russia has long history of deploying and arming pro-russian militias in occupied territories (like all major military powers have done in most of the large scale armed conflicts over the past decades and centuries). Seeing catergory B or C units in CMBS with simplified OOB, older and/or lighter equipment and more modest soft factors would be a fresh experience.  B)

 

Ps. While our nicknames are quite similar, I hope all of you won't confuse me and member "Weer" with each other.

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Your nickname made me smile. In Australia, it is a way of saying "piss".

 

W or "Whiskey"  is the first letter of my surname.

 

"Wee" is Much more appropriate than the nickname I got later from my squad mates in military, which was "wanker" :lol:   

Edited by wee

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Military inertia (ie the same reason why US forces were in CENTAG and not NORTAG).

Georgia is checked by 2 brigades stationed in South Osetia and Abhazia (those are actually reinforced brigades), plus the local militias, plus the base in Armenia.

What kind of uprising? Something that 27k troops (Internal Troops in the North Caucasus area only) with 700 AFVs, artillery can't handle? Ahh, I forgot all other non Armed Forces units stationed there.

Oh, I certainly think that 27k is enough to suppress even a significant beginning of an uprising. So the question isn't if Russia needs to keep significant military forces in the Caucuses, but how many would the Russian military command decide could be moved out of the region into Ukraine? I have no answer for this and I suspect you do not either. It isn't the sort of thing I would expect to be public knowledge :D

My guess is that the Caucuses would not be emptied of military formations unless things went extremely badly in Ukraine. But for sure they could "draw down" quite a lot out of the Caucuses without risk. I think I estimated 50% in my figure, but I was guessing at what the current level of personnel is these days. What is the number stationed on Russian soil (not on disputed soil)?

Steve

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but how many would the Russian military command decide could be moved out of the region into Ukraine?

 

Internal troops cannot be used on foreign territory anyway.

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Video probably from october/november.

1. No snow.

2. He speaks about "our (recently) completely burned out vehicle". This BTR-80 was destroyed in october.

This is one thing I hate about social media form both sides. Even when someone (like me) tries very hard not to get sucked into bad videos/pictures, it is difficult to be perfect.

OK, so maybe this video is from earlier. But the fact still is that Ukraine is in the airport now and the separatists appear to have been kicked out of the new terminal. If someone has proof to the contrary, please show it. Otherwise, accept the reality that the separatists, once again, lost what they took.

 

Steve

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