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Strategic and tactical realities in CMBS

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Steve, probably you just don't understand what the Ukrainian military are. They dont have any air force left, they dont have any weapons younger than 20 years in reasonable numbers. Actually they have like 3 Oplot tanks in the whole country, and they tank plant in Kharkov degradation to the monkey level.BTR-3E what they've build for sell were too bad what customers.

They have no reservs left, and they fighting will are too low due to corruption, idiotism of the government and bad organisation.

As has already been stated, this information is a mix between old information and Russian state sponsored propaganda. As I keep saying, do not compare the pre war Ukrainian forces with the forces now.

The airforce is reconstituting itself, BTW. It's still a small airforce, but thanks to the large quantities of MANPADs that Russia supplied the "poorly equipped" forces in Donetsk and Luhansk, it doesn't make sense to use air power for small missions. Artillery is a better tool. The airforce is being held back in case of a Russian attack. For sure the Russian airforce will take it out fairly quickly, which certainly will help the Russian Army.

Also Steve, do you really believe to the words of that woman?

As a rule I do not believe *ANY* government spokesperson unless I can verify the information through credible sources. So what this woman may have to say is irrelevant to me.

I don't really bother whether your a war expert and historian or not. I just read what you write here and you write quite weird things for anybody who made even a minimal research about Ukraine and Russian armies capabilities and their current state.

There is a difference between doing research and doing meaningful research. I have studied the relevant aspects of this war in great detail. If you see something "weird" from me, I suggest it is because you aren't looking at the correct information or interpreting correctly.

1. What about diference in millitary budgets I mentioned before (3rd place in the word for Russia, 37th place in the world for Ukraine)? Do you really belive that country which spends so little on it's army can stand against the country which spends so much?

The US military has the largest budget in the world. It is bigger than pretty much all nations put together. By your thinking Iraq and Afghanistan should be peaceful places.

2. What about the fact that Ukraine has almost no aviation? 160 outdated planes vs 2000 russian ones where at least a half is modern or upgraded? 160 planes is a very optimistic evaluation in fact becouse they lost some of these planes already. Besides nobody knows how many of these planes can fly becouse they obviously didn't spent enough money on them before. They also doen't have enough pilots since they didn't invest enough money in training either. So Russia will simply rule the sky in any massive conflict with Urkaine.

This is basically true, although you exaggerate Russian numbers and capabilities. Russia can not devote all of its airforce to fight Ukraine, but Ukraine can devote 100% of its airforce to fighting Russia. What it mostly means is that Russia can absorb losses and still have a functioning airforce, but Ukraine can not.

As for how effective the Russian airforce could be in Ukraine, I am unsure. The last time we saw Russian ground support it was in Georgia and the results were considered rather poor. I am sure they are better now than before, I am simply unconvinced that the Russian air forces would have the sort of effect you are imagining.

3. Ukrainian army might got some experience durring the last year but they also lost most of their best armoured vehicles and helicopters in these fights.They lost so many t64 already that they now even take old t72a from reserve on pair with btr70 and other equipment 30 years old. Do you belive that equipment which spent 30 years somewhere in reserve is a good equipment in fact?

I have been following the news of Ukrainian rearmament and refurbishment with great interest. I will simply say that your information is outdated and inaccurate. Further, the improvements in getting good weaponry ready for combat is still on the increase. By the time Spring comes around the *expanded* Ukrainian military is targeted for somewhere around 80% authorized AFVs.

To summarize if a massive Russian invasion happen and NATO won't help Ukraine, instead of some world war II tactics with close range fights Russia would rather play with Ukraine in a modern war using great advantage in aviation, artillery and recon - the same way US did in Irac against outdated Saddam forces. What for to have a tank vs tank battle if enemy tanks can be eliminated with modern ground assault planes or AT helos which Russia has for example or with ground ATGMs Kornet - 5500m range, 1300mm penetration...

I do not agree. Look at the difficulty NATO had with attacking tactical targets in Kosovo and Serbia. The results were quite poor. I think the Russian air forces are not massively better in quality than mid 1990s NATO. Attacking tactical targets in temperate environments is simply harder to do than in desert environments.

As for Russia's artillery, Ukraine has learned (the hard way) how to respond to Russian Army artillery attacks since almost all artillery attacks have been made by Russian Army forces. Especially the ones that attacked Ukrainian units from Russian Federation territory. In one such attack Ukraine lost 100+ men KIA/WIA. That was early summer before they learned two things... first is that they must dig in, second is that Russian territory was effectively hostile territory. Since these first early attacks, Ukraine has handled incoming artillery pretty well.

Steve

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@Battlefront.com (the admin) (btw is there any other convenient way to call you?).

 

In which way is Ukrainian Air Force being reconstructed? How many modernised aircraft were procured, how many were repaired (and as Crimea and the spring-summer-autumn campaign has shown the technical readiness of Ukrainian Air Forces was horrible)? Are the flight hours for Ukrainian pilots increasing? As far as I am aware there has been no evidence of Ukrainian Air Force improving it's technical or combat readiness, much less improving it's quality.

 

She is not a government spoke person, but rather a founder of "Gruz 200" organisation, I wrote sufficiently about it.

 

Why couldn't Russia devote the bulk of it's Air Force against Ukraine? 080808 war experience is not entirely relevant to our conflict, if only because we assume that Russia would prepare for an armed intervention (something we did not do before the events of August, lack of specialist equipment and intelligence played it's hand).

It is again not comparable to the Yugoslavian conflict, as the Serbian forces dispersed on purpose, due to the lack of ground operation element, which is obviously not going to be the case in our scenario.

 

Could you please share that information regarding rearmament of Ukrainian Armed forces with us? As far as I am aware there are no major real rearmament programs.

Edited by ikalugin

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The second part of the reform (happening under Shoigu) is the expansion of those brigades into divisions, large combined arms exercises, ie Russian armed forces never lost the sight of fighting a major (regional on one front) war and have began preparations for such war before the Ukrainian events. A historic parallel could be made with WW2 events - the mechanised corps were disbanded and tnk brigades were formed, which later were expanded into new mechanised and tank corps. Thus talking about Russian Armed Forces being limited to the elite parts (which ones by the way?) is simply wrong in the post 2008 world.

A good summary that is more true than not. However, reforms within the Russian armed forces have not been as complete in reality as on paper. In particular Russia has had great difficulty attracting the number of contract soldiers that it is looking for. Reports by the Russian military itself is my source of information (I have some reports somewhere!) Further, last week Putin said non-Russian citizens can now become contract soldiers in the Russian military. I, and others, view this as a sign that the ability to attract and retain contract soldiers is still significantly below target numbers.

What this means is that the expansion of reforms has been uneven and incomplete within the Russian armed forces. From what I've read Russia did the correct thing which was to professionalize certain units and not spread its contract soldiers and newly made equipment thinly in "penny packets". This has resulted in a very good, concentrated force that is both reliable and capable. However, it is relatively small for a large scale ground war against a nation of 40+ million people that is clearly willing to fight.

Secondly, the build up on Ukrainian border was of demonstrative nature (show of force, a deterrent and so on), and thus is not indicative of Russian capabilities to deploy such forces in that area.

Some, yes. Others were not because Russia denied the forces were there. Also, I was aware that Russia was preparing to invade Crimea about 5 days before the first "Green Men" appeared. I did this using nothing but an internet connection and my brain. If I can do this, so can Ukraine and NATO military intelligence agencies. And this information was based on the movements of small amounts of force, not the massive amounts that would be needed for a successful invasion of Ukraine.

In short, it is naive to believe that Ukraine wouldn't see a big attack coming at least many days before hand.

If anything Russian exercises some distance from the border have shown the capability to rapidly redeploy forces into the theatre, into the range of possible single leap manuever operations. Ie - Russian forces do not have to sit across the border looking scary to attack, they would attack from some space within the border, from movement, as to preclude identification of the time place and intent of the attack. That much should be obvious to any student of the Soviet (and by the extension Russian) way of war.

And every time those forces drove up to the border it was known by the Ukrainians and NATO military intelligence. It was never a surprise that it was happening, they just didn't know exactly when it would happen or if the forces would continue over the border. The forces that moved into Ukraine for the August counter offensive were spotted as well.

I say again, Russia has already lost the strategic element of surprise. Ukraine knows it is already in a war with Russia, as does NATO. They are actively watching for a major Russian invasion.

Thirdly - onto the balance of forces. The factors one must account here are:

- shortage of weapons for the Ukrainian loyalists (they loose more than they could repair/produce, and currently the level of equipment is dropping severely as they pull out equipment that was not properly stored, much less properly maintained or upgraded in the past 25 years and send those items to the front line without critical parts such as radios. Unless there is some sort of massive aid to the Ukrainian loyalists they would be fighting on the unreliable (due to bad maintenance) 1970s vintage systems.

See above. This is outdated information at best.

- shortage of trained men on both sides, the mobilisation you have mentioned would be that of essentially untrained (Ukrainian Armed Forces were hit even worse than Russian ones) or elderly (whose who may remember their Soviet training) men. While the separatist draw on the pool of Russian volunteers (who may have decent training due to the post 2008 reforms) and maintaining their size means that most of their troops would have combat experience and training, the expansion of Ukrainian Armed Forces (the kind you envisioned, though from past experience I would say that the new waves of mobilisation would fail) would lead to the majority of their troops not having anything but most basic training (the kind provided semi accidentally by more experienced troops) and poor morale (being forcefully conscripted out of their houses).

This has no relation to reality because it is based on Spring 2014 information and not looking accurately at what has happened since. The Ukrainian forces in the line today are not "elderly" and the Russian and Ukrainian citizens fighting against Ukraine are often men with ages over 40. Russia's regular army is largely based on conscripts and they recently turned over to new conscripts. Ukraine has just as much time to train its soldiers as Russia does. As for morale? I bet the average Ukrainian conscript is far more motivated to fight against a Russian invasion than a Russian conscript is motivated to fight in Ukraine.

- complete dissaray of Ukrainian loyalists chain of command, not only are the troops micro managed from up high (the local sectoral and brigade command has very little authority about what they are doing), there are signs of double command (from the High Command and from the Command of Land Forces - later normally being purely admin body before the ambitions of the man in question took over his sense of duty) and this is Armed Forces alone (ie in reality there are more than 2 authorities in command of forces there, leading to poor operational security and troop command).

Once again, this is outdated information. For sure major structural and doctrinal problems still exist within the Ukrainian military today, but it is getting progressively better. There was a recent announcement of reducing the size of the general staff by a huge amount (IIRC 30%). The performance on the ground has improved. I do think their offensive capability is not as good as their defensive capability, but in the event of a Russian full invasion the Ukrainians would be on the defensive.

Also remember my point that Russia has no experience with an attack as we are talking about. It is wrongheaded to presume that Russia's chain of command and doctrine is without major flaws. Even after the improvements since the 2008 Georgian War.

While one could argue that this overview is based on past experience (as recent as this winter actually) I see there no movement for improvement in the direction of improvement. Thus while the local commanders (battalion and below) may have some form of tactical experience, they have no successful experience of fighting war on the level above battalion, nor do they have experience of fighting a mobile war (those who did were cauldron'ed this summer).

This is mostly untrue. Ukraine has suffered relatively light losses compared to the size of their force and the length of time fighting. They have also rotated units into the ATO and out in order to spread out the experience. The "cauldron" battles did little long term damage to Ukrainian forces except for the loss of a lot of older equipment. The forces that fought against the Russian counter attack are still very much in uniform and have long since been rearmed.

While it is true that Ukraine's weakness is at coordinated action above brigade level, it has considerable experience now at battalion and below. For a defensive war I don't think these shortcomings are going to be too much of an issue. Especially because Russia's practical ability to control forces above brigade has not been tested yet. Especially not against a conventionally equipped and motivated enemy fighting in decent terrain on its home turf.

- the efforts of Russia to equip and organise the separatist forces into new units (numbered brigades) and into operational level formations (corps) with unity of command on operational axis. While those efforts did meet some friction (recent events with "Batman" illustrate this) overall they are progressing forward, essentially bringing those forces under (essentially) direct Moscow command, eliminating any opposition or competition inside the separatists ranks. Those forces would provide a substantial threat to the Counter Terrorism Operation Forces as they would have superior or equal equipment, high morale (all are volunteers, vs forcibly conscripted Ukrainian troops).

Despite several attempts by Moscow to control the separatist forces on the ground, they have failed to make significant progress. The attacks in the last 24 hours reinforce my view that they still are not very good. This is not surprising because mercenary forces do not have a good historical track record of being successful except as a sub-component of a larger domestic force. This is not the case in Ukraine.

Again, the morale of these forces is not always very good. Mercenaries fight for money and adventure. If things get too tough, they quit and go home. Or they just rove around stealing from the local populations until Russian Spetsnez come in and kill their leaders.

Having said that, the latest Kremlin directed purging of troublesome militias in Donbas has been far more thorough than its previous attempts. Still, as I say, this has not translated to improved fighting capacity as far as I can see. It has also led to a headcount reduction amongst Russian mercenaries/volunteers since they have been told to go back to Russia "or else". I don't think Russia has moved in replacements of the same numbers (the only confirmed deployment I've seen is in Horlivka).

Steve

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Answer part 2:

- ultimate superiority of Russian Federation in air (both fixed and rotary wing), in operational level firepower (recon-strike complexes, recon-fire complexes, TBMs, anti missile SAMs such as the S300V4 and so on), in C3 (deployment of new command systems post 2008 through out the armed forces, especially above company), intelligence (ability to gain intel from Ukrainian HQs due to poor operational security, ability to locate and intercept unprotected communication means Ukrainian CTO Forces use and so on) and logistics (logistics are centralised, have organic rail road element and so on) and others.

For the most part this is correct. I just don't think it is enough to make a strategic difference in this scenario. I will say that Ukraine has been doing better at information protecting and as Russia moves into Ukraine they will be subjected to observation by loyal Ukrainian citizens with phones and internet connections. Heck, some of the best intel on Russian force movements has been from pro-Russians bragging about how great it is to have Russians in Ukraine.

As to the operations themselves. The likely scenario on strategic level in my opinion would:

- consists of advance on 4 separate operational axis.

- be conducted by 4 Combined Arms Armies (that is around 16 combat brigades and divisions), all of VDV troops, most of Specnas forces, the Black Sea Fleet.

- be supported by the (nearly) entire Russian Airforce and intelligence gathering means.

- be conducted from the posture of an exercise (in south-west of Russia and an exercise with Belarus), of the "readiness check" type, thus precluding any obvious and lengthy build up (which for some reason people assume for both Russian and Soviet scenarios).

- be supported by extensive under ground movement in the potentially pro Russian areas, as well as special forces operation.

- be supported with the newly formed separatist forces under direct Russian command, within the Russian chain of command (under the Army level HQ, hence corps designation vs army designation).

I think the scale is about right, except for the airforce. Russia can not, and will not, sacrifice it's air deterrence against the Baltics and even, to some extent, China.

Such preparation would take less time than any extensive aid efforts by the US, weapons would take time to be delivered and more so to be trained with and pushed into service, there is a degree of political drag in decision making, this means that by the time the aid from US reaches the front lines the mobile phase of operation would be over.

Perhaps. But your presumption that all would go forward without significant problem spots is, I think, an unlikely situation. You are also not taking into consideration that as Russian forces move they will be under partisan attack, or at least intel gathering, by those loyal to Ukraine. And then there's Russia's more strategic vulnerabilities. Specifically the Caucuses. There is already signs that trouble is building in that region, especially since many of the forces fighting in Ukraine have come from bases in the region.

The effect of the war on public - according to my media acquaintance Russia has essentially mobilised population at the moment, thus allowing for standard 30 percent losses of the first echelon troops (and more).

I do not think this will turn out to be the case. I do think that Russians are willing to accept significant loses, but not 30%. And I think for each and every day that passes without 100% complete victory the attitude will shift dramatically against Putin. Especially if the Caucuses become a major problem again, the economy gets worse, food becomes scarce, etc.

p.p.s. "cargo 200" and the owner of that resource - the lady shown above are completely mad and murder poor book characters, football team members and those from the university acceptance lists. I would strongly advise against using their materials as source information.

Yes, she has been repeatedly criticized for not following even the most basic research standards. Her numbers are unbelievable. However, it is pretty clear to me that a significant number of Russian citizens have been killed fighting in Ukraine. Even if that number is just 1, that's 1 more than the Kremlin admits to. So of the two sources, Cargo 200 is a more reliable source of information than the Kremlin. That is an important thing to keep in mind.

Steve

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Dear lord, we are into the long post war. I would reply with another one.

 

p.s. do you mind me not quoting? I do that to keep my replies shorter.

Edited by ikalugin

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I think the Russian air forces are not massively better in quality than mid 1990s NATO.

 

I've gotta say I agree Steve. A quick inventory of the Russian Air Force reveals very limited precision strike capability. Only Su-24m2, Su-34 and Su-25sm capable of real precision strikes. The majority of the Su-24ms and and Su-25as are fairly crude strike platforms, even by gulf war standards. The lack of targeting pods or something similar is the real killer. 

 

On an aside, I am fascinated with the finally adopted Su-34, the more I look at it the more it looks like an F-15E, the Strike Eagle, in terms of capabilities. The entertaining thing is that it predates the end of the cold war. Took nearly 25 years to finally enter service.

Edited by danzig5

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At the moment PRC is de facto Russian ally. Why ask?

Uhm, that is totally untrue. China is not a Russian ally. Not even a little bit. The Chinese government needs US and European trade to stay in power. It is not going to put that trade at risk for the paltry amount of trade that Russia can provide it. Chinese have also shown themselves to be no friend of Russia in recent economic relations. If anything, it's pretty clear to me that China is taking advantage of Russia's relative economic and political weakness.

If you really think China is your friend... well... "good luck with that" (as we say) :D

China is out for China's own interests only.

 

 

It is assumed that Russian occupation would happen over pro Russian territory, thus the danger of insurgency being low.

There is no such territory. It is why the initial attempts to form crowd based uprisings as far away as Odessa failed. It is why the early armed "separatists" gained very little territory compared to what was desired. It is why Russia's attempts to create Novorussia totally and utterly failed. There simply is no such support for the concept of Russian domination or even an independent state amongst the majority of the population. That was true before the Russian "insurgency", it is certainly true now. Ukrainians fully understand that Russia is not its friend and that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. Crimea is not helping make the case for it either.

Steve

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Dear lord, we are into the long post war. I would reply with another one.

 

p.s. do you mind me not quoting? I do that to keep my replies shorter.

I can refrain from that :D But if you like, here's a shorter view.

Russia's military is good. Overall it is better than Ukraine's and is larger. But I do not think it is up to the task of overcoming Ukraine's ability to defend itself. I think casualties on the Russian side would be in excess of what the Russian population would stand for. Especially over time as the Human and economic costs began to mount for Russian citizens.

The Soviet Union fell in large part because it was fighting an unwinnable war at a time of major economic problems. I think Putin is putting modern Russia in exactly the same position if he mounts a full scale offensive into Ukraine. I expect the outcome to be similar as well.

Steve

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welcome to the forum.

 

Personally I am happy we have a lot of Russian posters showing up. It is always nice to have a different point of view, even though we will not always agree. :)

 

I completely agree with this.  Though I rarely post, I've enjoyed this forum since cm x1 / BTS days.  It is nice to see this influx of new posters of which most have contributed positively to the conversation. 

 

I don't neccessarily agree with some of the conclusions, but reading cogent arguements from those with different views/experiences has been quite insightful to me.  As long as this coversation stays civil, I hope this thread continues. 

 

welcome to the forum ikalugin. 

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@Battlefront.com (the admin) (btw is there any other convenient way to call you?).

 

In which way is Ukrainian Air Force being reconstructed? How many modernised aircraft were procured, how many were repaired (and as Crimea and the spring-summer-autumn campaign has shown the technical readiness of Ukrainian Air Forces was horrible)? Are the flight hours for Ukrainian pilots increasing? As far as I am aware there has been no evidence of Ukrainian Air Force improving it's technical or combat readiness, much less improving it's quality.

 

She is not a government spoke person, but rather a founder of "Gruz 200" organisation, I wrote sufficiently about it.

 

Why couldn't Russia devote the bulk of it's Air Force against Ukraine? 080808 war experience is not entirely relevant to our conflict, if only because we assume that Russia would prepare for an armed intervention (something we did not do before the events of August, lack of specialist equipment and intelligence played it's hand).

It is again not comparable to the Yugoslavian conflict, as the Serbian forces dispersed on purpose, due to the lack of ground operation element, which is obviously not going to be the case in our scenario.

 

Could you please share that information regarding rearmament of Ukrainian Armed forces with us? As far as I am aware there are no major real rearmament programs.

Doing without quotes :D

I had no idea what's her name looked like, so I didn't recognize her. As I said in another post, I do not believe her information is accurate. She is being deliberately fed garbage information in order to discredit her good information. Standard KGB/FSU behavior, but now aided by average Russians acting on their own thanks to the Internet. Whatever the real number is, it is higher than zero and that is the number Putin sticks with. So of the two, I think she is more trustworthy than Putin.

I clarified my remarks about Ukrainian airforce. I do not keep track of the daily sources for everything, but for sure late last year there were at least 4x (fighters IIRC) put back into service as well as a number of helicopters. Modern and equivalent to Russia's frontline aircraft? No, so I don't think it would be more than a temporary inconvenience for Russia's air forces.

The difference is I don't think Ukraine has to have air superiority. And I already explained why. True, there are differences with the NATO vs. Serbia scenario, but there are also major differences in the US vs. Saddam scenario you are using. I do not think direct comparisons are very useful in this case.

As for Ukrainian rearmament, if you are paying attention to the news out of Ukraine as much as you say you are then I do not understand how you can NOT see this information. It's fairly regular. Some big news was sacking many of the people that used to be in charge of production facilities. August 29th timeframe I read a report (my friend's translation):

 

The head of Malyshev factory in Kharkiv was sacked today for poor management, sloppy finances and failing to respond to urgent military requests for more equipment. The new director says the priority will be building 10 x Oplot (sort of M1A2 comparable, it has thermals, top-of-the-line active armor, top-of-the-line ceramic/metal armor, decent fire control etc.) and 60 x refurbished T-64 (no thermals, reasonable fire control during the day, active armor that keeps out the older RPG and ATGM). This followed the sacking last week of the head of the Kiev tank factory, which refurbishes BTRs.

At least one factory has been put on 24 hour, 7 day a week production schedule. Ukraine's government hired a big US accounting firm to audit military spending. Last week a Ukrainian general was sacked for trying to push 4 junk T-64s into service during a PR visit of Poroshenko. Etc. etc. etc. Major changes which you seem unaware of.

Another report I have is from November 14th timeframe and it states 10 Oplot T-84 (with thermals) were delivered to Azov. Sorry, no link as this came from a distilled report from a Ukrainian friend of mine. He knows to censor questionable information (he has "professional" training ;))

Then there is the widely published reports of refurbished 2S7 'Pion' coming back into service. In fact, I saw the first report of use of one of these earlier today.

Anyway, there's a lot of small reports like this floating around. Some of them for sure are fantasy, some of them are exaggerated. However, I think taking a position that Ukraine is sitting around doing absolutely nothing is totally blind to the truth.

Steve

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I completely agree with this.  Though I rarely post, I've enjoyed this forum since cm x1 / BTS days.  It is nice to see this influx of new posters of which most have contributed positively to the conversation. 

 

I don't neccessarily agree with some of the conclusions, but reading cogent arguements from those with different views/experiences has been quite insightful to me.  As long as this coversation stays civil, I hope this thread continues. 

 

welcome to the forum ikalugin.

I also welcome an informed debate. I also enjoy not having to argue about Russia's basic level of involvement in Ukraine, even if I still have to debate the details. I do not like arguing with people who tell me the world is flat :D

Steve

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The short reply (would write the large one during the day, as it is 0057 local at the time of me writing this):

I think our positions regarding the state of Ukrainian Armed Forces (and CTO Forces in general) are opposite (yours being optimistic and mine being pessimistic). Thus what I think we should do is to clarify a number of specific topics and then discuss those factually (ie with sources provided to back up our statements), as otherwise our discussion appears to boil down to a matter of perception, which is (sadly, as we are all humans) is unacceptable to being clouded by bias.

 

Would it be helpful if I clarify the Russian part, as it appears that you have a certain number of gaps in your knowledge of Russian Armed Forces, especially post 2008 reform began, not equipment wise, but in the areas such as the concept of operations, development trends and so on, as I have a more immediate knowledge of the matter?

 

One another question - how fluent are you in Russian (Ukrainian)? What kinds of sources do you find acceptable?

Edited by ikalugin

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I think the big problem Ukraine has these days is not lack of enthusiasm, but lack of funds. The government has been on the verge of bankruptcy for the past year and has been frantically maneuvering recently just to get funds from the IMF to keep the government running. That will put a crimp on how quickly it can modernise/re-equip its forces, soldiers and suppliers have to be paid and will only accept IOUs for so long.

 

Now if they had a more secure source of funding it would help, but neither the EU or the U.S. has been very generous so far. The U.S. recently approved $350 million in military aid which sounds like a lot, but for example a Stryker costs $5 million, a Leopard 2 A7+ costs $10 million and that does not count any of the running expenses.

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The short reply (would write the large one during the day, as it is 0057 local at the time of me writing this):

I think our positions regarding the state of Ukrainian Armed Forces (and CTO Forces in general) are opposite (yours being optimistic and mine being pessimistic). Thus what I think we should do is to clarify a number of specific topics and then discuss those factually (ie with sources provided to back up our statements), as otherwise our discussion appears to boil down to a matter of perception, which is (sadly, as we are all humans) is unacceptable to being clouded by bias.

 

Would it be helpful if I clarify the Russian part, as it appears that you have a certain number of gaps in your knowledge of Russian Armed Forces, especially post 2008 reform began, not equipment wise, but in the areas such as the concept of operations, development trends and so on, as I have a more immediate knowledge of the matter?

 

One another question - how fluent are you in Russian (Ukrainian)? What kinds of sources do you find acceptable?

It is very difficult to discuss any of this factually because the facts are not easy to find. For example, it is very difficult to calculate Russian citizen deaths in Ukraine, which is relevant to some discussions. It is easy to dismiss the Cargo 200 report of thousands of dead Russians because there is a lot of bad information in that total, Ukraine does not give an official total, and Russia says the number is zero. So the number ranges from 0 (outright lie) to many thousand (not believable). Add to this the real fog of war problems that all sides have and we're left without much to go on.

I readily admit that I do not think that Russia's military power is as good as Russians think it is. I also readily admit that I think Ukraine's capabilities are better than those same Russians think. However, I do not think Russia's military capabilities are bad and Ukraine's are great. I have also clearly stated that I think Russia could have steamrolled over Ukraine up to the Dniepr relatively easily in early 2014. Very. But I don't think it can do that now.

I am happy to hear more about Russian capabilities from as many sources as possible. At heart I am a researcher and therefore information is always interesting to me. But because my perspective on this conflict is not superficial, my point of view will not be easy to change.

As a reminder to older posters, and perhaps new information to newer posters, the current crisis in Ukraine is pretty close to the one CMBS storyline I helped write starting in 2009. My track record for predicting events and outcomes is quite good so far. This does give me real reasons to have confidence that my sources of information and analysis are pretty good.

I speak neither Ukrainian nor Russian. I rely on others and Google Translation, which I must say has gotten MUCH better over the last few years. It is imperfect, but so far it is good enough. There is also plenty written in English to sift through.

Steve

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I think the big problem Ukraine has these days is not lack of enthusiasm, but lack of funds. The government has been on the verge of bankruptcy for the past year and has been frantically maneuvering recently just to get funds from the IMF to keep the government running. That will put a crimp on how quickly it can modernise/re-equip its forces, soldiers and suppliers have to be paid and will only accept IOUs for so long.

 

Now if they had a more secure source of funding it would help, but neither the EU or the U.S. has been very generous so far. The U.S. recently approved $350 million in military aid which sounds like a lot, but for example a Stryker costs $5 million, a Leopard 2 A7+ costs $10 million and that does not count any of the running expenses.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this conflict is Ukraine's "crowd sourcing" of equipment and supplies. It's moved beyond socks and food. The success of several UAV projects are an embarrassment to Western governments because "guys in their garages" have built UAVs almost equal to what NATO forces have, but at a faction of a fraction of the cost.

Steve

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Hey Steve, and all other readers. It has basically been my impression from the lack of "major" news coming from the war, and basically stagnating casualty rates, that the conflict has basically become a stalemate. Does this seem to be the case at all, I mean, its not like Middle-east where battle lines are changing everyday?

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By the way, I think this thread might be an internet first: it swung to uncivil, and then managed to recover. Usually when threads go downhill they are inevitably locked as the positive feedback loop of insults asserts itself. :D

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Hey Steve, and all other readers. It has basically been my impression from the lack of "major" news coming from the war, and basically stagnating casualty rates, that the conflict has basically become a stalemate. Does this seem to be the case at all, I mean, its not like Middle-east where battle lines are changing everyday?

Its winter, in Russia, we won't know anything one way or another till spring.

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Hi everyone, new user here. Can't believe there's a game about this conflict already, that's some good foresight!

 

Hey Steve, and all other readers. It has basically been my impression from the lack of "major" news coming from the war, and basically stagnating casualty rates, that the conflict has basically become a stalemate. Does this seem to be the case at all, I mean, its not like Middle-east where battle lines are changing everyday?

 

The ceasefire was supposedly sort of working until a couple of days ago. Recently that have been numerous engagements across the front including another strong attack on the Donetsk airport that brought down it's iconic tower and a graphic artillery strike on a Ukrainian checkpoint that shredded a bus full of civilian refugees: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30798426/ and the *VERY GRAPHIC* video: (removed)

or PG-13 version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16pUz8nVLR4

 

Steve, I'm curious what you think about this blog: http://oyblogg.blogspot.se/. It seems to be a detailed giant list of daily Russian Armed Forces losses, I don't know if someone is just being creative there or it's some kind of a leak in the Russian Forces.

Edited by Battlefront.com

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This is a really fascinating Thread and thanks for all of the great insight into this situation.

 

Can someone please describe the history of the battle and current situation around the Donetsk airport?  I am curious about the forces involved, the strategy, tactics, terrain, and why this battle has apparently been going on for months.

 

Also, what is the purpose of fighting for the airport?  Isn't it pretty much destroyed at this point?

Edited by Chops

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Also, what is the purpose of fighting for the airport?  Isn't it pretty much destroyed at this point?

 

To the best of my knowledge at this point the airport is just a focal point where a large body of forces are engaged, its more of a symbol at this point. And  I can't describe very well the terrain and what not, from what I've seen its basically your typical rolling plain

like landscape.

Also, just curious, should we confine this topic and the the CMBS thread to strictly the conflict in Ukraine, or can we also talk about the Syrian coflict and others in tandem? Its just, we probably won't get over ten users conversing at the same time on something like the CMSF thread...

Edited by Abattoir666

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