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lordhedgwich

Russian army under equipped?

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On the topic of a conventional war with Russia, I've covered this many times.  The basic conclusion is that Russia has 0.00% chance of winning a war against NATO where there is anything meaningful remaining of the Russian armed forces at the end of the conflict.  Any territory it tried to take would be lost.  It would be very messy, but that is how it would wind up.  Since NATO would never voluntarily attack Russia, and therefore no territorial ambitions to expand into existing Russian territory (including Crimea), it is a stretch to think of a scenario where NATO would have to do anything other than destroy Russia's armed forces to win.  That is a certainty.

It is a simple numbers crunching exercise.  Even if Russia's military forces were 100% equal to the average NATO force, it would lose because it lacks the numbers to take losses.  But Russia's military forces are qualitatively inferior to NATO's average force.  This means the cost to NATO to defeat Russia's military forces, the speed in which they can do it, and the thoroughness are further weighted in NATO's favor.

This is important because the West's willingness to fight a protracted war is questionable at best.  If the conflict were to last years, Russia could hope to "sue for peace", but that isn't the case here.  Militarily the war would effectively be over within a few weeks, though Russia might be able to keep it going for a few more weeks.  This is all well within the timeframe of Western population "attention span".

Steve

Then why even make a game about Russia fighting Nato? I am just curious why would Russia even start a conflict if they have 0.0% chance? Just seems silly

 

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Indeed.

The thing is Putin hase been engaging in small conflicts around the edges of NATO for some time. Putin keeps pushing at the edges. Each time that happens it introduces the possibility that a larger conflict will start. I, personally hope it does not and one day future governments will decide to stop there kinds of antagonistic actions. Hey, I can hope.

The game is about one of those antagonistic actions finally boiling over into said conflict. Honestly I hope it does not happen in real life but it does not take a history expert to see how it could happen. At some point the willingness to continue to appease could wear thin and or the desire to keep pushing neighbours around could trigger something bigger than either side really wanted.

I realize that a lot of these antagonistic actions are a lot of "he hit me back first" each side thinks they are justified because of x or y that was done to them w years ago. Hence my comment about future governments doing a better job and not a future government.

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Then why even make a game about Russia fighting Nato? I am just curious why would Russia even start a conflict if they have 0.0% chance? Just seems silly

 

Ssshhhhh  No one is supposed to mention the Emperor has no clothes!

I'd have to agree, the rationale to do CMBS and yet not consider 1980's (or even 1960's or 1940's post WW2) Germany seems to be contradictory.

Edited by sburke

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Then why even make a game about Russia fighting Nato? I am just curious why would Russia even start a conflict if they have 0.0% chance? Just seems silly

 

Yes, very silly.  However, nations often behave in ways that are self destructive.  Look at Saddam in 2003.  He could have avoided an invasion very easily if he let the weapons inspectors in.  Instead, he wanted to pretend he had the capability of making a nuclear weapon because he thought it made his regime stronger.  Obviously that did not work out so well for him ;)  More relevant, Georgia thought it could fight back against Russia's proxy forces without Russia invading, but they were also wrong. 

The best way to describe the CMBS backstory is like a game of "chicken" between two cars headed right for each other at top speed.  Neither wants to collide, but each one thinks the other will turn first.  As the distances close the chances of avoiding an accident decreases.  Eventually someone must take radical action to avoid a collision or CRASH.  CMBS presumes that Russia pushes things too far because it thinks NATO won't challenge it, NATO pushes forces into Ukraine thinking Putin will back down.  It is not hard to imagine a case where the two sides start shooting at each other.

Steve

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I'd have to agree, the rationale to do CMBS and yet not consider 1980's (or even 1960's or 1940's post WW2) Germany seems to be contradictory.

Alternate past which didn't happen is different than a possible future which we hope doesn't happen.  One never happened, one might happen. 

Steve

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The problem for us is we have so many games people want us to make and only so much time to do them.  We have to use some logic to narrow down the possibilities to 4-5 times more than we can handle ;)

Steve

Yeah I could name about 10 I'd be interested in and that without much effort...on my part. :P  It is your fault, you've spoiled us.

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Ssshhhhh  No one is supposed to mention the Emperor has no clothes!

I'd have to agree, the rationale to do CMBS and yet not consider 1980's (or even 1960's or 1940's post WW2) Germany seems to be contradictory.

I agree I feel 1980s East VS west would have made more sense and been a bit more interesting due to the amount of factions that would be included and The Soviet Union would have a better chance to actually pull off some kind of victory..

Yes, very silly.  However, nations often behave in ways that are self destructive.  Look at Saddam in 2003.  He could have avoided an invasion very easily if he let the weapons inspectors in.  Instead, he wanted to pretend he had the capability of making a nuclear weapon because he thought it made his regime stronger.  Obviously that did not work out so well for him ;)  More relevant, Georgia thought it could fight back against Russia's proxy forces without Russia invading, but they were also wrong. 

The best way to describe the CMBS backstory is like a game of "chicken" between two cars headed right for each other at top speed.  Neither wants to collide, but each one thinks the other will turn first.  As the distances close the chances of avoiding an accident decreases.  Eventually someone must take radical action to avoid a collision or CRASH.  CMBS presumes that Russia pushes things too far because it thinks NATO won't challenge it, NATO pushes forces into Ukraine thinking Putin will back down.  It is not hard to imagine a case where the two sides start shooting at each other.

Steve

First let me say I love CMBS its awesome and very fun, but this post has kind of killed it for me =/ I love play as Russia and Ukraine they have really neat vehicles and gear, but you saying Russia has 0.0% chance makes it less fun to play them somehow I feel like Russia is just set up to loose in game now. I figure Russia would put up a much better fight than Saddam's Iraq.

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I agree I feel 1980s East VS west would have made more sense and been a bit more interesting due to the amount of factions that would be included and The Soviet Union would have a better chance to actually pull off some kind of victory..

First let me say I love CMBS its awesome and very fun, but this post has kind of killed it for me =/ I love play as Russia and Ukraine they have really neat vehicles and gear, but you saying Russia has 0.0% chance makes it less fun to play them somehow I feel like Russia is just set up to loose in game now. I figure Russia would put up a much better fight than Saddam's Iraq.

Before we make the wrong assumptions in a discussion.  Russia's ability to achieve a set of goals is entirely dependent on what those goals are.  Could Russia outright defeat NATO.  No,  Could Russia achieve a set of objectives that NATO is opposed to, possibly. The nuclear equation would limit a NATO response.  While NATO would pull together a force to stop an attack, the likely next step is a ceasefire and negotiations.  CMBS would cover the period of the initial Russian attack until the offensive is brought to a halt.  The actual decision of whether the offensive was successful, would depend on how things go after that point and likely are more a political negotiation than a military resolution.

Personally I'd think a 1960's game would be pretty cool.  The confrontation between US and Russian forces in Berlin came damn close to war.

Here's a good read if anyone is interested.

http://www.amazon.com/Berlin-1961-Kennedy-Khrushchev-Dangerous-ebook/dp/B004LRPDTQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453697922&sr=1-1&keywords=berlin+1961

 

In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called Berlin "the most dangerous place on earth." He knew what he was talking about.

Much has been written about the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, but the Berlin Crisis of 1961 was more decisive in shaping the Cold War-and more perilous. It was in that hot summer that the Berlin Wall was constructed, which would divide the world for another twenty-eight years. Then two months later, and for the first time in history, American and Soviet fighting men and tanks stood arrayed against each other, only yards apart. One mistake, one nervous soldier, one overzealous commander-and the tripwire would be sprung for a war that could go nuclear in a heartbeat.

On one side was a young, untested U.S. president still reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster and a humiliating summit meeting that left him grasping for ways to respond. It would add up to be one of the worst first-year foreign policy performances of any modern president. On the other side, a Soviet premier hemmed in by the Chinese, East Germans, and hardliners in his own government. With an all-important Party Congress approaching, he knew Berlin meant the difference not only for the Kremlin's hold on its empire-but for his own hold on the Kremlin.

Neither man really understood the other, both tried cynically to manipulate events. And so, week by week, they crept closer to the brink.

Based on a wealth of new documents and interviews, filled with fresh-sometimes startling-insights, written with immediacy and drama, Berlin 1961 is an extraordinary look at key events of the twentieth century, with powerful applications to these early years of the twenty-first.

Edited by sburke

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First let me say I love CMBS its awesome and very fun, but this post has kind of killed it for me =/ I love play as Russia and Ukraine they have really neat vehicles and gear, but you saying Russia has 0.0% chance makes it less fun to play them somehow I feel like Russia is just set up to loose in game now. I figure Russia would put up a much better fight than Saddam's Iraq.

Then by all means avoid playing Germans in any of the WW2 titles.... :rolleyes:;):P

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Then by all means avoid playing Germans in any of the WW2 titles.... :rolleyes:;):P

Its different lol idk how but it is.. Plus Germans are my favorite in the WW2 titles with the CW and Soviets at a tie for 2nd. Idk Steve just has a way of making Russians sound so terrible that its almost off putting lol

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First let me say I love CMBS its awesome and very fun, but this post has kind of killed it for me =/ I love play as Russia and Ukraine they have really neat vehicles and gear, but you saying Russia has 0.0% chance makes it less fun to play them somehow I feel like Russia is just set up to loose in game now. I figure Russia would put up a much better fight than Saddam's Iraq.

Of course the question is largely irrelevant to a tactical game of Combat Mission's scale, but it is not a universally accepted given that Russia would have no chance at all. Last year Rand Corp ran a series of war games for the Pentagon that concluded NATO would have a very hard time, mainly because of logistics:

The results were dispiriting. Given the recent reductions in the defense budgets of NATO member countries and American pullback from the region, Ochmanek says the blue team was outnumbered 2-to-1 in terms of manpower, even if all the U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Europe were dispatched to the Baltics — including the 82nd Airborne, which is supposed to be ready to go on 24 hours’ notice and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“We just don’t have those forces in Europe,” Ochmanek explains. Then there’s the fact that the Russians have the world’s best surface-to-air missiles and are not afraid to use heavy artillery.

After eight hours of gaming out various scenarios, the blue team went home depressed. “The conclusion,” Ochmanek says, “was that we are unable to defend the Baltics.”

Ochmanek decided to run the game on a second day. The teams played the game again, this time working on the assumption that the United States and NATO had already started making positive changes to their force posture in Europe. Would anything be different? The conclusion was slightly more upbeat, but not by much. “We can defend the capitals, we can present Russia with problems, and we can take away the prospect of a coup de main,” Ochmanek says. “But the dynamic remains the same.” Even without taking into account the recent U.S. defense cuts, due to sequestration, and the Pentagon’s plan to downsize the Army by 40,000 troops, the logistics of distance were still daunting. U.S. battalions would still take anywhere from one to two months to mobilize and make it across the Atlantic, and the Russians, Ochmanek notes, “can do a lot of damage in that time.”

Ochmanek has run the two-day table-top exercise eight times now, including at the Pentagon and at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, with active-duty military officers. “We played it 16 different times with eight different teams,” Ochmanek says, “always with the same conclusion.”

Edited by Vanir Ausf B

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Of course the question is largely irrelevant to a tactical game of Combat Mission's scale, but it is not a universally accepted given that Russia would have no chance at all. Last year Rand Corp ran a series of war games for the Pentagon that concluded NATO would have a very hard time, mainly because of logistics:

I get that it is unlikely Russia would win a military victory I guess to me it just seems like Steve was saying they would get whipped as bad as Iraq did in 2003

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It would look nothing like the Gulf Wars of 2003 or 1991. In those conflicts the US-led coalition was allowed to build up for six months unmolested and then unload a haymaker everyone could see coming but that the Iraqis were too stupid (1991) or unable (2003) to avoid. Russia would certainly lose that scenario as well, maybe in a few weeks like Steve said. But it's hard to imagine how that situation would come about vis a vis Russia. Maybe Donald Trump gets elected and decides he wants a statue of himself in Saint Petersburg.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B

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Yes, very silly.  However, nations often behave in ways that are self destructive.  Look at Saddam in 2003.  He could have avoided an invasion very easily if he let the weapons inspectors in.

Steve

 You think the Bush Administration would've backed down if Saddam Hussein had let the weapons inspectors in? 

No like you really believe that? 

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 You think the Bush Administration would've backed down if Saddam Hussein had let the weapons inspectors in? 

No like you really believe that? 

not that I disagree with your skepticism, but we are now straying into areas that are going to prompt moderator involvement. 

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Id definitely pay double for a title that covered ww2 summer 45 east vs west.

Or 1980s ww3.

60s sounds cool but the NATO strategy was so nuclear reliant.

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Good thoughts.

While I think that any military contest between NATO and Russia would result in Russia's military defeat (the numbers are sooooooooo stacked against Russia winning), this presumes the conflict is allowed to progress long enough for that to happen.  That's where things get really, really case specific and very speculative in terms of what each side can/will do under those very specific circumstances.  There are reasonable cases to be made that Russia could manage to find a set of circumstances where it (mostly) gets what it wants.  Personally, I think the chances of that are very low but definitely not 0.0%.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the strategic outcome does not define the tactical.  The Soviets lost more battles during WW2 than can be counted.  Some of them are among the biggest in history (relative to scale) in terms of incompetence, waste of Human lives, loss of war material, and loss of territory.  Yet the Soviets repeatedly crushed Axis forces and eventually won a decisive victory.  The excitement that comes from replaying tactical battles really should stand on its own and not get influenced by strategic considerations.

Not to get into touchy political stuff, I think most historians and political scientists would agree that if Saddam had opened up and let the inspectors in early enough AND stuck to the inspection regime there would not have been a war in 2003.  Remember war authorization was not a slam dunk for the US or it's primary allies.  Any significant weakening of the WMD immediate threat argument would have likely doomed viable support for war at that time.  A pretext for war at some other time, of course, could have come about in the future.

The only point of bringing this into the equation is to show that nations DO make stupid miscalculations which result in their own defeat.  Saddam could have easily avoided that particular war and that particular war wound up with him in the hangman's noose.  So not very bright of him :)  History also shows that the more totalitarian the nation, the more likely they are to make miscalculations.  There's a lot of reasons for that.

Steve

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Of course invading Iraq in the first place was also a miscalculation...

What would you say was the biggest surprise on a tactical level from the Donbass War that you had to model in CMBS after the fact?

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Of course invading Iraq in the first place was also a miscalculation...

Yup, and it had profound political ramifications for the nations who went to war.  But that's no consolation for Saddam or his sons since they're all dead now.

What would you say was the biggest surprise on a tactical level from the Donbass War that you had to model in CMBS after the fact?

The use of drones.  The Ukrainians have manged to field a large number of relatively cheap drones to conduct surveillance and artillery spotting missions.  I don't think anybody saw that coming.  Nor the crowd sourcing means of their development and deployment.  Although not directly applicable to CMBS' setting, the use of technology to effectively raise, field, and support large numbers of highly motivated volunteers in an extremely short period of time is incredible.

Steve

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Of course the question is largely irrelevant to a tactical game of Combat Mission's scale, but it is not a universally accepted given that Russia would have no chance at all. Last year Rand Corp ran a series of war games for the Pentagon that concluded NATO would have a very hard time, mainly because of logistics:

Ah, but you didn't mention the conclusions of the primary author of that study:

When asked about Ochmanek’s conclusions, the official expressed confidence that, eventually, NATO would claw the territory back. “In the end, I have no doubt that NATO will prevail and that we will restore the territorial integrity of any NATO member,”

Which is to say that Russia would lose a conventional war against NATO :)

I do take studies like this with some degree of skepticism.  My experience with them is that they follow a generally sound model of presuming the worst for your own side and the best for the opponent because it is better way to stress test something.  EXCEPT when it comes to making major policy decisions because planning for the worst often leads to miss allocation of resources to someplace that doesn't need them at the expense of some place that does.

Back in the 1980s Cold War I don't think you'd find many studies showing that in the event of a conventional war that the armies of the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact would largely collapse within days or possibly weeks.  Yet historians who have gone back and looked into this sort of thing post collapse have found that the perception of Warsaw Pact strength in the West was wildly overblown compare to the reality.  It also was discovered that the Soviet Union's own forces were far below operational readiness than was presumed.  And don't even get me started on the self serving "tank gap" claptrap that was used to make sure the Western military industrial complex was kept well funded.  There was also nobody seriously predicting that the Soviet Union would spontaneously and thoroughly implode, which further shows how poorly Western intelligence assessments can miss the mark.

Anyway, my point is that Rand's study seems to have accounted for a variety of different Western conditions for initial and follow up actions, ranging from ill prepared to high alert.  What I am less clear about is if they did the same for the Russian side.  My guess is not because I can definitely envision conditions where Russia's actions fall flat even if NATO's response is mediocre.  Since no such possibility was mentioned in the article, my guess is they maintained test parameters which presumed optimal, if not even fantasy, conditions for the Russian side of the equation.

That said, if Russia had launched a hybrid war against the Baltics out of the blue in 2014, I think things would have been very bad for NATO due to an utter lack of preparedness for it.  However, the two years since Crimea and Donbas has given the West not only ample warning about Russia's tactics, but also where they are vulnerable to failure.  From what I've read coming out of the Baltics, those countries are not waiting for Brussels to develop counter measures for "Green Men" scenarios. 

Evidence that the Baltics and Poland are not going to sit around doing nothing:

1.  Lithuania has reinstituted conscription and has doubled it's land forces from one standing to two standing brigades.

2.  Lithuania published a "manual" on how to combat Green Men and distributed it publicly.  It is quite detailed and was not rushed since the Baltics have been dealing with Russian hybrid warfare for many years already (the hack attack on Estonia 2008, the Russian propaganda aimed at Russian minorities, dirty money in politics, etc.)

3.  The US has positioned a token ground force in each Baltic nation and prepositioned an undisclosed amount of heavy weaponry for rapid expansion.  This ensures that if Russia attacks the Baltics then it is effectively at war with the US.

4.  Poland is leading the charge to get a larger (40,000) NATO rapid reaction force created and permanently deployed in the East.  It is also beefing up its military spending.  Who knows how successful this push will be, but so far NATO's activities in the east have increased dramatically in the past year.

5.  There are now side agreements between various countries within NATO, and perhaps outside of NATO (Finland), to defend the Baltics in the event of war.

6.  The Estonian Army used their newly acquired Javelins for the first time last week, Lithuania put their order in for Javelins last month, and I expect Latvia will have them sooner rather than later.  These weapons could have a "force multiplier effect" regardless of what happens in the air or with reinforcements from NATO countries.

Picking up on the last point, and tying it in with what I presume are Rand's treatment of Russian forces, there's no indication how a Russian armored force would respond to a significant loss of military equipment in a short period of time.  Lithuania is purchasing 220 Javelins which could mean Russia losing 50-100 tanks and other fighting vehicles within the first day or two of invasion.  What sort of impact would this have on morale?  What would it do to operational tempo?  What quality forces would replace the ones that got hammered?  The answers to these questions could radically alter the overall progress of the conflict, yet I'm not sure Rand took them into account in any of its wargaming exercises.

Steve

 

Edited by Battlefront.com

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personaly i hope finland newer join Nato , because its mean tjust biger danger from russia. Nato helping uss ? yah sure , that can be forgot and if they do, its too late all ready.

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The perversity of growing up in the post-WWII 'cold war' era is we've got it into our heads that limited-scope regional conflicts don't really 'count' as wars, that if it doesn't risk worldwide conflagration its hardly worth mentioning. But nobody fields world war scale armies anymore. Nobody's going to attempt to march an army west to the English Channel or east to the Ural mountains. Imagining such scenarios can be classed as 'nostalgia'. When discussing 'NATO versus Russia' these days you have to factor in the objective of the conflict. Stealing a limited strip of border territory from a weak neighbor then presenting it as a fait accompli to the world might be a winnable 'war'. Million man armies occupying territory up to the Rhine river not so much.

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Good thoughts.

Not to get into touchy political stuff, I think most historians and political scientists would agree that if Saddam had opened up and let the inspectors in early enough AND stuck to the inspection regime there would not have been a war in 2003. Remember war authorization was not a slam dunk for the US or it's primary allies.  Any significant weakening of the WMD immediate threat argument would have likely doomed viable support for war at that time.  A pretext for war at some other time, of course, could have come about in the future.

It's not as if the actual presence of weapons in Iraq was ever going to have any bearing on the Bush Administration's actions. The Bush Administration was so dishonest they didn't even stick to the deadline issued on their own ultimatum to Saddam before they just invaded. The Administration also sought to further public misconceptions about Saddam's non-existent involvement in 9/11 and at the very least made no effort to correct that misunderstanding. 

Fact was Bush and cronies were invading Iraq, one way or another and sooner or later. WMDs were a window dressing to Bush's supposedly God-given (like literally thought Jesus was talking to him) plans to establish a brand-new US puppet state in the Middle East. 

The only point of bringing this into the equation is to show that nations DO make stupid miscalculations which result in their own defeat.  Saddam could have easily avoided that particular war and that particular war wound up with him in the hangman's noose.  So not very bright of him :)  History also shows that the more totalitarian the nation, the more likely they are to make miscalculations.  There's a lot of reasons for that.

Steve

 See this is how Westerners contribute their share to the problems of the divide between West-Rest relations. Saddam Hussein had a vested interest in maintaining an arms detente with the Iranians, and it just so turned out that allowing weapons inspectors into his country to confirm that he was nowhere near as heavily armed as he liked act was actually not in his interest either. Of course this is only one more example in the West's long history of subtly maneuvering lesser states into political no-win scenarios. It turns out when you constantly push poor, small nations into binary decisions about their security they lash out but i'm not counting on anyone in America to figure out how this applies to the Russians. 

Whatever. Yet another thread somewhere on the chronically out-of-touch reaches of the internet haw hawing those stupid foreigners. 

Edited by CaptHawkeye

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