Jump to content
lordhedgwich

Russian army under equipped?

Recommended Posts

To "C3k" (Quoting got messed up)

 

A heavy brigade in Poland is "meh". Political willpower is key. One guy is bare-chested and wrestles tigers. The other guy wears mom-jeans while riding bikes on Martha's Vineyard. ;) If that imagery doesn't do it, just look at past practice: "Don't cross my Red lines" vs invading Ukraine.

Yeah and one kills reporters and "enemies" of the state, and illegally invades countries killing thousands in the process, huge difference!

The bias here is obvious and does nothing except make your argument moot.

Edited by Raptorx7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ukraine resurgent while Russia is distracted? I don't see it. It takes a LOT more to generate offensive power than it does to be on the defensive.

You forget that Ukraine went on a very successful and very rapid offensive when it was dramatically weaker in every conceivable way, including a general staff that had extremely divided loyalties.  The only reason Ukraine didn't recover every inch of its territory is because Russia launched a very large counter offensive with regular forces.  The Ukrainian Army of today is vastly more capable and competent, while on the other side it seems things are even worse militarily than they were in summer of 2014.  Without very large and direct military assistance from regular Russian forces, Ukraine could retake the Donbas within a few weeks.  There are several reasons why they do not do that, the biggest being Russia's military deterrence.  Remove that, have Russia weakened in other ways, and bob's your uncle the territory will be back under Ukrainian control.

A heavy brigade in Poland is "meh". Political willpower is key. One guy is bare-chested and wrestles tigers. The other guy wears mom-jeans while riding bikes on Martha's Vineyard. ;) If that imagery doesn't do it, just look at past practice: "Don't cross my Red lines" vs invading Ukraine.

Two years ago I had similar concerns about a possible Western wishy washy response to an invasion of the Baltics, but I do not think the facts support such concern today.  One of Putin's many, many, many mistakes was giving the West time to get used to the idea that Russia under Putin is an adversary.  An idea that Putin has gone out of his way to hammer into the heads of the West.  Worse, he's removed all the incentives the West had to appease Putin (investment opportunities, gas dependency, quiet/stable neighbor, etc.)

While it is true that some nations in Europe are still very much under the sway of Russian influence (i.e. money), and therefore would not do much/anything to oppose further Russian aggression westward, there is a critical mass that has shown it won't put up with it.  Those nations, which includes the US, have set up a sort of mini NATO which ensures that if Putin were to invade the Baltics there would be a major response even if some NATO nations tried to scuttle meaningful response.  Why else do you think the guy in mom jeans put "trigger forces" in each of the three Baltic states?  And why do you think that Putin's regime had an aneurysm when he did?  Russia knows what those forces represent.

My point was only to show that a supposed Western defence of the Baltics is as flimsy as the West's defense of Poland in 1939.

I must have missed your point, because I don't see you having established anything of the sort.

Steve

Edited by Battlefront.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To "C3k" (Quoting got messed up)

 

Yeah and one kills reporters and "enemies" of the state, and illegally invades countries killing thousands in the process, huge difference!

The bias here is obvious and does nothing except make your argument moot.

Obama does not kill reporters.!.. oh wait... never mind.

Well Ken and I are not on the same page in that regard.  I have no issues with my President's "machismo" versus the chest thumping Putin.  I don't need a WWF guy for president.

I'll take this

an American politician currently serving as the 44th President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School between 1992 and 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004

over this anyday.

He was a KGB agent in East Germany until the fall of the Berlin wall at which time he became a crook in the St Petersburg gov't before cashing in on his connections to take over the Russian government and run it for the exclusive benefit of his cronies.  He occasionally wrestles bears and bears his chest.

But that doesn't make any of the rest of what Ken says moot.

However I think comparing the US navy and the embargo of Iran to a potential embargo of Russia in a wartime situation is comparing apples to oranges.  The embargo of Iran was an international consensus embargo based on nuclear proliferation agreements.  An embargo based on a state of war is a whole other matter.  If the US declared war on Iran today, do you think there would be an Iranian navy or air force tomorrow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah and one kills reporters and "enemies" of the state, and illegally invades countries killing thousands in the process, huge difference!

Not to mention that it's better to have a leader wearing mom jeans and riding a bicycle than a leader who is bare chested and riding... nah, that was too easy :D

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Err, "bias" may not be the word you're looking for. If it is the word you're looking for, perhaps the thrust of my posts is being missed. Maybe you didn't see my polonium reference?

Shrug. Putin is dictator of Russia. (Not saying his powerbase is totally secure, just that what he says is what happens. At least for now.  (From the Latin "dictatore" or some other gerund past participle nominative form of "to dictate".) ) Dictators get to do what they want, until they die or are deposed. I'm not sure of any ever retiring... Anyway, if he thinks invading the Baltics is in his best interest, he'll do it. I'm merely dressing up how it will be done and comparing the lack of western resolve to Russian action. The western democracies are ridiculously inept at this present time. Would a Russian invasion of the Baltics change that? I don't know. I know that some Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians are LITERALLY betting their countries' existence on that premise. I wouldn't. How'd it work for Poland?

The key for the Baltics is to make sure Putin NEVER thinks invading the Baltics is in HIS best interest.

Let's take Steve's numbers for Russian military as the basis of a possible invasion. Now, let's take the numbers VaB posted for active-duty Baltic militaries as the defense force. How much would Russia have to flex to conquer them? Belarus may or may not play along. ("Just let us drive along the highway through Minsk and we won't have to invade you, comrade.")

The fecklessness of western politicians CANNOT be overstated.  The day Russia invaded the Crimea, western forces should've moved tripwire units to Poland and the Baltic states. Oh, how'd that treaty with Ukraine work out? Any western forces there? Any observers? Any military supplies? Yeah. Feckless. Or complicit. Shrug.

The question is whether Russia has the CAPABILITY. The answer is "yes". Does it have the will? Well, that depends on Putin's mood that morning. How about the west? The argument will be given that "we can move in with lightning speed once we see the Russians moving that way." Hah! Like they disseminated no-fly information to airliners over an ACTIVE WARZONE??? They will use the excuse that their intel organs failed the decision makers. This will be AFTER the invasion. (Hey, not saying it's likely, but if it happens, that's how it'll play.) As long as the politicians have an excuse, or a scapegoat, they're happy. They can meet in Davos and discuss it over champagne.

Russia has the capability. The problem for Russia is that it has a LOT of pressing problems right now. Creating a new problem (invading the Baltics) doesn't make sense to me. But then, I don't decide where Russian military forces go.

 

Edited due to crosspostings...

akd: agreed. I'd rather not have a bizarrely machismo KGB agent in charge, either. Just using examples to show how each personality shows itself.

Steve: Poland in '39. Hmm, how to establish whatever it was I was establishing? Ah, the weakness of Western political will. France and England did not aid Poland when it was invaded, despite a treaty to do so. (Lots of reasons why: speed of the fall (including Soviet invasion), distance, lack of preparations, etc.) That's about all I was trying show. The historical precedence of western inaction to "eastern" problems. Is the west more alert to Putin? Maybe. What has been DONE since?

 

Edited by c3k

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But then, I don't decide where Russian military forces go.

 

Thank god cause we have seen how ferocious your guys are already!  Sheesh they'd scare the bejeezus out of the West.  ;)  Gotta admit I like your AAR commentary the most.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shrug. Putin is dictator of Russia. (Not saying his powerbase is totally secure, just that what he says is what happens. At least for now.  (From the Latin "dictatore" or some other gerund past participle nominative form of "to dictate".) ) Dictators get to do what they want, until they die or are deposed. I'm not sure of any ever retiring... Anyway, if he thinks invading the Baltics is in his best interest, he'll do it.

Yes, for sure this is the case.  

I'm merely dressing up how it will be done and comparing the lack of western resolve to Russian action. The western democracies are ridiculously inept at this present time. Would a Russian invasion of the Baltics change that? I don't know. I know that some Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians are LITERALLY betting their countries' existence on that premise. I wouldn't. How'd it work for Poland?

It's never a good idea to mix and match political will of different times and circumstances.  It's not very useful.  But yes, there is definitely concern about what NATO would do in the event of an invasion of the Baltics.  The good news is that NATO has been struggling with this before 2014 and has apparently had enough time to get some of its priorities straightened out.

The key for the Baltics is to make sure Putin NEVER thinks invading the Baltics is in HIS best interest.

Yup, which is why they are getting Javelins and Lithuania is doubling their land component.  It is also why the US has prepositioned big boom-booms and put trigger forces in place.  It's why there's been an increase in the Baltic Air Patrol and more rotation of NATO aircraft into the region.  I know a guy who has gone over TWICE with A-10s.  Now, what sort of message does a bunch of A-10s give off?  There's only one reason for them to be there.

Let's take Steve's numbers for Russian military as the basis of a possible invasion. Now, let's take the numbers VaB posted for active-duty Baltic militaries as the defense force. How much would Russia have to flex to conquer them? Belarus may or may not play along. ("Just let us drive along the highway through Minsk and we won't have to invade you, comrade.")

The fecklessness of western politicians CANNOT be overstated.  The day Russia invaded the Crimea, western forces should've moved tripwire units to Poland and the Baltic states. Oh, how'd that treaty with Ukraine work out? Any western forces there? Any observers? Any military supplies? Yeah. Feckless. Or complicit. Shrug.

No, distracted, half asleep, and also worried about what Russia could do to their energy supplies in the short term.  As I've said, Putin has given the West time to wake up and get some coffee.

The question is whether Russia has the CAPABILITY. The answer is "yes". Does it have the will? Well, that depends on Putin's mood that morning. How about the west? The argument will be given that "we can move in with lightning speed once we see the Russians moving that way." Hah! Like they disseminated no-fly information to airliners over an ACTIVE WARZONE???

C'mon... that's not even remotely true nor relevant.

Russia has the capability. The problem for Russia is that it has a LOT of pressing problems right now. Creating a new problem (invading the Baltics) doesn't make sense to me. But then, I don't decide where Russian military forces go.

 

Russia has the capability of invading the Baltics, I'm unsure it has the ability to conquer them, and I completely doubt it has the ability to survive the fallout.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok "moot" maybe was a bit over the top but I think it is certainly silly to believe the west wouldn't do anything against Russian aggression in the Baltics because of a "mom jeans" wearing president. The "red" line was certainly controversial but I am glad we didn't carry out what we were going to do, that is a discussion for another thread though, sorry for the derail in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank god cause we have seen how ferocious your guys are already!  Sheesh they'd scare the bejeezus out of the West.  ;)  Gotta admit I like your AAR commentary the most.

LOL... Thanks.

My point is to poke at the assumption of rational behavior by a nation state which is not, imo, run in a rational manner. I've purposely take two extremes, one being Russian belligerence and the other being Western inaction, to show that it COULD happen IF certain positions were taken.

Were I a Western signatory of a defensive treaty with the Baltics, I'd put a mech battalion in each country, along the most likely invasion route, with weapons-free ROE. And I'd advertise it. That would, imo, be a HUGE warning sign saying "Do Not Invade". Shrug. That's my off-the-cuff idea. More, later, when I've had another beer. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Russia has the capability of invading the Baltics, I'm unsure it has the ability to conquer them, and I completely doubt it has the ability to survive the fallout.

Steve

Agreed. But Russian survival is different than Putin survival. (Or, what he THINKS will be best for him. Is he looking at a 1 year horizon, 10 year, or 100 year? And a horizon for himself, or Russia?)

(And HOW do you break up a single quote into multiple pieces!)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

(And HOW do you break up a single quote into multiple pieces!)

 

click where you want to break and hit return/enter  until it breaks into a separate quote window.

 

 

Edited by Sgt Joch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just go in and hit return/enter

 

 

 

 

 

after the text you want to break up until it breaks into a separate quote window.

 

 

Hmm, that didn't work...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh heh copy and paste the quote into notepad and edit it all there. then paste back here. 

Regarding Putin, I don't believe him to be irrational.  The question is simply understanding that what motivates him is different than what motivates most people I know.  Putin in turn has to know how to manage the Russian populace.  I disagree he can do whatever he wants.  I think Putin is actually very constrained, but within those constraints he is free to make decisions fully on his own.  His constraint is he absolutely has to maintain an at worst non political populace.  He is capable of making what I consider to be irrational decisions - because they don't fit into my conception of what is best for Russia.  They do fit into the framework of Putin's view of what is best for him.  I think we absolutely agree there.  What comes next is the hard part- figuring out what Putin thinks is best for him.  So far Putin has been able to keep the population in step, but that was because the money train was rolling and was followed closely by the nationalist train... he is running out of track however and that is where it gets scary.  I don't think invading the Baltics though is gonna help.  He needs to appear to be standing up to aggression and for Russia's interests.  Rescuing Russian folks in the Baltics isn't gonna cut it I don't think.  I suspect Russian people are already jaded by the experience in the Ukraine and with it winding down to Ukraine getting control over it's territories again even your average Russia is gonna wonder what the hell was the point.  Dragging that excuse out again would only cause them to remember all that hype that turned into nothing.

Edited by sburke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Dictators get to do what they want, until they die or are deposed. I'm not sure of any ever retiring...

One of the first - Sulla.
All the more astonishing since he scotched the normal 6 month term when he took over at the point of a sword. But retire he did.

 

That's wildly off topic, I know, but I couldn't let this pass :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL... Thanks.

you have to hit enter a few times until the new window appears

My point is to poke at the assumption of rational behavior by a nation state which is not, imo, run in a rational manner. I've purposely take two extremes, one being Russian belligerence and the other being Western inaction, to show that it COULD happen IF certain positions were taken.

it only seems to work if you click at the end of a paragraph for some unknown reason.

Were I a Western signatory of a defensive treaty with the Baltics, I'd put a mech battalion in each country, along the most likely invasion route, with weapons-free ROE. And I'd advertise it. That would, imo, be a HUGE warning sign saying "Do Not Invade". Shrug. That's my off-the-cuff idea. More, later, when I've had another beer. ;)

I will be glad when the new site is up and running. It is really not user friendly at the moment.

p.s. please carry on. :)

Edited by Sgt Joch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh heh copy and paste the quote into notepad and edit it all there. then paste back here. 

WOOT! All I did was hit return like a refresh-monkey! Oh, joy! What happy day! ;)

 

Regarding Putin, I don't believe him to be irrational.  The question is simply understanding that what motivates him is different than what motivates most people I know.  Putin in turn has to know how to manage the Russian populace.  I disagree he can do whatever he wants.  I think Putin is actually very constrained, but within those constraints he is free to make decisions fully on his own.  His constraint is he absolutely has to maintain a at worst non political populace.  He is capable of making what I consider to be irrational decisions - because they don't fit into my conception of what is best for Russia.  They do fit into the framework of Putin's view of what is best for him.  I think we absolutely agree there.  What comes next is the hard part- figuring out what Putin thinks is best for him.  So far Putin has been able to keep the population in step, but that was because the money train was rolling and was followed closely by the nationalist train... he is running out of track however and that is where it gets scary.  I don't think invading the Baltics though is gonna help.  He needs to appear to be standing up to aggression and for Russia's interests.  Rescuing Russian folks in the Baltics isn't gonna cut it I don't think.  I suspect Russian people are already jaded by the experience in the Ukraine and with it winding down to Ukraine getting control over it's territories again even your average Russia is gonna wonder what the hell was the point.  Dragging that excuse out again would only cause them to remember all that hype that turned into nothing.

I agree. Wholeheartedly.

My purpose for the whole Baltic invasion "rant" was due to my perception that it CANNOT happen being posted upstream. I merely tried to show that it CAN.

My points were:

1. As you posted, that Putin is not acting in manner that Western states would see as "rational".

2. Western states do not honor treaty obligations. (Poland '39 and Ukraine) (Point to be made whether there was an "obligation" to assist Ukraine in the event of an invasion. That it legalistic, not moralistic. If I refuse to allow my neighbor to use my hose to put out his house fire (a la FDR), legally I am not in trouble, but morally I should be deemed reprehensible. Unless I lived next to a crack house or whatnot...)

3. Action beats reaction, time and again.

4. Force correlations are not as even as it may seem.

That's all I was trying to show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so back to the discussion of what may or may not be factors in how Russia decided or not to act.

Article from Newsweek on a poll by the Levada Center.

Nearly half of Russians agree that a quiet anti-constitutional coup has taken place in the country through changes of law that favor corrupt officials in power, according to pollster the Levada Center.

The survey of 1,600 Russians was conducted at the end of December 2015 and involved two groups of 800 people. The first was asked if “recent changes to Russian legislation defending highly ranked corrupt officials at the top of the national government and increasing the crackdown on those who deal in criticizing and unmasking them are all testament of a quiet, anti-constitutional coup in the country.”

Forty-two percent were either entirely in agreement or somewhat in agreement, while only 4 percent completely disagreed. Thirty-six percent struggled to respond.

http://www.newsweek.com/42-percent-russians-believe-corrupt-officials-have-performed-silent-coup-419779

Those are some pretty dangerous numbers for a dictator.  If he stumbles.....   Hence the question about what are the constraints he faces.  Launching an offensive that relies on a conscripted army with a high level of social discontent is a recipe for disaster.

And just in case someone decided to deride the Levada center as some western puppet polling center.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levada_Center

It is a homegrown Russia center that apparently has been held in high regard... as long as it didn't offend the sensibilities of those in power.  Funny story of it's origins and founder

The founding and development of the agency was intertwined with the career of its founder, Yuri Levada — the first professor to teach sociology at Moscow State University. During the political thaw initiated by Nikita Khrushchev, Levada was allowed to carry out limited surveys of public opinion. In one lecture, Levada asserted that tanks could not change ideologies, a reference to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. However, his first conflict with those in power came from a survey asserting that few actually read Pravda's notoriously longwinded editorials; and Pravda quickly and bitterly denounced the sociologist.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're straying into politics, so let's pull ourselves back from that.  While it is relevant to point out Russian government (of which Putin is the head) policy follows a logical path, but alien to Western thinking, let's just leave it as the West being unable to rule out a seemingly suicidal move such as invading the Baltics. 

With this thought in mind, as far as I can recall Ukraine is the first time that Russia's hybrid warfare strategy has not worked as planned.  It certainly is the first time Russia has been punished for its application of a hybrid war.  For certain the powers behind Putin know that Russia is heading into a period of internal political instability and they have all lived through at least one of those so far.  If this doesn't get the powers that control Russia to question the wisdom of another hybrid war at this time, I'd be shocked.

If I were Putin and I were in need of a new distraction for 2016, I'd pick some place where NATO wasn't involved and could be fairly easily chalked up as a "victory".  With the instability growing in the corrupt and failing states along its southern border, I'd pick something from there, make a pretext for intervention, then go and do what needs to be done to walk away with a happy story to tell the public.  Of course I'd also continue screwing around with the Baltics and paying off right wing political groups within the EU, because those are relatively safe activities to engage in. 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'd pay for a CM game like that if you include insurgents in the ToE!  Wait wasn't that CM:Afghanistan?  The more things change.....

Cool Steve just said they will update CM:Afghanistan..at least that is what I heard.  :D

Edited by sburke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my numbers are pretty optimistic, actually.  It really comes down to a guess as to how many forces it can afford to move from their current positions.  We don't know, but keep in mind that the active military force size includes logistics and base personnel that would not move under any circumstances, yet are not capable of projecting power.  Or in business terms, it is Russia's "fixed overhead".  That could be as high as 40,000 right there.

The IISS numbers you used do not include those personnel. They are broken out into a separate "Command and Support" category (150-200,000 for all branches combined).

I also think that if Russia reduced it's presence along the Ukraine's eastern border to 30,000 (as I used in my figures) it would not be enough to deter a Ukrainian offensive in the face of troubles in the Baltics.  Since it's pretty much certain that Russia would not have a cake walk to the coast AND be able to withdraw it's troops quickly/easily, leaving 30,000 along the border would be inviting problems on a second front.  Thinning of forces in Georgia would risk another front.  Thinning forces in the Caucuses could encourage various problems there as well.

Ukrainian moves into eastern Ukraine are a possibility although it's questionable how high a priority that is for the Kremlin in our alternate reality since Russia apparently doesn't actually want eastern Ukraine. Incursions into Russian territory, even disputed territory, would not happen and would ultimately fail if they did.

You say "zero" and "zip" and then lay out a case for them winning :D 

The contention that I was speaking to was that the Baltic states could defeat Russia with no help from other NATO countries. In that scenario there would be no cavalry.

2.  It is probable that their wargame design is lacking detailed and well vetted "soft factors" at the tactical level. 

 This is probably true, but I question how much of a problem it is.

Soft factors are more difficult to accurately quantify than hard factors. This is true even for conflicts that have already happened and have been extensively studied. If I were to go through and set the "typical" soft factors for the CM WW2 games they would be different than they are now across the board, and if you asked 5 other people to do the same you'd get 5 different variations. The problem compounds when modeling forces that have not seen combat. I appreciate that it is necessary to try in a tactical war game like CM and it can be fun and interesting to debate but we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking these are anything more than highly subjective personal opinion. This is, I suspect, why professionals such as Rand don't even try.

Having said all that and with the stipulation that I never played Shock Force, I suspect that if you set up a scenario in CM with accurate force ratios and TO&E, and gave the Russians realistic quantities of artillery and air support you could set the soft factors to anything you want and the Latvian player would rage quit :P Let's not fool ourselves here. The US DoD probably spends more money on MREs than Estonia's entire defense budget. These are not serious war fighting armies built for high intensity, highly kinetic conflicts. They are speed bumps. In the event of a Russian invasion their mission is to hold out for 72 hours. It's questionable if they could do that right now outside of a few enclaves.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for comparison

Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2015 population is about 3.75 million.

Latvia has 2,070,371 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi).[

Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.9 million people as of 2015 Area Total 65,300 km2  25,212 sq mi

Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea,[15] covering 45,339 km2 (17,505 sq mi) of land with a population of 1.3 million

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Georgia 26,911 sq miles          Population 3.75 million

Baltic States 67,620 Sq Miles  Population 6,270,371

The Russia/Georgia war lasted 4 days and eventually a ceasefire was negotiated.  4 days in a country half the size with about 2/3 rd the population. A country with no NATO members next door.  The capital was still in Georgian hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×