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War on the rocks - hypothetical NATO-RUS

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12 minutes ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Looking at the road network around Mariupol it is clearly an important transport hub. If Russia invades Ukraine one of the strategic objectives will be to open a land route to the Crimea. Mariupol is in a location where it blocks th advance down th coast road needed for that thrust and for the logistics to support that advance. True CMBS is a tactical game, not an operational /strategic one but we cannot simply ignore the issue We could certainly set a scenario or two in and around the city

As I said, it is important only in the context of a broader campaign.  Anything less than that and on its own it's a pointless objective to fuss over.

In a broader campaign, such as a land bridge to Crimea, involves far more issues than "can Russia take the city in 5 days".  Even if it took it in 1 day with no casualties that doesn't mean it can hold it in any meaningful sense of the word.

Steve

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1 minute ago, Battlefront.com said:

There's another angle.  Traditional Russian/Soviet offensive doctrinal principles are a series of objectives with each one becoming less planned for than the one prior to it.  Everything is geared for this, in particular institutional organizations.  In the case of Mariupol it means having a pretty detailed and well planned attack to take isolate the city, a less planned way to take it, and an even less planned way to defend it, and pretty much no plan at all to hold it.  All of its strengths are focused on the first step, which means all of its weaknesses are progressively exposed as things progress.  If major variables go its way and the counter measures aren't outside of anticipated parameters, it can work just fine.  But how often does that work out?

Look at Russia's war against Georgia.  The initial phase of getting into Georgia went well in military terms, but each passing day things started to go less well.  If the war turned into a protracted conflict it could have been another (smaller scale) Chechnya.  Fortunately for Russia, Georgia threw in the towel quickly.  Similarly for the Second Chechen War, it likely would have gone in a different direction had they not corrupted a significant amount of the Chechen fighters to switch sides.

Steve

I have to side with Panzersaurkrautwerfer on this one Steve

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2 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

As I said, it is important only in the context of a broader campaign.  Anything less than that and on its own it's a pointless objective to fuss over.

In a broader campaign, such as a land bridge to Crimea, involves far more issues than "can Russia take the city in 5 days".  Even if it took it in 1 day with no casualties that doesn't mean it can hold it in any meaningful sense of the word.

Steve

If you can't run your fuel trucks down that road your armoured spearheads are going to run out of fuel. The Russians will have to take Mariupol for the same reason the US had o take An Nasiryah in2003. Whether it is a campaign to open a land route to the Crimea or a larger invasion of Ukraine the generls will still have t think about the logistics. Some form of fight for Mariupol is likely to happen unless the Ukranans choose to withdraw

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7 minutes ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Russia would be worried even if NATO imply blockaded Kaliningrad in the event of war. A sensible Russian war plan would have to consider the contingency.

I believe it has already done that and we can see it right now:

1.  Don't make the war in Ukraine flair up again if at all possible

2.  Don't invade the Baltics

Meaning... don't invite disaster by tangling with NATO in the first place.  As the old saying goes, sometimes the only way to come out ahead is by not playing the game in the first place.

Steve

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50 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

I believe it has already done that and we can see it right now:

1.  Don't make the war in Ukraine flair up again if at all possible

2.  Don't invade the Baltics

Meaning... don't invite disaster by tangling with NATO in the first place.  As the old saying goes, sometimes the only way to come out ahead is by not playing the game in the first place.

Steve

The only way thus war is likely to happen is if NATO weakness and political division tempts Putin into doing and underestimating he NATO reaction something stupid. He will only invade the Baltic States if he thinks he can get away with it or he is already at war with NATO mover something else. In which case he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb (it is the only chance Russia is going to get of retaking, as Putin sees it)

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

Great, then we're all in agreement because I was reinforcing Panzersaurkrautwerfer's points :D

Steve

Just do me one favour and look at the road network in the area on Google Earth. And consider the logistics of  a Russian advance down the Black Sea Coast. Also note the two airfields to the North West of the city which could be militarily useful t Russia  

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2 hours ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Just do me one favour and look at the road network in the area on Google Earth. And consider the logistics of  a Russian advance down the Black Sea Coast. Also note the two airfields to the North West of the city which could be militarily useful t Russia  

The Russians would never use an airfield that close to the front lines during a war, that would be a lovely target for all sorts of precision munitions and artillery.

Edited by Raptorx7

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Steve,

I wonder what the effect might be, in terms of negating the value of entrenchments, basements and other positions which traditionally have made MOUT such a nightmare, of Russian use of TOS-1A, BM-27 and BM-30 MRLs ( not to mention FOAB), below) to deliver large quantities of thermobaric warheads on the city, presuming Russia desired to take it?  The Russians, after all, would have no compunction about using them, as seen in one of the later, and successful, Grozny battles. 

Here's a great TOS-1A video, with the added bonus of showing the Russian soldiers firing away on the Schmel A trainer.

FOAB (Father Of All Bombs) delivered by an actual jet bomber, rather than a turboprop C-130, like we deliver MOAB. Would imagine FOAB would be rather effective in beating down resistance. Whether what remained would be navigable I couldn't say.
 

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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I've got other things to attend to, so speed replies!

 

6 hours ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

If you can't run your fuel trucks down that road your armoured spearheads are going to run out of fuel. The Russians will have to take Mariupol for the same reason the US had o take An Nasiryah in2003. Whether it is a campaign to open a land route to the Crimea or a larger invasion of Ukraine the generls will still have t think about the logistics. Some form of fight for Mariupol is likely to happen unless the Ukranans choose to withdraw

You're not approaching this objectively.  You're asking why we should take Mariupol instead of the more relevant question of if we should take Mariupol.  You've already reached the conclusion it must be taken, now you're just tacking reasons onto it.

Firstly, as always your "limited war" is just World War Three's opening acts.  This is about the standard for your posting, but it's a distinction worth making again.  This will end with the usual limited strikes on Western Europe/Eastern Seaboard of the US spiel, with the odd lack of recognition that again, you've started World War Three.  

Secondly to accomplish your opening acts of global war level actions, maybe Mariupol would be required.  Without a doubt it's a major node, and in a long drawn out campaign it has facilities that, assuming they haven't been destroyed may become of some use.

However Russia does not have the resources, national will, or intent to conduct a long drawn out campaign, because for reasons discussed, and agreed to by all parties, it's a conflict they will lose and lose badly.  Which gets to the heart of the matter:

There is no need to take Mariupol for a limited warfare engagement, and it in fact, is highly detrimental to Russian self interest to get dragged into fighting in a major urban center for two airfields it will never use, and access to parts of the country it may not even need to get to.  The pricetag of a major urban slugfest is too much to bear for a limited short conflict both in "loss" and "opportunity loss."

The Iraq conflict in 2003 is exactly why you're not getting it.  The US had the national will, capabilities, and support (or perhaps lack of opposition) internationally  to stage and fight a war to conventional conclusion.  The way it accomplished that is going into Baghdad and blowing up statues.  Al Nasiryah is a key node to get from SP to RP if that is your mission.

In a limited border skirmish, which is what Russia can afford to get into, it makes zero sense to pay for and retain major real estate.  A large scale raid makes sense because it offers the lowest risk for greatest reward, and preserves the most Russian forces for the future.  Opening large parts of the Russian military to the receiving end of "Operation Ukrainian Liberty" in exchange for land it cannot hold, or even use if it could is deeply silly.

RE: Kettler/TOS-1

Think of it like the direct fire employment of the M12 in Aachen.  It was a very powerful tool that made the fight easier at times.  It did not however ultimately change the battle and allow for a rapid conquest of a major urban center.  Good weapons make good tactics and strategy better, they do not replace them.

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5 hours ago, John Kettler said:

FOAB (Father Of All Bombs) delivered by an actual jet bomber, rather than a turboprop C-130, like we deliver MOAB. Would imagine FOAB would be rather effective in beating down resistance. Whether what remained would be navigable I couldn't say.
 

Regards,

John Kettler

Is there any footage of it actually coming out of the TU-160? I couldn't find any on YouTube. Plenty of videos of the TU-160 AND the FOAB, but never the latter actually falling from something clearly the former. The video you posted (and the shot seen most often) looks an awful lot like it's coming out of the back of a cargo plane MOAB style.

 

As for the effectiveness of this bomb, yeah it's scary but that's about it. A B-1 packed to the gills with SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) will do far more meaningful damage than that thing. Leveling neighborhoods tends to go over poorly when you can put a bomb through the firing pits in a bunker instead. Of course there was a distinct lack of PGMs in the Russian campaign in Syria, so I'm not really surprised by this mentality.

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Codename Duchess,

Here's a very good video of the test, but I wouldn't absolutely guarantee what looks like the delivery platform immediately prior is the platform. Notice particularly the shattering effects vs reinforced concrete structures, precisely the kind of cover which made it possible to turn Stalingrad and Grozny into meat grinders.

But let's say it doesn't fit the Tu-160. Russia has plenty of Tu-95Ds, and the size of this test article is at least on par with FOAB. This also shows Russia's long fondness for gigantic booms. And this was a fizzle--a mere ~57 MT of a planned 100 MT!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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8 hours ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

The only way thus war is likely to happen is if NATO weakness and political division tempts Putin into doing and underestimating he NATO reaction something stupid. He will only invade the Baltic States if he thinks he can get away with it or he is already at war with NATO mover something else. In which case he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb (it is the only chance Russia is going to get of retaking, as Putin sees it)

Very true, but you're confusing what Putin believes vs. what would likely happen.  Putin believed he snag Crimea and have Ukraine collapse so that it would revert to a vassal state of Moscow.  It didn't work out that way, did it?  Putin also believed he could head off meaningful sanctions by leveraging all those fascist political groups within the EU that he's been funding for a dozen years.  That didn't work out either.  He thought he could bribe Greece into scuttling sanctions by bribing them.  That didn't work out either.  Putin thought it was a great idea to put a BUK system into Ukraine.  That didn't work out well for sure.  I can list dozens of other small, medium, and massively large miscalculations over the past 3 years starting with Russia's handling of Maidan in the early days.

Which is to say that when I'm outlining what would likely happen to Russia if Russia did X activity, I'm looking at it as objectively as possible.  Russia is on the very edge of its capabilities already.  One move too much in the wrong direction at the wrong time and the house of cards it has labored to build over the past 25 years will come crashing down.

8 hours ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Just do me one favour and look at the road network in the area on Google Earth. And consider the logistics of  a Russian advance down the Black Sea Coast. Also note the two airfields to the North West of the city which could be militarily useful t Russia  

I don't have to because I looked over this terrain when doing the backstory and when Russian forces were seeking to take it in the Summer 2014 counter offensive.  I also have a friend who is a OSCE monitor stationed there for the past year, so I'm already familiar with it.

Would Russia like to take Mariupol if there were no downsides?  Sure.  Could it surround it?  Probably.  Could it take it?  Maybe, but that depends more on Ukraine than Russia.  Could it hold it after surrounding or taking it?  No.  Because any scenario you can paint that realistically gives Russia a chance of cutting off or taking Mariupol puts other things in motion which will almost certainly prove too much for it to handle.

Steve

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3 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

There is no need to take Mariupol for a limited warfare engagement, and it in fact, is highly detrimental to Russian self interest to get dragged into fighting in a major urban center for two airfields it will never use, and access to parts of the country it may not even need to get to.  The pricetag of a major urban slugfest is too much to bear for a limited short conflict both in "loss" and "opportunity loss."

^ This ^  Mariupol on its own is pointless to invest in taking.  Sure, if the Ukrainians had fallen to pieces in 2014 either in the Spring (when it was partially under Russian control) or during the Russian 2014 counter offensive, sure... why not take it?  But now?  It's one of the best defended sectors of the Ukrainian front and previous attempts to make even limited progress ground to a halt with significant casualties.  Which means if Russia wanted Mariupol it would have to engage in a major operation and that is very risky for Russia.  Making the operation even larger, such as securing a land bridge to Crimea, borders on crack smoking.  Therefore, what's the point of a highly risky limited action that is only useful as part of a vastly riskier larger action?  Nothing sane about it and since I think Putin is sane, I don't see it happening.

3 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:


The Iraq conflict in 2003 is exactly why you're not getting it.  The US had the national will, capabilities, and support (or perhaps lack of opposition) internationally  to stage and fight a war to conventional conclusion.  The way it accomplished that is going into Baghdad and blowing up statues.  Al Nasiryah is a key node to get from SP to RP if that is your mission.

Further, Al Nasiryah could have been bypassed if need be and the outcome would have been the same... total defeat for Iraq.

In fact, this is a lesson that comes up from time to time when Putin's perception of Russia's capabilities is talked about.  Saddam thought he could imply that he had WMDs so as to scare his neighbors and perhaps the West into bending to his will.  Instead he overplayed his hand and wound up being strung up by the neck.  I'm sure Gaddafi didn't think NATO would intervene either.

Steve

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27 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

Codename Duchess,

Here's a very good video of the test, but I wouldn't absolutely guarantee what looks like the delivery platform immediately prior is the platform. Notice particularly the shattering effects vs reinforced concrete structures, precisely the kind of cover which made it possible to turn Stalingrad and Grozny into meat grinders.

But let's say it doesn't fit the Tu-160. Russia has plenty of Tu-95Ds, and the size of this test article is at least on par with FOAB. This also shows Russia's long fondness for gigantic booms. And this was a fizzle--a mere ~57 MT of a planned 100 MT!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

That's the video in question. It's some clever editing but again no proof that's dropped from a TU-160. Watch a daisy cutter drop and it's very similar. Also why would a high performance jet bomber need a parachute retarded bigass bomb? It's not going to be affected by the blast wave.  No, methinks that the chute is opened to pull it from the cargo bay, again exactly like a C-130. If it was a TU-95, why not show the TU-95 drop it? In the absence of other evidence I call propaganda footage.

And two things about Tsar: it didn't fizzle, it was deliberately restricted to only 50MT. I think they didn't want to ruin the Earth. Good on them. Second and more relevant, that TU-95 was specially modified for the drop and the bomb didn't fit fully in the bomb bay. So either Russia has specially modified TU-95s for one bomb or it's cargo dropped. 

Furthermore I stand by my belief that Precision Munitions are going to be much more effective than a single big but not nuclear bomb, especially in an urban fight. There's a reason why the US has grown fond of smaller standoff bombs that can choose which tooth you want the bomb to hit, and it's not because no one ever talked about a bigger bomb.

Edit: it seems I'm not the only one who smelled fish

https://www.wired.com/2007/10/russian-father/

http://www.dw.com/en/russian-bomb-claims-questionable-expert-says/a-2782398-1

Edited by Codename Duchess

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52 minutes ago, Codename Duchess said:

That's the video in question. It's some clever editing but again no proof that's dropped from a TU-160.

If I had a Dollar for every Russian military video that is not what it purports to be I could stop making games and live in luxurious retirement :D

52 minutes ago, Codename Duchess said:

Furthermore I stand by my belief that Precision Munitions are going to be much more effective than a single big but not nuclear bomb, especially in an urban fight. There's a reason why the US has grown fond of smaller standoff bombs that can choose which tooth you want the bomb to hit, and it's not because no one ever talked about a bigger bomb.

Russia's recent actions in Syria back this up.  Reports from the ground show that cluster munitions and dumb bombs are great for killing women, children, and the elderly... not so great at taking out enemy fighters and equipment.  Oh, and it's also a great way to create heaps of rubble that might come in handy for a defender in a MOUT fight.

I'd take a single JDAM that hits exactly what it's aimed at vs. a plethora of dumb bombs any day.  Plus, who says you only get to have one?

Smart bombs are perfectly capable of taking out a pretty big chunk of terrain.  More importantly, they are capable of taking out the intended chunk of terrain ;)

Steve

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Codename Duchess,

What I said was the US assessment based on samples collected and analyzed, among other means. My source was a guy directly connected through back channels with the (OSWR) Office of Scientific and Weapons Research at the CIA. I was briefed on this circa 1980, and he was in awe of the detonation, referring to it as a "miniature sun." Let's just say I nearly had an incontinence event as a result. Were I heart attack prone, I would certainly have had one then. As it was, I was hit so hard by what I'd just heard that I stopped breathing for quite a few seconds. 

Somewhat later I flew to Washington DC with him. On that trip, we were admitted to the CIA building,  where I met his sponsor, the head of OSWR, saw his office door and then had to leave so the colleague of mine could get the latest intel dump. Nor was it brief, for he spent the next entire day there, providing me with the opportunity to get paid while exploring the Smithsonian and other wonders in the area.

That visit absolutely convinced me as to the credibility of the astounding things that colleague used to say to get program managers to build weapons which would actually be able to locate and kill what we called SUAWACS (initially a Tu-95 variant and subsequently replaced by the full-on Il-76 MAINSTAY;, to properly model Russian seeker performance; understand the true, and terrifying, reality that our far term threat projection ASCM under contract definition was in fact operational, a situation we handled by means of a "excursion from the baseline." whereupon informed visitors would take note of our findings, nod and wordlessly and take them back to their operational digs.

I was in the office of the ANTISUAWACS Missile program manager when this guy, to whom the manager wasn't paying proper attention regarding how his giant air-to-air ARM wouldn't work because it was set to hear the wrong radar frequencies. After it was clear he wasn't getting through, he proceeded to write a bunch of Date/Time groups, various designators and numbers on the board (ELINT intercepts, maybe more) of Russian tests, whereupon the manager turned white as the proverbial sheet and looked close to collapse. Mission accomplished, and manager still reeling under the shattering informational blow, my co-worker meticulously erased the blackboard and, followed by a rather stunned me, left the office. Thereafter, when he spoke the manager was exceedingly attentive.

In light of this, though, it would appear the Agency may've had a fairly good inside source who supplied the 100 MT design yield, but perhaps missed the subsequent change. Contrariwise, how do we know that the Russians didn't simply have an underperforming 100 MT device and masked the failure by stating the planned and recorded yield was half of the planned one and then portraying this as a rather bizarre form of environmental responsibility after the fact? You know perfectly well the US and USSR are perfectly capable of and have many times grossly distorted or outright lied about the results of weapon tests, and the Russian system of government is far less tolerant of major weapon program shortfalls than ours. 

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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I'm not sure what AWACS had to do with that but I guess it's conceivable that it was fully planned for 100 MT but didn't reach it. I do recall reading somewhere that they replaced part X with Y so that it was reduced in yield, but my callsign isn't Oppenheimer so I don't know specifics. Edit: I just checked Wikipedia  (not quite ONI, I know) and they rather convincingly said something similar about replacing things with Lead because otherwise the bomber wouldn't make it and most of the fallout would end up in the Soviet Union. 

Be that as it may, you took one sentence from my post and ran with it rather than acknowledging anything else I said. Furthermore it proves my two main points: 1) Russian (Soviet in your case) military propaganda isn't reliable and 2) lot of little bombs > one big one. Go to nuke map and compare the area covered by Tsar with one covered by 8 300kT warheads.

Anyway, this thread isn't about nuclear specifics, although I don't see why one of those wouldn't be the most effective way of neutralizing Mariupol. 

Edited by Codename Duchess

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3 hours ago, Codename Duchess said:

Furthermore it proves my two main points: 1) Russian (Soviet in your case) military propaganda isn't reliable

Next you're going to tell me the world is round!  :D  When it comes to the real capabilities in the field, there isn't a less reliable source than official channels.  That is true to some extent for any nation, but the more despotic the nation the more true it is.

3 hours ago, Codename Duchess said:

Anyway, this thread isn't about nuclear specifics, although I don't see why one of those wouldn't be the most effective way of neutralizing Mariupol. 

Yes, let's please not talk about technical aspects of any weapon, especially nukes.  It has no place in this discussion.

Steve

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But Steve surely as weak as NATO is they would be too scared to respond to a Russian nuclear strike on a major population center. Now, how do you think such a strike would effect Russian supply throughput to Kiev for the inevitable attack on it?

Edited by Raptorx7

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The problem with bringing nukes into the discussion is that there are only two possible outcomes:

1.  The side hit doesn't respond with nukes and tries to settle it some other way.

2.  The other side responds with nukes instead of trying to settle it some other way.

In either case whatever is being debated becomes utterly irrelevant.  Or does someone think that Russia holding Mariupol because it nuked Kiev matters?  I sure as Hell don't.  The world will have much, much, much bigger issues to deal with other than a local road network being in the hands of Russia.

So let's just keep nukes out of this and all future discussions.  It's a pointless road to go down.

Steve

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Steve. Dont get mad but let me say one thing.

Its been widely acknowledged the Soviets called Nixon and asked if they could preemptively strike china with a massive nuclear attack and could the usa please stay out. Nixon told em we.d start throwing arnd icbms too.

If Russia introduced any nuclear weapons I have ZERO doubt the US woulsnt use any or that once the nuclear pandoras box is open it can be closed or contained.  No.

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You guys are ruining my potential Russian campaign :'(

I know this sounds obvious,  but just so it's said,  from this discussion  the primary factor affecting if Russia goes full retard on the Ukraine is not NATO but the Ukrainians themselves.  They have rebuilt their army (and are continuing to do so) into something sufficient to require a full-on, open book RUS commitment to defeat. They are a strong, but brittle, tripwire. 

It would take a massive effort of agitating fresh rebellion,  fighting against the general awareness of Russia's hand in everything,  in order to stretch the UA to breaking point. But the UA has already seen what can happen if it doesn't act quickly and I suspect will stamp down hard and fast on any new rebellions. 

At this point I dont think we can posit a RUS attack and not have it part of a much wider, and as mentioned  opening act" to a general war. 

Mariupol has been strongly dismissed as a useful objective. 

Looking further ahead,  Melitopol seems like a useful intersection. 

 

 

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