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War on the rocks - hypothetical NATO-RUS

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So if it's essentially an inevitable win for the Ukraine why would they bother holding back?

Wait two more years, train like the mad angry Bastards they are, up-gun everywhere possible, train intensively for  combined arms maneuver war and once Russia's starting to tear at itself go full-desert storm on the Separatists. Break through, outflank major resistance centres and Recapture the border. 

i.e. Reconstitute the border line, forcing Russian forces to fight across in order to rescue/reinforce it's trapped units. 

Crossing a contested, hastily fortified Ukrainian border, against Ukrainian units very publicly stating they are defending their internationally recognized borderline, would amount to invasion. 

My understanding with the propaganda war of '14/15 is that one reason Russia was able to control the narrative (or at least cloud it)  was that the Ukraine did not have enough forces to hold the border crossings. Some heavy fights sure,  but in the end they left, allowing uncontested crossing by Russian holidayers. This time,  the Ukrainians  don't leave. 

Following this rationale the Donbass is not about Donetsk and Luhansk, or any population centres really, but about the Border Crossings and who gets to say where Ukraine stops and Russia begins. Control that zone, make Russia overtly fight to break through and you have the moral, political  and legal victory. To win is not  to fight a series of urban battles but about 3 deep strikes aiming to hit the border and fan out, sealing the Donbass in. 

Offer the rebs terms and a referendum and state if Russia interferes it amounts to invasion. 

Naturally it wouldn't be as clear cut as above, but the basic plan is there. Seal them in, deny reinforcement, reclaim the Ukraine's own border. 

This,  I suspect, was the initial target of the ATO, why it's units hit the border and why it sent that deep strike curving through the two regions. 

Only, this time - the Ukraine immediately digs in a tripwire force while keeping mobile battle groups further back out of immediate artillery range to catch and crush/deflect any Russian incursions. Russian artillery and missile fire will be terrible but if the Ukrainians can hold on, and know where their real fight is (ie the border) their tenacity will soon enough amount to a win. 

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From the start I've been looking at this from a Russian perspective, where they are the initiators. But if the Ukraine is the driver it becomes a whole other, and possibly more interesting, story.

Edited by kinophile

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3 hours ago, kinophile said:

In terms of getting the Syrian forces north

The air force and various spetsnaz units could be moved within a few days, the naval vessels in a few days more. Aside from that Russia doesn't have enough in Syria to be of much consequence in your scenario. Armenia and Tajikistan each have larger contingents of Russian forces than Syria.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B

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46 minutes ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

The air force and various spetsnaz units could be moved within a few days, the naval vessels in a few days more. Aside from that Russia doesn't have enough in Syria to be of much consequence in your scenario. Armenia and Tajikistan each have larger contingents of Russian forces than Syria.

True, for now. But yes.

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5 hours ago, kinophile said:

Every time my marching band strikes up a tune the heavens open up on them.

Heh... sorry about that!  I've been studying warfare for a couple of decades and most of that time I focused on the higher level stuff, not tactical.  Which is odd because I make tactical level wargames for a living :)

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

So if it's essentially an inevitable win for the Ukraine why would they bother holding back?

Oh, for sure it's not an inevitable win.  There's definitely some ways that Ukraine could wind up botching their side of the equation.  But it's not likely.  More importantly Ukraine is fighting for its own soil, Russia is the invader.  This means Ukraine has more ability to recover from a screwup than Russia does.  Furthering that, Ukraine has allies and Russia doesn't.

Having said that, for Russia to win it has to get very, very lucky.  It has to do nearly everything on its side perfectly and Ukraine has to pretty much screw up big time.  And the more aggressive Russia is, the more they need to do everything perfectly and the more they need Ukraine to screw up.  Based on the analysis of the last two years of warfare in Donbas... Russia would be an absolute fool to think the odds are in their favor because they have screwed up a lot and Ukraine has surprisingly done quite well.

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

Wait two more years, train like the mad angry Bastards they are, up-gun everywhere possible, train intensively for  combined arms maneuver war and once Russia's starting to tear at itself go full-desert storm on the Separatists. Break through, outflank major resistance centres and Recapture the border. 

i.e. Reconstitute the border line, forcing Russian forces to fight across in order to rescue/reinforce it's trapped units. 

The border is key.  Which is why Russia, from the very beginning, made sure it controlled it and nobody else had a say in what moved over it.  Without Russian weapons, ammo, goods, personnel, etc. flowing into Donbas the fighters there couldn't hold out for very long.

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

Crossing a contested, hastily fortified Ukrainian border, against Ukrainian units very publicly stating they are defending their internationally recognized borderline, would amount to invasion. 

My understanding with the propaganda war of '14/15 is that one reason Russia was able to control the narrative (or at least cloud it)  was that the Ukraine did not have enough forces to hold the border crossings. Some heavy fights sure,  but in the end they left, allowing uncontested crossing by Russian holidayers. This time,  the Ukrainians  don't leave. 

That is correct.  Because of the legacy of Cold War bases, the bulk of Ukraine's military force was in the west and not in the east.  On top of that very little of it was in uniform at the time and even less of that was capable of doing much of anything.  Ukraine was also in political turmoil with tons of people in important positions being on Russia's payroll or otherwise sympathetic to Russia's interests.  By the time Ukraine got things straightened out they lost the border.

 

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

Following this rationale the Donbass is not about Donetsk and Luhansk, or any population centres really, but about the Border Crossings and who gets to say where Ukraine stops and Russia begins. Control that zone, make Russia overtly fight to break through and you have the moral, political  and legal victory. To win is not  to fight a series of urban battles but about 3 deep strikes aiming to hit the border and fan out, sealing the Donbass in. 

This is what Ukraine tried in 2014.  It failed because their military simply wasn't up to a prolonged campaign.  However, had the Russian Federation military forces not directly intervened (first with artillery strikes from Russian soil then with BMGs) Ukraine would have finished the war by late August.  Ukraine made a HUGE mistake assuming Russia wouldn't be so bold.  Which is exactly why Putin authorized the counter attack.  Without it the Donbas was lost to Russia.

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

Offer the rebs terms and a referendum and state if Russia interferes it amounts to invasion. 

Naturally it wouldn't be as clear cut as above, but the basic plan is there. Seal them in, deny reinforcement, reclaim the Ukraine's own border. 

This,  I suspect, was the initial target of the ATO, why it's units hit the border and why it sent that deep strike curving through the two regions. 

Only, this time - the Ukraine immediately digs in a tripwire force while keeping mobile battle groups further back out of immediate artillery range to catch and crush/deflect any Russian incursions. Russian artillery and missile fire will be terrible but if the Ukrainians can hold on, and know where their real fight is (ie the border) their tenacity will soon enough amount to a win. 

Yes, if Russia invested heavily into Donbas it would be bloody. Several thousand dead on both sides pretty quickly I think.

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

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From the start I've been looking at this from a Russian perspective, where they are the initiators. But if the Ukraine is the driver it becomes a whole other, and possibly more interesting, story.

Correct.  Russia's strategy to take the bulk of Ukraine by fake uprisings failed.  It failed to collapse the government.  It failed to take over regions by Novorussian zealots (backed by Russian government, of course).  It failed to defend those regions during the June/July Ukrainian offensive.  It failed to significantly destroy the Ukrainian forces during the August/September counter offensive.  It even failed to take back a lot of territory that it wanted (including Debaltseve).  It failed to take the Donetsk Airport for a VERY long time.  It failed to take Debatlseve without a major infusion of Russian Federation forces.  It failed to destroy the Ukrainian forces who were at Debaltseve.  It failed to create a viable proxy army to defend Donbas without direct Russian Federation support.

This is not to say that Russia can't cause harm, because it has and still is.  But in terms of its war aims, it's not doing such a good job.

Steve

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I think the fundamental flaw in any thinking about Russian offensive action in Ukraine at this point is making sure one understands Putin's perspective on risk and reward.  He definitely feels maintaining a low level frozen conflict as long as possible if the costs of doing so are low is acceptable.  A high risk conflict would have to have an appropriate reward.  The Donbass itself is mostly a loss leader right now for Putin.  Part of retaining it is pride and/or generating nationalist fervor, part is hindering Ukraine's focus on fixing it's very serious internal issues (a true anti corruption drive that is successful might eventually have a backflow on Russia) and part I think is simply psychological -  f**king with the west.

It has had a cost that does have long term consequences to the health of the Russian economy and it's isolation in the world.

Given all that I think Putin is getting everything he can out of it already that is worthwhile.  A deeper commitment increases the risk while providing nothing really new in reward.  The difficulty of the position is that a cleaned up Ukraine is probably a far higher risk for Russia than the loss of face to Putin of giving up the Donbass.  Even if he wanted to walk away from the Donbass now, he has the tiger by the tail.  Leaving means it is harder to influence events in Ukraine, staying is going to become increasingly costly and is already a drain.

Anyone remember what was going on in Germany and why before the Berlin wall went up?*  If Ukraine becomes an appealing place with less corruption and starts developing a higher standard of living, things get really hard for Putin.

* a really good read on events in 1961 and I think a very objective view - hint no one comes out squeaky clean on this.  If anything Kruschev is probably the most sympathetic character. The parallels of mis understanding what is important to your opponent and the constraints they are struggling with is enlightening. and incidentally China was screwing the Kremlin back then too.

https://www.amazon.com/Berlin-1961-Kennedy-Khrushchev-Dangerous-ebook/dp/B004LRPDTQ?ie=UTF8&keywords=berlin%201963&qid=1464309376&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

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.

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

Correct.  Russia's strategy to take the bulk of Ukraine by fake uprisings failed.  It failed to collapse the government.  It failed to take over regions by Novorussian zealots (backed by Russian government, of course).  It failed to defend those regions during the June/July Ukrainian offensive.  It failed to significantly destroy the Ukrainian forces during the August/September counter offensive.  It even failed to take back a lot of territory that it wanted (including Debaltseve).  It failed to take the Donetsk Airport for a VERY long time.  It failed to take Debatlseve without a major infusion of Russian Federation forces.  It failed to destroy the Ukrainian forces who were at Debaltseve.  It failed to create a viable proxy army to defend Donbas without direct Russian Federation support.

This is not to say that Russia can't cause harm, because it has and still is.  But in terms of its war aims, it's not doing such a good job.

Steve

Without getting into politics(totally got into politics :D), The DNR and LNR still existing is a major success in my opinion. The worst of the sanctions have been thrown on us (assuming that another wave of sanctions wont happen) Russia didn't have any ambitions on expanding the DNR and LNR.(besides launching offensives to take out Ukrainian army units) The rebellion started off between civils and once things were going bad Russia decided it would commit to helping the DNR and LNR stay alive. (Majorly due to the fact that a new government was installed overnight because of pro EU riots) if we look at this way, I'm not sure if it was intentional collateral damage or not but the UA attacks on urban areas with air strikes and artillery led to alot of support for the rebellion groups. Honestly I think this was the mistake UA made. Instead of facing this rebellion with full force, since they are "foreign invaders" they should have let them die out over a short period of time since the Ukrainians say that the people don't want the rebels. 

 What I'm trying to get at is that, no matter what the truth is, there is an actual support for the DNR and LNR among people. I personally would wish that the DNR and LNR can reunite with Ukraine, this time with their say in what happens in Ukrainian politics. All this blood shed was for nothing. My aunt who lives in eastern ukraine with her husband was affected by this war. And it may not count as much, but she supports the rebellion. The funny thing is I didn't support this uprising in the beginning, I thought it was pointless. Until videos emerged of SU-25s strafing roads. (was it intentional or not I don't know)

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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Kino sorry but one I just dont think the Russians logistically can do it. Again you say the Ukr cant defend everywhere on the coast. True but -

Parts of the coast are pointless to invade

Parts completely unsuitable

And even if NATO did 'nothing' you net your ass the Ukr would get the benefit of US sat. And sigint the entire war let alone battle. This is very significant.

Second with almost all of NATO thats joined since the 90s being East of Germany longitudally I really think NATO would step in on full blown Russian invasion of all the Ukr if nothing but because the Eastern Europeans and Balts are practically foaming at the mouth about the Russians and rightfully so.  

We find ourselves in terribly dangerous political times.

Vlad i like a lot of stuff you post but i fail to see how a war that really has given the average much in reality and the average ukrainian less and has killed and maimed thousands a "success". I guess it comes down to sides of the fence man I just feel that the Russian Federation has blatantly invaded Ukraine and its wrong. I think the US invasion of Iraq the second time was wrong as well, though and perhaps because Im American I feel it was much less cynical as far as aims and we were completely honest about what we did. With  allies as well as Steve pointed out.  Honestly though its silly to compare which war was worse. Wars are inherently dirty things and I agree completely with your hope the Ukr can find some sort of peace.

 Now WW2. Millions dead. A terrible thing that if I could wish away I would but at least many of those dead died to rid the world of Hitle, Mussolini, and Tojo. Unfortunately IMO Stalin wasnt dealt with.

Edited by Sublime

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2 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Without getting into politics(totally got into politics :D), The DNR and LNR still existing is a major success in my opinion.

In English, it is what we call a "booby prize".  It is a prize, of sorts, but it is hardly what Putin was trying to achieve.  His ultimate goal was to destabilize Ukraine so that Russia could continue to exploit and use it for its own purposes.  He does NOT want a less corrupt Ukraine, he does NOT want a Ukraine that is integrated with the West in any meaningful way and certainly he did not want a credible hostile military force right on his border.  And all of those things are happening now and there's nothing that he can do to stop it. 

Putin also did not likely expect that Russia would lose South Stream and a huge volume of gas sales to Europe.  This has been Russia's weapon to use against the West when he felt necessary, now its gone.  He also thought the business ties with Germany would give him leverage, wrong again.

He also did not expect to be hit so hard and for so long by Western sanctions, and of course he did not anticipate the massive drop in oil prices.  Which means the price to Russia for all of this death and destruction in Ukraine is higher than he expected.  I think he figured there would be a repeat of Georgia.

But you are correct, Russia still has a way of draining money from Ukraine's accounts through military expenses.  It is painful for Ukraine, for sure, however it is temporary and won't stop all the other things from happening.

 

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Russia didn't have any ambitions on expanding the DNR and LNR.(besides launching offensives to take out Ukrainian army units) The rebellion started off between civils

And this again :) No, this was a Kremlin directed operation from the very start.  There was never, ever the makings of a civil war.  Not even after Girkin and his henchmen went into Ukraine from Russian soil with the blessing of the Russian government.  Yes, they quickly rounded up local criminal elements and the disaffected that every society has. Yes there were people who were confused and also people who wanted to join with Russia.  But without Russians coming into Ukraine with weapons and a mission to create Novorussia, there would be no war.

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and once things were going bad Russia decided it would commit to helping the DNR and LNR stay alive.

Again, I am glad that you can admit this now.

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I'm not sure if it was intentional collateral damage or not but the UA attacks on urban areas with air strikes and artillery led to alot of support for the rebellion groups.

Yes, Ukraine caused casualties and that definitely did not help its cause.  But the militias were ultimately responsible for them because without their armed presence there would have been nobody for the Ukrainian military to fight with.  Plus, the militias were caught multiple times positioning their heavy weapons in residential neighborhoods deliberately inviting civilian casualties.  And militias also fired artillery into civilian areas themselves, then of course blamed Ukraine.  Sometimes these attacks were accidental, sometimes they were deliberate.

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Honestly I think this was the mistake UA made. Instead of facing this rebellion with full force, since they are "foreign invaders" they should have let them die out over a short period of time since the Ukrainians say that the people don't want the rebels. 

This would not have happened.  The occupiers and local criminal organizations used fear, brutality, and murder to keep the population in line right from the very start.  If Ukraine had not launched an offensive they would have been abandoned to this fate.  That would have made the government look uncaring and/or incompetent, which would not have improved their image among the repressed people of Donbas.

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 What I'm trying to get at is that, no matter what the truth is, there is an actual support for the DNR and LNR among people.

That is true.  Russian propaganda definitely helps with that, but there are always elements within a society that support brutality.  Many Russians supported Stalin and every Soviet dictator that came after him.  Many Syrians support Assad and murder people in his name.  A civilized world should not allow such people to decide what form of government they have.

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I personally would wish that the DNR and LNR can reunite with Ukraine, this time with their say in what happens in Ukrainian politics. All this blood shed was for nothing. My aunt who lives in eastern ukraine with her husband was affected by this war. And it may not count as much, but she supports the rebellion. The funny thing is I didn't support this uprising in the beginning, I thought it was pointless. Until videos emerged of SU-25s strafing roads. (was it intentional or not I don't know)

I am curious.  Did you see the videos and first hand accounts of the militias torturing and murdering civilians?  Slavyansk was the most documented case of this brutality, but of course there are lots of other incidents that were documented.  These things happened before Ukrainian military actions. 

War is terrible.  People die.  People suffer.  Ukraine should be blamed for its errors in dealing with this war, but it is not responsible for it starting and it is not responsible for it continuing.  Even if you believe Russia didn't deliberately start this, you do understand that it would have been over in September 2014 if Russia had not made sure it continued.  Only Russia can end this conflict without more bloodshed, but that isn't going to happen because Russia started this war for a reason and ending the war leaves Russia with nothing more than Crimea.  If that is all Russia wanted it would have ended the war against Ukraine the day it completed its invasion.

Steve

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I do appreciate the rapprochement happening but this has been hashed out at great lengths already so please, let's veer back on course... 

@Sublime  the Baltics would be very agitated,  definitely. But emotional reactions by non-involved countries (no matter how squirrelly they feel) does not give NATO a legal right to intervene. NATO requires Article V and a consensus,  or UN sanction to intervene. Poland borders the Ukraine directly  (my wife's family are mixed Polish/Ukrainian) and has given very limited aid to the Ukraine,  from what I know. Germany, France and England would be very reluctant to send ground forces to the ass end of Europe to pick a fight with Putin. This is based on their previous history since the Wall fell and their reactions so far to the Donbass war, and every other war really - European Union countries are extremely shy of heavy ground force commitment. Afghanistan was/is a NATO OP purely because the US activated Article  V,  and rightly so. Iraq was a lie and an oil based adventure (to the vast majority of Europe citizens) and critically an originating attack by the US, NOT a response to an attack on its soil. Thence, almost no take-up by Ed countries and absolutely no NATO involvement. 

Even if all that wasn't true,  the EU NATO militaries follow the US's lead,  and I doubt very very much that the US will commit ground forces when there is a perfectly capable Ukrainian Army in existence and improving. The UA is probably the best non-NATO partner army the US could ever hope to work with against Russia - it's large-ish, highly motivated, reasonably competent (and improving), battle hardened and adaptable, shares the same technical mindset and is fighting on its own soil. It also still has a deep pool of manpower to draw on. There is absolutely no need for NATO ground forces but there absolutely would be a need for pretty much everything elses - training,  drones, all types of intelligence, munitions, ATGMs, MANPADs, proper artillery radar,  logistical vehicles, MREs, body armor, infantry and tank optics, etc etc.

Supplying this far lest costly (dollar and political) list in the amounts needed would probably be enough alone to stall/defeat/roll back any Russian gains. 

The Ukraine war would be a fight between Russia and the Ukraine,  both non-NATO countries, fundamentally about accession to NATO, but still not involving any NATO country. Thence no legal right for NATO to intervene. Hell, even giving aid would legally need to be on a per country basis, although in reality it would still be done through NATO channels. 

Re the coast,  very true,  there are only so many useful assault points along any coast. And looking at it further, an amphibious assault is only justified if the land route is strongly defended,  which I'm not sure it is. Far easier to attack overland and keep it simple. So buh bye to my dream of a battalion level BMP coastal  assault :-(

But a reinforced company attack would be useful! 

Edited by kinophile

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Article V shmarticle V.

If Russia openly invaded the Ukr yes I already said I dont see US boots on the ground. Well not a lot. There would be spec ops

 We would share all our intel. We also would probably give them enough javs drones and other stuff to really give the russians a hard time. And hey maybe those.mig29 Gs werw found in old stocks or bought on ebay Mr Putin. The cockpits in german? Odd.

The Baltics and Poland would be frothing at the mouth and i wouldnt be surprised if a lot of Poles went on vacation to Ukr.

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On 5/23/2016 at 10:22 PM, Raptorx7 said:

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.

Not until the front lines were further west. However, NATO would want to hit any such airfields to prevent the Russians from using them. However, what the Russians would really want is the road in order to keep their tank spearheads supplied. 

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Just now, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Not until the front lines were further west. However, NATO would want to hit any such airfields to prevent the Russians from using them. However, what the Russians would really want is the road in order to keep their tank spearheads supplied. 

Unless were talking front lines that are 150m + there is literally no reason to use those air fields. Seeing as there would never be a front line that stretched 150M's in one direction in such a situation it wouldn't happen.

Edited by Raptorx7

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4 hours ago, kinophile said:

I do appreciate the rapprochement happening but this has been hashed out at great lengths already so please, let's veer back on course... 

@Sublime  the Baltics would be very agitated,  definitely. But emotional reactions by non-involved countries (no matter how squirrelly they feel) does not give NATO a legal right to intervene. NATO requires Article V and a consensus,  or UN sanction to intervene. Poland borders the Ukraine directly  (my wife's family are mixed Polish/Ukrainian) and has given very limited aid to the Ukraine,  from what I know. Germany, France and England would be very reluctant to send ground forces to the ass end of Europe to pick a fight with Putin. This is based on their previous history since the Wall fell and their reactions so far to the Donbass war, and every other war really - European Union countries are extremely shy of heavy ground force commitment. Afghanistan was/is a NATO OP purely because the US activated Article  V,  and rightly so. Iraq was a lie and an oil based adventure (to the vast majority of Europe citizens) and critically an originating attack by the US, NOT a response to an attack on its soil. Thence, almost no take-up by Ed countries and absolutely no NATO involvement. 

Even if all that wasn't true,  the EU NATO militaries follow the US's lead,  and I doubt very very much that the US will commit ground forces when there is a perfectly capable Ukrainian Army in existence and improving. The UA is probably the best non-NATO partner army the US could ever hope to work with against Russia - it's large-ish, highly motivated, reasonably competent (and improving), battle hardened and adaptable, shares the same technical mindset and is fighting on its own soil. It also still has a deep pool of manpower to draw on. There is absolutely no need for NATO ground forces but there absolutely would be a need for pretty much everything elses - training,  drones, all types of intelligence, munitions, ATGMs, MANPADs, proper artillery radar,  logistical vehicles, MREs, body armor, infantry and tank optics, etc etc.

Supplying this far lest costly (dollar and political) list in the amounts needed would probably be enough alone to stall/defeat/roll back any Russian gains. 

The Ukraine war would be a fight between Russia and the Ukraine,  both non-NATO countries, fundamentally about accession to NATO, but still not involving any NATO country. Thence no legal right for NATO to intervene. Hell, even giving aid would legally need to be on a per country basis, although in reality it would still be done through NATO channels. 

Re the coast,  very true,  there are only so many useful assault points along any coast. And looking at it further, an amphibious assault is only justified if the land route is strongly defended,  which I'm not sure it is. Far easier to attack overland and keep it simple. So buh bye to my dream of a battalion level BMP coastal  assault :-(

But a reinforced company attack would be useful! 

You should read General Sir Richard Shirreff's new book. As a recently retired Deputy SACEUR the general will have some cogent insights regarding NATO preparedness and political considerations.

 

I agree with you however in that it will be difficult politically for NATO to become involved in a Ukrainian conflict. Maybe a future President Trump might make an ill advised decision to get involved but I don't think the Joint Chiefs would let him

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On 5/23/2016 at 10:22 PM, Raptorx7 said:

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.

Not until the front lines were further west. However, NATO would want to hit any such airfields to prevent the Russians from using them. However, what the Russians would really want is the road in order to keep their tank spearheads supplied. 

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8 hours ago, kinophile said:

I do appreciate the rapprochement happening but this has been hashed out at great lengths already so please, let's veer back on course... 

What was the question again?

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7 hours ago, Sublime said:

Article V shmarticle V.

If Russia openly invaded the Ukr yes I already said I dont see US boots on the ground. Well not a lot. There would be spec ops

 We would share all our intel. We also would probably give them enough javs drones and other stuff to really give the russians a hard time. And hey maybe those.mig29 Gs werw found in old stocks or bought on ebay Mr Putin. The cockpits in german? Odd.

The Baltics and Poland would be frothing at the mouth and i wouldnt be surprised if a lot of Poles went on vacation to Ukr.

Poles have no desire to die for the Ukraine. Up in arms sure,  but there was very little take up  by volunteers from Poland. An (initially) surprising amount came from Scandinavian countries. 

Article V does affect everything. It's very hard to persuade EU citizens to support a war without a proper reason -  in regards to NATO it needs Art. V or UN authorization.

Without that, EU countries have provided only limited support to the Ukraine (possibly also tempered by the mind boggling corruption there). 

I don't remember reading anywhere that EU NATO countries have pledged proper military support to the Ukraine if at war with Russia. No one wants to get sucked into that. That's not to say they couldn't be persuaded,  but they certainly are not shoulder to shoulder militarily with Kiev. 

2 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

What was the question again?

At this point it's essentially a discussion of how the Donbass War could evolve,  primarily military. 

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1 hour ago, kinophile said:

At this point it's essentially a discussion of how the Donbass War could evolve,  primarily military. 

Direct NATO participation or not? Those are two very different conflicts.

If you are imagining an operational level wargame in which politics and economics are non-factors and NATO is a bystander then Russia could theoretically do lots of things. With an investment of 36,000 - 55,000 troops they could seize a land corridor to Crimea within a couple of weeks, although securing the major population centers such as Mariupol would take longer.

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Oh no I never meant to imply Europes shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine now. I suspect sentimemts.would change if a Russian invasion was looking like it wasnt a Chechnya 94.  And its not about people volunteering for the Donbass especiaply in nations much closer to the war where one could really wonder is America using us, is this a civil war or "the evil.russians" but a proper Russian invasion? Youd probably see something similar to the European SS.movement to fight Bolshevism.

Article V is important but by noooo means is necessary for NATO to start a fight. NATO exists because this is the type of stuff the Nazis did in the late 30s before it was war. NATO faved with a Russ invasion in the open of Ukraine would have to decide do we fight Russia wih Ukraime on the Dnieper or do we fight Russia in 2 years in Poland and try to stand on the Vistula.

My moneys NATO will go in for Ukraine. Also never forget that member states can manipulate rhe allliance. See Turkey last fall. That could have led to a Russian save of face say SEAD strike

 So what if Turkey unilaterally decides it doesnt want all but one corner of its border to be Russian and jumps in? Yes article.V doesnt apply but these countries have been Allies for decades and Turkey collapsing would lead to the possibility of a fundamentalist Turkish govt and I could never see the West accepting that.

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Turkey has no means of moving large combat formations into Ukraine.

Individual member states would likely contribute materiel or intelligence but NATO as an organization will not go to war over Ukraine.

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Steve, 

You make good points, and obviously what you claim is backed by stuff you have researched varying from mainly Ukrainian and US sources. But keep in mind, even if Russia has supported the uprising. The people in general now support it. Even in Russia, during the war we had a bunch of folks wanting the Russian armed forces to "protect" the Donbass people. And in a certain way, they are right if we look at it. The Pro-EU government installed is obviously anti-Russia. And the huge percent of Russians in the east honestly were tired of the economy. And the Crimean event inspired many people to rebel and go against the new government. We have to look at it this way as well putting all bias aside, The people of Eastern Ukraine didn't get a say in anything that happened in Kiev. 

Russia has its own geopolitical goals, it is not only the Europeans and US who can have geopolitical goals. If Ukraine will be dragged away from us then we will fight for it. As for the rebels, shooting at civvie infrastructure. If that was true, there would be less support for the Rebels. I'm not saying all of the DPR and LPR armies are angels, all armies have soldiers who commit crime. Be it following an order, or just personal problems. I remember in the beginning of the conflict people didn't let the Ukrainian armored vehicles pass through to their objective. And the kind Ukrainian lads disarmed their selves and handed over their receivers on their weapons. Propaganda has rised so high in both Russia and Ukraine that we hate each other. When we should be a brotherly nation, geopolitics have distanced us and this is not right at all.

Don't get me wrong, if the Ukrainian army is facing resistance in Urban areas they have all rights to level out the threat to their army. Although this has to be done with more precise ways other then using heavy artillery on a very large target area. Which has led to large scale losses of civilians. Which photographers take pictures of the mangled up bodies, share it onto the internet, then Russians like me will automatically support propaganda given off from Russian media (which is not always propaganda mind you) I like NATO's ways of facing a insurgency, they win the media war right off the back. 

About militia guys giving fear and brutality to the local populace, this is not true Steve. There have been instances where Cossacks have brutally dealt with criminals in a non-humanitarian way. Which I do not support. But on average the militiaman is a local, and he won't have hatred for his fellow people. Where as a young Ukrainian soldier, who is facing a fully "foreign" invasion, will show no mercy for the people who support these guys. Especially after hearing about how his comrades are being killed in great numbers. It is a sad situation in Ukraine, honestly the truth is some where in the middle. There are moments where I can see why Ukraine is kind of right, but other events lead me to supporting the DPR and LPR. I may visit Eastern Ukraine some time during August, I'll be sure to talk to army guys and people. And even if it isn't related to the game hopefully I can share good information.

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23 hours ago, Sublime said:

Kino sorry but one I just dont think the Russians logistically can do it. Again you say the Ukr cant defend everywhere on the coast. True but -

Parts of the coast are pointless to invade

Parts completely unsuitable

And even if NATO did 'nothing' you net your ass the Ukr would get the benefit of US sat. And sigint the entire war let alone battle. This is very significant.

Second with almost all of NATO thats joined since the 90s being East of Germany longitudally I really think NATO would step in on full blown Russian invasion of all the Ukr if nothing but because the Eastern Europeans and Balts are practically foaming at the mouth about the Russians and rightfully so.  

We find ourselves in terribly dangerous political times.

Vlad i like a lot of stuff you post but i fail to see how a war that really has given the average much in reality and the average ukrainian less and has killed and maimed thousands a "success". I guess it comes down to sides of the fence man I just feel that the Russian Federation has blatantly invaded Ukraine and its wrong. I think the US invasion of Iraq the second time was wrong as well, though and perhaps because Im American I feel it was much less cynical as far as aims and we were completely honest about what we did. With  allies as well as Steve pointed out.  Honestly though its silly to compare which war was worse. Wars are inherently dirty things and I agree completely with your hope the Ukr can find some sort of peace.

 Now WW2. Millions dead. A terrible thing that if I could wish away I would but at least many of those dead died to rid the world of Hitle, Mussolini, and Tojo. Unfortunately IMO Stalin wasnt dealt with.

Stalin was the better of the three, but sadly since he enjoyed success rather than the other guys his opposing party members and foreign countries made him out to be the a greater devil than he was. Stalin made the Soviet Union the power it became. He made mistakes, and did crimes. But overall I approve of his policies even if they were a bit harsh. My Gramps also approves of Stalin, and considering he was in world war 2, I'll approve him if he does :D 

I wouldn't compare second invasion of Iraq to the Russian deployment of a few combat battalions to effectively destroy Ukrainian spearheads, and help the situation for the DPR and LPR. Although I get what you mean.

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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@VladimirTarasov  there's so much I personally find wrong with those posts it's difficult to start, so I won't. That's Steve's forte and he does it pretty well.

My point is that this is a thread about further development of the Donbass War, not a revisit of our opinions of how it developed or why. Please, please find or start another thread to discuss that stuff. 

@Sublime Article V (or UN request) IS necessary for NATO to fight, legally and politically.NATO is fundamentally a defensive alliance, not an expeditionary one - it is far more than an ad-hoc, spur of the moment Coalition of the Willing. And I doubt Turkey could convince half of Europe to go on the offensive v.  Russia, without a Russian attack on a NATO member or forces.  . They didn't manipulate NATO over that jet,  if anything they supremely passed off almost every national military HQ. 

@Vanir Ausf B

No NATO initially. Possibly later with UN request? Giving Russia a 2-3 month window. We're also questioning the viability of a Mariupol attack. Personally I favour a Crimea-Melitopol flank attack. 

 

 

 

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This ever expanding discussion is fascinating and way past my knowledge base in a lot of places, but there are a few things I'd like to ask about and comment upon.

Steve,

The Cargo 200 expression you used completely threw me, having never come across it prior to your post. Now that I've Googled it, I understand what you were saying in a formerly incomprehensible to me reference.

Vladimir Tarasov,

While I always appreciate your Russian take on military matters amid a sea of US/NATO/EU perspectives, I must confess how astounded and horrified I was by your blithe passage in which you said of Stalin he "did crimes." Seems to me that killing, by any and  all means, between 20 and 62 million people deserves a far better characterization of evil so profound the mind reels in trying to comprehend it. To a lesser degree, I find it outrageous that imprisoning or otherwise penally supervising almost 2 million people in the best year to 2.7 million in the worst isn't even mentioned, and that's a very conservative reckoning. That was just for the period 1935-1940. By 1953 some 7.4 million people were either in Gulag camps, in special settlements, in colonies or under crippling parole. The incarceration and penal supervision rate then was 2605 per 100,000 people. This is almost  4 X  the much ballyhooed current US one. It is the shocking to many here and abroad, extreme by most global standards, rate of 760 per 100,000. Based on your remarks, you seem to fall squarely in the "Stalin did some bad things but overall he was really good for Russia" camp.  I get the whole Russian appreciation of and preference for a strong leader, but in Stalin's case...

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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20-60, why not 200 or 400? This is the original document sent to Khrushchev by then Prosecutor General of Soviet Union, Minister of Interior and Minister of Justice at the inception of De-Stalinization. This document details the total amount of repressed, including served death sentence, and sent to labor camps. Not trying to whitewash a tragedy, but some facts need to be straight. Our greatest national tragedies, the civil war, the red terror and the second world war cannot be attributed to Stalin. Inter-war famine also cannot be attributed to Stalin personally. Over here people recognize in equal portion what Stalin did wrong and what he did right, one cannot be separated from the other.     

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On victims, there are a lot of high numbers floating around, usually by people with a political agenda. Michael Ellman did a study of all available sources about 10 years ago and came up with a figure of 12 million direct victims of political repression 1921-1953, jailed or deported, of which 3-3.5 million were killed or died in custody.

Edited by Sgt Joch

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