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Boeman

Russian Tanks Invade Georgia

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That's the beauty in these geo-political games - you can make it look almost believable, have just enough facts behind you to have some people go 'hmmm...' and that's sometimes enough to divide opinion and prevent unification of the enemy.

The Western Europeans are incidently much less critical of the Russians on this whole thing then the United States and the former Soviet vassal states.

It's interesting to see one thing the Russians probably knew would be a possible consequence played out against them:

Poland just signed the deal to build the missile shield on it's turf

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2559818/Poland-and-US-agree-deal-for-missle-defence-shield.html

"We feel at the moment a greater concern for our safety," said Bogdan Klich, the Polish defence minister, evoking fears of a resurgent Russia, widespread in the former Eastern Bloc. "That's why every installation of the Western world on the Polish territory has its meaning, because it anchors Poland more deeply to the West."

- Isn't that what the Georgians though? ;)

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Guest BigDukeSixField

Hi guys, it's me, I forgot my old login so I had to create this one.

I've been in Georgia since the beginning but only now got enough time to drop a line here.

Haven't read the thread but I've been to Gori several times and chatted with the Russian army, so if there are questions out there glad to throw in my two tetri. (100 make a Lari)

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I'm most interested in what led to the Georgian retreat/withdrawal from Gori? Breakdown of C&C? Effort to avoid confrontations with Russians or stay out of Russian arty range? Part of a defense plan?

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Guest BigDukeSixField
Bigduke6, any comments or are you too busy at the moment? :mad:;)

Not to claim that there's anything funny about this.

Column two, I was too busy.

Apropos the US service personnel, there has been a persistant report that one of the soldiers killed in Tskhinvali was an African-American looking man in light-tan combat boots, light tan t-shirt, camoflage fatigues, excellent physical condition. The Russian accusation is that he was a Green Beret. Can't prove that, but I definately talked to a Russian tank crew that swore up and down they saw the corpse.

So it's good the official US service personnel in Georgia are ok. I guess this dude was some one else. One thing for sure, there are not too many African-extraction Georgians.

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Column two, I was too busy.

Apropos the US service personnel, there has been a persistant report that one of the soldiers killed in Tskhinvali was an African-American looking man in light-tan combat boots, light tan t-shirt, camoflage fatigues, excellent physical condition. The Russian accusation is that he was a Green Beret. Can't prove that, but I definately talked to a Russian tank crew that swore up and down they saw the corpse.

So it's good the official US service personnel in Georgia are ok. I guess this dude was some one else. One thing for sure, there are not too many African-extraction Georgians.

From Wikipedia:

While there may have been black people in Russia early on[37] the first blacks in Russia was the result of slave trade by the Ottoman empire[38] and their descendants still live on the coasts of the Black Sea. Czar Peter the Great was recommended by his friend Lefort to bring in Africans to Russia for hard labor. Alexander Pushkin was the descendant of the African slave Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who became Peter's protege, was educated as a military engineer in France, and eventually became general-en-chef, responsible for the building of sea forts and canals in Russia.[39][40]

During the 1930s fifteen Black American families moved to the Soviet Union as agricultural experts.[41]As African states became independent in the 1960s, the Soviet Union offered them the chance to study in Russia; over 40 years, 400,000 African students came, and many settled there.

[emphasis added]

You never know...

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I've been in Georgia since the beginning but only now got enough time to drop a line here.

Haven't read the thread but I've been to Gori several times and chatted with the Russian army, so if there are questions out there glad to throw in my two tetri. (100 make a Lari)

Any interesting anecdotes from the Russian troops besides the alleged dead black Green Beret?

Do they have strong opinions about being in Georgia? From the photos we see at least in the media they appear to be in good spirits/morale.

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In the Second Chechen war, there was a rumor about a whole unit of female(!) Estonian volunteers fighting against the Federation.

Obviously, imagination runs wildly whenever fighting breaks out, stress and anxiety being present in the troops involved, but those factors are only a partial explanation, I think. :D

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Big Duke-

I read a comment about "baltic mercenaries" being used by the Georgians...any word on that?

Aside from that, it would be interesting getting a post with any rumors, fables or urban legend stuff going around, just to get a feel for how things are going over there

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Guest BigDukeSixField

Well, the Russian troops are definately looting, but it appears to be the organized as ordered kind rather than the impromptu drunk Ivan kind. I just saw Georgian TV show a column of Ural trucks, they were hauling those cool US Special Forces motor boat on trailers out of the Georgian port Poti. US military aid now in Russian hands, basically.

And here's something really funny, the Russian soldiers just are thrilled with NATO personal gear. When the Georgians ran they forgot to empty out their depots, so now just about every Russian has some NATO issue souvenier. The most popular item is this little black commando knife, sometimes with a leg holster which gives you an idea of the kind of stuff the Georgian military was buying. But I've seen rucks, goggles, web gear, utility belts, med kits, flares, helmets, kevlar vests, sleeping pads, sunglasses - the Russians really made out like bandits. I saw one BTR piled with about 6 or 7 NATO standard backpacks, and each one had its sleeping pad rolled up on top just like they make you do it in basic training. Guess the Russians found a barracks or two.

All in all the Russians seem to be in a great mood, but mostly I talked with guys from a Mech unit normally based in Chechnya, 17th Motor Rifle I'm pretty sure. Guys in their early to mid 20s with a tour under their belts, the NCOs especially were really friendly. The officers less so but then they're officers. The commander is a big guy named Viacheslav Borisov, he has a huge gut and a voice and is just like a Russian general from central casting. The other unit I saw there was the peacekeeper infantry that had been in Tsvikhali when the Georgians bomarded it, those guys looked tougher and were less friendly. There were some paratroopers mixed in, I'm not sure exactly how that worked. Also the peacekeepers seemed to be a wider ethnic mix, more Asians. Although the infantry from the 17th Mech had a good share of Oriental-looking guys too.

All in all they looked pretty tough, they weren't doing anything stupid with their weapons and orders got executed fast and pretty efficiently from what I could see. But their appearance was sloppy as all get out, it would have given a Western sgt major or first sergeant a fit. Pretty much no uniform, wear what you please. But it didn't seem to bother the Russians.

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(snips) All in all they looked pretty tough, they weren't doing anything stupid with their weapons and orders got executed fast and pretty efficiently from what I could see. But their appearance was sloppy as all get out, it would have given a Western sgt major or first sergeant a fit. Pretty much no uniform, wear what you please. But it didn't seem to bother the Russians.

Like these? One of those soldiers looks to be wearing Finnish camo (model 2005), "dressed up to kill", I recon? :D

610xbo9.jpg

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All in all they looked pretty tough, they weren't doing anything stupid with their weapons and orders got executed fast and pretty efficiently from what I could see. But their appearance was sloppy as all get out, it would have given a Western sgt major or first sergeant a fit. Pretty much no uniform, wear what you please. But it didn't seem to bother the Russians.

Very interesting commentary Big Duke, thanks! May I ask on what basis you find yourself in Georgia observing this conflict?

So far my favorite part of this whole mess is seeing all the talking heads here in the States like Lou Dobbs and Bill O'Reilly look all puffed up and constipated about Russian military aggresion and 'adventurism' (love that one!), yelling about how we must step in and put them in their place while all the commentators and experts they talk to say 'Um, sorry, we're kinda castrated right now - may we suggest bending over and using some K-Y-Jelly instead?'

Oh, it must be a tough thing for the neocon to absorb...

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Now call me crazy, but has any one else noticed that Google maps and Google Earth do not show the road map in Georgia anymore?

I swear that when I was trolling Google Earth 3 weeks ago and then again when the crap hit the fan, I was able to see the road map linking the cities and such.

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BigDukeSixField,

Glad you're in one piece, and thanks for the firsthand report. There's a similar thread on the CMSF Forum, and I just recently posted a number of things pertinent to the issue of possible American, Israelis and mercenaries being involved in action in South Ossetia. There is an explicit reference in one of the items to a "black African-American" who was killed.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Guest BigDukeSixField

One of you guys asked why the Georgian army folded so fast, here's my opinion.

1. The Georgians had an army configured for little wars and border issues (infantry+artillery, basically) and they weren't set up to deal with combined arms. Their anti-armor ability is weak, basically RPGs. No air force, more or less effective ADA but limited coverage, it could only point north so the Russians flew in air strikes from Azerbaijan and Dagestan.

2. Russians are tougher. The ground troops the Russians have brought to this fight from the north are basically a motor rifle division out of Chechnya, and a regiment of "peacekeepers" that was based in Tskhinvali, which by recruitment and training are on a level of Russian paratroopers. So these guys are professional soldiers, they know their weapons and tactics. I would say roughly comparable to US combat units in Iraq, although probably not quite up to the level of 82nd Airborne or the Rangers, but in any case nowhere near recruits.

The Georgian army is about 1/4 guys that went through the equivalent of US basic training, and 3/4 standard Soviet mass formations. There was of course a brigade of excellent Georgians in Iraq, but that really didn't impede the Russians much.

3. The Georgians assumed with their attack that they could do two things at the outset of the war, first close the road tunnel through the mountains back to Russia with an air strike, and second with about 80 or so heavy artillery and rocket launchers they could grab south Ossetia fast by killing all the Russian peacekeepers by bombardment, and then keeping out Russian reinforcements by closing the tunnel. In fact the Georgian air strike on the tunnel mouth got shot down, and the Russian infantry did not melt away under bombardment like the Georgians planned.

4. Georgia assumed that if you bombard Russian infantry, the Russians will not retaliate against your country directly. The Russians have been landing troops on the Black Sea shore and the Georgians, at the beginning, have nothing to stop them.

All that put together meant that after about two days of fighting the Georgians knew the handwriting was on the wall, and their morale went to pieces. The road to Tblisi from Gori was strewn with abandoned APCs and artillery etc., it was pretty shameful for an army supposedly trained by the Americans.

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Guest BigDukeSixField

Re/ sloppy uniforms, if some one will host the pix I'll send you guys some shots of the Russians, that pic is much neater than what I saw.

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Re/ sloppy uniforms, if some one will host the pix I'll send you guys some shots of the Russians, that pic is much neater than what I saw.

What's that old saying? No combat ready unit ever passed inspection? Even in the US Army, what goes in the field would never be permitted in garrison.

I doubt it, this may work against Putin and Russia.

Like how? Condie's "If Russia doesn't stand down, we will take appropriate action" is the emptiest of threats. Define "appropriate action"? Kick them out of the G8? Haw! Exclude them from negotiations with Iran / North Korea? Never happen.

Ya know, this is just the sort of opportunity Putin has been looking for to show that the US is all talk and no action. That Russia still controls it's borders. I think he's proven his point.

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G'day BD6Field. Good to have you here - and there.

I was wondering if any parallel could be drawn with Yugoslavia - a major power took unilateral action against a neighbouring aggressor, the whole fight over in two days: but the people haven't come out.

It would seem to me that the president must go - this is the biggest cockup he's likely to be allowed to make and keep his life. And even then...

I'm sorry - who was it bemoaning the evident lack of social development of the human race? Mate, the goal of competent governance is the curbing of the worst excesses, the challenge is having the society grow under you.

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Guest BigDukeSixField

Saakashvili has 4 or 5 years left to run on his term and his party controls the legislature, so impeachment isn't in the cards short term. Maybe if the economy goes to heck in a handbasket the opposition might gain some steam, but it's really looking the US is going to turn on the aid hose full pressure, and the Europeans are going to help. I bet one year from now the Georgian army will be better equipped than right before the Russians started carrying off the Georgians' stuff. (I just saw a report the Russians are going to try and raise a couple of old US coast guard cutters previously owned by the Georgians, now to be new elements of the Black Sea fleet.)

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Saakashvili has 4 or 5 years left to run on his term and his party controls the legislature, so impeachment isn't in the cards short term. Maybe if the economy goes to heck in a handbasket the opposition might gain some steam, but it's really looking the US is going to turn on the aid hose full pressure, and the Europeans are going to help. I bet one year from now the Georgian army will be better equipped than right before the Russians started carrying off the Georgians' stuff. (I just saw a report the Russians are going to try and raise a couple of old US coast guard cutters previously owned by the Georgians, now to be new elements of the Black Sea fleet.)

check your PM

Boris

London

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SSGt Viljuri,

What I could see of the article looked very good, but the site solidly locked up my browser twice running, much to my frustration.

BigDukeSixField,

A most interesting dissection of the respective forces. I was intrigued to note what was and wasn't brought in. For example, BMP-2s, rather than BMP-3s, and in another clash, the VDV was operating BMD-1s, instead of BMD-2,3, or 4. To me this suggests the fighting was done by Category B units. This, of course, presumes the Russians kept the old readiness ratings.

By "road tunnel," I presume you mean the Roki Tunnel? If not, what did you mean? If Saakashvili truly thought he could blast Russian troops with impunity and get away with doing so, then he understood nothing of the Russian mentality, to the point where my mind reels at his cluelessness. As it was, he was already up against the well established Russian viewpoint that "if we conquered it and spilled Russian blood in doing so, it's ours forever." A point the other liberated regions would do well to remember.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Saakashvili has 4 or 5 years left to run on his term and his party controls the legislature, so impeachment isn't in the cards short term. Maybe if the economy goes to heck in a handbasket the opposition might gain some steam, but it's really looking the US is going to turn on the aid hose full pressure, and the Europeans are going to help. I bet one year from now the Georgian army will be better equipped than right before the Russians started carrying off the Georgians' stuff. (I just saw a report the Russians are going to try and raise a couple of old US coast guard cutters previously owned by the Georgians, now to be new elements of the Black Sea fleet.)

I think the Georgians and NATO should ask Finnish official/private consultancy how to set up a good conscription based force for territorial defense. As we have found out, counterinsurgency forces are nice, but not nearly enough to deter the Bear from violating anyone's territorial integrity.

Or maybe it is already happening through Estonia/Poland, I don't know, but main point is that even if any planning should be done according to the NATO standards and procedures, there are many very important things that the US/NATO way of doing things would not normally address, for a small country in the proximity of the Bear. Anyways, clearly the Georgian force structure and cohesion was not acceptable, and their performance dismal, and it could not be helped with some delivery of additional Javelins alone.

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