The Threat Horizon Expands

Before we get into things today, here’s some homework you need to do first. Trent Telenko has an amazing series on logistics here, here, here, here, and here. Take a few minutes to go read them, as while they are not long they are packed with information. Then go read this post on the (latest) major failure of our intelligence services. Then, as a final treat, read this post on a way to rapidly bring Ukrainian forces up to speed on our major weapons systems.

Now, lets jump to a brief discussion of the General that Putin has now put in charge: Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov. It may surprise you to know that he is one of the few (like two) members of the Russian military leadership with actual military experience. If you didn’t know that most of the leadership are civilians appointed as Generals, you didn’t read the links in previous posts. You probably also missed how this aided the kleptocracy and means that Russian troops are understrength and undersupplied even at the best of times.

I agree with Donald Sensing that the war has gotten larger. I disagree with him that the recent attacks take the peace talks out of play. There has been no real way for Vladimir to exit almost from the start. While Biden’s verbal incontinence didn’t help anything, Vladimir rolled the dice knowing that there would either be victory or death. Demographics, economics, and other considerations made this very much a last desperate roll of the dice. Thus, I fully agree with Donald Sensing that Plan B is scorched earth.

Why? Let’s go back to General Dvornikov. He has combat experience from the second Chechen war and Syria. The latter is very important. Why? Well, check out this story and this story about his time in Syria and his nickname. You may also remember him from the Kerch Straight incident. He is aggressive, hasn’t blinked at the use of chemical weapons, and not likely to blink at using the full CBN portfolio per doctrine at Vladimir’s order. To be honest, I have a small suspicion that he might not wait for the order, much less be shy about asking for release. I also strongly suspect that such discussions have already taken place.

Now, let’s jump away for a minute to talk about some of the problems facing Gen. Dvornikov. The Russian Army is stuck with a 1920s/30s logistics system. Per previous posts and links, we know that they literally — in far too many cases — can’t operate off roadways. It’s not just the flooding and the normal mud of this time of year, it’s a lack of significant training in land nav along with crap equipment. Which means they can’t control the land between the roadways, even where such are relatively close together.

Because of the kleptocracy, many if not most units are potentially twenty five percent understrength. Supplies, systems, and parts have been sold on the black so that the troops were not only getting frostbite, but important systems like tanks, APCs, rockets, and missiles were non-functional. There are a growing number of reports that units in the East/South areas are refusing orders and attempts to use conscripts from the enclaves in the Donbas are not going well. Never mind that though they appear to be attempting to push some of the units from the retreat in the North into the East, the attempts aren’t going well, especially in units that were effectively destroyed.

So, the Russians are calling up the reserves. They pretty much have to as they can’t really pull troops out of other areas. The problem is, those reserves have many of the same training issues and getting working gear to them is going to be an interesting exercise. If they even have that gear.

It may be that Vladimir is counting on sheer numbers to get results. If so, this is going to be a long bloody slog. It may be that he will try to increase attacks on Ukrainian logistics to do to them what they did to him. It is fairly obvious that previous attacks on Ukrainian logistics have had some serious effects, and that such are one of the reasons they’ve not been able to take full advantage of some recent opportunities.

Vladimir is desperate that the Ukraine not be resupplied. Hence all the bluster coming out about the bad things that will happen to anyone who tries to supply the Ukraine with anything (or even breathe heavily towards Moscow). The problem is, many are dismissing it as impotent bluster. I see it as yet one more sign of desperation, and desperate people do stupid things. Dvornikov is not someone who will tell Vladimir no, keep that in mind. The threats are not a bluff, though if they work they will take the victory and nod and smile when people say “good bluff.”

If Vladimir throws sufficient numbers of troops into the war, he can overwhelm the Ukraine. He can’t hold it, however. The big problem for the numbers game is one simple word: leadership. The Russian Army was already short on real leadership, and since the fighting started they have been brutally culled by the Ukrainians. The problems with training, lack of fighting spirit, and other issues are requiring Generals and Colonels be near or even in the units being directed to attack. This also puts them in exposed positions, that coupled with the com situation from hell, let the Ukrainians do some serious targeting. Keep in mind that the problems with leadership extend to all ranks of leadership. What this means is that even with numbers, without good leadership at all levels, they are going to have a hard time doing even basic things, and the losses that result will make their losses so far seem like a love tap.

So, what do I expect? I think Dvornikov is going to have to bring in a lot of leadership, if it is there for him to get. I think that in terms of brutality towards the Ukrainian people, the civilian population, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Dvornikov is used to using air power, and it will be interesting to see if he can get it to use here. In Syria, there really wasn’t any threat to the air power (other than the U.S.), whereas now it will be a contested battle. I also expect to see a lot more effort put into destroying Ukrainian agriculture. This is both to starve them, and to put a stop to exports that bring in hard currency that can be used to get more military equipment… And if the Middle East and other areas starve, well, maybe those governments will try to force a peace that meets Russian standards. I also think that the potential use of special weapons has increased. For now, I am holding at 60/40, but will revise that once the Russians show more of their hand. I also expect to see the outright execution of unit leaders and troops who refuse orders or otherwise fail to perform.

Once again, let me make clear that I feel it would be a huge mistake guaranteed to bring on WWIII if we try to impose a no-fly zone or otherwise take a direct role in the fighting. This is not our fight. It is the Ukrainians and I want to see them given everything we can possibly give them in terms of supplies. Is Trent Telenko’s idea to get them major systems a good one? I think it is workable, but if it is done, don’t be surprised if Vladimir widens the war even further.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add


Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come


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5 thoughts on “The Threat Horizon Expands”

  1. An article should not start by sending the reader to other articles as homework. Incorporate the relevant information in your own article and provide links at appropriate points.

    Organize the article, stick to a clear structure, and eschew elaborate self-referential transitions (“Now, let’s jump to…,” “Let’s go back to…,” “Now, let’s jump away for a minute…,” “Once again, let me make clear that I feel…”).

    Omit needless words.

  2. I guess Slovakia just sent Ukraine some Late Soviet Era S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries, and now the Russians are claiming that they destroyed those units with a long-range precision missile attack. It could be Slovakian or maybe US sources counter-claiming that no such thing happened.

    No, no, no, this counter-claim is wrong! The Russians utter annihilated those S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missiles.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket! Russian pilots, no S-300 missiles to worry about. You can go ahead and fly your missions!

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