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Ukraine: Ongoing…


Ser Scot A Ellison
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11 hours ago, Wilbur said:

This is not a good line of reasoning.

I am not a fan of the interwoven web of relationships between the Beltway insiders and the MIC, but if you have an opportunity to upgrade and update your force posture, you need to take it.

The US Army has done so, dropping their bush-league inventory on the Ukrainians while getting fresh, high-tech replacements.

The USAF has missed the boat so far.

 

The MIC needs a good war from time to time to turn over the inventory. Sometimes one has to be manufactured (like Iraq II) and sometimes one conveniently falls in your lap at just the right time. Whether goaded into it or not, Putin gave the US and European MIC what it wanted, you can only get by selling small arms to petty dictators and warlords in the developing world for so long. Whether Putin is successful or not, either way the MIC wins.

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4 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

...either way the MIC wins.

At least in this case, there is some morally positive outcome in the shape of Ukraine getting what it needs to defend itself against an invasion.

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The modern US MIC has been pretty shite though. It's been odd seeing people discussing it and US intelligence etc as if it was still the all-conquering powerhouse it was in the 1960s or 1980s. If it was that shit-hot and ruthless, I think the US would be in a much stronger position than it is right now. The OG MIC would definitely not have let the US get into a position where, if it got into a shooting war with a near peer-power, it would have to win in the first week or negotiate a peace because it would just run out of ammunition.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

The modern US MIC has been pretty shite though. It's been odd seeing people discussing it and US intelligence etc as if it was still the all-conquering powerhouse it was in the 1960s or 1980s. If it was that shit-hot and ruthless, I think the US would be in a much stronger position than it is right now. The OG MIC would definitely not have let the US get into a position where, if it got into a shooting war with a near peer-power, it would have to win in the first week or negotiate a peace because it would just run out of ammunition.

I mostly agree - that is a clear massive weakness. That said some of the weapons platforms have proven themselves absurdly effective and done far better than anticipated.

But yeah, the US having no real capabilities to sustain a war and its distinct lack of power when it isn't able to gain air superiority is quite interesting. Afghanistan and Iraq may have spoiled capabilities for a while, especially when investing in super expensive carriers and planes that can be defeated by relatively cheap drone and man portable weapons.

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18 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

So what y'all are saying is that the US MIC had been making a shit load of razors, and bugger all blades?

They were making a shit ton of various unrelated razors and made a few blades, but more importantly did not make any blade factories or have any way to get the steel for the blades.

To be fair the US military has never anticipated having a long drawn out fight with, well, anyone. But this isn't even that drawn out. And as bad as logistics have been for Russia they may be just as bad in different ways for the US.

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6 hours ago, Werthead said:

The modern US MIC has been pretty shite though. It's been odd seeing people discussing it and US intelligence etc as if it was still the all-conquering powerhouse it was in the 1960s or 1980s. If it was that shit-hot and ruthless, I think the US would be in a much stronger position than it is right now. The OG MIC would definitely not have let the US get into a position where, if it got into a shooting war with a near peer-power, it would have to win in the first week or negotiate a peace because it would just run out of ammunition.

I think that the MIC will make whatever weapons their buddies in the Beltway and with stars on their uniforms ask for them to make.

A bigger issue is that many career military people base their careers on certain "platforms".  A platform might be the F-35 for an Air Force general, or a carrier group for an Admiral, or a type of tank for a cavalry officer.  And so these platforms get a lot of support, since their respective supporting officer needs that platform to be the featured US platform in order to advance their career.

You can drive across the northern and western Nevada deserts for hours past revetments full of different types of ammunition and 60s and 70s era platforms that are "in storage".  The US armed forces bought a lot of these platforms and never needed to use all that they bought from the MIC, who was happy to build and sell them to Uncle Sam, and Uncle Sam asked for the huge quantities of nerve gas shells or amphibious tanks or F-111s or whatever because a lot of officers needed those platforms for career success.

In an actual war such as WW2, the Combined Chiefs eventually figured out that it wasn't just battleships or B-17s that were necessary to successfully win, but then interstitial network of support and logistics that linked all the warfighting gear together.

The problem for the US is whether the next war will be long enough for that understanding and Lessons Learned analysis, learning, and adaption to take place to correct from a platform-centric military to an effective military that can assemble all the necessary parts to actually win.

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9 hours ago, Wilbur said:

I think that the MIC will make whatever weapons their buddies in the Beltway and with stars on their uniforms ask for them to make.

A bigger issue is that many career military people base their careers on certain "platforms".  A platform might be the F-35 for an Air Force general, or a carrier group for an Admiral, or a type of tank for a cavalry officer.  And so these platforms get a lot of support, since their respective supporting officer needs that platform to be the featured US platform in order to advance their career.

You can drive across the northern and western Nevada deserts for hours past revetments full of different types of ammunition and 60s and 70s era platforms that are "in storage".  The US armed forces bought a lot of these platforms and never needed to use all that they bought from the MIC, who was happy to build and sell them to Uncle Sam, and Uncle Sam asked for the huge quantities of nerve gas shells or amphibious tanks or F-111s or whatever because a lot of officers needed those platforms for career success.

In an actual war such as WW2, the Combined Chiefs eventually figured out that it wasn't just battleships or B-17s that were necessary to successfully win, but then interstitial network of support and logistics that linked all the warfighting gear together.

The problem for the US is whether the next war will be long enough for that understanding and Lessons Learned analysis, learning, and adaption to take place to correct from a platform-centric military to an effective military that can assemble all the necessary parts to actually win.

Logistics are fascinating.  US logistics in WWII, and British logistics in the Napoleonic war, were in a league of their own.  I’d say that logistics are 75% of winning.

Edited by SeanF
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Some interesting counter-attacks around Bakhmut. Russian forces have had to abandon some of the positions they've taken in the last 2-3 weeks and pull back. Not a massive reverse, but it looks like the Ukrainians were pinching off some Russian forces that had been left to hang out to dry with a lack of support.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Some interesting counter-attacks around Bakhmut. Russian forces have had to abandon some of the positions they've taken in the last 2-3 weeks and pull back. Not a massive reverse, but it looks like the Ukrainians were pinching off some Russian forces that had been left to hang out to dry with a lack of support.

That's one encouraging thing for the Spring counterattack.  A recurring theme in this war has been the Russians attack, attack, attack, making slow, grinding progress only to have a swift Ukrainian counterattack erase all those gains.  The Ukrainians have been very good at only committing to the offensive in places where the Russians are exhausted, stripped bare or just flatfooted.   We saw it outside Kyiv, in that weird counterattack that retook half of Severodontesk, and most of all in the fall Izyum/Lyman counterattack.

Obviously a lot of things go into a successful counterattack, and past success is no guarantee for the future.  But the Russian army's track record on the defensive has actually been quite poor in this war. 

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I think observing and admiring, from afar, Ukraine has been stupendous and superior using the intelligence that the allies and sattelite are assisting them with.

Its like one part superior eyes, two parts extraordinary bravery and execution.

As much as that pleases my sense of justice, the protraction of suffering it entails troubles me as well.

Not sure either side can vanquish the other in totality. Russia has too much oil revenue, even with the sanctions, to drop the fight and Ukraine is too brave to bow.

This is the scary recipe for an endless conflict.

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Interesting statement by Prigozhin over the weekend that he believed that for every Ukrainian killed in this war, five Russians have died. I know some figures place it as high as seven-to-one, but interesting that a prominent Russian commander should admit that much.

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Being that the first casualty of war is the truth 1:5 is almost certainly a lie. The question is whether he's overstating or understating the ratio. It depends on the audience and the message he's trying to convey. If he's speaking to an audience who he wants to think OMG panic!, we're (Russia) going to lose unless we do something, then he's overstating it. If he's speaking to an audience who he wants to think OMG Russia can win a war of attrition with that ratio of losses, then he's understating it.

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15 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Being that the first casualty of war is the truth 1:5 is almost certainly a lie. The question is whether he's overstating or understating the ratio. It depends on the audience and the message he's trying to convey. If he's speaking to an audience who he wants to think OMG panic!, we're (Russia) going to lose unless we do something, then he's overstating it. If he's speaking to an audience who he wants to think OMG Russia can win a war of attrition with that ratio of losses, then he's understating it.

He may be more on the money. Prigozhin's importance has been downgraded continuously over the last 6-8 months and he's been resorting to increasingly odd PR tactics to make himself seem important and invaluable to the Russian cause. His willingness to recruit criminals and sacrifice scum to achieve objectives, leaving ordinary "proper" Russians unharmed, has helped keep PR discontent over the war at a low ebb (despite some issues, like criminals surviving a tour of duty going home and immediately going on a crime rampage) and has helped Putin's cause. But the fact his new recruits are too shit to actually win major military breakthroughs and just grind forwards with thousands of losses per 1000 square meters of gained territory isn't really accomplishing anything. Russia needs to be able to win large pitched battles and secure large chunks of territory quickly, and his approach is not working (I'm not sure any approach will now work with that goal), otherwise it's going to take over two years just to reach the borders of the Donbas (by Prigozhin's own estimates).

In terms of sustainable casualties, 5:1 is far, far too high. At 3:1 (the base population difference between Russia and Ukraine) the Russians might be able to sell it, but not that high.

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