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Ukraine War: David And Goliath


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Ukraine has hit an FSB headquarters in Skadovsk and taken out a number of high-ranking FSB officials. Some suggestion that maybe higher-ranking Russian officials were there as well, but that might be optimism.

A Liberian-flagged cargo ship from Palau "accidentally" rammed a Russian ship near Bulgarian waters in the Black Sea, possibly revenge for the hit near Odesa.

Ukraine's Kherson bridgehead seems to be widening south of Krynky into the forests along the main road. Ukraine starting to get some momentum there, but it looks like Russia is having difficulty vectoring reinforcements into the area. Some sign Ukraine might be using helicopters in a similar way to Russia over Robotyne to hold back Russian forces.

On 11/8/2023 at 8:54 PM, Corvinus85 said:

Unless one actually has X/Twitter, the rest of a thread is not accessible.

Elooooooon!

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Putin mispronounced President Tokayev's name for the fourth time in public on a trip to Kazakhstan, causing the President to get annoyed and, during a later press conference, switched to speaking Kazah, leaving the Russians present standing there like lemons because they didn't know WTF was going on (in former Soviet countries, it's been traditional to speak Russian with Russian delegations present).

The Tambov munitions factory, 250 miles SE of Moscow, has exploded. Unclear as to who was responsible at the moment.

Russian forces continuing their push on the north hinge of Avdiivka got to the Ukrainian lines, but overextended and were cut off by US-supplied IFVs. They suffered heavy losses before retreating. But concerning they were able to get to the lines.

Major sea drone attack on Crimea. The Ukrainians targeted and damaged a series of Serna-class landing craft.

South Korean intelligence believes a small number of short-range ballistic missiles have been transferred from North Korea to Russia.

Ukrainian intelligence located a major mobile electronic warfare platform operating near Obryvka, Kherson Oblast, and destroyed it with HIMARS. This complex was possibly a mobile system trying to replace the system destroyed on Crimea's east coast a few months ago (geolocated after an idiot Russian tourist photographed it and posted it on social media). This should dramatically improve drone use, EW coordination and short-range communications as Ukraine attempts to break out from the Kherson bridgehead. A Russian resupply convoy was also destroyed in Hladkivka, Kherson. The Ukrainians are building up pressure on this front.

An FSB officer was assassinated in Bryansk yesterday, in Russia itself.

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Saw  an interesting article from Westpoint academics, suggesting that the US's approach to training in Ukraine is woefully failing to really help the Ukrainians, trying to teach them to fight in the American way when the American way depends on having air superiority, among other factors.

It points out that British trainers are very much preferred because they listen to Ukrainian soldiers, take the actual conditions they're fighting under into account, and adjust their training accordingly.

Edited by Ran
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It's been a year since the liberation of Kherson.

The boats sunk in Crimea were landing craft equipped with mobile SAM systems, which are extremely expensive. Russia was using them to go up the Dnipro and try to snipe Ukrainian missiles and artillery flying overhead, so taking them out was a pretty good move.

First Russian air attack on Kyiv in two months, using at least one Iskander ballistic missile. Air defences intercepted all incoming fire.

Someone blew up the railway tracks in Russia's Ryazan region, resulting in an entire freight train derailing.

Some really weird shit going on around Avdiivka. Several Russian convoys have driven straight into ATGM fire zones, resulting in them being completely destroyed by saturation defensive fire. Some Russian personnel are straight up refusing to go on such missions, it's unclear what the Russians are trying to accomplish there.

Edited by Werthead
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How Ukraine, With No Warships, Is Thwarting Russia’s Navy
The commander of Ukraine’s Navy said in a rare interview that the Russian naval blockade of Odesa had been broken. He also described how the war is transforming naval tactics
.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/12/world/europe/ukraine-navy-admiral-black-sea.html

Quote

 

.... Despite having no warships of its own, Ukraine has over the course of the war shifted the balance of power in the naval conflict. Its use of unmanned maritime drones and growing arsenal of long-range anti-ship missiles — along with critical surveillance provided by Western allies and targeted assaults by Ukraine’s Air Force and special operations forces — have allowed Ukraine to blunt the advantages of the vastly more powerful Russian Navy.

“At this point, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is primarily what naval strategists term ‘a fleet in being’: It represents a potential threat that needs to be vigilantly guarded against, but one that remains in check for now,” said Scott Savitz, a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation, a federally financed center that conducts research for the United States military. “Remarkably, Ukraine has achieved all this without a substantial fleet of its own.”

Admiral Neizhpapa cautioned that Ukraine remains vastly outgunned on the Black Sea. It lacks the battlecruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines that populate the Russian fleet. Russian planes still dominate the skies above the sea, and Russia still uses its fleet to launch long-range missiles at Ukrainian towns and cities, threatening armed forces and civilians alike.

On Wednesday, a missile struck a commercial ship pulling into the port of Odesa, killing the pilot and wounding three crew members. It was the first civilian vessel hit since shipping to Odesa resumed in late August.

The Russia Navy also dominates the Sea of Azov, a body of water connected to the Black Sea by the narrow Strait of Kerch, and is increasingly using Azov ports in the occupied cities of Mariupol and Berdiansk to help alleviate logistical challenges on land.

Ukraine has nevertheless managed to negate some of those advantages and lately has gone on the offensive. Over the last two months, it has launched both stealthy nighttime operations by small units on jet skis and powerful missile strikes. Those strikes have hit not just the Sevastopol headquarters but also a Kilo-class submarine and a shipbuilding plant in eastern Crimea, an attack that damaged a new missile-carrying Russian warship. ...

 

 

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The surrounds of Avdiivka now look like the surface of the Moon. There's just craters stretching away in all directions for several kilometres from the outskirts of the shattered town. There are dozens of burn-out Russian vehicles in view. Just this weekend Russia mounted at least two armoured pushes on Avdiivka which failed utterly.

Putin's summer palace near Sochi now has a dedicated air defence system, a sign of tremendous confidence in how things are going.

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I have a quick, dummy question guys, Ukraines population is almost 40 Mn, Russias total army size  is around 1.3Mn. Why can’t Ukraine use emergency wartime conscription and field 5Mn of its population to overwhelm the Russians with sheer numbers alone ? Since it’s their own land under attack they have a valid reason for drafting to convince their people. And they can atleast fit them with basic rifles if not all the fancy gear for millions.

Edited by Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II
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9 minutes ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

I have a quick, dummy question guys, Ukraines population is almost 40 Mn, Russias total army size  is around 1.3Mn. Why can’t Ukraine use emergency wartime conscription and field 5Mn of its population to overwhelm the Russians with sheer numbers alone ? Since it’s their own land under attack they have a valid reason for drafting to convince their people. And they can atleast fit them with basic rifles if not all the fancy gear for millions.

If Ukraine was a jungle that might work with extreme loss of life. But it's not. The vast majority of the terrain Russia still holds is open fields and even Russian artillery couldn't miss a mass infantry charge. Machine guns and tanks do not help either. 

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2 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Wartime equivalent of sticks vs steel, or arrows vs guns
Just ask the Native Americans, or the natives of Africa or the Pacific how that goes

Yes but the difference is the natives were adversely impacted by epidemics which greatly hindered their ability to use the strength of their numbers. Ukraine still has the population advantage at least while fighting in their own land, I realise Russia as a whole is much more populous but Ukraine ain’t gonna invade them anyways. 

Like I said even with basic rifles and anti tank/artillery weapons and drone support,with a higher number of soldiers conscripted, can’t they use their numbers to launch a mass infantry assault ? Just trying to understand why they can’t go into Total War mode like the armies in WW2 where even USA had like 12 Mn soldiers active even though they weren’t directly invaded.

I confess I don’t know anything about actual war tactics hence the dummy disclaimer.

Edited by Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II
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Even in total war a country needs people to keep the lights on as well as fighting soldiers. How many of those 12Mn US soldiers actually saw front line combat?

But it is probably a political question is much as a military one. What casualty rates can a democracy absorb without collapsing? WW1 Britain and France probably give the upper limit, and they were mature stable countries.

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37 minutes ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

Okay another potentially stupid question but why dosent Ukraine just drop tons of debris from the air on these minefields using drones/planes to trigger and clear  them out or are they really that well protected by Russian air forces 

I have thought about Ukraine taking captured, barely functional Russian vehicles, pointing them at the minefields, and then setting them loose without a driver. Yes, their course won't exactly be straight, and yes, they'll eventually hit a mine or some other obstruction. But, until then, foot troops walk on the tire tracks.

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To a very limited extent, there have been cases of using otherwise useless vehicles to clear mines.  The problem is there aren't that many useless but still running vehicles available.  And these mine fields are dense and long, setting off a few of mines is basically inconsequential in comparison to the number of mines we're talking about.  And finally, both sides have artillery deployed mines, so if you clear a track through a minefield, they can just redeploy mines to fill the gap.

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6 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

I have a quick, dummy question guys, Ukraines population is almost 40 Mn, Russias total army size  is around 1.3Mn. Why can’t Ukraine use emergency wartime conscription and field 5Mn of its population to overwhelm the Russians with sheer numbers alone ? Since it’s their own land under attack they have a valid reason for drafting to convince their people. And they can atleast fit them with basic rifles if not all the fancy gear for millions.

Several reasons:

1. Military reasons: Masses without leadership mean nothing - espcially in todays integrated, combined arms operations, you need to train the conscripts and you need sufficient officers and NCOs to actually lead these soldiers in the field. This requires massive training facilities that are hard to come by. It requires a lot more material than Ukraine has and it requires even more logistics that Ukraine also doesn't have. Also the deployment zones for large attacks have to be quite far beyond the front-line, because in the age of drones, fast, real-time enemy recon and artillery strikes will destroy those gatherings of men an material. Enemy engagement starts at distances when there is still a lot of ground to cover before your poorly equiped, poorly trained conscrips can even see the enemy. This is why you need APCs and many of them. And this ties into training  - planning and leading an armoured attack column under enemy fire across minefields right up to the enemy trenches, dismounting, entering the trench system for CQB requires a lot of coordination, many different specialists working together like a clockwork. Masses on foot would just get slaughtered on their way to the battle. So you need to train and you need leaders.

Social reasons: In a democratic state, institutions face public scrutiniy. A military/political leadership that wastes their own citizens as mere cannon fodder will come under huge pressure. As it is, the war against Ukraine is supported by a large majority of the population, but it is questionable wether is support would remain if meat-wave tactics were the new norm. Especially since these people are not existing in a vacuum - they are already contributing to the war effort, in factories, as drivers in logistics, in hospitals, schools etc.; what this basically means is that you are shifting more ressources to the front, where they are much less effective in their contribution to the war. And that would be hard to justify. Also from a practical POV, if this approach fails, then you have no reserves left - not in the military and not in society as a whole; i.e. a failure would have catastrophic consequences.

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3 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

Okay another potentially stupid question but why dosent Ukraine just drop tons of debris from the air on these minefields using drones/planes to trigger and clear  them out or are they really that well protected by Russian air forces 

Nato countries like the US have tried to clear minefields from the Air in the past with very limited results, the conclusion being that it's not really a viable strategy. Now Ukraine has neither the Air power of the USA nor air superiority in the war, so using the few aircraft they have in an inefficent way in contested air space is quite a safe way to lose whatever air power they have.

1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

To a very limited extent, there have been cases of using otherwise useless vehicles to clear mines.  The problem is there aren't that many useless but still running vehicles available.  And these mine fields are dense and long, setting off a few of mines is basically inconsequential in comparison to the number of mines we're talking about.  And finally, both sides have artillery deployed mines, so if you clear a track through a minefield, they can just redeploy mines to fill the gap.

Everything you said is true! Add to the fact that if you drive a vehicle in a minefield it gets stuck, so the next vehicle would have to either remove the vehicle in front somehow or drive around it...

8 hours ago, Makk said:

If Ukraine was a jungle that might work with extreme loss of life. But it's not. The vast majority of the terrain Russia still holds is open fields and even Russian artillery couldn't miss a mass infantry charge. Machine guns and tanks do not help either. 

Yes generally in an open flat environment like southern Ukraine you need vehicles, armored vehicles, tanks, artillery and various aircraft. Infantry reigns supreme in densely forested, urban and mountainous terrain. Two out of three don't exist in southern ukraine and most of the urban environments have either been flattened by the war or are far away from the frontlines.

4 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

Ukraine still has the population advantage at least while fighting in their own land, I realise Russia as a whole is much more populous but Ukraine ain’t gonna invade them anyways.

If you look at the technological development from ca. 1830 to now, mass infantry/cavalry charges became less and less succesful with each new technology that was added to the mix. From breechloading rifles all the way to the drones of today. Russia uses mass infantry charges to some degree but they have a population advantage (ca. 3-4 times as many people) and they have a political -military leadership that simply doesn't have to care about casualties (at least not until they reach WWI levels, which they will not for the next few years). For Ukraine to use such tactics would be a recipe to lose the war, let alone the political unrest it would cause. One russian guy in a trench with an AK47 can basically hold off an almost infinite number of ukrainian guys charging at him through open terrain, at least as long as he gets enough ammo. WWI was probably the war that proofed that more than any other. Even though all the way back to the Crimean war 1853-1856 such tactics became largely suicide and due to technological advances they are even worse nowadays.

4 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

Yes but the difference is the natives were adversely impacted by epidemics which greatly hindered their ability to use the strength of their numbers

That's mostly true for Natives in the New World and the pacific, in Africa and southern Asia diseases & climate impacted European people more than they impacted the native populations there. And still all these regions were conquered by the Europeans. Because a few guys with advanced weapons are just way better than loads of guys without.

54 minutes ago, Alarich II said:

1. Military reasons: Masses without leadership mean nothing - espcially in todays integrated, combined arms operations, you need to train the conscripts and you need sufficient officers and NCOs to actually lead these soldiers in the field. This requires massive training facilities that are hard to come by. It requires a lot more material than Ukraine has and it requires even more logistics that Ukraine also doesn't have. Also the deployment zones for large attacks have to be quite far beyond the front-line, because in the age of drones, fast, real-time enemy recon and artillery strikes will destroy those gatherings of men an material.

Yes and we have seen and heard from Ukrainians (from Zalushny all the way down to a private) that the training often isn't good enough, even though it is usually superior to the russian one. And they lack the weapons, equipment, numbers etc. You can't fight in a NATO way if you don't have Nato weaponry. It doesn' matter how good your football teacher is and how good your football training was if you lack a football.

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