3:34 PM, Feb 22, 2023
I Don't Believe the Military Experts
Over and over, Western military experts have given Russia the unconditional benefit of the doubt, and it is against this fatalist outlook that the Ukrainians have amazed the world. The, "Russian offensive" that the experts warned could possibly tilt the war back into the Kremlin's favor is tapering off now.
The Russians are short on armored vehicles-- they've lost most of their infantry fighting vehicles, and their museum of main battle tanks that were made for our grandparents' generation has just about played out --and are reduced to just mindlessly sending waves of "infantry" into Ukrainian fire, supported only by poorly-operated artillery for which ammunition is running low.
All seems to depend, the experts say, on whether or not Putin declares another mobilization. Surely, another 300,000 Russians sent to the front lines would bolster the beleaguered attackers in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Avdiivka, and all other parts of Russia's 600-mile front line. It makes sense that if Russia's advantage in numbers was exacerbated, Ukraine would fall, right?
Yeah, all of that is nonsense.
First, a new mobilization would have to be actively obeyed by the Russian public, and that seems highly unlikely, given the mass exodus that took place when Putin announced the last mobilization in the Fall. A new mobilization would create enormous problems for Putin, as his "special military operation," is devastatingly overdrawn, and increasingly difficult to depict to his people as anything other than a failure.
This is a repeating theme, but it bears mentioning again: Ukrainian artillery has annihilated and demoralized Russian supply chains. Simply moving troops, food, ammunition, medical supplies, tools, and vehicles to the front is an extremely dangerous undertaking for the Russians. As a result, all commands are issued from hundreds of miles away, by people without a clear picture of the battlefield. Supplies cannot be stockpiled within 100km of the front, as they will be quickly destroyed, so that means the artillery support needed by the Russian infantry is hamstrung.
Keep in mind too that every Russian soldier who arrives at the front line is less effective than the fallen soldier he replaces. Morale is disastrously low, and the strategy of the Russian command does not and cannot change. "Take that city," are the orders. "Gain ground!" So they simply run their unsupported infantry into enemy fire, suffering unacceptable casualties.
Ukraine suffers from none of these problems. On the contrary, they are training up on technologies that will enable their use of state-of-the-art offensive equipment and tactics that the Russians have never had. They have enough food, clothing, tools, supply chains, communications, and morale to continue a war of attrition far longer than the Russians. The result will be that when the mud dries in April or May, the Ukrainians will drive the Russians out of their country, and reclaim all the territory they lost, including Crimea.
So when I hear military experts talking about how this war will be a grinding war of attrition for another year, I don't believe them for a second. Russia is hanging on by a thread, and when the mud dries in the Donbas, the thread will be cut.