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VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/3/22 6:55 p.m.
Noddaz said:
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

I watch way to much TV...  But, proof that we are in the solidly in the social media era:  Czech crowdfunding "Tomas the Tank" for Ukraine

That is incredible.  What a fantastic time we live in.  It is so sad we spend so much time killing each other.

That's great that the little guys are working together to support Ukraine. But, I have questions of another article on BBC questioning Frances contributions: "Recent analysis conducted on the ground in Poland and Ukraine shows that the French share of foreign arms deliveries is less than 2%, way behind the US on 49%, but also behind Poland (22%) and Germany (9%)."

Ukraine war: Questions over France's weapons supply to Kyiv

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/4/22 8:29 a.m.

I don't think that I shared this thought here....

I’m pretty sure that even in its hey day the old Soviet Union was at best a paper tiger. Had they ever actually tried to advance on the west they would have been chewed to bits by the wests advanced equipment and tactics. I think that was something that many of the Soviet leaders realized as well and why we had peace for so long.

I have a feeling that after the wall fell and the ussr broke up a lot of that knowledge left. So we end up with leader after leader getting worse info about their effectiveness and readiness to pocket money. So you get what we have now, a leader that believed they were truly a super power in conventional arms but the reality is they have outdated equipment and horrible tactics that just get chewed up by western equipment and training. Its not so much that he's delusional but has been misled in their abilities to the point he truly thinks the west is likely literally leading the fight against his forces. 

Just a theory.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/4/22 8:36 a.m.
bobzilla said:

I don't think that I shared this thought here....

I’m pretty sure that even in its hey day the old Soviet Union was at best a paper tiger. Had they ever actually tried to advance on the west they would have been chewed to bits by the wests advanced equipment and tactics. I think that was something that many of the Soviet leaders realized as well and why we had peace for so long.

I have a feeling that after the wall fell and the ussr broke up a lot of that knowledge left. So we end up with leader after leader getting worse info about their effectiveness and readiness to pocket money. So you get what we have now, a leader that believed they were truly a super power in conventional arms but the reality is they have outdated equipment and horrible tactics that just get chewed up by western equipment and training. Its not so much that he's delusional but has been misled in their abilities to the point he truly thinks the west is likely literally leading the fight against his forces. 

Just a theory.

It would be a very interesting deep dive to go from a Russian agent talking to Bobby Kennedy about their campaign, trying to get JFK in over Nixon, promoting the idea of the missile gap etc, all the way to Russia's percieved power today. It's not a straight line, but it sure is interesting. Where are the myths, and where are the facts, and who really knew on either side of the idea?

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
10/4/22 9:05 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

To your first point, it depends a lot on what period you're discussing. When I was in grad school I wrote a paper on US war planning in Europe between 1946 and 1950. I read the documents themselves - a lot of the planning was how to efficiently retreat to the English Channel faster than the Red Army could advance. Sure, there was the atomic monopoly until 1949, and that would have been used against strategic targets, but on the ground it was clear there was no way the US could compete. The numerical advantage was overwhelming for many years after that as well, to the point where the loss ratio would have been lopsided, but there just weren't enough men, machines, and ordnance to stop the Soviets. Don't forget also that the Soviets did have some technological successes of their own: the first combat use of the AT-3 Sagger in the Middle East was an ugly shock, for example, as was the effectiveness of the SA-2 Guideline in Vietnam.

Some Soviet leaders were more astute than others, but even those who understood the balance was not in their favor could not be counted on to keep the peace. Khrushchev knew that the US was well ahead in virtually every strategic warhead delivery category, that the Soviet ICBM program was in trouble (there was a huge accident that killed a lot of its scientists), and that the economy could not sustain maximum effort indefinitely. This did not make him look to reduce tensions; on the contrary, he was openly belligerent at times, and the Cuban deployment of IRBMs and MRBMs was intended as a tactical move to redress and offset the technological imbalance. As I have argued is the case with Putin, Khrushchev was under considerable pressure internally from hardline elements in the Politburo - he could not afford to attempt to improve relations with the West without imperiling his own position, even though his private correspondence and statements indicate he would have welcomed a ratcheting down of tensions. I'm not saying Putin's personal views are similar, but his position and exposure to domestic pressure is.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/4/22 9:16 a.m.
02Pilot said:

In reply to bobzilla :

To your first point, it depends a lot on what period you're discussing. When I was in grad school I wrote a paper on US war planning in Europe between 1946 and 1950. I read the documents themselves - a lot of the planning was how to efficiently retreat to the English Channel faster than the Red Army could advance. Sure, there was the atomic monopoly until 1949, and that would have been used against strategic targets, but on the ground it was clear there was no way the US could compete. The numerical advantage was overwhelming for many years after that as well, to the point where the loss ratio would have been lopsided, but there just weren't enough men, machines, and ordnance to stop the Soviets. Don't forget also that the Soviets did have some technological successes of their own: the first combat use of the AT-3 Sagger in the Middle East was an ugly shock, for example, as was the effectiveness of the SA-2 Guideline in Vietnam.

Some Soviet leaders were more astute than others, but even those who understood the balance was not in their favor could not be counted on to keep the peace. Khrushchev knew that the US was well ahead in virtually every strategic warhead delivery category, that the Soviet ICBM program was in trouble (there was a huge accident that killed a lot of its scientists), and that the economy could not sustain maximum effort indefinitely. This did not make him look to reduce tensions; on the contrary, he was openly belligerent at times, and the Cuban deployment of IRBMs and MRBMs was intended as a tactical move to redress and offset the technological imbalance. As I have argued is the case with Putin, Khrushchev was under considerable pressure internally from hardline elements in the Politburo - he could not afford to attempt to improve relations with the West without imperiling his own position, even though his private correspondence and statements indicate he would have welcomed a ratcheting down of tensions. I'm not saying Putin's personal views are similar, but his position and exposure to domestic pressure is.

On the latter point, I don't think I am overstating to say that Khrushcev was pretty sure he could roll over JFK with no ramifications. He had sized JFK up, thought him to be a rich playboy, and had no place on the world stage. I think JFK grew after Bay of Pigs to a point where he went toe to toe and surprised Russia (and many of us) completely.

 

I don't think I can give Putin this same benefit of the doubt (I know you explicitly stated you were not making a comparison, but I am riffing off of the counterpoint) because the world leaders throughout Europe and NATO and the EU and the US have openly said as much. They weren't all bluffing.

Back to this, Khrushchev was an enemy, but he was rational. Putin appears to be either a catastrophically bad decision maker, or irrational (or both!).

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
10/4/22 9:38 a.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

The Vienna Summit was an eye-opener for JFK. The Bay of Pigs was, I think, more of a factor in Kennedy's later mistrust in the military and intelligence communities. His performance in the Missile Crisis was a surprise to many, but recall that what the public saw at the time was far from the whole truth of how the crisis was resolved. Without the back-channel communications via Scali and the KGB resident, and the subsequent deal on the Jupiters in Turkey, Khrushchev would never have been able to sell the public about-face to the Politburo, and thus Kennedy would have been forced into a choice of standing down or pulling the trigger.

This is one of the reasons I continue to argue in favor of giving Putin some sort of off-ramp that he can sell domestically. He has made many bad decisions, but what we don't know is how many, if any, better options he felt were available to him in light of domestic pressures within his own government. It may be that some sort of outside proposal, public or private, will have a better chance than something coming from Western leadership. Elon Musk's recent outline sketch of a deal is problematic, but it's also a lot closer to something Putin could accept than anything else out there at the moment. Zelensky's reaction to it highlights problems I've mentioned here before, and is probably the largest stumbling block.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/4/22 9:50 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

I think you would be right with the information the west had at the time. We thought there was much more to their military than there really were. Sure, they had numerical advantage but a lot of that was in obsolete equipment. T-34's even in the early 60's would have been slaughtered wholesale.

What I'm saying, or attempting to say, is that our assessments were off by a magnitude of at least 10. Even though they had 10k tanks, only 3500 may have been capable of fighting. Sure, they had 5k planes bu maybe enough skilled pilots for 100. The rest were just AA target practice. I think their leadership at that time knew this as well and that is what kept the peace to a degree. There's a lot more going on obviously but I think the west over estimated what was there and how it could be used. I mean, they really haven't changed tactics in 70 years. They are still throwing underprepared troops en masse to overcome a target taking heavy losses. 

Now, not saying they don't have skilled assets and some decent equipment but neither in enough quantity to matter long term.

stroker
stroker PowerDork
10/4/22 10:23 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

I'd be curious to know more about the "huge accident" you reference...?

Short version of this discussion strikes me as a recognition the Russians are a formidable defensive power in the human resources they can summon to the cause but I'm not seeing much historical evidence they can "project power", which the US has made its fundamental capability for about a hundred years.  I think you could argue the British Empire and the US are the only two entities who have been successful at projecting world-wide power...  

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
10/4/22 10:26 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

But when are were talking about? The situation was very different in 1950, 1960, 1970, and 1980, just to use crude arbitrary points in time. By the 60's Western tech was starting to tilt the playing field, but then Vietnam gutted trained US forces in Europe. I would have to go back in my sources to see if I can find readiness statistics for Soviet forces at various points - do you have sources for your numbers? As far as tactics, remember that mass was enough to win in the Great Patriotic War, and that most leadership until Gorbachev were veterans of that conflict (either military or party).

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/4/22 10:34 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

No, I grabbed random numbers intentionally. Its why I called it a theory that our estimates were exaggerated. It doesn't to be true. IT's a thought I had some time back about their situation and why Putin thought/thinks he could take over the world if he wants and none of the previous leaders had the same actions/thoughts. 

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
10/4/22 11:24 a.m.
stroker said:

In reply to 02Pilot :

I'd be curious to know more about the "huge accident" you reference...?

I presume it was this one:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nedelin_catastrophe

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/4/22 11:34 a.m.
02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
10/4/22 11:53 a.m.

In reply to red_stapler :

Yes, that's the incident.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
10/4/22 12:42 p.m.

The pictures in Noddaz links are the ones (and I am sure many far worse) that are causing a bit of a storm on Russian Telegram.  Another reason why it's a bad idea to leave your dead behind.  It looks really bad.

Ukrainians have captured another town east of Lyman, and the seem to be continuing to advance towards Lysychansk which is a very major city in that area.

Updates:

  • Ukrainian forces have made substantial gains around Lyman and in northern Kherson Oblast over the last 24 hours. The Russian units defeated on these fronts were previously considered to be among Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the appointment of Lieutenant-General Roman Berdnikov to the command of the Western Military District to redirect blame for recent or future Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian officials released the director of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, whom they had illegally detained, and are likely continuing to undermine Ukrainian control of the plant.
  • Ukrainian forces made advances on the Oskil River-Kreminna line towards the Luhansk oblast border.
  • Ukrainian forces advanced in northern Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is introducing punitive measures to target the Russian bureaucratic institutions responsible for the execution of partial mobilization.
  • Russian officials acknowledged that the Kremlin intends to invade, occupy, and illegally annex additional Ukrainian territory in the south and east and may alter the claimed borders of its occupied territories.
  • The Russian State Duma approved the Kremlin’s illegal accession treaties on October 3 and laid out the administrative timeline for integrating illegally annexed Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation.

 

In reference to the concept of annexing things you don't currently hold (I think "uhhhh yeah" is the right response here):

 

Senior Zaporizhia Occupation Administration official Vladimir Rogov was more explicit: he claimed on October 2 that the Soviet administrative boundaries of Zaporizhia Oblast now belong to Russia and will be administered from the regional capital, Zaporizhzhia City, which is still under Ukrainian control.[66] Rogov acknowledged that about a quarter of Zaporizhia remains ”temporarily occupied” by Ukrainian forces but that “control over the entire administrative border of Zaporizhia Oblast will be returned.”[67] Rogov claimed October 3 that “after liberation, a referendum will also be held [in Zaporizhzhia City] so that all residents of Zaporizhia oblast can be involved in the reunification of our region with Russia.”

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/22 1:20 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

If there's an "off ramp"- it should not include any territory that he's gained.  That just justifies the use of military to gain whatever you want, no matter how badly it goes.  Or just threatening the use of nukes can gain you whatever you want.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/4/22 1:39 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to 02Pilot :

If there's an "off ramp"- it should not include any territory that he's gained.  That just justifies the use of military to gain whatever you want, no matter how badly it goes.  Or just threatening the use of nukes can gain you whatever you want.

Hear hear. That goes back to 2008. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/4/22 1:58 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to 02Pilot :

If there's an "off ramp"- it should not include any territory that he's gained.  That just justifies the use of military to gain whatever you want, no matter how badly it goes.  Or just threatening the use of nukes can gain you whatever you want.

agreed. Because if thats the case lil' kim may decide to take Seoul and threaten nukes. Although I think that would be a bad idea for him. I hear SK spec ops are some of the fiercest out there. They'll come rolling in with their Elantra N's poppin and bangin... ask Cali popo how scary that is.

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
10/4/22 1:59 p.m.

Looks like the Russians are loosing a lot of ground north of Kherson (lower left in pic below).  Blue flags are captured towns.  I had heard reports of the Russians are in a disorderly retreat there, and this seems to confirm it. 

I have also read that the Russians In Kherson where having food and water shortages, and I am sure other supplies since the Ukrainians knocked out the bridges.  The Russians where trying to resupply with barges and pontoon bridges, but the Ukrainians kept blowing those up.

This is the area that the Ukrainians have been somewhat quite about in general.  Some of that quite was likely a bit of a double cross to make it look like the main effort, which did draw a LOT of Russian attention and troops which is now of course costing them, as the northern attack is showing.  Seems very likely Kherson will not last that much longer.

Of note again is that blue line in the lower right, which is the canal feeding water to Crimea.  If the Russians loose that....

An interesting historical side note is that the Russians in Kherson apparently do not have winter clothing, and it's starting to get cold there (getting into the 40s at night).... oh how the tables have turned...

Historical pic:

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
10/4/22 2:00 p.m.

For analysis on the war situation, I want to recomend this Youtube channel

The guy analyzes the war primarily from an economics standpoint and from there a macro level of events. Very good, complete, and non-sensationalist analysis. As much as possible when analyzing the situation on the ground he references what Russian and pro-Russian sources are saying of how things are going to show how even in the least-favorable lights, Ukraine is looking pretty favorably.

He is definitely in support of Ukraine. If I had to point a bias and agenda to his channel, it is that he believes Ukraine's success relies heavily on continued support from western powers, and wants to demonstrate logically why we should continue to support aid to help Ukrain fight.

His videos are fairly long and relatively dry, but I find them very interesting.

Most recently, he analyzed the significance of Russias declaration of "partial mobilization", what that *actually* means for Russia, how it's likely to affect things in Russia, and how it's likely to affect the war. It's a good example of how much he really looks at all probable outcomes and what is most likely.

 

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
10/4/22 2:23 p.m.

Perun's analysis is excellent, youtube recommended that to me pretty early on in the conflict.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
10/4/22 3:35 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to 02Pilot :

If there's an "off ramp"- it should not include any territory that he's gained.  That just justifies the use of military to gain whatever you want, no matter how badly it goes.  Or just threatening the use of nukes can gain you whatever you want.

The problem with this approach is that it is more concerned with setting terms than realistically considering what might be acceptable on the other side. Not to say that non-negotiable terms might not be appropriate, but a blanket requirement of zero territorial gain - which is about the only thing Putin has going for him in the plus column - pretty much kills the possibility of any deal being acceptable to the Russian hardliners, and thus to Putin (if he wants to survive). Deals giving up wide swathes of territory only happen with very lopsided war outcomes or political upheaval (think the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk or Versailles), and this conflict has a long way to go to reach the point where Russia is either willing or forced to give up everything gained on the ground since 2014.

The advantage to pushing for a deal now is that Ukraine has significant momentum and a solid supply of weapons from the West. I don't know that either of those is assured once we get to the 12-18 month mark and beyond. Russia hasn't done anything to completely eliminate the possibility of negotiations; if it detonates a nuclear device (I've seen suggestions of low-yield use inside or near Ukraine, or the launching of a nuclear torpedo near the coast as demonstrations of intent) there will be no political option left to politicians in the West. If you want to stop the fighting sooner rather than later, now's a good time to start talking. Ukraine doesn't think so, but they're also pushing hard to maximize their gains while they can, and dragging the West along with them. I would argue the West has a lot of influence on how things go from here, but so far is letting Ukraine steer the ship, which is not necessarily consistent with achieving the Western aim of terminating the conflict quickly and minimizing risks.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/4/22 3:42 p.m.

Ukraine intends to reclaim all annexed territory, including Crimea https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/russia-ukraine-war-news-10-04-22/index.html  (Second article)

And, grandpa doesn't look at all happy to be pressed and dressed holding an AK..

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/22 4:15 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Do you really expect that Ukraine would accept a deal when they are currently pushing the russians out of their country?

I honestly don't get the suggestion to ask them to stop taking their land back when they are making progress to do that every single day.

Given the number of people in Ukraine that the russians have murdered, do you really expect them to care about russian soldier deaths?  That's who is really losing out here.

If vlad was serious about the nuclear option, he would have let it fly a long time ago.  

You point out that Ukraine has all of the momentum.  What would a "deal" look like, then?  What would make them stop taking their land back?

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
10/4/22 4:20 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

There's few realistic expectations we can set for Putin when he's attempting to ethnically cleanse Ukrainians and their culture. The fodder of the DPR and LDR are both proof of that.

The other issue is that he's whipped his nation into a fascist frenzy; war societies don't accept failures or losses, that "off ramp" is just going to be a reprieve until the next surge. 

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
10/4/22 4:26 p.m.

I could easily see how Ukraine not taking back some of the territory is essentially good for Ukraine.  Crimea and Donetsk and maybe part of Luhansk have already been very corrupted by Russia, and have had Russian leanings from way before this conflict (some of it very much created by Russia of course).  The Russians have almost certainly "cleansed" most of the Ukrainian leaning citizens there by now.  It could be a huge nightmare for Ukraine to administer there.

I would suggest that maybe they let Russia keep those areas, subject to some restrictions of course, but maintain mineral rights to at least the coastal regions of Crimea.  Demilitarizing those areas also seems like a good idea.

And as O2 will certainly say, the end of the fighting has little to do with what Ukraine wants to do and very much what the Western powers (and mostly the US) are willing to do (or more to the point, spend).

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