On The Failure Of The
By Moon Of Alabama
Information Clearing House
4/5 the Ukrainian military launched its long
announced counteroffensive in southeast Ukraine.
Ten days later there is no significant progress.
This is not
the outcome the war propagandists expected:
[General Petreus] spoke about the situation
in Ukraine to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
the counteroffensive, he said:
think that this counteroffensive is going to
be very impressive.
sense is that they will achieve combined
arms effects in other words, they will
successfully carry out combined arms
operations where you have engineers that are
breaching the obstacles and diffusing the
minefields and so forth; armour following
right on through protected by infantry
against anti-tank missiles; air defence
keeping the Russians aircraft off them;
electronic warfare jamming their radio
networks; logistics right up behind them;
artillery and mortars right out in front of
most important of all … is that as the lead
elements inevitably culminate after 72-96
hours, physically that’s about as far as you
can go, and they’ll have taken losses … you
have follow-on units that will push right on
through and capitalise on the progress and
maintain the momentum and I think that can
get the entire Russian defence in that area
moving, then I think you have other
opportunities that will open up on the
flanks as well.
Are You Tired Of
The Lies And
Back in reality the lead elements of the
They 'culminated', i.e. lost their ability for
in less than a day:
men of Ukraine’s 37th Brigade were freshly
trained and armed with Western-supplied
weapons, tasked with an initial push through
Russian-occupied territory in the early days
of a long-awaited counteroffensive.
They would pay a heavy price.
Within 20 minutes of their June 5 advance
south of Velyka Novosilka, in the southeast
Donetsk region, mortars exploded all around
them, soldiers said. A 30-year-old soldier
known as Lumberjack saw two of the men in
his vehicle bleeding heavily; one lost an
arm as he cried out for his family.
Lumberjack crawled into a crater, but the
shrapnel from a mortar went through the soil
and pierced his shoulder.
were left there in the field, without tanks
or heavy armor,” said Lumberjack, who spoke
to The Washington Post on the condition that
he be identified only by his call sign
because he was not authorized to discuss the
battle. “We were shelled with mortars from
three sides. We couldn’t do anything.”
There were fewer than 50 men
in the unit, he said, and 30 did not return
— they were killed, wounded or captured by
the enemy. Five of the unit’s armored
vehicles were destroyed within the first
trained those units made grave mistakes:
the first hour and a half of the 37th’s
assault near Velyka Novosilka, the Russians
bombarded the unit with nonstop shelling
that penetrated their AMX-10 RC armored
vehicles, according to Grey, another soldier
in the battalion who spoke on the condition
that he be identified only by his call sign.
The armored vehicles, sometimes called
“light tanks,” were not heavy enough to
protect the soldiers, Grey said, and had to
be positioned behind them instead of in
AMX-10 isn't a tank and can not be used as one.
It is a wheeled light reconnaissance vehicle
built by France 50 years ago to dominate
insurgents in its former African colonies. One
of its main features is to have a good speed
when in reverse gear. This to bail out as soon
as serious counter forces are detected.
Ukrainian counterattack is now stuck in the
Russian defense security zone, miles away from
the real defense lines. This was predictable.
As the U.S. Field Manual 100-2-1 described the
Soviet army in defense
the defense is established before contact
with the enemy, the Soviets
establish a security echelon up to 15
kilometers forward of the main defensive
area. The elements which make up
the security echelon come from the
division's second echelon. A security force
of up to battalion size may be deployed in
front of each first echelon regiment.
detailed and coordinated fire plan is
developed. Weapons are positioned so that
the maximum amount of fire can be brought to
bear directly in front of the [Forward Edge
of the Battle Area]. Enemy penetrations are
blunted by shifting artillery fire and by
The Ukrainian army used at least four brigades
for its attack. At least two of those were from
the 12 brigade reserve that had been built up
for the counterattack. With losses of some 30%
those involved were
for little to no gain:
Russians are trying to inflict as many
casualties and destroy as many vehicles as
possible in a battle zone ahead of the main
defensive line, depleting Ukrainian forces
before they reach it. In effect, it turns
the area in front of the main defense line
into a kill zone.
If the Russian strategy proves effective,
Ukraine could lose too many of its newly
trained troops — which number in the tens of
thousands — and too many tanks and infantry
fighting vehicles to breach the main line.
Even if they get that far, the forces might
be too weakened to stream south and help
accomplish a major objective: severing the
so-called land bridge that connects Russia
to the occupied Crimean Peninsula. This
would be done by reaching the Sea of Azov,
about 60 miles away.
Ukrainian forces were obviously not trained for
this. They also attacked in too many places. The
map at the top shows attack arrows in 7 places
and four main directions. One or two attack
directions, with more concentrated forces, might
have created better results.
The Russian President Putin recently
not give the number of personnel losses. I
will let the Defence Ministry do it after it
runs the numbers, but the structure of
losses is unfavourable for them as well.
What I mean to say is that of all personnel
losses – and they are approaching a number
that can be called catastrophic – the
structure of these losses is unfavourable
for them. Because as we know, losses can be
sanitary or irretrievable. Usually, I am
afraid I may be off a little, but
irretrievable losses are around 25 percent,
maximum 30 percent while their losses are
almost 50/50. This is my first point.
Second, if we look at irretrievable losses,
clearly, the defending side suffers fewer
losses, but this ratio of 1 to 10 is in our
favour. Our losses are one-tenth of the
losses of the Ukrainian forces.
Since the start of the counterattack the Russian
has listed a total of some 10,500 Ukrainian
second large attempt to cross the Forward Edge
of the Battle Area (FEBA) with the remaining
Ukrainian forces is expected, but is unlikely to
have a better outcome. The long promoted
Ukrainian counterattack is likely to end with
high Ukrainian losses and no gains.
This then will soon become a huge
heads into next year’s reelection campaign,
Biden needs a major battlefield
victory to show that his
unqualified support for Ukraine has
burnished U.S. global leadership,
reinvigorated a strong foreign policy with
bipartisan support and demonstrated the
prudent use of American military strength
A muddled outcome of limited gains in
Ukraine would provide grist for all of those
critiques and further cloud the already
murky waters of NATO and European Union
debate over future posture toward both
Ukraine and Russia. A less than
“overwhelming” success would probably also
increase pressure in the West to push Kyiv
to negotiate a territorial settlement that
may not be to its liking.
is little the Biden administration can do to
change the grim picture. Congress will likely
prevent it from openly using the U.S. military
in Ukraine. The European NATO allies have now
seen what the Russian army can do to its
enemies. They will not be eager to see the same
done to their own troops.
leaves negotiations as the only way out.
The question for Russia is when and with whom.
Talks with only Ukraine, a mere U.S. proxy with
no real say, would be insufficient. It is the
U.S. government that must agree to a new
security architecture in Europe. The Russian
conditions for peace
will be harsh
and it will still take a lot of time, and many
dead Ukrainians, until the U.S. agrees to them.
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