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Thread: World War III

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    Naw, it was the tractor trailer, maybe mounted by operators. Very sophisticated blend of white phosphorous, fuel, and maybe Semtex...

    While the Russians claim they partially reopened things to traffic (guessing passenger cars), the rail slicing is a big problem for the Russian military...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 10-09-2022 at 05:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristy View Post
    Looks to me like a bomb went off under the road bridge and that set off the train loaded with fuel on the rail bridge. A coincidence that the train was there? I think not. Good planning on this bombing.
    Upon further review, that may be the case but FFS how? Like The Guns of Navarone shit!

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    Is Germany being a little bad ass here or what?
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    Blow Up Russian Trains, Liberate The Coast: Ukraine Has A Plan To Win The War
    David Axe, Forbes Staff - Yesterday 4:43 PM

    © Provided by Forbes
    According to AFP, the Kremlin ordered repairs to the $4-billion, 11-mile span to wrap up in July 2023. Until then, Russian forces in southern Ukraine will depend on just one overland supply route—a rail line through eastern Ukraine that’s well within range of Ukrainian artillery.

    All that is to say, the Russian field armies in and around the port of Kherson on Ukraine’s temporarily-occupied Black Sea coast are in trouble. They were struggling with resupply before the Ukrainians blew up the Kerch Bridge, twisting its twin rail lines and dropping one of its two road lanes. Now the struggle will get worse.

    The partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge “presents the Russians with a significant problem,” tweeted Mick Ryan, a retired Australian army general.

    And that sets conditions for what some analysts say is Ukraine’s plan to end the eight-month-old war. As Russian forces fray in the south, gaps could form in their defensive lines stretching from just north of Kherson 250 miles west to the terrain between occupied Mariupol and free Zaporizhzhia.

    If Ukrainian brigades can exploit those gaps and liberate the ruins of Mariupol, they will “sever the Russian armed forces in Ukraine into two pieces that cannot mutually reinforce,” according to Mike Martin, a fellow at the Department of War Studies at King's College in London—and almost entirely isolate the Russians in the south.

    After that, “you’re going to see a general collapse of the [Russian armed forces], a change of power in Moscow and a deal that involves Crimea being handed over,” Martin added. “Or, the Ukrainians will just take it.”

    The Russian army traditionally relies on trains to move the bulk of its supplies. That explains why the army never had the big, robust truck units that, say, the U.S. Army takes for granted. The Russians’ truck shortage got a lot worse this spring when the Ukrainians blew up hundreds of trucks trying to resupply Russian battalions rolling toward Kyiv on a doomed mission to capture the Ukrainian government.

    The Kremlin’s problem, now that Ukraine has cut the main rail line into Kherson Oblast, is that the only other rail line connecting Russia to a railhead anywhere near Kherson, terminating in occupied Melitopol, lies just a few miles south of the front line near Volnovakha, north of Mariupol. Ukrainian troops could hit the line, and any trains rolling along it, with 120-millimeter mortars, 155-millimeter howitzers and High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

    Realistically, Russian commanders have few options short of surrender. They can feed small quantities of supplies into Kherson by truck, by boat and by plane—and hope that the garrison in the south can hold out until July, when the Kerch Bridge might fully reopen.

    The problem is that Ukrainian commanders know they’ve got nine months to take advantage of Russia’s logistical problem. Nine months to add a third counteroffensive to the counteroffensives they launched in the east and south six weeks ago. That third attack almost certainly will target Mariupol in order to cut in two the Russian army and starve half of it.

    With the Russians on the defensive and the Kremlin’s desperate nationwide mobilization mostly feeding hapless old men into a war they’re not equipped to fight, the momentum clearly lies with the Ukrainians. They get to choose when to launch a third counteroffensive. Russian sources already are anticipating the possible attack.

    It’s likely only the coming winter can dictate terms. The first few months of Ukraine’s winter are wet and muddy. The last few are cold and icy. The former are hostile to ground combat. The latter, somewhat less so. If Kyiv aims to end the war on its terms before, say, January, it might need to make its move soon.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...bea4b60c188f55

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    Ukrainian forces are moving in on Kherson as the Russian openly talk of retreat, liberating the city would be another remarkable milestone. It will also allow Ukraine to again cut off fresh water supplies to Crimea. Maybe the Russians can use their oil and gas to build desalination plants no?

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    When you don't pay your army...

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    Russian draftees in open rebellion because of no food, water, rusty AKM rifles from the 70's, etc. They begin changing "cocksucker" at the senior officer threateni9ng them with "riot police"...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 11-06-2022 at 01:34 PM.

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    Russian troops have turned to Wikipedia to find instructions on handling weapons and used 1960s-era maps in the country's invasion of Ukraine: NYT
    John L. Dorman Dec 17, 2022, 12:35 PM

    From the start, Russia's invasion of Ukraine was riddled with strategic blunders, with a military force that was unprepared for the conflict and logistical issues that have hobbled the Kremlin.

    In a New York Times investigation detailing Russia's failures throughout the conflict, the story of Russia's 155th Naval Infantry Brigade is one of the clearest examples of the poor decision-making that has defined the invasion.

    While in combat, the troops in the naval brigade lacked sufficient food, maps, critical medical supplies, or walkie-talkies, and they were forced to use 1970s-era Kalashnikov rifles — with some members having to resort to using Wikipedia to locate instructions for using certain weapons — according to the report.

    In interviews with The Times, several members of the brigade told the newspaper that some of the newly-enlisted military fighters had little experience with guns and spoke of having few bullets to use in combat.

    The members were initially told by their commanders that they wouldn't see combat, per the report. But once they witnessed their comrades being killed around them as Ukrainian forces were firing upon them, they realized that they weren't told the truth about their role in the conflict.

    A Russian solider named Mikhail — who in October witnessed many of his comrades dying near the Ukrainian town of Pavlivka — told The Times that of the 60 members of his platoon, 40 were killed and just eight members eluded serious injuries.

    "This isn't war," Mikhail told the newspaper from a hospital near Moscow. "It's the destruction of the Russian people by their own commanders."

    Russian President Vladimir Putin displayed a high degree of confidence in the country's military when he launched the invasion of Ukraine in late February.

    But nearly ten months later, Russia has been unable to defeat the Ukrainian military and has found itself shunned and isolated from the West.

    According to The Times, Putin "spiraled into self-aggrandizement and anti-Western zeal," which drove him to make the decision to invade Ukraine "in near total isolation."

    Per The Times report, Russia's invasion plans showed that the military expected troops to march across Ukraine and swiftly take control of the country, with officers being instructed to bring along their dress uniforms and medals for military parades in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

    The Russian military, which was seen as a formidable force before the conflict, in actuality had been "severely compromised" by longstanding corruption, per the report.

    Russian troops on the ground in Ukraine relied on old maps — some from the 1960s — to navigate their way across the country, and many used their cellphones to call numbers in Russia, which allowed Ukrainian forces to locate and attack them. The Times report also detailed how some Russian pilots flew their planes as though they weren't in peril.

    In January, the retired Russian Gen. Leonid Ivashov, having seen reports about the impending conflict, wrote an open letter stating that a full-scale war with Ukraine would jeopardize "the very existence of Russia as a state."

    "Never in its history has Russia made such stupid decisions," Ivashov told The Times during a recent phone interview. "Alas, today stupidity has triumphed — stupidity, greed, a kind of vengefulness and even a kind of malice."

    Dmitri S. Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, pointed to intervention by the West in assessing Russia's numerous setbacks throughout the conflict.

    "This is a big burden for us," he said, referencing the strong NATO support for Ukraine. "It was just very hard to believe in such cynicism and in such bloodthirstiness on the part of the collective West."

    Since the conflict began, the Biden administration has continued to send advanced weaponry to Ukraine, including high-speed, anti-radiation missiles.

    As of November, the United States has committed $66 billion in aid to Ukraine.

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    You have to be careful with some of that old Russian stuff. The old RPG’s have an impact fuse on the nose. If the tip of the rocket hits something hard it explodes. Some rust usually isn’t going to affect a Kalashnikov. The Soviet ones were built really well. The bore and gas system is chrome plated so it won’t rust. Some pitting isn’t going to hurt anything unless it’s a spring. The spring might fail. One problem area is the bolt carrier return spring. The assembly can fail due to a lot of use or extreme corrosion. It’s a part that takes a real beating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    You have to be careful with some of that old Russian stuff. The old RPG’s have an impact fuse on the nose. If the tip of the rocket hits something hard it explodes. Some rust usually isn’t going to affect a Kalashnikov. The Soviet ones were built really well. The bore and gas system is chrome plated so it won’t rust. Some pitting isn’t going to hurt anything unless it’s a spring. The spring might fail. One problem area is the bolt carrier return spring. The assembly can fail due to a lot of use or extreme corrosion. It’s a part that takes a real beating.
    It's also not going to hit anything, the Russians are introducing a whole new stream of ammo taxing their already shit logistics and the ammo itself is also very old. Reliable or not, the rusting AK47/AKM derivatives will never likely be remanufactured well enough to be an effective arm. But I suspect the 'cannon-fodder' who get these won't need resupplying though...

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    If they are using AKM’s they can’t use their standard 5,45x39 round. They would have to use 7,62x39. So yeah logistical problems throwing that into the mix. The weakest part of the AK system is optics. People trained well on those rifles can operate as good as people with a more modern firearm. Magazine changes are easy to fuck up but for a seasoned operator it doesn’t seem to be a problem. But on the modern battlefield modern optics are what give you the edge. A soldier with a red dot, night vision and heat signature sensing capability has a huge advantage over a soldier with only iron sights. If I had the choice of a rifle with full auto capability or a rifle with a good red dot sight and no full auto, I would take the red dot.

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    I go to a range that rents machine guns. They have an AK that gets rented all the time and has had a lot of rounds through it full auto. Everything is pretty robust but the recoil spring has a wire loop assembly that will eventually break. The barrels are pinned in so replacing a barrel is a more major deal than a M16 where a big nut holds the barrel in place. I’ve never heard of anyone having a problem with an extractor on an AK. Those seem pretty robust. Really not much to go wrong. Accuracy can vary. I’ve seen some AK’s shoot two minutes of angle and others notgroup for shit. Maybe the barrels had a lot of rounds through them and are worn. I’ve never had a jam ever with one and I’ve put thousands of rounds through AKs. It’s most likely going to go bang. Whether you hit anything is another question.
    Last edited by Nitro Express; 12-19-2022 at 07:54 AM.

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    My guess is that the Russians won't bother much with 7.62x39mm, those issued the AKM are just targets and cannon fodder. I did see pic's of some Ukrainian troops with AKM's, guessing they were National Guard or volunteers...

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    I was talking to someone who was in Falluja and he said the 7,62x39 round was very effective. He said he was getting good hits on people with the M855 round and he had to shoot several times to drop the person. One square hit on the Marines he was fighting with took them out. In winter conditions an AKM is nicer to operate with gloves on your hands. The Ruskies did design them good for that. Another good thing about AKM’s is the standard steel magazines last forever. You can pound nails with those. The drawback is they are heavy but it’s definitely the arm the peasants no worries rifle.

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    Rig a red dot on a AKM that isn’t shot out and it’s a deadly 300 meter rifle. It’s going to do the job.

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    We really dropped the ball with post Soviet Russia. We could have avoided the whole mess but our military industrial complex loves war profits too much. They will always create situations to justify a war. My main concern is the bear can bite hard if you corner it. Playing these kind of games with a nuclear power is very dangerous. Now we’ve pushed Russia and China together. You wan’t to keep those two separate. Now they are waging economic warfare on us and doing a pretty good job of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    Rig a red dot on a AKM that isn’t shot out and it’s a deadly 300 meter rifle. It’s going to do the job.
    I've talked to a few soldiers and some of them were top tier special operations. Not one of them would carry an AK as a preferred weapon in combat except as a last resort. The M855 will take a second to cause a massive internal bleed due to the yawing. In Vietnam, they would find Vietnamese NLF and PAVN that ran after being shot by the M193 round similar to circumstances of soldiers shot with musket balls in the Civil War, they'd rifle their uniforms trying to pull the rounds out because they could feel the internal bleed. The M855 is also quite more effective at knocking people down than the 5.45mm..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I've talked to a few soldiers and some of them were top tier special operations. Not one of them would carry an AK as a preferred weapon in combat except as a last resort. The M855 will take a second to cause a massive internal bleed due to the yawing. In Vietnam, they would find Vietnamese NLF and PAVN that ran after being shot by the M193 round similar to circumstances of soldiers shot with musket balls in the Civil War, they'd rifle their uniforms trying to pull the rounds out because they could feel the internal bleed. The M855 is also quite more effective at knocking people down than the 5.45mm..
    It boils down to what you are used to. In Israel some people liked the Galil and others liked the M4’s we gave them. All I know is a guy who was in actual combat said the 7,62x39 round took people out of the fight better than the M844 round. Apparently the short 123 grain bullet does some yawing as well and it has more mass.

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    Special ops guys are interesting to talk to. I’m on the search and rescue in my county so I talk to the SWAT guys in our Sheriff’s Department. Everyone is liking the 300 Blackout. It’s pretty much replaced 9mm sub guns for building clearing in the subsonic loading. You can use a standard carbine lower with a pistol upper and run a can with it and it works fine. You don’t have to switch out the buffer or recoil spring. You can throw a 300 blackout carbine upper and run supersonic loads and get 7,62x39 performance out of it. In hunting loads it’s an excellent deer and hog cartridge where shooting distances aren’t very far.

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    I don't have one of these! Would be too big for the trails I run in the Gladiator

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    Quote Originally Posted by twonabomber View Post
    I don't have one of these! Would be too big for the trails I run in the Gladiator

    I know Caterpillar makes a line of off road construction stuff like this such and end-dumps. I've driven a Uke (articulated-end-dump actually) a long while back where we had a deep excavation up a trail to a partial concrete "racetrack" and trail where we dumped contaminated soil to load out on dumps to take to a burn facility to clean the soil. It was fucking fun! Like mountain biking but also scary as fuck at times. One guy that was a decent dude, but a bit of a lazy retard, flipped over a (Volvo) Uke while dumping soil off a dirt ramp. It wasn't tough to do except they wanted production so you had to do everything fast and rushed. Then the Army Corp safety guys would see us whipping around the track corners at 30mph and bitch that we were going too fast and being unsafe so we would literally get yelled at by the super/foreman to speed up and go faster in the morning, then "slow the fuck down you're going to kill yourself", literally an hour later. Good times...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    It boils down to what you are used to. In Israel some people liked the Galil and others liked the M4’s we gave them. All I know is a guy who was in actual combat said the 7,62x39 round took people out of the fight better than the M844 round. Apparently the short 123 grain bullet does some yawing as well and it has more mass.
    Maybe at very close quarter combat ranges. The 7.62x39 has reduced velocity that might transfer energy better at short ranges, sort of like a .45ACP round over a 9x19mm NATO/Lugar. But an 855 will blow through a ballistic vest much better and will have better pen through walls and stuff, so sort of a tradeoff...

    Not 100% positive, but I think current US ballistic vests will if not stop the Soviet slug, will at least slow it down to turn fatal wounds into non-fatal ones...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Maybe at very close quarter combat ranges. The 7.62x39 has reduced velocity that might transfer energy better at short ranges, sort of like a .45ACP round over a 9x19mm NATO/Lugar. But an 855 will blow through a ballistic vest much better and will have better pen through walls and stuff, so sort of a tradeoff...

    Not 100% positive, but I think current US ballistic vests will if not stop the Soviet slug, will at least slow it down to turn fatal wounds into non-fatal ones...
    Yeah the 7,62x39 drops like a rock past 300 meters. Past that range you are lobbing lead onto your target. It was close ranges he was in fire fights. Urban combat. One guy he hosed was wearing what he described as casual business attire. He shot the guy in the chest with a M855 and it didn’t take the guy down and he had to put a few more into him to drop him. I don’t know if the Iraqi dudes were jacked on drugs or not. I’ve heard cops talk about trying to take down people on uppers and it’s a bitch.

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    Battle for Bakhmut:

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    Tanks to the Ukraine!

    n reversal, US poised to approve Abrams tanks for Ukraine


    FILE - A soldier walks past a line of M1 Abrams tanks, Nov. 29, 2016, at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. In what would be a reversal, the Biden administration is poised to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said Tuesday, as international reluctance toward sending tanks to the battlefront against the Russians begins to erode. The decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday though it could take months or years for the tanks to be delivered. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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    LOLITA C. BALDOR and MATTHEW LEE
    Tue, January 24, 2023 at 1:04 PM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) — In what would be a reversal, the Biden administration is poised to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said Tuesday, as international reluctance to send tanks to the battlefront against the Russians begins to erode. The decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday, though it could take months or years for the tanks to be delivered.

    U.S. officials said details are still being worked out. One official said the tanks would be bought under an upcoming Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package, which provides longer-range funding for weapons and equipment to be purchased from commercial vendors.

    The U.S. announcement is expected in coordination with an announcement by Germany that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to one official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made public.

    By agreeing to send the Abrams at an as-yet unspecified time under the assistance initiative, the administration is able to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's demand for an American commitment without having to send the tanks immediately.

    Much of the aid sent so far in the 11-month-old war has been through a separate program drawing on Pentagon stocks to get weapons more quickly to Ukraine. But even under that program, it would take months to get tanks to Ukraine and to get Ukrainian forces trained on them.

    It's unknown how many tanks would be approved.

    Until now, the U.S. has resisted providing its own M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, citing extensive and complex maintenance and logistical challenges with the high-tech vehicles. Washington believes it would be more productive to send German Leopards since many allies have them and Ukrainian troops would need less training than on the more difficult Abrams.

    Just last week, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters that the Abrams is a complicated, expensive, difficult to maintain and hard to train on piece of equipment. One thing Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been very focused on, he said, "is that we should not be providing the Ukrainians systems they can’t repair, they can’t sustain, and that they, over the long term, can’t afford, because it’s not helpful.”

    A U.S. official familiar with White House thinking said the administration’s initial hesitancy was based on concerns about the requisite training and the sustainment of the tanks. The official added that the administration believes that such plans are now in place, but it could take time to implement them.

    At the Pentagon, spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said he had nothing to announce on any U.S. decision regarding Abrams tanks. But he said, “anytime that we’ve provided Ukraine with a type of system, we’ve provided the training and sustainment capabilities with that.”

    The administration's reversal comes just days after a coalition of more than 50 senior defense officials from Europe and beyond met in Germany to discuss Ukraine’s war needs, and battle tanks were a prime topic.

    Ukrainian leaders have been urgently requesting tanks, but Germany had resisted mounting pressure either to supply its own tanks or clear the way for other countries, such as Poland, to send the German-made tanks from their own stocks. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deployment of Western tanks would trigger “unambiguously negative” consequences.

    Defense leaders from the countries that have Leopard 2 tanks met with the Germans during the Friday conference at Ramstein Air Base in an effort to hammer out an agreement.

    On Sunday, Berlin indicated it wouldn’t stand in the way if other countries wanted to send the Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv. Germany needs to agree for the tanks to be given to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.

    U.S. and German officials have given mixed signals about whether the U.S. and German decisions are linked, and whether Berlin was hesitant to send its tanks unless the U.S. sent Abrams.

    Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said Tuesday that Poland has officially requested permission from Germany to transfer its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

    German officials confirmed to the dpa news agency they had received the application and said it would be assessed “with due urgency.” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday that Berlin wouldn’t seek to stop Poland from providing the high-tech armor to Kyiv.

    German officials declined to comment on the reports of a tank deal. The news weekly Der Spiegel reported Tuesday, without citing a source, that Germany will provide Ukraine with at least one company of Leopard 2 tanks from its own army’s stock. Scholz is due to deliver an address to parliament Wednesday and field questions from lawmakers, many of whom have been pressing the government to join allies in providing the tanks to Ukraine.

    Lawmakers in Congress have also been pushing the U.S. to beef up its aid to Ukraine.

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday “it’s time, past time” for the Biden administration and allies to send more military aid to Ukraine, and that the U.S. must provide more tanks and weapons to help Ukraine “win this war.”

    “It’s time, past time, for the Biden administration and our allies to get serious about helping Ukraine finish the job and retake their country.”

    The likely plans to send the Abrams were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    Associated Press writers Tara Copp, Kevin Freking and Aamer Madhani contributed to this report.

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    About 300-400 Western tanks like the Brit Challenger and the above will tip the scales in this fight...

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    “When you attack us, you will see our faces. Not our backs, but our faces.”

    After nearly one year of war, how Ukraine defied the odds — and may still defeat Russia
    Analysis by Tim Lister, CNN LINK
    Updated 8:03 AM EST, Mon February 20, 2023

    The words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hours after Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

    They were prophetic. Many analysts expected Ukrainian resistance to crumble in days. But for a year, the Ukrainian military has faced down a much larger force, rolling back the Russians’ initial gains in Kharkiv and Kherson, holding the line in the hotly contested Donbas region.

    In the process the Ukrainians have inflicted stunning losses on the Russian army, and laid bare the outmoded tactics, stale leadership and brittle morale of a force more impressive on parade than on the battlefield.

    By contrast, Ukrainian units have proved nimble and adaptive, harnessing drone technology, decentralized command and smart operational planning to exploit their enemy’s systemic weaknesses.

    And few would have bet that one year into this war, the vintage Ukrainian air force would still be flying.

    Perhaps one of the most impressive examples of Ukrainian agility came on the first day of the invasion, when a large Russian helicopter assault force seized an airfield on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv, threatening to turn it into a decisive bridge for the invading force to surge further reinforcements.

    The following night, Ukrainian special forces, supported by accurate artillery, penetrated the base, killed dozens of Russian paratroopers and disabled the runway. The Russian concept of operations, so confidently rehearsed on table tops, was crumbling in its first phase.

    This action underscored Zelensky’s determination (“I need ammunition, not a ride,” he said as he rejected an offer from the United States of evacuation from Kyiv), as did the defiance of a small detachment on Snake Island with their vernacular retort to a Russian warship, a gesture that became a national meme within hours.

    One month later the Russian column that straggled along highways north of Kyiv withdrew, as did battalions to the east of the capital. Moscow described the redeployment as a “goodwill gesture.” But it was the first of many overhauls to Russia’s battle plans, exemplified by the regular changes of command and the equally regular wringing of hands among the military bloggers.

    The Ukrainians’ agility has been reinforced by infusions of Western hardware, much of it a generation better than Russian armor. To start with, it was British and US anti-tank weapons and Turkish attack drones that helped halt the Russian drive toward Kyiv by hammering the flanks of exposed columns, ambushing vulnerable points along their telegraphed avenues of approach.

    Later came pinpoint accurate HIMARS multi-launch rocket systems, long-range artillery from France, Poland and elsewhere, that enabled Ukraine to degrade Russian command posts, ammunition stores, and fuel depots. Real-time intelligence collection and fusion (supported by NATO), was integrated, creating a battlefield where Ukrainian units detected targets more quickly than the cumbersome Russian force.

    Air defense systems have blunted Russian missile and drone barrages and discouraged its air force from conducting missions directly over Ukrainian airspace.

    But there has been a regular, and costly, lag between what the Ukrainians badly need and when it gets delivered. As one Ukrainian official told CNN this month, “We need help yesterday and we are promised it tomorrow. The difference between yesterday and tomorrow is the lives of our people.”

    The latest iteration of this gap is the scramble to provide tanks after months of obfuscation. Leopard 2s, Challengers and Abrams M-1s have been earmarked for Ukraine and are vastly superior to the Russian main battle tanks. But the numbers are unclear – ranging from a few dozen to 300 – and even with a following wind the first won’t be in the field until April, and must then be integrated into combined formation battle groups, ready to take the fight to the enemy.


    A Ukrainian soldier waves his country's national flag while standing on top of an armored personnel carrier last April in Hostomel.

    But on this first anniversary of the Russian invasion Ukraine has more pressing needs than main battle tanks. During a CNN team’s two-week tour of frontline positions, one refrain echoed time and again: “We need shells.”

    One Ukrainian soldier appeared on television last week and said: “We need shells, shells, and, once again, shells.”

    While Ukraine is absorbing and training on Western hardware, it is also trying to fight a war with Soviet-era armor, scouring the world for large-caliber munitions and spare parts. The “ammo deficit” is its Achilles heel, in the face of the vast Russian reservoir of artillery and rockets systems.

    “It is clear that we are in a race of logistics,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last week.

    Ukraine’s shopping list, in order to prevail, might be divided into the now (shells, more air defenses, and longer-range missiles and rockets) and the next (tanks, Patriot batteries, and ground-launched small diameter bombs known as GLSDB with a nearly 100-mile (160-kilometer) range that have been promised by the US.)

    One lesson the Russians have learned is to place logistics hubs beyond the reach of strikes, so the timing of GLSDB deliveries and of longer-range systems promised by the UK to Ukraine is all-important – to defeat mass with precision.

    The Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies expects “the first GLSDBs won’t arrive until this fall, likely missing widely expected Russian and Ukrainian offensives that will determine the war’s future trajectory.”

    Beyond the now and the next, Ukrainian officials are frustrated by the never category, which currently includes F-16 fighter jets and US ATACMS (Army Tactical) missiles, with a range of 186 miles (300 kilometers).

    Ukraine’s allies have consistently refused to provide anything that would enable Ukraine to hit Russian territory, a red line duly noted by Moscow.

    During a surprise visit by US President Joe Biden to Kyiv on Monday, Zelensky said he hoped the war would be over by the end of 2023.

    Although the first year of this conflict has thrown up plenty of surprises, the next few weeks seem likely to bring a still more intense Russian assault at various points along the meandering front line from Kharkiv to Zaporizhzhia – to fulfill the Kremlin’s stated goal of seizing the rest of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

    Some Western officials expect the Russian air force – largely missing in action so far – to become a more important component of the Russian battle plan. “We do know that Russia has a substantial number of aircraft in its inventory and a lot of capability left,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week.

    As the prelude to the assault gets underway, the Russian high command may not feel encouraged. Repeated attempts to advance in the Vuhledar area (perhaps a laboratory for the wider campaign) have gone badly.

    The failure even to deliver Bakhmut as a victory for the Kremlin before the anniversary is a reminder that the Russians are more capable of inflicting destruction than taking territory. Effective combined arms operations have eluded Russian battalions.

    This is how Ukrainians are training to use Leopard 2 tanks
    Senior US, British and Ukrainian officials have told CNN they are skeptical Russia has amassed the manpower and resources to make significant gains.

    “It’s likely more aspirational than realistic,” said a senior US military official last week, with Russian forces moving before they are ready, due to political pressure from the Kremlin.

    The Russian chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov was put in direct charge of the Ukraine campaign last month, prompting Rand analyst Dara Massicot to say that the “possibility of the Russians asking their tired force to do something that it cannot handle rises exponentially.”

    If this much-anticipated offensive fails, after the mobilization of 300,000 men, what is the next step for the Kremlin?

    Faint cracks emerge in the facade of Putin's rule, one year after Ukraine invasion
    If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, Putin will double down. Perhaps there will be an (undeclared) second mobilization, a redoubling of missile attacks aimed at paralyzing Ukrainian infrastructure, even efforts to disperse the conflict. The US has expressed alarm over what it sees as Russian efforts to destabilize Moldova on Ukraine’s southern flank, accusations Moscow has dismissed.

    The only playbook that has worked for the Russians in this conflict is to lay waste to what’s in front of them, so there is nothing left to defend. We’ve seen this in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna and above all Mariupol.

    Were Russia to capture the part of Donetsk still in Ukrainian hands, that would require demolishing an area the size of Connecticut. There are already issues with the supply of munitions to the Russian front lines, according to Ukrainian and Western officials.

    A successful counter-attack by Ukrainian forces, especially with a thrust southwards through Zaporizhzhia towards Melitopol, would raise the stakes for the Kremlin still higher.

    In September, Putin warned that “in the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”

    Russia considers Melitopol and much of southern Ukraine as Russian territory after sham referendums last fall.

    But Ukraine will need time to assimilate tanks, fighting vehicles and other hardware to break through Russian lines, which are deeper and denser than they were a few months ago.

    Ukrainian tankers drive a modernized T-72 called the PT-91 Twardy from Poland...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 02-20-2023 at 09:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    About 300-400 Western tanks like the Brit Challenger and the above will tip the scales in this fight...
    Which is also exactly the kind of thing they were built to do in the first place.

    The British, German and US tanks are by every account I read way way better than the Russian ones.

    It's a sobering thought that many/all the military analysts I'm reading are now saying that if there had been a war in Europe in the 1980s/90s it would have gone nuclear within a week or so because the Russians would have lost so badly so quickly.

    Also the military industrial complex have as many suspected way exaggerated Russian conventional threats for decades in order to keep all the money coming which in the US a percentage of which then filters back to the politicians in campaign donations.
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    Also the Russian defense secretary alone is estimated to have been skimming around 30% of his budget. That would be like the US guy Lloyd Austin stealing $200 billion a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seshmeister View Post
    Which is also exactly the kind of thing they were built to do in the first place.

    The British, German and US tanks are by every account I read way way better than the Russian ones.

    It's a sobering thought that many/all the military analysts I'm reading are now saying that if there had been a war in Europe in the 1980s/90s it would have gone nuclear within a week or so because the Russians would have lost so badly so quickly.

    Also the military industrial complex have as many suspected way exaggerated Russian conventional threats for decades in order to keep all the money coming which in the US a percentage of which then filters back to the politicians in campaign donations.

    Basically yes, but it does somewhat depend on the upgrade status of the tank. A Leopard 2A7 will have a much better fire control system than the 2A4 variant dated to the 90's. The US M-1A2SEPv4 Abrams will have the latest in antitank missile shielding, which I don't think is particularly effective on any tank. The Russian T-90M is a close competitor to NATO tanks, but there were never that many in service to begin with. Even the Polish upgraded T-72 Twardy PT-91 is probably much better than 95% of the Russian tanks in the field. Add to that that the Russian tanks much vaunted strengths like the Kontakt-5 "explosive reactive armor" is often just dummy rubber plates, something the tank experts on Youtube like Redeffect and The Chieftan, rarely acknowledge for some reason. The real difference is that the Ukrainians seem to be much better at combined arms and mutual support so even giving them the equivalent numbers of Russian sourced tanks with upgrades would still tip the balance. No tank is much good if you drive it blindly down the road with no support to an infantryman with a $10,00 rocket launcher blasting your $2.5M tank in the roadwheel because your army sucks..

    In any case Russia pissed away their armor reserve and many units now use old T-62's with some upgrades that would be useless against the latest Western tanks and they will never be able to recover their vaunted Soviet era reserve. But it bears mentioning that "tank-vs.-tank" jousting/slugging matches/mortal 1-on-1 combat is rare and even most of the supposed footage of tank battles in the Ukraine put out by both sides seem to be just active tanks pummeling an already "mobility kill" disabled enemy tank and destroying it before it can be recovered/repaired. And some look like they were outright staged, especially on the Russian channels...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 02-21-2023 at 01:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seshmeister View Post
    Also the Russian defense secretary alone is estimated to have been skimming around 30% of his budget. That would be like the US guy Lloyd Austin stealing $200 billion a year.
    Early on, a US procurement Army civilian and former tank officer said he could tell right off the Russian wheeled vehicles had cheap, Chinese shit knockoff tires. He had been told the Russians were contracting with Western Euro countries for top shelf industrial equipment tires from Michelin, Continental, Vredestein, etc. but suddenly lost interest. He believed that his opposite numbers were given budgets to buy the best tires for the Russian APC's and military trucks but skimmed the money and bought cheap shit instead leading to vehicles being bogged down in mud a year ago north of Kyiv. No one noticed this when the vehicles are stored in motor pools, but when the tires are reinflated after years being stored it really becomes a problem, just one small example of hundreds. Like Russian officers selling their night vision equipment on the East Euro eBay, and being skullfucked in the night by Ukrainian special forces...

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    I was listening to a tank commander from the Gulf War who said at the end of the war he fired a LAW at an abandoned T-72 to see what would happen and was pretty shocked to see the turret fly off. You could and people have, fire those at a Challenger or similar all day long with little effect.

    As you say though it's all about the joining up the tanks with everything else and I would bet that the state of the art NATO intelligence live feeds of the war is the biggest edge the Ukrainians have.

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    BBC on British and other Anglophone volunteers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seshmeister View Post
    I was listening to a tank commander from the Gulf War who said at the end of the war he fired a LAW at an abandoned T-72 to see what would happen and was pretty shocked to see the turret fly off. You could and people have, fire those at a Challenger or similar all day long with little effect.

    As you say though it's all about the joining up the tanks with everything else and I would bet that the state of the art NATO intelligence live feeds of the war is the biggest edge the Ukrainians have.
    Part of it is the ammo stowage, the autoloader forces the Russians to ring the shells around under the turret like a "death flower" causing a "jack-in-the-box" effect. The Russian tanks can have 3 crewman as apposed to 4 for Western tanks saving manpower for other roles, but 3 dead men are worse than 4 live ones. But the fact that Ukrainian infantry can get close enough for kill shots with crude, unguided AT weapons is telling. Russian tactics aren't improving, they're getting worse with the influx of conscripts with little or no training..
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 02-27-2023 at 01:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Like Russian officers selling their night vision equipment on the East Euro eBay, and being skullfucked in the night by Ukrainian special forces...
    Maybe it was Ukrainian soldiers buying them on EBAY.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Von Halen View Post
    Maybe it was Ukrainian soldiers buying them on EBAY.
    Who knows what the situation in the Ukraine is. Give it a few years and then we can see all the bullshit we were sold. Our CIA and State Department ran a color revolution and coup there in 2014. In case you haven’t noticed the US Government isn’t the poster child for ethics or honesty.

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