As a proud graduate of Virginia Military Institute I spent a few classes in something called “Military Science” wherein we learned all sorts of things that would be irrelevant to civilians, but useful for professional soldiers.
After four years of schooling, we were all sent out to the Army to learn the same lessons in the field.
To win wars you have to deal with manpower, material, and morale. There are other things, but these three are essential to success on the battlefield.
Let’s hold a yardstick up to how the Ukraine v Russia War stacks up on these three things.
The Russian army is nominally a million men — when including all sorts of units that may exist, but have no real warfighting capabilities — but their numbers are quite fuzzy. I don’t trust any numbers from Russian sources.
Yes, I do think the Russians have suffered more than 110,000 KIA, WIA, MIA, and POW. They are struggling with huge casualties.
I think Russia has a mediocre fighting force of about 400,000 and 5X that number in reserves — virtually all of whom are not voluntary and are reserves in name only.
The necessity to mobilize conscripts is an admission by Putin that his army cannot get the job done.
The Russians attacked from the north toward Kyiv, from Crimea, and from the Donbas region simultaneously with approximately 200,000 soldiers. These units had slept on the border for months and had an ample opportunity to obtain local intel and to plan their attack.
The geniuses in Moscow and Putin saw this as a 3-4 day war with a quick capture of Kyiv, the dismantling of Ukraine’s democratic government, annexation by Russia who expected to be welcomed with open arms, and dealing with Zelinskyy in a brutal way — killing him.
[Just for the record, our geniuses at he Pentagon and CIA saw it as a one week war, having grossly missed the fighting capabilities of the Ukraine military since the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea. Same bunch said the Afghan National Army would hold out for more than a year against the Taliban.]
Doctrine — the stuff we studied in Military Science – preaches that to be successful, attacking forces should outnumber defenders by a ratio of 3:1.
Nowhere did Russia achieve that essential ratio. The Ukrainians fought like wolverines. Bravo!
This is further proven by the Russian mobilization of 300,000 “reservists” of which 80,000 have supposedly been committed to the fight and the rest are training. The Ukrainians are already slaughtering these reservists.
It is worth noting that Russia uses some vicious — not very good — paid mercenaries such as the Wagner Group, but they also have just recently allowed hardened criminals to serve in their army: murderers, rapists, and maimers. They claim to have drawn the line at sexual deviants.
Bottom line: The Russian army is an inferior fighting force that is part conscript and part “contract” and was never deployed in sufficient force to carry the day against the surprisingly scrappy Ukrainians.
Russian gear was believed to be first rate. They came to the war with the WWII Russian legacy of being superb artillerists, but in reality they just had a lot of artillery at the company and battalion level. There is no evidence they have used it with any innovation or skill.
Every war is a showcase for the tech development of gear since the last war. This war has ushered in the tactical importance of shoulder fired anti-tank weapons, drones, and the targeting capabilities of GPS precision guided munitions.
Russia is buying kamikaze drones from Iran and ammunition from North Korea — meaning they cannot make their own — whilst equipping their army with grossly inferior mothballed gear brought out of hiding.
The Russians do have a broad selection of precision guided missiles they are adroitly using to commit war crimes destroying civilian civil works infrastructure — power, water, sewer, and transport as well as residential areas.
Bottom line: whilst the Russians have a lot of deadly gear, the gear is not top flight and the most advanced western military gear [talking about you, HIMARS] is superb and superior to the best Russian gear.
This is why the US and Nato need to flood the zone with the best gear. This is the way for the west to battle Russia on the cheap.
Read this to see why
[Note to Military Industrial Complex: Crank up the production lines most rickety tick, please.]
Napoleon famously opined that morale was three times as important as gear when it came to winning wars and battles.
It is trite, but powerful, to observe that the average Russian soldier has no idea why he is fighting in Ukraine though Putin has tried earnestly to make a deranged argument that the Ukrainians are really Russians, or Nazis, or a mistake caused by Krushchev.
OTOH, the Ukrainians are fighting for the most fundamental objectives known to man: FREEDOM, their native land which is a lovely country. The American Revolution was fought for the same reason.
Not only are Putin and his generals struggling with the right level of manpower and equipment, but they have no answers when it comes to morale.
The Russian soldier does not want this fight, is unswayed by Putin’s bizarre exhortations, and has no loyalty to his leader or generals.
The Russians are further sullying their reputation as brutal war criminals by bringing in the Butcher of Syria to run the show and attempting to destroy utility infrastructure.
The Ukrainians own the high ground and are motivated to fight for their homeland. Bravo!
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
Easy task — the Ukrainians beat the Russian Army with one hand tied behind their back if the US and Nato support them.
Putin has never read about the London Blitz when Hitler tried to burn the Brits out of their capital, but, instead, solidified the British righting spirit and morale that carried them onto victory.
Russia gets its ass kicked if the west continues to support them.
I still believe the Russians will commit some terrible atrocities and will use a tactical weapon.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.