Wednesday 21st of February 2024

house improvements....

 

Failures in the Russian logistics and maintenance system have been identified in several open-source reports as a key factor in Russia's underperformance in Ukraine in 2022. Despite the renewed interest in the topic, Russia's military logistics and sustainment remains an under-researched area of study in the West.

In this report, the author presents a brief overview of Russia's material logistics and sustainment system and its problems as identified by Russian authors prior to February 2022. The author also presents some preliminary insights into the early stages of the Russia-Ukraine war of 2022 prior to the delivery of longer-range Western weapons to Ukraine.

To better describe Russian concepts related to logistics and sustainment, the author reviewed dozens of unclassified documents and articles, including relevant Russian legislation, articles from Russian military-scientific publications and encyclopedias, and media reports. The documents that the author reviewed were primarily, although not exclusively, Russian-language sources. They were identified through searching databases of Russian scholarly articles and through reference mining. The author used sources published between 2015 and 2022 to reflect information that is relevant to the state of the Russian military following the latest military reforms of the past decade.

Although there is an ample body of analytical and research knowledge on the problems, challenges, and solutions to Russia's logistics and sustainment issues, it is unclear to what extent the military decisionmakers apply the research in practical problem-solving.

Key Findings
  • Russia's long-term logistics and sustainment challenges include such systemic issues as resource inefficiency in the military and the defense industry; large numbers of inadequate warehousing for fuel and food; unsuccessful, partially implemented, or ongoing reforms in military logistics and sustainment; and corruption.
  • Russia has a large and elaborate military logistics and sustainment system. Although Russia had been increasingly exercising some parts of its logistics and sustainment system prior to the 2022 war with Ukraine, it lacked recent experience with supporting a large-scale ground operation.
  • The performance of the Russian military sustainment and logistics system in Ukraine in 2022 displayed fundamental flaws in operational design and significant force employment issues.
  • The reasons for Russia's dire initial logistics performance in Ukraine must be viewed as part of the larger, poorly planned and executed operation. The extreme secrecy of the initial war plan resulted in many units not having enough time to plan and execute the operation.
  • Large-scale ground operations by Russian forces in Ukraine will likely continue to present lucrative opportunities for long-range strikes to disrupt logistics because of the continued Russian reliance on rail for high-bandwidth resupply and the need to move vast quantities of bulky unguided artillery ammunition for fire support.
  • Russia's military logistics and sustainment system would benefit from further research into potential limitations and vulnerabilities. As with studying other aspects of foreign militaries, the logistics and sustainment system needs to be considered with an understanding of the broader military planning, political, cultural, industrial, and other dimensions of Russia.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA2523-1.html

 

ONE HAS TO REALISE THAT UNTIL APRIL 2022, THE RUSSIANS ONLY WANTED TO MAKE A DEAL WITH UKRAINE, — NONATO IN UKRAINE, THE PROVINCES OF THE DONBASS AS AUTONOMOUS COUNTRIES IN UKRAINE, ETC — AS THE UKRAINE ARMY GOT 90 PER CENT ROOTED. THE UKRAINIANS WERE PREPARED TO DEAL. THE RUSSIANS HAD NOT USE THEIR MILITARY AT FULL STRENGTH IN THIS MILITARY OP...  THE WEST, INCLUDING THE RAND CORP (ABOVE) SAW THIS AS A WEAKNESS AND PROMPTLY FORCED UKRAINE TO CARRY ON WITH THE CONFLICT AS A VICTORY FOR THE WEST "WAS CONTEMPLATED"... 

A YEAR AND A HALF LATER, THE RUSSIAN MILITARY HAS BECOME THE BEST FORCE IN THE WORLD, WHILE THE USA DEPLETED THEIR STOCKS AND ENRICHED THEIR OWN MILITARY WITH LITTLE TO SHOW BUT A DEFEAT OF AMERICA/NATO/UK/EUROPE ON THE UKRAINIAN BATTLEFIELD. 

 

 

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A hard truth about the Russia-Ukraine conflict is finally dawning on the WestAmerican observers are finally snapping out of “magical thinking” about Moscow’s defeat BY Tarik Cyril Amar 

On November 16, the Wall Street Journal, one of the most prestigious and influential American media outlets, published an essay under the title “It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat.

The authors, Eugene Rumer and Andrew S. Weiss, are influential representatives of America’s national security and international relations establishment. After a career in government service, Rumer now directs the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Weiss is Carnegie’s vice president for studies. This is an important text, and both its message and the timing of its publication matter.

The message is simple: “Putin” (by which they mean Russia) has “withstood the West’s best efforts” to roll back the military operation against Ukraine; Moscow’s political system has proven resilient and even become stronger; and “America and its allies” must now switch to a strategy of “containment.”

The timing is more complex. Clearly, the current Israeli war on Gaza – referred to as “tumult in the Middle East” – is one of three key factors. The other two are the approaching presidential elections in the US, and, of course, the failure of Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive, by now acknowledged even in gung-ho outlets such as the British Daily Telegraph. 

In addition, America's hold over the non-Western majority of humanity is continuing to decline. China, in particular, is successfully resisting Washington’s pressure. Domestically, President Joe Biden's government faces tough headwinds from both the official Republican opposition and a growing movement in the American street, where widespread and deep dissatisfaction with politics and the economy is now combining with an unprecedented groundswell of protest against US complicity in Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians.

American polls are unambiguous. In September, even before the Middle East crisis, the Pew Research Center found that “Americans’ views of politics and elected officials” are now unusually and “unrelentingly negative, with little hope of improvement on the horizon.” By now, a majority of Americans also contradict the Biden administration – and the rest of almost the whole bipartisan political establishment – by wanting a cease fire in Gaza, while the number of those supporting Israel is decreasing quickly and significantly.

Against this background, this Wall Street Journal article clearly serves as an authoritative call for retrenchment. The object of this signal to retreat is the proxy war in Ukraine, that is, the single most aggressive, most risky, and most defeated US foreign policy strategy in the past two years (if we count from the moment Washington recklessly decided to stonewall Moscow’s clear warning as well as its urgent offer to find a grand bargain-style off-ramp in late 2021).

So far, so telling. But not surprising. For two reasons: the turn away from Ukraine is already fairly old non-news. Even mainstream media spotted the onset of a severe, probably terminal, bout of Ukraine fatigue well before the eruption of the fresh war in the Middle East. Secondly, the skeptical insights now given prominence in the Wall Street Journal as reasons to wrap up its proxy war investment in Ukraine are very old hat indeed. As a matter of fact, the most interesting question the essay – inadvertently – raises is what took you so long?

It would be tedious to address every point raised now in the Wall Street Journal. But since they all have in common that they have been predicted or were utterly predictable, a few highlights will do. 

We learn, for instance, that the West’s attempts to isolate Russia have failed. Yet how hard was it to foresee that the Global South has no reason to follow the West except fear, and that fear is abating? And was it impossible to know in advance that China would answer “No, thank you very much,” when the US and the EU did two things at the same time: urge it to abandon Russia, which would have meant giving up Beijing’s single most important partnership, and signal that China would be next to be cut down to size? China, in essence, initially gestured a little in the direction of distancing itself from Russia, but the strategic fundamentals of the situation determined its real behavior and have become explicit by now. This outcome was predicted, not by every expert but by enough of them to matter. 

We are also reminded that this is a war of attrition, i.e. one favoring Russia by its very nature. Even on CNN, we heard that much as early as April 2022, and the militantly Atlanticist Economist magazine admitted it in a backhanded way (using the euphemism “war of endurance”) in September.

Every war is a matter of competitive military performance. But in a war of attrition, three fundamental things matter the most: the size, productive and technological capacity, and resilience of the economy; the stability of the political system, including its real-life popularity and the elites’ legitimacy; and, of course, demography. The Wall Street Journal observes that Russia’s economy has “been buffeted but is not in tatters” (really understating its success, but let’s not quibble) and that its political system draws on “solid” popular support and elites that have neither rebelled nor deserted. 

In the West at least, this was harder to predict. Not because of Russia being so difficult to decipher, but due to Western bias and groupthink, or, bluntly put, wishful thinking. Even before the post-February 2022 Ukraine war, Western politics, media, think tanks, and even academia have rewarded unrealistically pessimistic assessments of both Russia’s economy and political stability. Consider, as a pars pro toto, Western reactions to the Wagner rebellion in June. Quite a few of them predicted the imminent collapse of Russia into anarchy and civil war or, at least, a great and lasting domestic and international weakeningof Russia. Yet none of this has come to pass.

The importance of this comprehensive, almost total failure of analysis and prediction lies in how typical it was, reflecting a dominant culture of politicized sloppiness vitiating Western thinking about Russia. A sloppiness that is all the more astonishing as precisely Moscow’s opponents cannot afford it without serious self-harm.

For self-harm is the main result. It is true that Russia has to bear some of the cost of Western shortsightedness. Obviously, Moscow as well would be better off if it could work with reasonable, if competitive, partners instead of irrationally hostile opponents who constantly underestimate Russia and overestimate themselves. Yet the West is suffering even more from its pattern of repetitive mistakes.

The costs of the proxy war in Ukraine demonstrate this fact, and not only in terms of arms and money, but of political prestige as well. Regarding the quantifiable costs, the US Congress, for instance, has approved $113 billion worth of aid for Ukraine since February 2022. Currently, a request for even more is turning into a major domestic headache for the Biden administration, and most likely, a defeat. The EU has shelled out almost €85 billion. 

Of course, not all of these funds have really been appropriated, and much of them have really been fueling corruption in Ukraine or served the donors and especially their arms industries, as US politicians have repeatedly pointed out with proud cynicism. Yet the overall picture remains one of severe fiscal overstretch spent on a losing gamble. Add the self-inflicted losses that the EU’s economies in particular have incurred from their misconceived sanctions policy and the picture is grim. Add, moreover, how much the West will have to spend if it really wishes to finance the rebuilding of Ukraine, and the prospect turns catastrophic. Good luck, EU, with those membership plans.

In addition, intangibles matter as well. Clearly, “losing”Ukraine (which the West should not have tried to “own” in the first place) will reveal the bloc's weakness more sharply than the failures in, for instance, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Afghanistan. For two reasons. First, unlike these countries, Russia is a great power; that means it is in a position to exploit the Western setback. Moscow, put differently, is big enough to geopolitically counterattack.

Whether or when exactly it will do so, and what shape such a new “snapping back” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s metaphorical “rubber band” will take this time, remains to be seen. What is clear is that such payback is a realistic possibility. Secondly, the West is committed as never before, substantially and rhetorically, when trying to use Ukraine to reduce Russia. Hence, failing to do so exposes Western limits as never before. Rumer and Weiss are not naïve. They cannot say it – and maybe they can’t even quite think it – but in their heart of hearts they know that packaging this defeat as a mere change of strategy to “containment”will not fool anyone who does not want to be fooled. 

It is good to finally see some hard facts appear prominently in mainstream Western debates. But it is not enough. For one thing, the West has to ask itself painful questions why it has stayed so obsessively one-sided for so long. Otherwise, the same pattern will be repeated in starting and waging the next war, for instance, against China or Iran. Secondly, a shift to “containment” will not repair the damage but merely stretch it out. What the West really needs is a complete rethinking of not merely its methods but its aims.

https://www.rt.com/russia/587924-truth-about-russia-ukraine-conflict/

 

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ammo deficit.....

Ukraine has come face-to-face with the hard reality of a deficit of 155-mm caliber shells after the beginning of Israel's ground operation in the Gaza Strip. How long can Ukraine hold on?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky complained to the Western press that deliveries of 155 mm caliber projectiles from NATO had decreased since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

"They really slowed down," the Ukrainian president said. "It's not like the US said: We don't give Ukraine any. No! It's just that everyone is fighting for [stockpiles] themselves."

US publications cite Ukrainian officials as saying that the supply of artillery shells have recently plummeted by "by more than 30%". For their part US defense officials argue that the reduction in ammo deliveries has "absolutely nothing to do with what's happening in Gaza."

 

 

"Indeed, there is a sharp decrease in the intensity of fire [in the conflict zone]," Anatoly Matviychuk, military expert and retired colonel, who has experience in combat operations in Afghanistan and Syria, told Sputnik. "After all, Ukraine does not have the capacity to produce Western ammunition. Now they really have a problem. They could have produced Soviet shells, but their industrial capacities have been destroyed by [Russia's] infrastructural attacks. That is, [Zelensky] really has problems with the intensity of fire."

 

Matviychuk explained that presently Russia uses approximately 25,000 to 50,000 shells of various calibers per day. The Ukrainians now respond with just 7,000-11,000 shells, per the expert. Instead, they have focused more on terrorist activities, they shoot at civilians. The retired colonel noted that while the Ukrainian military is still intensively shelling the residential areas of Donbass, their activity at the front has been steadily diminishing.

https://sputnikglobe.com/20231124/no-ammo-no-hope-how-ukraines-shell-shortage-and-manpower-deficit-may-change-conflict-1115190773.html

 

SEE ALSO: https://sputnikglobe.com/20231124/ukraine-loses-over-1680-soldiers-in-donetsk-direction-in-past-week-1115188826.html

 

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cheap and nasty.....

St. Petersburg-based upstart drone design bureau Oko (lit. "Eye") has unveiled a modernized variant of its Privet-82 ("Hello-82") budget fixed-wing kamikaze drone. Sputnik reached out to Oko’s CEO to get a better sense of the drones’ capabilities, and what makes the company tick.

Russian budget-minded drone maker Oko made the news this week by rolling out a modernized variant of its Privet-82 UAV, the Privet-82M1.

The base model Privet-82 features:

 

30 km range

 

Flight speed up to 140 km per hour (accelerating to up to 160 km per hour while diving toward targets) using onboard electric motor, and cruising speed of about 90 km per hour.

 

5.5 kg payload weight, equivalent to that of an 82 mm caliber mortar round, making the drone powerful enough to strike targets ranging from enemy forts and supply depots to artillery and armored vehicles.

 

Electronic warfare-resistant radio channel and ability to approach targets in radio silence mode.

 

Low-low price of as little as 110,000 rubles (about $1,200 US) apiece. That’s less than even the budget-minded version of the Lancet drone, the Scalpel, which goes for about 300,000 rubles (around $3,300 US) per drone.

The upgraded Privet-82M1 is the product of extensive testing in the special military operation zone, and features an array of upgrades, including an improved control system, autonomous power supply, more powerful signal repeater system to allow drones to be operated from the safety of a dugout, basement or bunker, remaining charge indicator, new directional antennas, new cold-resistant components, increased toughness, quick-release hood and new, more aerodynamic camera module.

https://sputnikglobe.com/20231206/quantity-has-quality-all-its-own-how-russias-budget-drones-can-wreak-havoc-on-ukrainian-lines-1115428021.html

 

 

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