Insane in the Ukraine

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Tue May 10, 2022 10:50 pm

This is some real Future War shit. I think a lot of people paying attention had this idea in a broad sense, but this is a professional going in to some details.

The tl;dr is that Ukraine likely has the finest artillery of any nation on the planet, full stop, right now.

1) Software. Ukraine already had the best artillery fire-control system in the world. Combine existing strong IT talent dealing with satellite data with a best-in class distributed app based on the Uber-style model, allow them to issue fire commands to any linked-in weapons (which is almost all of them) with extremely high coordination, precision, and above all, speed. Ukrainian time from request to firing is about 30 seconds, where even the US is at about fifteen minutes, absent other considerations*.

2) Hardware. Ukrainian SATCOM was hacked on the first day of the war, and very effectively by Russians. But then they got Starlink. Since Starlink is physically distributed, it's also extremely hardened to countermeasures. With both the app and the physical infrastructure being distributed, the Ukrainians have not had any interference with their artillery systems (that we know of) since that first day.

3) Actual shooty stuff. Combine that command system with the best guns in the world, the 155mm artillery pieces the US (and France) just sent over, plus all their existing delivery methods - including large and small drones which we all know they are pioneering the use of in real time - and, boom.

Full thread with gritty technical details:



*The US currently uses a non-distributed centralized system built on legacy code, and artillery call times are fifteen minutes on paper and much longer in practice. Ukraine's was about 20 minutes prior to their adoption of their new system in about 2015, so not miles off. Presumably the US could get very similar results; they've just... never needed to! In much the same way as telcos in developing nations often skipped landline building entirely and just went straight to cellular, the Ukrainians went straight from crappy old Soviet artillery command systems to one using the latest proven global software archetypes.

The reason US artillery strikes are much longer in practice (an HOUR from fire request to trigger pull!) is because the requirements of Mid-East counter-insurgency warfare means current US practice is to have a JAG staffer review all artillery fire requests to try and avoid civilian casualties. Dead kids make you look bad and the Taliban knew that very well. Ukraine obviously doesn't face the same limitation, because obviously it's much simpler to avoid firing on your own civilians in a conventional (and heavily evacuated) war zone than it is trying not to fire on innocent third parties, who may be hiding enemy forces, in the middle of an insurgency. Plus being the defender in an existential war gives you quite a lot more leeway than being the aggressor in a war of imperial conquest does.

I have no idea if the distributed network might also make avoidance of civilians easier or not. My guess is probably not unless they're right out in the open, but you never know?

I also think it's really funny that nobody outside Ukraine ever appreciates what's maybe the one genuine unconditionally good thing Muskie ever did when he gave Ukraine free Starlink. I mean... I'm not sure even HE gets it. If you told me he'd forgotten already I wouldn't even be surprised, lol.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Thad » Wed May 11, 2022 12:25 am

Mongrel wrote:non-distributed centralized

ngl lie

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 11, 2022 12:31 am

IKR right?
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 11, 2022 6:59 pm



Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces is still trucking along providing actual evidence for a great many of the claims they make.



They were building that bridge to try and retreat, incidentally. Goddamn. Left side looks like an ashtray.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Thu May 12, 2022 9:50 pm

I didn't know Niku was in charge of a tank brigade.



Oh and that bridge crossing above? The Russians lost around 1300 men and an entire BTG worth of vehicles in that fiasco. Easily one of the worst defeats for Russia of the entire war to date.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Thu May 12, 2022 10:47 pm

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sat May 14, 2022 4:10 am

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On to more washing machine memes?

No! Dryer memes.

This is just getting silly. I mean it was already silly, but come on.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun May 15, 2022 5:14 am

So the Ukrainians winning The Battle of Kharkiv is more or less official, as Russian units have withdrawn much as they did from Kyiv.

The Russians are now conscripting the women of the Donetsk area. They've literally run out of men in Donetsk to send to the slaughter. Which... goddamn.

Crimeans are also being forcibly conscripted now (quietly, for the time being) and being asked to donate blood.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's mobilization is starting to get bodies into combat. In the next 2-3 months the Ukrainians are going to see 900,000 new recruits, AND they're getting the gear for them to use. Ukraine will have a million-man army. This is not an exaggeration though obviously not all of them will show up at once.

What about Russia? A lot of prognosticators have agreed that we're looking at three paths in the next little while:

1) Russia carries on as it is now. Army may collapse - the example of the French army refusing all offensive operations in 1917 was specifically given as an example, so not a complete rout. BUT an army which abandons all offensive operations while in enemy territory they have invaded is uh, not in a great position. In this case, Ukrainian counterattacks will grow and with both equipment and soldiers in plentiful supply, the Russians would be facing counterattacks on a massive scale.

2) Russia would basically do the same as #1, but try to muddle through with mercenaries, recalls, shadow mobilization and other measures to add manpower. Of course even Russian TV is admitting outright that Russia does not have the modern arms to equip a mass-mobilized or even partially-mobilized army. So this would basically prolong the inevitable. That leads us to #3

3) Formal annexation of all occupied Ukrainian territory. The reason this matters is if Russia claims the annexed territory as "Russian soil" they can then announce that they will reply with nuclear strikes to anyone who "invades" Russia. Now, while this sounds bad, there's two problems here:

The first is that even a de facto dictatorship like Russia can't do this with no paperwork at all - they have to set up occupation forces and regional governments and such, and try to make it look legitimate back home, at least a little, even though they've abandoned even fake referendums. The Ukrainian general staff refers to this as the Russians having fallen into "the legislative trap".

The second is that the reason they have abandoned any attempts to carry out fake referendums is because they feel their hold on the occupied territories is SO shaky and tenuous, that any big symbolic events like a referendum or declaration of annexation will precipitate uprisings which might even cause them to lose those territories. It's pretty telling that they're that afraid right now. So annexation is something which can't happen before a lot of killing takes place which they simply don't have the men to carry out.

All in all, it's not like this is a cakewalk, but the situation is genuinely looking a lot better for the Ukrainians than it did even a week ago.

Plus, with enemy morale like this, they might not even have time to move from option 1 to option 2:



Note that this is a VDV unit! Still supposedly some of the best (a low bar, but still) and even these guys have taken 50% irreplaceable losses and has officers shooting themselves to escape (more shades of WWI!). I'm honestly amazed we're not seeing a widespread collapse already. Too soon to make that much of it, but offensive pushes have become quite small and piecemeal since the river crossing disaster which amounted to roughly 1% of the entire Russian forces currently in Ukraine. All in a single river crossing.

In fact the disaster at the crossing has cracked the wall of domestic Russian solidarity. Russian military bloggers have begun commenting on the incompetence of the Russian military to their hundreds of thousands of followers. "They also expressed the concern that the constant pushing of Russia’s propaganda lines was making it hard for them to understand what was actually going on."

UH HUH. YOU DON'T SAY?

As for the immediate future, a Ukrainian counterattack on Izyum seems likely soon. Stay tuned.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Crick » Sun May 15, 2022 12:31 pm

It is nice to know parents everywhere have been driven insane by propaganda. Arguing with your kid who's actually there, goddamn.

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun May 15, 2022 4:16 pm

Obviously the Ukrainians are selectively releasing just the shocking ones, rather than the (you would hope) majority of more ordinary ones where kid phones home and their parents are like "Oh shit, don't die, get out of there."

But this one is just so wild. It's not even the "Mom we're killing children & old ladies." vs "The Ukrainians are untermenschen, KILL THEM ALL." bloodlust conversation, which is bad enough. It's "Mom we're all going to die, and for nothing." vs "w/e kid. Putin said ur rong."
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun May 15, 2022 9:27 pm

Some people are comparing this to the invention of the interruptor gear in 1915 (which allowed aircraft to fire through the propeller):



Not quite, but this basically creates the "bomber drone". Dealing with them is going to require interceptor drones and other countermeasures. Still quite a development.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun May 15, 2022 9:46 pm

I forget if I posted this, but it popped back up again because one month is all it took for the dog to relearn all his commands in Ukrainian.



(Ukrainian is actually linguistically closer to Polish than it is to Russian)
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon May 16, 2022 6:16 am

Not much today, but there are reports showing further degradation of Russian combat capabilities. More and more of the forces encountered by Ukrainians are effectively untrained Donbas press-gang conscripts, and Russian units are being hastily reformed from mixed remnants, with no regard to organization, normal army structure, or service branch.

Sailors with no infantry training are being sent to marine companies, and they're even combining the shattered remains of VDV troops with Wagner mercenaries, which is pretty much unheard of given the totally different operational styles of mercenaries and even regular army forces let alone elite ones, and which is not going to produce anything like a cohesive unit. The line northeast of Kharkiv in particular is being reinforced almost entirely by Donbas conscripts, so watch for further offensives there to cut several main north-south supply lines to the main Izyum salient and possibly even encircle some Russian forces north of Izyum.

The Russians are also sending in 2500 actual reinforcements from neighbouring areas of Russia. Which is practically a homeopathic amount given it's not even a full battalion tactical group's on-paper strength. The Ukrainians are probably getting more than that per day now, and of a lot better quality too, I suspect.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Büge » Mon May 16, 2022 10:07 am

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon May 16, 2022 6:50 pm

Wording is vague but it appears both the Ukrainian high command and the defenders at Azovstal are confirming that the last defenders have surrendered and are being evacuated to a Russian medical facility. A convoy of buses was seen leaving the plant.

The story between the lines appears to be that the Ukrainians finally got some kind of guarantee the Russians wouldn't just murder them all out of hand, and so Zelensky ordered them to stop fighting just so they wouldn't all die.

They did their job and held up a vast amount of Russian forces for over three months, buying the Ukrainians time in the east, time to mobilize, and time to receive more western weapons, but since those are all online now, more or less, a stand to the last man would now be pointless without any practical military goals left to justify it.

If a security guarantee from the Russians seems unlikely, I'm sure the number of men they were losing has something to do with getting one. It's always worth remembering that the concept of surrender exists not just for moral reasons, but for the very practical one of reducing deaths on BOTH sides. Since it's extremely probable that the defenders would have continued to kill far more Russians than they lost, there's at least some reason to hope the Russians are highly motivated to not fuck this up by doing something stupid like making the defenders into martyrs anyway.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Tue May 17, 2022 1:02 pm

Big crack in the wall today.

Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia state media – and especially state television – have supported the Kremlin’s position. Few dissenting voices have been given air time.

That appeared to have changed on Monday night when one well-known military analyst gave a blunt assessment to Russia’s main state television channel of what Putin casts as the “special military operation”.

“You should not swallow informational tranquilizers,” Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired colonel, told the “60 Minutes” talk show on Rossiya-1 hosted by Olga Skabeyeva, one of the most pro-Kremlin journalists on television.

“The situation, frankly speaking, will get worse for us,” said Khodaryonok, a regular guest on state TV who gives often candid assessments of the situation.

“The desire to defend one’s motherland in the sense that it exists in Ukraine – it really does exist there and they intend to fight to the last,” Khodaryonok said before he was interrupted by Skabeyeva.

The biggest strategic consequences of Russia’s invasion to date have been the unusual unity of the United States’ European allies and bids by Sweden and Finland to join the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.

Khodaryonok said Russia needed to see the reality.

“The main thing in our business is have a sense of military-political realism: if you go beyond that then the reality of history will hit you so hard that you will not know what hit you,” he said.

“Don’t wave rockets in the direction of Finland for goodness sake – it just looks rather funny,” he said.

Russia, he said, was isolated.

“The main deficiency of our military-political position is that we are in full geopolitical solitude and – however we don’t want to admit it – practically the whole world is against us – and we need to get out of this situation.”

Skabeyeva is a vile, Carlson-level creature, so I'm kind of amazed Khodaryonok was able to get out as much as all that. A lot of Russians will have seen that broadcast.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Crick » Tue May 17, 2022 1:54 pm

Khodaryonok doing the no touching doorknobs challenge.

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby nosimpleway » Tue May 17, 2022 2:29 pm

"This whole war was a mistake."
*sippp*
"But that's none of my busi-- hey, this tea tastes funny."

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 18, 2022 7:07 pm


Bonus comedy from Forbes' choice of headings.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Crick » Wed May 18, 2022 7:16 pm

The proxy war equivalent of a grand slam.

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