Insane in the Ukraine

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon May 30, 2022 12:19 am

Not much today, the only real update being that the Ukrainian counterattack in the south was revealed to be more a spoiling effort rather than a large scale operation. Instead, the Ukrainians are carrying out mobile attacks to force the Russians to defend themselves instead of allowing them to freely continue to construct defensive works. While the intention is not yet to capture territory, the Ukrainians did recapture a number of villages yesterday and any Russian attempts to recapture these have been very feeble.

Due to the very low quality of Russian troops stationed in the southwest, there may also be the hope that the obligation to actively defend themselves may pull Russians from elsewhere to reinforce these defences.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jun 02, 2022 5:06 pm

Based Javelin Help Desk

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jun 02, 2022 11:33 pm

"Hey that's MY couch, you son of a bitch!"
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Fri Jun 03, 2022 12:37 am

As far as general updates go ("General Update? Never heard of him."), it's the same grindy attritional stuff in the east. It's still probable that the Ukrainians will abandon Sverodonetsk if need be, since it's the only city east of the the Siversky Donetsk river (which is the same one the Russians had... trouble crossing a while back) and they can fall back on that river as their main defensive line in the east, but for the time being they're fighting over the city as much as they can to bleed the Russians, while trying to keep Ukrainian losses down.

Down south, the Ukrainians haven't full on committed to a large-scale counter-offensive towards Kherson, but their attempts to fuck with the Russians are having quite a bit of success, liberating a bunch of villages and pushing the Russians entirely back across a river along that front. Control of that area also puts the Ukrainians less than a kilometre away from a major highway the Russians are using for their logistics in that area.

The threat of partisan activity seems to really be growing. The Russians have been observed stationing groups of troops in otherwise weird locations way behind the lines in the east and have cut off all telecommunications service in the Kherson region to try and suppress partisan activity which is also threatening the Russians in the south. A lot of claimed Russian administration of occupied areas basically only exists on paper, so substantial organized partisan activity is a huge danger which clearly terrifies any occupation authorities, whose only solution is to try and massacre their way out of the problem.

Apart from that, I'm just gonna post this section of the June 2 ISW daily report verbatim.

Russian military leadership continues to experience complications with sufficient force generation and maintaining the morale of mobilized personnel. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) 1st Army Corps, under Russia’s 8th Combined Arms Army, is conducting forced mobilization in occupied areas of Donetsk Oblast.[2]

Russian forced mobilization is highly unlikely to generate meaningful combat power and will exacerbate low morale and poor discipline in Russian and proxy units. The 113th Regiment of the DNR posted a video appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2 wherein forcibly-mobilized soldiers complain they have spent the entire war on the frontline in Kherson without food or medicine, and that mobilization committees did not conduct requisite medical screenings and admitted individuals whose medical conditions should have disqualified them from service.[3] Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate additionally released an intercepted phone conversation wherein DNR soldiers similarly complained that physically unfit individuals were forced into service and that mobilized units are experiencing mass drunkenness and general disorder.[4]

Russian forces are additionally struggling to successfully rotate servicemen in and out of combat. Spokesperson for the Odesa Military Administration Maksym Marchenko stated that 30 to 40% of Russian personnel that rotated out of Ukraine refused to return, forcing Russian commanders to send unprepared and unmotivated units back into combat.[5] This is consistent with complaints made by DNR servicemen that rotation practices are contributing to poor morale and dissatisfaction within units that have been forcibly mobilized.[6]


Note that video appeals directly to Putin by desperate press-ganged Donbas militiamen is starting to become A Thing. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the Kremlin doesn't have to mark DNR deaths on any of its cost sheets, so I doubt Putin would have a problem with exterminating every man woman and child in the DNR if it brought him even a tiny measure of victory. To paraphrase Patrick McGoohan as Longshanks "Send in the Donbas militias. They cost nothing!"

Oh and Russian military bloggers and even some big TV chyrons are flipping their shit over this. They'd be happy to kill every Ukrainian too, but the virtually unprecedented level of incompetence being shown by the Russian army (even by the standards of the Russian army...), is making them froth at the mouth.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sat Jun 04, 2022 5:45 am

Interactive map's gone up, using resources from a half-dozen major observing military institutes & orgs. Updates daily: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/36 ... 1cf64bd375

Russian milbloggers are howling with rage because supposedly that nearly the entire Russian 5th Combined Arms Army has been destroyed so completely due to poor support while forest-fighting in areas around Izyum, that it may have fewer than 100 active personnel left ALL TOLD. An entire ARMY. Obviously not all yesterday or even this week, but still crazy.

Russian forces are increasingly providing basically no medical care to front line troops. You saw the 70's-era First Aid kits a while-back, well, only regular army infantry units even get those (or training to use them). It's pure barbarism. Nobody deserves that, even the Russians. Considering the main source of replacement Russian manpower right now is press-ganged Donbas residents, which we know are increasingly older men or those who aren't really physically capable of military service, and who also absolutely get sweet fuck all equipment, this is a problem which is only going to get worse. Unsurprisingly, this is also contributing heavily to increasing refusals to fight, by both Donbas conscripts and the shredded remains of regular Russian formations.

Meanwhile Kadryov (who has somehow been allowed to speak again, or is just doing so anyway, Putin be damned) and Shoigu announced they had a Great Plan to speed up progress on the front lines. Can't wait to see what sort of comedy that produces, since manpower constraints have now completely halted all Russian offensive operations outside the assault on Sverodonetsk.

That's right. As of the past 2-3 days, all Russian forces along the entire 1000 km front line are now only defending, or digging in by creating fortifications. Their only offensive tool left is the heavy shelling but that's mainly spent to try and disrupt Ukrainian counterattack planning and organization.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:23 pm

So with 70% of Severodonetsk captured on Friday, including the city centre, the Russian forces there started to believe the hype and uh... weren't prepared for a Ukrainian counterattack at all.

Ukrainian forces did indeed counterattack and between yesterday and today have recaptured most of the city. Russian losses were particularly high among Chechen units who were particularly convinced of their own awesomeness. Unclear if these were the newer Chechen recruits or if any of the more experienced and hardened Chechen units were among the ones who were caught with their pants down. I guess if anyone ever gets to ask Kadryov about it, just watch to see what colour his face changes to.

One wonders if last week's rumblings by the Ukrainian general staff that they might withdraw from the city to avoid encirclement were just them setting expectations low or active disinformation (or both).

Anyway, not only are the Ukrainians actually holding or possibly even winning outright in the battle which Russia has prioritized at the expense of literally everything else in this war, Ukrainian counterattacks are growing and gaining momentum in both the south towards Kherson, but also north, resuming the eastward push from Kharkiv.

Oh and partisan activity is bad enough in Kherson Oblast that the Russian occupation authorities have begun wearing bulletproof vests and driving only in armored vehicles.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Crick » Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:26 pm

I don't know anything about military history or practice, but losing a city you had mostly captured feels like a real "whoopsie doo" to me.

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:36 pm

I mean, there's been plenty of real grinding nasty urban battles in history, where a city (or parts of one) repeatedly changes hands over the course of a battle or war - WWII was full of these.

But the Russians have been putting EVERYTHING they have into taking the city, absolutely bleeding themselves white to capture the 70% they managed to get, and then Ukraine almost casually just retakes almost the entire city (the Russians remain in only northeast outskirts of town) in barely two days. I can't imagine the Russians are gonna be all pumped up after this.

All this while Ukraine has began serious pushback on almost every other relevant front. If we're lucky, June 4th might just have marked the biggest turning point of the entire war.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:41 pm

Oh and another Russian general got whacked, lol. Guess we were due, LMAO.

This one was even named Kutuzov! AHAHAHA

EDIT:


Reminder that the first Civil War was extremely weird by world standards in that anyone who could roll up with fifty guys and twenty bucks could get a brevet promotion to General.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:46 pm

I'll just quote ISW's update today directly for developments in the public discourse in Russia, both on TV and in the military blogs.
Russian milblogger Alexander Khodakovsky accused “screamers in the guise of patriots” of hypocritically calling for general mobilization while at the same time discrediting the Russian military leadership and driving away those who would voluntarily take up arms for Russia.[9]

Khodakovsky blamed the pervasive public discourse on general mobilization for making people overthink and subsequently become less willing to enter military service, thereby forcing Russian military command closer to actually needing to announce general mobilization. Khodakovsky suggested that this discourse is setting Russia up for a long war in Ukraine and that Russian authorities have been positioned to take the blame for losses.

Russian war journalist Alexander Sladkov claimed that the Russian grouping in Ukraine is an ”exclusively professional army” not staffed by conscripts, while simultaneously calling for the removal of health requirements for rear and combat specialties in order to mobilize those who should be medically disqualified.[10] These and other comments by Russian military specialists indicate the Russian military community is increasingly aware of issues in sustaining mobilization efforts and different actors are seeking to apportion blame as Russian operations continue to stall.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 05, 2022 11:06 pm


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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 06, 2022 12:45 am

British cartoon about the British election of '45, but damn.

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:45 pm

American confirmed to be sending long-range multiple rocket launcher systems (i.e. heavy long range precision artillery) as Biden said he would.

Other countries contributions are also being put to good use:

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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 06, 2022 7:37 pm

Lengthy article from Der Spiegel on Olaf Scholtz's waffling on sending materiel to Ukraine

It's notable how even the government's own economics ministry is just about ready to blow a gasket on the Chancellor, given how many times they've tried to organize fast shipments, only to be stonewalled by Scholz. Interestingly the Germans are happy to backfill other EU or NATO allies who send their own equipment to Ukraine (when they have the stuff to replace those), but, e.g., Poland can only send all its tanks once.

Also, I hadn't looked in on Trent Telenko (aka "Tire Guy") in a while, and it seems he's turned out to be a wacknut anti-masker and conspiracy theorist, so uh, anyone following him can probably add him to the ignore list, especially when there's plenty of non-nutjobs doing better analysis anyway.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 06, 2022 10:56 pm

Severodonetsk now mostly back in Russian hands and in fact several Ukrainian journalists called out the (Ukrainian) regional governor of the Donetsk region for making the claim in the first place, saying no such counterattacks had been made. The mayor has been refusing to say anything other than that the situation is changing hourly.

Unclear if the recapture actually happened and the city centre is just changing hands repeatedly, or if someone got over-excited about retaking a couple blocks and puffed it way out of proportion. Or someone stuck in the old Soviet mindset wanted to tell Zelenskyy things were going awesomely, only Zelenskyy is not Putin, oops.

Either way, fighting over the city continues and is intense, and Zelenskyy will likely be (or already is) pissed the fuck off at anyone playing fast and loose with facts of this magnitude.

No meaningful changes elsewhere.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Fri Jun 10, 2022 5:31 am

Seems the previous contradiction was plain old fog-of-war confusion.

Past few days the Ukrainians have been holding part of Sverodonetsk with skirmishes on the northern (Kharkiv) & southern (Kherson) fronts, so mostly the same day-to-day.

The Russians have specifically implemented a tactic to make use of their limited and demoralized (if not outright hostile) manpower, along with their one major advantage, overwhelming artillery volume. Basically they lay down a creeping barrage almost WWI-style to completely and utterly pulverize everything in the path of an advance, and then drive their reluctant troops over the rubble to take the freshly-made wasteland. The barrages hardly kill all the Ukrainian defenders, and so they're still able to repel the Russian infantry, but casualties are certainly up (of course they're even higher among Russians). This is why the Ukrainians want those long-range, counter-battery-capable systems so badly (and on that score, France is going to send more CAESAR systems, which are similar to the US M777, plus the recent US commitment for long-range rocket artillery).

Anyway, for now it still seems like Sverodonetsk is being used to bleed Russian forces so long as the grim math holds up, but if the ratios get worse for Ukraine, evacuation across the river to Lychansk is always an option, and one worth a quick look. Check out this elevation map of the twin cities:

If the Ukrainians DO retreat across the river, holy shit is that a daunting assault for the Russians. They can't just barrage their way through a river and a 150m+ rise. The basic takeaway here is anyone who says the battle for Sverodonetsk is what the war - or even just the battle for the east! - hinges on, they're full of shit.

Meanwhile LNR/DNR proxy conscripts rioted(!) again in several places and the Donbas puppet state administration has had to promise to reduce press-gang activity in the Donbas because of large public protests against the severity of the conscription efforts there (doubt they'll actually DO it, but we'll see what happens next).

Last bit for now. Wonder how some of the Azovstal wounded were evacuated before the surrender? Low, Fast And Dangerous: A Firsthand Account Of Ukraine’s Secret Helicopter Rescue Missions. The Russians caught on eventually and the flights became too dangerous to keep going with, but they may well have allowed the Azovstal defenders to hold out for several more critical weeks than they otherwise would have.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jun 14, 2022 2:02 am

War in the east grinds on. Oddly the Russians have now shelled and blown up every bridge between Severodonestk and Lysychansk, and the Ukrainians are mainly holding an industrial district, but it hopefully shouldn't be as bad as Mariupol because first off they're not 100 kms behind Russian lines and 2nd off the river is apparently fordable between the two cities, but will still be a barrier to the Russians if or when they have to cross it themselves. Could be an attempt to cause more humanitarian disasters or force Ukrainian soldiers into vulnerable open positions should they have to retreat, as there's still thousands of civilians in town and doubtless they'll have a harder time crossing than soldiers will.

Russian artillery outnumbering Ukrainian artillery is the main card the Russians still have and they're playing it hard. Some sources claim the Russians are firing more shells per day (60,000!) than even the french fired daily in WWI, which would be insane though certainly not out of line the way the Russian army has preferred to fight for the last two centuries. Of course the number way well be inflated, but if it's not they will run out of even their vast Soviet-era stocks of shells in 1-3 months, not to mention burning out the barrels of their artillery pieces, with basically no current production of either artillery or shells, at least nothing more than a drop in the ocean. As I mentioned before though, even if they do stretch it out, it's still not sustainable over a long term.

Meanwhile the Russian infantry situation is dire. While they're scraping together bodies by continuing sideways conscription efforts both in the Donbas, Crimea, and at home, numbers are still poor and the new troops increasingly have effectively no training or conditioning at all (some units are getting less than a week's training, and even artillerymen are being given maybe 3 weeks at most) and are being armed with increasingly obsolete or obsolescent weapons. This is arguably worse than volkssturm levels of training and even volkssturm units typically incorporated a hardened veteran or two.

Morale is completely in the toilet by all accounts. One particularly amusing phone call featured a Russian soldier pissing and moaning about living in trenches now instead of the houses his unit occupied north of Kiev. THAT'S A REAL FUCKIN' SHAME INNIT.

The problem for the Ukrainians is that the Russians are doing their best to avoid actually pressing their infantry into doing much of, well, anything difficult (they are constantly throwing them into failed assaults all over the eastern front daily, but they're not really committing them - they just try to see how far they can get and fall back, which still kills some Ukrainians), so we come back to the turn-everything-into-a-moonscape strategy, which Ukrainian soldiers are understandably getting frustrated with.

So, realistically it comes down to the fact that the Ukrainians, while equipped with some very high-quality artillery thanks to various donors, just need some plain old VOLUME to try and even things out. About the only thing which could be shipped out in a hurry for that purpose is the huge number of stored M198 artillery the US has, which fires the same shells as the fancier M777 artillery the Ukrainians already have, and which it is unlikely to use again, so... maybe.

Relatedly, you may have seen news from the past couple days where the Ukrainians state they're running out for shells for their own original Soviet-origin artillery. Now, why should a country with such acknowledged technical, metallurgical, and industrial skill run out of shells so quickly? Should they at least be making shells for their own guns? Well, it turns out most of the actual commercial defence sector in Ukraine is, like Russia, run by doddering old Soviet boomers, so they were mostly manufacturing costly white-elephant superweapons for export - for example Ukraine only owns 4 of its most advanced tank, but Singapore owns a dozen as they were explicitly designed for export sales. Not quite corruption, but classic profiteering by suckling the government teat combined with a total lack of any urgency.

So, in one of those weird happenstances of war, the fact that the Russians have been destroying old Soviet-era plants actually sort of works in Ukraine's favour, as these old-timer defence industry oligarchs' companies are being wiped out. Of course setting up NEW military production is difficult and takes time, but the Russians have inadvertently removed Ukraine's biggest obstacle to doing so.

Naturally, Ukraine is starting to make bigger requests for vastly more heavy weapons and equipment, but Interestingly, these requests are far in excess of even what most Ukrainian officers say they need to win. Personally, I have no idea what's going on, but the main possibilities seem to be that Ukraine wants to a) ask for the moon so they can get what they need, instead of asking for what they need and getting a pittance, b) plan for the possibility of a long multi-year war, or c) not just win the war but rebuild afterwards with a modern, NATO-ready army.

Retired General Mark Hertling (who has consistently provided very reader-friendly and qualified analysis) popped up again with a good all-round general commentary on these big requests, and putting them into perspective, especially WRT Ukraine's overall logistics situation.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jun 14, 2022 2:24 am

Separate bit for this. Sumlenny has a long thread (50 posts, 15-30 min read) where he goes into quite a lot of detail about the decade of propaganda the Russian government has been casually pushing to prepare Russians for war, through popular modern-pulp books and movies, including a large, distinctly Russian pseudo-Isekai(!!!) genre, where the protag wakes up in the body of a historical figure. Unsurprisingly, a significant subsection of this genre involves teaming up with the Nazis and even a "good" or at least pro-Russian Hitler. Amusingly the number one enemy in these books and movies tends to be the British (lol), though of course American enemies feature nearly as often.

Even though most of the books and movies were panned as trash and had mediocre sales at best, he rightly points out that the covers would be seen all over and military trappings were used in displays, and it's not like there was no market for them at all. There's also a secondary streak of "serious" historical revanchism which makes anything Ludendorff ever composed look like a kid peed a couple dirty words in the snow.

He also makes some very sensible points towards the end about why this pop-culture trend was completely, and fairly understandably, ignored in the west.

Read if you like, or even just quick-scan through for the ridiculous over-the-top book covers.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jun 14, 2022 2:35 am

Oh, and while it won't do anything immediate, it seems that Ukraine is going to be granted official EU candidate status.

Ironically, this might have been impossible right now (or at least wouldn't be half so fast) if the EU had any mutual defence obligations as strong as NATO's article 5. Derp.

Still need the official announcement, but Sholtz and Macron are both going to Kyiv, so hopefully this is it. After that, as I understand it, the big job becomes Ukraine's obligation to harmonize regulations with EU standards, which will obviously take some time - though I bet you they will move faster than some EU members will be comfortable with, lol.

There is of course the obvious worry that the offer will be in exchange for a peace agreement (and this worry comes about precisely BECAUSE it's Scholz and Macron who're going), which is no real offer at all.
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Re: Insane in the Ukraine

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 14, 2022 3:30 am

Jesus fuck that book shit is insane.
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