Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > Putin's war on Ukraine

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

So far a lot of the military assistance provided to Ukraine has been in the form of "cascading" whereby Eastern European NATO member nations are giving their Soviet-made weapon systems to Ukraine in exchange for replacement items made in the US or Western Europe.

There is of course a limitation to this, in that the available stocks of Soviet Equipment will eventually run out, since the Russians are unlikely to provide any more.

In certain instances it might make sense to copy Russian weapon systems for use by both Ukraine and NATO. The BM30 Smerch rocket system is an obvious case in point, this is probably the most powerful artillery rocket system in the world, NATO has no direct equivalent. Introduction of this system into NATO armies could reduce the present over-dependence on tactical air support considerably.

The manufacture of the rockets themselves would not be difficult when this is an unguided rocket with no complex guidance system. Rather than copy the Russian launcher and reloading vehicles, it would be easier to design new ones based on an existing and easily available military or commercial chassis with good off-road performance.

Apr 23 22 07:24 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Vladimir Putin used the victory day parade in Moscow to again accuse the Ukrainian leadership of fascism, begging the question of why terrorising the ordinary people of Ukraine seems to be a principal objective of his military strategy. In reality, he is the Nazi because his worldview is nothing but a reflection of Heinrich Himmler's distorted perspective.

US Intelligence is predicting that the Putin regime may resort to using nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine. The Ukrainian military and leadership are obviously aware of the Russian capabilities and have clearly made efforts to minimise the threat they present, by adopting a combination of conventional and guerrilla tactics which avoids presenting the Russians with lucrative targets for these weapons.

If the Russian military did use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, how would they employ them? In the first place it's clear that a principal Russian objective is to capture Kyiv or Kharkiv so that they can install a puppet government. Use of strategic nuclear weapons on those cities would have the effect of replacing them with radioactive wastelands. Even the use of small tactical weapons would make their subsequent occupation hazardous for some time afterwards. This would also apply to the use of persistent chemical weapons (eg VX, Novichok 5) and biological weapons (eg Anthrax). If the advancing Russian forces had to go into battle wearing full protective clothing and with the hatches of their armoured vehicles closed and locked to provide an airtight seal, that would reduce their combat efficiency considerably.

The Novichok chemical weapons program was only a partial success because the objective was to develop binary weapons that would be safe to handle, but in practice the chemical components are highly toxic and a significant hazard to their users, like the earlier chemical agents.

The use of nonpersistent chemical weapons (eg Sarin) in urban areas would potentially kill a large number of civilians but it's effect on the Ukrainian defenders would be unpredictable, being very dependant on their state of training and preparedness. Although Sarin disperses quite quickly in open areas, pockets of gas would probably remain inside buildings and confined spaces, again presenting a hazard to the advancing troops.

May 11 22 08:20 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

As with the Russian Iskander missile, if you ask the question, why does the US military have no equivalent to the powerful BM30 Smerch artillery rocket system, the answer comes down to inter-service rivalry.

The present role of the US Air Force includes close air support to ground forces and battlefield strike and interdiction roles. A rocket system like the BM30 Smerch with a range of 70 to 90 km would enable enemy ground forces well behind the nominal front line to be targeted, thereby reducing dependance on air support. The development of such a system would therefore be opposed by the USAF's friends in congress because it would be seen as undermining the role of the USAF and funding for aircraft development and procurement.

This works to the detriment of the combat effectiveness of the US military and NATO, because manned aircraft are becoming more and more vulnerable to ground based anti-aircraft systems, as the war in Ukraine is demonstrating. Consequently there is serious doubt as to whether NATO air forces would in fact be able to effectively perform their tasks in support of ground forces in a high intensity conflict.

While a long range artillery rocket can technically be destroyed in flight by a SAM system, to do so would in practice be grossly uneconomical when the cost of the guided missile is many times that of the unguided rocket. Long range artillery rocket systems can therefore provide a more reliable and effective means of destroying battlefield targets at ranges of up to 60 to 70km, and perhaps at ranges greater than 100km if the rockets are equipped with simple low-cost inertial guidance systems.

May 14 22 08:17 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The Al-Fao 210mm self-propelled gun, designed by Canadian engineering genius the late Dr Gerald Bull, provides another example of how far NATO's current artillery equipment is from being state-of-the-art. Something of a mystery weapon, probably they were built in Austria by VoestAlpine who also built Iraq's 155mm long range towed guns.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Fao

May 16 22 09:23 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The long-delayed capture of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol by Russian forces makes no difference to the overall military situation, when the defenders were not in a position to interdict Russian supply lines or otherwise influence military operations elsewhere in Ukraine. There is no "land bridge", or any other kind of bridge involved.

Statements being made by some Russian politicians referring to the Ukrainian defenders as "animals in human form" and "terrorists" suggest that they may be losing their grip on reality altogether, as Putin's glorious war of conquest is progressively becoming more and more like a bad acid trip, an impression which will only be reinforced if they resort to using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

In political terms, ill-treatment of the prisoners will also be counterproductive if it serves to convince anyone who still needs convincing of the savagery and moral bankruptcy of the Putin regime.

May 17 22 01:45 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

As of 20 May 2022, BBC Television News are predicting an escalation of the war in Ukraine, while at the same time suggesting that it may be over soon, possibly as a result of political pressure being placed on the Ukrainian government to accept a ceasefire on the Russians' terms.

This may be simply an attempt to lead public opinion in the UK towards an expectation of an early end to the war, or it could be an indication that the Russians are planning to launch a major offensive soon. An early end to the war would be advantageous to Russia economically; they are having to support the whole cost of their involvement whereas Ukraine is getting substantial foreign assistance. Russian losses in trained personnel and equipment are already beyond their capacity for immediate replacement. In some ways you could compare their situation with that of Germany in late 1944, just before they launched the Ardennes offensive in the West, their penultimate major offensive of the war.

In general the BBC's reporting continues to be pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian, with thinly veiled attempts being made to portray the Ukrainians and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally as being aggressive and militaristic. In a sense, it could be argued that they have little choice but to be militaristic, in order to defend their country when it is being attacked by the second most powerful armed forces in the world.

Any peace settlement of the kind the BBC are actively promoting, which allowed the Russians to claim victory by handing them part of Ukraine's territory would of course lead inevitably to another war, once the Russians had completed repairing, rebuilding and strengthening their armed forces. 

Conversely, the present state of the Russian economy and the limits which it imposes on the ability of the Russian military to sustain a large scale industrial war provides Ukraine with reason to hope that through a sustained military effort, they will be able to regain the territory that has been illegally taken from them by Russia.

A lasting peace between Ukraine and Russia would have to be based on mutual respect for territorial integrity in the first place.

May 20 22 02:44 pm Link

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Jefferson Cole

Posts: 146

Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

If there is anyone who doesn't understand that Donald Trump encouraged Putin, please turn in your tin foil hat.

May 22 22 07:50 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The behaviour of the BBC and Sky News in trying to create an expectation of an early end to the war in Ukraine and thereby generate political pressure for a ceasefire, which does not seem to produced much in the way of results, again raises the fundamental question of whether the role of the media is to report facts, interpretations, or opinions. It seems to me that much of their reporting goes beyond analysis and into the realm of political propaganda.

To say that the media should only broadcast facts does of course assume that the people who the media employ to report on armed conflicts have some idea of what they're talking about particularly when it comes to the technical military aspects. This seems doubtful when they talk about non-existent "land bridges" and generally display total ignorance of even the most basic principles of strategy and tactics. It's also clear that some of them have a personal perspective, which in some cases (for example, that of the BBC's John Simpson) is clearly ideological but in other cases may simply be a desire to get home in one piece, it might be better if the networks rotated their reporters more frequently.

Some commentators have suggested that the Ukrainian military will find the going harder when they go over to the offensive, but recently they have made some useful gains without excessive casualties. It is unlikely that they will repeat the Russian army's errors in launching clumsy set-piece attacks along predictable routes against strong entrenched opposition, it appears that they are more professional as well as better motivated.

Military success is traditionally measured in terms of ground gained but in a modern conflict, losses of equipment are also critical as items like tanks, helicopters and other combat aircraft and air defense systems are expensive and require highly trained personnel to operate them effectively. If the Russian military continues to suffer losses at the present rate, their effectiveness will be significantly reduced in 4 to 6 months time, and they will have to start putting inexperienced recruits into the front line which will lead to more casualties, there are already some signs of this happening.

The Ukrainians are now getting the US made M777 155mm towed howitzer which is a sound if unspectacular weapon, designed for minimum weight and used extensively in Afghanistan. They could use more long range artillery like the Russian BM30 Smerch 300mm rocket systems they already have, with a maximum range of 70 km.

A 155mm gun with a 45 calibre barrel (ie 45 X 155mm, or 6.95 meters long) can reach 40 km firing shells, but firing these with the maximum charge for maximum range wears out the gun barrel quite quickly. Generally the larger the calibre and the higher the muzzle velocity, the shorter the barrel life in terms of the number of rounds that can be fired before it is worn out. Rocket launchers do not have this problem and are consequently a better choice for most applications requiring long range, even if they are less accurate.

May 24 22 03:33 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Jefferson Cole wrote:
If there is anyone who doesn't understand that Donald Trump encouraged Putin, please turn in your tin foil hat.

Many people would agree with that view I'm sure, although Trump and Putin seem to have a lot in common.

May 24 22 03:42 am Link

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DCurtis

Posts: 796

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

JSouthworth wrote:

Many people would agree with that view I'm sure, although Trump and Putin seem to have a lot in common.

what do Trump and Putin have in common? if they seem to have a lot in common, I'm sure you can give me more than a few examples.

May 28 22 09:28 pm Link

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John Silva Photography

Posts: 591

Fairfield, California, US

DCurtis wrote:

what do Trump and Putin have in common? if they seem to have a lot in common, I'm sure you can give me more than a few examples.

You mean besides being pathological liars, conspiracy theory architects and kleptocracts?
John

May 28 22 10:29 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

John Silva Photography wrote:

You mean besides being pathological liars, conspiracy theory architects and kleptocracts?
John

Megalomania and racist bigotry might be a couple of other things they have in common.

Jun 10 22 04:18 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Article here which could be relevant to the war in Ukraine;

https://www.vialibre-ffe.com/pdf/track_ … geover.pdf

Jun 10 22 04:41 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has recently (as of 11 June 2022) warned that the Ukrainian military is in danger of running low on ammunition, this is not unpredictable when the semi-static nature of the warfare emphasises the use of artillery. When there are plenty of targets, an efficient supply system is clearly a decisive factor in defeating the aggression of the Putin regime.

Three months into the war, it should be possible to predict the future supply requirements of the Ukrainian military and also to assess the implications of the war for NATO tactical doctrine.

The Russians have clearly been unable to turn a virtual monopoly in conventional air power into a decisive military advantage, while losing hundreds of aircraft to the Ukrainian air defences. On the other hand they have been able to make some effective strikes on Ukrainian military facilities using tactical missiles.

On the ground, their attempts to employ armoured forces as the decisive element in manoeuver warfare have mainly resulted in piles of scrap metal, as their vehicles have proved vulnerable to the Ukrainians' anti-tank systems. This is not particularly surprising, the tanks of the UK and US armed forces in Iraq proved similarly vulnerable to short range infantry anti tank weapons, particularly from the sides and rear where the armor is relatively thin, typically about 25-30mm of steel. Russian tanks are supposedly more vulnerable to internal explosions as a result of the ammunition being stored in the hull rather than in the rear of the turret as in Western designs.

While the Russian World War Two rocket systems such as the BM13 "Katyusha" are better known today, the Germans also used rockets extensively, the larger caliber ones were found to be useful in street fighting;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28/32_cm_Nebelwerfer_41

Jun 12 22 03:11 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has recently announced plans for Russian troops, aircraft and naval forces to be deployed to his country, ostensibly to combat organised crime for which the US government and Drug Enforcement Agency would no doubt be grateful, in reality of course this is an attempt to divert the attention of the US government  from the war in Ukraine, perhaps even to provoke a repeat of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Ortega's decision to announce the deployment in advance may indicate that he is apprehensive with regard to it's potential consequences, even if he has little choice but to go along with Putin's plan given Nicaragua's existing dependence on Russia and the potential ecomonic benefits to his impoverished country. The presence of Russians in Nicaragua is not likely to be popular in the first place, and there is the risk that they may try to replace him with a puppet ruler, perhaps in the context of an larger plan to turn Nicaragua into a training camp from which to export revolution, or terrorism to other countries in the region.

In the different strategic context of the 1980s, Ronald Reagan threatened to invade Nicaragua if MiG fighter jets were based there, which never happened. The Soviets did provide Mi 24 Hind helicopter gunships, which were sold on after the Contra insurgency came to an end in the early 1990s. In military terms there is no threat to Nicaragua's security which would justify the recently announced deployments, consequently this is bound to be viewed by other countries in the region as a threat to their security, potentially triggering an arms race in the region.

If the potential threat of terrorism or Russian military aggression from Nicaragua turns into a physical reality, the result could potentially be history repeating itself in terms of widespread violence in the region, ultimately there would be a possibility of US cruise missile strikes on military facilities in Nicaragua or in the last resort a US military operation to effect regime change, similar to those in Panama and Grenada.

Jun 13 22 01:51 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

At present (13 June 2022) Russian forces are making slow progress in and around Sievierodenetsk in Eastern Ukraine while suffering high casualties. Volodymir Zelenskyy has again appealed for more heavy long range weaponry. Providing this a problem when NATO forces generally are deficient in artillery, placing excessive reliance on tactical air support. This deficiency should be recognised, and a program put in place to rectify it while at the same meeting the needs of the Ukrainian military. Not a difficult thing to do, when rocket artillery systems are cheap and easy to mass-produce.

Ukraine already has the Russian BM30 Smerch ("tornado") 300mm rocket system, which is highly effective and has already been copied in India and China.

Jun 14 22 02:55 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Returning to the pending deployment of Russian ground, air and naval forces in Nicaragua, another obvious possibility is that Vladimir Putin is looking to get a handle on the drug trade, this is probably what they mean by "combating organised crime".

What would the effect of this be in real terms? With the Russians and Nicaraguans taking a large cut in tax from shipments of drugs from the main producers in South America to the US, profit margins would be smaller for everyone else and so there would be more drug-related competition, conflict and violence throughout the region, from Colombia to Mexico. Not a pleasant prospect.

It may be that the Russians perceive the drug trade as both a means of generating income and a potential means of destabilising the US at the social and political level, this would be consistent with their efforts to promote heroin use in Western Europe during the Cold War.

Jun 14 22 04:53 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

https://ietresearch.onlinelibrary.wiley … .2016.0540

Article here describing how radar jamming techniques can be defeated by using multiple radars with facilities for rapid data exchange between them.

Jun 15 22 06:45 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

One disadvantage of existing artillery rocket systems is that they have a longer minimum range than guns, as much as 20 km in some cases. This is because at short ranges, the trajectory can be so low that a small error in aiming will result in a large deviation in the impact point.

In contrast a typical 155mm field artillery piece with a multiple charge system can be used to engage enemy forces at ranges down to a few hundred meters, using the minimum charge with a time fuse set to 1 or 2 seconds. The incremental charge system, using charges of cordite of increasing sizes in bags allows the range to be adjusted for any given angle of elevation, except at maximum range.

In principle it should be possible to design an artillery rocket system which would overcome this problem by using multiple stages. In a solid fuel rocket the operation of this is quite simple; the casing of the first stage has an opening in the upper end where it joins with the next stage, so that the flame from the first stage passes into the second stage and ignites it. This works well in both model rockets and ICBMs.

In an artillery rocket system the detachable booster first stage would be designed with a thicker casing that the rest of the rocket to withstand higher internal pressure, faster burning propellant and angled nozzles which would spin the rocket to stabilise it as it left the launcher, prior to deployment of the folding fins.

For short range use a blanking plate could be placed between the booster first stage and the rest of the rocket so that the first stage would not ignite the second stage, but simply detach from it. The rocket would then arrive in the target area with the unburned propellant, which would be ignited by the explosion of the warhead, resulting in significant additional blast and incendiary effects.

The provision of two or more different booster first stages of different sizes would in principle give the rocket system similar versatility to gun systems while retaining the existing advantages of rocket artillery systems over guns; potentially longer range with larger warheads, lower system cost, absence of barrel wear.

Jun 16 22 02:29 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

It's become usual, since the end of the Second World War for weapons production in Western Europe and the US to be carried out by specialist firms or specialist divisions of larger companies, but most of the fabrication needed for a mobile artillery rocket system can be done by a small general engineering firm. The things that they would not be able to do, like filling the warheads with explosive and casting the rocket motors would normally be the final stages in the production process, and so investment in new facilities for these processes would be required to mass produce rocket systems on a large scale, for example on a scale of 100 launchers and 5,000 rockets of 300mm calibre per day.

Jun 16 22 10:25 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

It should be clear that to talk about bringing the Ukrainian military up to NATO standards is arrogant and delusional when it is the Ukrainians who have experience in fighting a conventional war against serious opposition, not NATO. Any assumptions of NATO superiority based on tactical doctrine, training methods or the technical characteristics of equipment are just that.

Looking back at the situation in the 1980s, the stated view of most Western analysts at that time was that if the Soviets invaded Western Europe- the main thrust was expected tocome through the so-called Fulda Gap on the East/West German border- NATO would have to resort to tactical nuclear weapons with three or four days. Obviously the Ukrainians have surpassed that level of performance by a considerable margin. So we should consider their requests for weapons seriously and not assume that we can get away with providing less than they are asking for.

Jun 16 22 12:42 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

John Mearsheimer was on TV recently claiming that Putin regards Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia. We can rephrase that; Putin regards the EXISTENCE of Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia, not in a physical sense but in the sense of a threat to his vision of Russia as a recreation of the Soviet empire. Too bad, because Ukraine will continue as an independent nation for the forseeable future.

What would happen if the Russians if the Russians used nuclear weapons in Ukraine? A lot of people would probably die as a result. Russia would be involved in a direct military conflict with NATO, it is doubtful that they would win.

With no negotiated settlement in sight it's possible that the war will go on for years, providing Putin with a convenient excuse for continuing Soviet-style domestic political repression. The Second Chechen War served that purpose well enough, and it was predictable that at some point Putin would do the same thing again on a larger scale.

Jun 17 22 02:25 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

On a historical note, this unit of Russian collaborators has become especially notorious for the atrocities that it committed during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The Germans eventually disbanded it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaminski_Brigade

Jun 21 22 04:51 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

A negotiated end to the war in Ukraine based on a ceasefire is impossible at the present time, because it would fatally compromise Ukraine's territorial integrity. The Ukrainians need to regain the territory occupied by Russia, they are right to insist on that as a precondition to a peace settlement.

To retake the territory by force of arms the Ukrainians will need very powerful artillery and armoured forces with a very strong air defence component to protect them from Russian air forces. They do not necessarily have to have an overall numerical as opposed to qualitative superiority.

The Ukrainians have been requesting more tanks, the ideal solution would be a vehicle, or vehicles designed for Ukrainian requirements incorporating design features derived from the Ukrainian combat experience in recent months.

Much of the fighting has taken place in urban areas which suggests the need for a heavily armoured vehicle equipped with a large calibre gun for demolishing enemy-held buildings. During World War Two the Germans and Soviets developed vehicles like the Sturmpanzer IV and SU 152 to meet this need.

Mobile warfare in open country requires a tank with good automotive performance and a powerful high velocity gun for defeating enemy armour. Recently the Ukrainians have been using at least one captured T80 tank with gas turbine engine.

Probably two different vehicles are required to meet these requirements, although in the 1990s there were plans to develop a version of the Leopard 2 tank with a 140mm gun, which would be more effective in urban warfare than the present 120mm/125mm tank guns, if provided with the right ammunition (a thin walled, high capacity explosive round with plastic explosive and a base fuse is good for buildings and strongpoints).

Looking at the disposition of the Russian forces in Ukraine, the front is too long for them to easily defend and the forces deployed along the Black Sea coast are potentially vulnerable, if the Ukrainians were to launch a drive Southwards through to the coast, a substantial part of the Russian forces could be isolated and destroyed. So if the Ukrainians had a powerful mobile armored group they could pressurise the Russian military, they'd have to divert a proportion of their resources from offensive operations to counter that possibility.

Jun 23 22 04:13 am Link

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DCurtis

Posts: 796

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

John Silva Photography wrote:

You mean besides being pathological liars, conspiracy theory architects and kleptocracts?
John

evidence?

Jun 25 22 10:41 pm Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

While the stated objective of the Biden administration is to provide Ukraine with the military means to defend itself, there is a problem; if the Ukrainians are limited to conducting military operations of a defensive nature by their equipment, the war will continue for as long as the Putin regime wants it to continue, because the Ukrainians cannot achieve a strategic victory by purely defensive means.

If the Ukrainians had long range weapons that could strike targets deep inside Russia, that would be helpful to them militarily but would make it easier politically for the Putin regime to characterise Ukraine as a military threat to Russia.
NATO planning seeks to make it possible to fight a defensive war against Russia, ending in a clear military victory for NATO, achieved without using nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, or landmines; a "clean war". Vast expenditure on high-tech combat aircraft and complex precision guided weapons is supposed to make this possible, personally I am not fully convinced.

Talking about victory and defeat in the traditional military senses leads to confusion between military and political objectives, since war is, to quote Clausewitz, a continuation of politics by other means.  From the start, the Putin regime has tried to characterise the war in Ukraine as an ideologically motivated conflict between Russia and the West, or more specifically the United States. The Ukrainians on the other hand regard the war as a struggle for the survival of their nation, a different political objective.

The problem for both sides is a divergence of political ends and military means. World War One is another example of this. Enormous expenditure on military equipment before and during the war did not provide any of the combatants with the technical and tactical means to achieve a quick and decisive victory. The result was the war of attrition that we're familiar with from history and the negation of much of pre-1914 military thinking. New military ideas, involving the use of tanks and aircraft, were implemented but the end result was more the result of the exhaustion of economic, material and human resources.

The war in Ukraine can in a similar way be seen to be undermining traditional tactical concepts, particular those of offensive ground operations and air warfare, resulting in an inability to achieve political objectives and a negation of attempts to relate ideological objectives to military means. The extensive use of unmanned combat aircraft by the Ukrainian military is a pointer to the future.

Jun 30 22 05:57 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

https://www.therichest.com/most-expensi … the-world/

This article compares the unit costs of current Main Battle Tanks. The most expensive in current production is the South Korean K2 Black Panther. Features include forward-looking radar and target tracking systems which allow use of the main gun against low flying aircraft, 120 mm gun with automatic loader giving a rate of fire of ten rounds per minute, with provision to upgrade to a 140mm gun if and when it becomes available, and the advanced hydropneumatic suspension which allows the tank to adopt "kneeling" and "sitting" attitudes, effectively increasing the maximum gun depression and elevation respectively, an advantage especially in Korea's mountainous terrain. The price tag? $8.5 million.

Jul 11 22 02:01 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The latest news from Ukraine here:

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/ru … ar-AAZARlg

I think there's still too much concern over avoiding escalation in Western Europe and the US. If the Putin regime sees an advantage in escalating the conflict, they will. If they need a political excuse for escalation, they can invent one, just as they invented the premise for their invasion. If anyone in Russia tries to contradict the official line, the regime can still their voice by imprisoning or "disappearing" them. It's not a question of there being an ongoing debate about the Ukraine War among the Russian leadership which could be influenced by the actions of Western governments. This is Putin's war, from the Russian perspective anyway.

Eventually there should come a point where the cost in roubles and in lives becomes prohibitive. If we provide Ukraine with more weapons, we should reach that point sooner. They don't necessarily have to be high cost, high tech weapons; this is a war, not an engineering competition. Cheap weapons can sometimes be very effective especially in defensive warfare:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_4_20 … t_launcher

If you watch the films of the battle of Okinawa in 1945- The History Channel's "Edge of the Abyss" in the WWII Lost Films series is good- the large explosions you see are these rocket mortars. In addition to the 200mm and 210mm there was an enormous 400mm version. All of these weapons were sufficiently compact to be stored underground in tunnels until required for use, enabling them to survive the intensive US artillery preparation and bombing.

Jul 15 22 08:33 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The Ukrainian military are now getting MLRS and HIMARS mobile rocket launchers according to this article:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/1 … an-attacks

Both of these are designed to launch the same family of guided and unguided rockets and missiles, the basic difference is that the MLRS is a tracked system while HIMARS is a lighter wheeled system.

Jul 20 22 03:55 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Perhaps the most fundamental political question associated with the Ukraine War, is whether we should characterise the conflict as a war against communism.

On a personal level it is easy enough to characterise Vladimir Putin and the rest of the Russian leadership as communists, when they were in most cases members of the Russian communist party and active participants in the Soviet communist regime.

So far the US and Western European governments have tried to avoid an escalation of the war. That was also the policy of successive US governments in the 1960s with respect to South Vietnam. After the Korean War revealed the inherent problems of supply affecting a war on the Asian mainland, the aim of US policy was to avoid another such conflict. But the inability of the South Vietnamese military to resist communist aggression by themselves eventually forced the deployment of US military forces.

The situation in Ukraine is very different. The Ukrainians have shown themselves to be determined to resist Russian aggression by military means, and adept at doing so.

In addition the relative proximity of Ukraine to Western Europe with it's highly developed arms industry, backed up by the general engineering and chemical industries of the European NATO countries makes the logistical situation much more favourable.

Jul 20 22 04:26 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Most of us have probably heard the claim made by left wing historians, that the Allies would never have won the Second World War without the participation of the Soviet Union.
This is something of an absurdity when Hitler's main motive for starting the war was territorial expansion Eastwards.

However, we can say that if the Soviets hadn't captured Berlin in May 1945, it would have been destroyed by a nuclear bomb in August 1945, and that the war would probably have ended at that point irrespective of the position of the German/Soviet front line.

It should also be pointed out that before June 1941 the Soviet Union was a treaty partner of Nazi Germany, providing them with fuel oil and iron ore as well as the use of training and experimental facilities in Russia.

Under a reciprocal arrangement, many of the prominent Soviet commanders of the Second World War including Georgy Zhukov received higher command training in Germany, where they were apparently noted for their alchohol consumption and riotous behavior.

Jul 22 22 11:50 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Currently as of 31 July 2022 there are plans to resume grain shipments out of the Ukrainian port of Odesa in the near future.
This is placing the ships and their crews at some risk, the Russians may simply regard this as an opportunity for more grandstanding and upscale terrorism. They cannot be relied on to adhere to agreements as previous experience has demonstrated very clearly.

Meanwhile we have the latest attempt by BBC television at undermining political support for Ukraine in the war with Russia, in the form of a documentary about disabled children in Ukraine living in impoverished conditions, like many other people in a relatively poor country by Western European standards.

The major humanitarian issue in Ukraine today is of course the war with Russia, which has deprived millions of Ukrainians of their homes and livelihoods, and in many cases their lives.

Jul 31 22 04:17 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

I've noticed that in the military aviation press, such as Air forces Monthly magazine, there is currently a lot of speculation as to whether Russian air power would be more effective in the Russia-Ukraine war if the Russians were employing their assets according to US Air Force doctrine, such as the "Five Rings" theory;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warden%27 … 20gravity.

The answer to the question is almost certainly no; Warden's Five Rings theory seems, and is simplistic and crass.

Reading interviews with aircrew in the aforementioned magazine, one thing that comes across very strongly is the respect these people have for Russian SAM systems particularly the S300 and newer S400.

Looking at the implications of the Russia-Ukraine war for NATO, it seems that NATO's basic military doctrine in which air power plays a central role, is now invalid or at least under threat of obsolescence.

In the 1991 Gulf War, air power was able to play a central role because the Iraqi air defense system was weak in general terms. Most of the AD assets they did have were concentrated in the Baghdad area, to protect the leadership. The F117 Nighthawk "stealth fighter" was the only US tactical aircraft able to operate over downtown Baghdad during the war. The Iraqi Air Force did not put up any significant opposition either.

Aug 11 22 03:56 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The current wave of strikes affecting the rail industry in the UK, believed by many to have been organised in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the instigation or with the encouragement of the Kremlin inevitably raises the question of what additional security measures will be necessary in the event that the UK, as a member of NATO finds itself at war with Russia within the next 12 months.

In the first place it will be necessary to pass an emergency bill in Parliament, similar to the 1940 Emergency Powers Act making it an imprisonable criminal offence to knowingly assist a hostile foreign power through political protest or industrial action, sabotage, spreading false information or rumours, or any other action which could impair the national war effort.

In the second place it will be necessary to create a new security force to assist the police and armed forces in maintaining order under wartime conditions at both the local and national levels, which can respond quickly and effectively to counter threats to the national war effort, whether these are politically inspired or in the form of straightforward criminal problems like drug dealing.

Aug 19 22 02:28 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

The Ukrainian offensive at Kherson is proving that they can take ground from the Russians and hold it against counter-attacks despite the Russian military's advantages in numbers and weaponry. There is liitle reason to doubt their claim that once they have parity in armour and artillery they will be able to reclaim all of the territory currently occupied by Russian forces within perhaps three to five years.

In practice it seems likely that Vladimir Putin's pseudo-Stalinist regime in Russia will collapse or be forced to capitulate before that point is reached. If morale in the Russian armed forces is low now, it will not improve as casualties gradually increase exponentially with increasing Ukrainian firepower. Dissent and disobedience within the armed forces will spread to the civilian population, leading to open defiance of the regime.

A negotiated settlement that would gift the Putin Regime a large part of Ukraine's territory, eventually leading to more more Russian expansionist aggression is something that the Ukrainians have no interest in or use for, so the likelihood of that outcome is low.

Improving the artillery capability of the Ukrainian army is a key objective because in modern warfare, 75% or more of casualties typically result from the use of artillery and air power and these casualties are not necessarily dependant on the tactical situation in terms of attack and defense, artillery fire is usually a constant whether the front line is moving or not.

The Ukrainians should try to avoid going down the NATO garden path of "smart warfare" using precision guided weapons which are too expensive to use cost effectively on anything except each other, which require more training than traditional systems, which require the precise coordinates of a stationary target to be determined before it can be engaged in the case of GPS-guided munitions, and which are often slower in use because of the increased number of steps necessary before firing. Subsequent analysis of the 1991 Gulf War revealed that the B52 bomber and unguided MLRS rocket system were the most effective US weapon systems in that conflict.

Sep 04 22 05:05 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

As of 12 Sept 2022, the Ukrainian counteroffensive is continuing to make progress, undermining the argument used by left-wing, pro-Russian commentators that the war is unwinnable. It may be so from the Russian perspective, judging from recent events.

In the end it is the will of the Russian military to continue the war that the Ukrainians need to target, and they can do that by inflicting large numbers of casualties using artillery as well as through manoevering to outflank or envelop the Russian ground forces.

Sep 13 22 02:56 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Further evidence of murders and torture committed by Russian forces in Izyum, Ukraine should come as no surprise to anyone when this is what they have been doing in places like Chechnya and Dagestan for the last 25 years, while Western leaders were prepared to turn a blind eye on the dubious grounds that the fight against Islamist extremism was more important.

Sep 21 22 05:56 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

One of the reasons given for eliminating tactical nuclear weapons from NATO ground forces in the 1990s was that the system of permissions and codes introduced in the 1970s to prevent unauthorised use was impractical. In NATO exercises it was often found that by the time permission to fire was obtained, the target had disappeared or moved out of range. This of course has to be viewed as problem with the system of command and control rather than an inherent defect of the weapons themselves, a point lost on some people who insist on claiming that nuclear weapons are "tactically unusable" for this reason.

Since Russian nuclear weapons are under a similar system of control, this would be likely to inhibit their effective use on the battlefield in Ukraine particularly when the tactics used by the Ukrainian forces usually involve infiltration by small groups of soldiers and armoured vehicles, with special forces targeting headquarters and other important facilities deep inside Russian-occupied areas. Use of nuclear weapons by the Russian military in an attempt to counter such tactics would probably result in the deaths of large numbers of "their" citizens as well as bringing condemnation, and also retaliation from the international community.

The possibility of the Russian military using nuclear weapons in Ukraine has been a constant since the beginning of the war. Nothing that Putin says should be taken at face value; he denied any intention of invading Ukraine days before doing exactly that.

Sep 28 22 02:31 am Link

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JSouthworth

Posts: 1859

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

JSouthworth wrote:
The latest news from Ukraine here:

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/ru … ar-AAZARlg

I think there's still too much concern over avoiding escalation in Western Europe and the US. If the Putin regime sees an advantage in escalating the conflict, they will. If they need a political excuse for escalation, they can invent one, just as they invented the premise for their invasion. If anyone in Russia tries to contradict the official line, the regime can still their voice by imprisoning or "disappearing" them. It's not a question of there being an ongoing debate about the Ukraine War among the Russian leadership which could be influenced by the actions of Western governments. This is Putin's war, from the Russian perspective anyway.

Eventually there should come a point where the cost in roubles and in lives becomes prohibitive. If we provide Ukraine with more weapons, we should reach that point sooner. They don't necessarily have to be high cost, high tech weapons; this is a war, not an engineering competition. Cheap weapons can sometimes be very effective especially in defensive warfare:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_4_20 … t_launcher

If you watch the films of the battle of Okinawa in 1945- The History Channel's "Edge of the Abyss" in the WWII Lost Films series is good- the large explosions you see are these rocket mortars. In addition to the 200mm and 210mm there was an enormous 400mm version. All of these weapons were sufficiently compact to be stored underground in tunnels until required for use, enabling them to survive the intensive US artillery preparation and bombing.

The classic book "With the Old Breed; at Peleliu and Okinawa" by E.B. Sledge contains the following passage which may well be an eyewitness description of the Japanese Type 4 rockets in action;

"Earlier we had seen and heard some sort of strange-looking rocket fired by the Japanese from over in our army's sector. The projectiles were clearly visible as they went up with a terrible screaming sound. Most of them exploded in the 8th Marines sector. The things sounded like bombs exploding. A call came for every available corpsman to help with casualties  resulting from those explosions."

Oct 10 22 04:08 pm Link

Retoucher

Marina_U

Posts: 38

Oral, Batıs Ķazaķstan, Kazakhstan

What the fuck are you talking about. This is not Russia’s war with Ukraine. This war is imposed by America. Only one America gets rich and prospers in this war. You’re blind and idiots. They’re taking my son to this war, and none of us need it. Damn America and all the freaks who support its policies.

Oct 19 22 08:05 pm Link