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"What's the most surprising part of the Ukraine War..." Topic

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2022 3:36 p.m. PST

In regards to the Russian Mitary. What part of their ineptitude was the most surprising to you?

JSchutt17 Jul 2022 4:50 p.m. PST

Anyone who doesn't understand Russia's ability to weaponize patients, commitment, self sacrifice and stubborn deliberation usually thinks it's ineptitude.

nsolomon9917 Jul 2022 5:32 p.m. PST

The whole "special operation" seems to be a total clusterBleeped text frankly. Its hard to find any aspect at all where the once supposedly mighty Russian military has succeeded.

Probably I am most surprised about the complete ineffectiveness of the Russian air force. I know Cuprum will be along shortly to tell us again on this thread that the Russians have indeed already won, but here we are how many months in and Russia still does not have command of the air. I find that flabbergasting to be honest. It should be Step 1 from the playbook.

Leaves me feeling that NATO really has little to fear.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2022 5:53 p.m. PST

that it wasn't over in 100 hours……..

OSCS7417 Jul 2022 6:41 p.m. PST

torokchar +1

Buck21517 Jul 2022 6:50 p.m. PST

That they didn't win the Ukrainian's hearts and minds?

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2022 7:09 p.m. PST

The leadership. It seems from junior officers all the way up to commanding generals they are incompetent. I was surprised by that.

Zephyr117 Jul 2022 9:11 p.m. PST

"What's the most surprising part of the Ukraine War…"

That it hasn't gone nuclear …yet.

Thresher0117 Jul 2022 9:36 p.m. PST

That they've done so poorly against a much weaker opponent.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2022 11:01 p.m. PST

That they lost major surface units from their navy. And more hasn't been said about it in the news.

Nick Bowler17 Jul 2022 11:13 p.m. PST

To me the most surprising things are:

1) That it happened. At least one analyst was surprised as well. She said that Russia was winning the bully war -- the West was willing to make all sorts of concessions to avoid war. Russia could have kept on making threats and getting away with it. But once they crossed the line, the West's resolve hardened.

2) The resurgence of artillery, and the apparent ineffectiveness of tanks

3) Drones

4) The attitudes of India, Hungary, and Brazil. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. (China's attitude is really disappointing as well, but that didnt surprise me)

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2022 1:07 a.m. PST

The most surprising things to me about the Ukrainian War.

1. The NATO and West response to the war. They came together to supply and bank roll the Ukrainian war effort. They have economically isolated Russia. They have even expanded as a result of the war. Something not seen since the end of the Cold War. Just when you might have thought that NATO was irrelevant. Certainly the Russians were surprised by it.

2. The total ineptitude of the Russian military.

3. President Zelenskyy. Who knew this former comedian was a latter day Churchill?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2022 3:03 a.m. PST

The relatively flat learning curve. I can see not really believing this was going to be a fight. I can see an army which hasn't done high-intensity conventional warfare for a long time being pretty rusty. But this is well past the point at which they should have cleared out the peacetime deadwood and moved fighting officers into the command positions.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2022 5:48 a.m. PST

I would say just how feisty and effective the Ukrainian army is – as to command of the air, the Russian tactical doctrine I suspect falls back to the Soviet tactical doctrine, which assumed that NATO would always command the air and that the Red Air Force would be limited to local air superiority in the face of NATO air supremacy

Mister Tibbles18 Jul 2022 7:04 a.m. PST

Not really surprised, but Russia using up its stockpiles of 'antiquated' weaponry while also field testing some of their cutting edge stuff. I loved the media's reaction to the former, claiming this indicated Russia was desperate and running out of the good stuff. No, they decided to use the weapons instead of ditching them. A smart business decision. Same media freaked when they used hypersonic.

It isn't easy to take over an area where you want to keep the infrastructure intact so you don't get stuck rebuilding all of it.

If it were my trying to conquer, not subjugate, day 1 I would have bombed the crap out of their railways, leveled to train stations and rail facilities in Kiev. Made sure no reinforcements came in from Poland and such, hitting those connections hard and keep hitting them. Go all Sherman on them. But that isn't Russia's plan or steategy.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2022 4:34 p.m. PST

Well said Nick Bowler.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2022 11:04 p.m. PST

Mister Tibbles,

Don't you think they would have done all that if they could? I doubt they had the capacity to take out their rail system. They have tried to cut off all rail traffic from the west. It didn't work. The Russians don't have the capability.

DeRuyter19 Jul 2022 10:24 a.m. PST

Mister Tribbles

What cutting edge weaponry? Maybe aircraft and missiles but certainly not AFVs. Even the T90 is based on an older design.

IMO the media reporting on the older weapons is not totally off base. At some point it is counterproductive and you are just wasting manpower. Frankly, pulling T-62s, a 70 year old design, out of mothballs to fight an opponent with modern AT weapons is desperation.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2022 10:15 a.m. PST

That Russian deaths have now increased to over a third of the original invasion force and somebody in Russia hasn't gotten PO'ed about it. 50,000 losses and nothing has snapped? How fatalistic and utterly cowed (and completely gullible) does a civilian population have to be to put up with that? The entire military-government bureaucracy must be the most self-serving pathetic cowards ever bred for someone not to stand against this.
I know, I know. Post WWII Eastern Europe. Eight decades of virtual slavery can crush anybody. But really— where are the true Russian heroes who will stand up and say "ENOUGH!"?

Oh, as for the hypersonic weapons, they don't seem to use them that often. I think they don't actually have an effective guidance system for the things. I think they light ‘em off like buzz bombs, and whatever they hit, the Russian leadership says "We meant to hit that. It was a secret ammunition depot! Yeah, that's what it was. See how accurate our glorious advanced weapons are? Fear us! Fear—" BOOM "YIPE!!! Uh, we meant to hit that, too."

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2022 1:19 p.m. PST

I was most surprised that they led with their "C" formations, to use the old Soviet classification system. "C" formations are generally conscripts, reservists, and recalls, and should be saved for a national crisis when the army's "A" and "B" formations are non-mission capable.

Or am I giving them too much credit? Does the Red Army still have formations that could be classified as A and B? Are there so few professional soldiers left that they could not afford to risk them by sending their A formations in first?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2022 3:49 p.m. PST

I refuse to count Russian casualties based on Ukrainian reporting, Parzival--but "losses" are not "deaths"--except possibly to modern journalists.

And I am not taking our own high command out of the "self-serving and pathetic" competition until I see a four-star turning in his paperwork rather than execute some pointless politically-inspired order which will get his people killed. From Vietnam on, they've said (later) they "can do more working within the system"--and keeping the four-star retirement. I suspect most of the world's generals would shell their blood kin for an extra star and a book deal.

Tibbles, explain to me why you'd put even a semi-trained tank crew in an antique tank "to use up the equipment?" Perhaps a "smart business decision" but no matter how many officers we send to Harvard Business School, war is not a business, and subordinates are even touchier about being killed than they are about being laid off.

Javelin, you may have noticed that the Cold War ended 30 years ago? And there were years in which Russian bus drivers made more money than Russian majors? My guess is that if they have an "A" formation, it's guarding the Kremlin. The "B" formations guard the nuke sites and the remainder of the professional soldiers are leading conscript units in Ukraine--which is how a conscript army is supposed to work. Have you seen any evidence reservists have been called up? I have not.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2022 6:43 p.m. PST

Robert, the 50,000 number I cited was stated by the British military, not the Ukraine. Reported by the media, yes (otherwise how would I know?), but the article I read was merely repeating the claims of the British defense person. The term was "losses"— maybe that's casualties, maybe that's deaths. I interpret "loss" to mean "lives lost." I don't know what the British military meant in their use of the term. In any case, even if it's a mix, it's 50,000+ soldiers either killed or too severely wounded to fight (and given Putin's willingness to force people to fight whether they're actually capable of doing so or not, those wounds are probably very severe.) People tend to notice when young men come home with no legs.

There are two types of generals: butt-kickers and butt-kissers. Butt-kickers win wars. Butt-kissers get promoted. That's always been true. The Peter Principle is on grand display at the Pentagon, and probably at the Kremlin.

On the other hand, the Kremlin generals are getting sent to the front lines and the only stars they are receiving are ragged holes in their clothing when they're blown up or gunned down by Ukrainian forces. That's one way to sort out the dead wood. But by now their replacements have got to know there's no new star or book deal awaiting them. So I am surprised none have spoken up— unless it was speaking up that got them sent to the front lines…

The Russian military has never had a history of caring what happens to its soldiers, trained or otherwise. Why would they start now?
From what I've read, it's known that the Russian military has been thoroughly corrupt for decades, with soldiers and sailors selling equipment parts and supplies on the black market (one general recently committed suicide when he discovered his awesome tank divisions had no working tanks.) So it's no wonder that they're sending whatever works into battle. You can't really sell parts from a sixty-year-old tank like you can one made five years ago.
I also suspect that much of their tech "works on paper" or in staged demonstrations, but that in actual practice isn't ready for prime time. I also suspect that some of the arms people thought, "Just tell Putin it's ready, so he'll keep the money flowing. Hey, it's not like he'll ever give the order to use the thing, right?"

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2022 11:26 a.m. PST

You might interpret "loss" to mean "death" but I never heard a professional use it that way. Loss is loss--dead, yes, but also captured, wounded--anything which means he's not in the ranks the next morning. At a rough guess, 50,000 loss is 10,000 killed. But if anyone actually knows even "loss" right now outside of Russia, that MOD spokeswhatever shouldn't be revealing it.

The term is "sources and methods." If you're reading the other fellow's mail, or have a method of analysis so good you don't need to, you do NOT advertise it in the newspapers. Unless it's complete amateur hour in Washington, Brussels and London these days, the press is filling a lot of its "air time" with guesswork.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2022 4:42 p.m. PST

Well, it's certainly complete amateur hour in Russia, so it may not be that hard to determine. In any case, casualties are hard to disguise, especially in a situation on which every bit of surveillance tech the West has is focused on Ukraine.

Let's be honest, Putin knows we're spying on him, and casualty figures are hardly things one can successfully hide, even if one wants to. The people with the official information likely number in the thousands; the people who can interpret the signs are even more numerous. It's just not something one can keep a lid on. So he'd probably be stunned if we *didn't* know. I don't think this information exposes sources and methods to any significant degree— there are too many potential sources and too many effective methods, and some of both of these he can't do anything about anyway. There's nothing he can do about Aurora or even Blackbird overflights, he's unlikely to be able to do anything even about U2 overflights (yes, the bird is still used for specific purposes), and our satellite network he can't touch (yet). And that doesn't even address potential eyes into low level military networks (or even high level ones). It's just not info that's not going to be known. To some extent, the MOD is sending the "we know this, and now you know we know this— and we aren't saying what else we know" message, and to some extent they're trying to use the media and Internet to get the numbers into Russia and to the Russian people, bypassing Putin's propagandist state news. But as I said, nobody in the GRU is surprised by what the West knows, and there's not enough detail there to expose any source.

Wargamer Blue25 Jul 2022 6:32 p.m. PST

Poor performance of the Russian Air Force.

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