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"Ukraine war: Kyiv says Russia planning major ground" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2022 3:18 p.m. PST

… offensive in new year

"Ukraine has accused Russia of planning a wide-ranging ground offensive for early in the new year, despite recent Russian military setbacks.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and senior officials have warned that Kyiv and its allies must guard against complacency.

The offensive could come in the eastern Donbas region, in the south, or even towards Kyiv, senior generals say…"

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ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa16 Dec 2022 3:38 p.m. PST

A lot of ground troops of uncertain reliability and training, a hollowed out officer corp, a heavily degraded pool vehicles and support weapons to draw on, according to the UK a potential shortage of artillery ammunition, PGMs in short supply and a degraded air force that seems to have little chance of gaining air superiority. The current commander is judged to be competent but he'd need to be a miracle worker I think to get significantly better performance out of the Russian army. Clearly it remains an open question as to what if anything the Russian army can achieve? I don't see it ending well mostly for the Russians.

JMcCarroll16 Dec 2022 5:22 p.m. PST

They should allow early success for the Russians and then cut them off and take a page from Russians own play book.

In defense poor troops do better.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2022 6:44 p.m. PST

Yes, I don't think the Russian units to be used in this Offensive will be any better than those that crossed into the Ukraine, months ago. Probably worse …

Griefbringer17 Dec 2022 3:22 a.m. PST

They should allow early success for the Russians and then cut them off and take a page from Russians own play book.

This is sort of what happened in the first weeks of the war – the Russian forces initially advanced in depth along the roads, and then had their supply lines attacked. Led to a significant losses in the north, until the Russians pulled back in that area. From what I have read, this was deliberate tactic by the Ukrainian military leadership, to cause serious losses early on.

Since then, the Russians fell back to tactics more reminiscent of WWI re-enactment, slow advances supported by heavy artillery barrages. They are likely to be more cautious with any attempt of deep operations for the time being. On the other hand, considering the way the Russian forces have treated civilian population, Ukrainians are not likely to allow them to easily gain ground anymore, either.

As for prospects of January offensives, that time of the year the weather in Ukraine is likely to be cold; with the ground frozen in the inland regions, the open areas become more viable to mobile warfare outside roads. So this would be a good time of the year for either side to employ mechanised reserves in a mobile action before the spring thaws again soften the ground.

As for Russian reserves, they still have the nominally 300 000 men "partially mobilised" around October. While some of these have been sent to Ukraine, most of them are presumably located in garrisons around the country. In case the military leadership could find the necessary resources to train, organise, officer, motivate, equip and field supply these men, they could eventually be formed into a major force capable of conducting offensive operations. However, this requires that the top leadership also has patience to allow enough time for such work – one estimate I have seen suggested that they might prove a real threat by May (when the ground would again get dry to allow for manoeuvring). That said, there might be political time-pressure to send them to Ukraine under-prepared.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2022 11:11 a.m. PST



Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2022 12:48 p.m. PST

The solid frozen hardened terrain is good for maneuver warfare. Especially if the region has a limited road net in rural areas, etc. As we see much of the Ukraine is farmland. However, extreme cold brings on additional requirements for personnel and equipment. But they are used to those conditions, I'd believe.

But again, the Russian losses are high. Will they be able to generate new/rebuilt units ? That actually can function effectively ?

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa17 Dec 2022 1:43 p.m. PST

The Ukrainian seem to be preparing the battlefield around Metropol. I doubt Surovikin will allowed another politically damaging withdrawal by Putin. So he's probably going to have to commit those new troops on Ukraine's timetable rather than on some grand offensive in the new year.

I personally think that on the Ukraine-side at least in some areas it may no longer be politically acceptable to trade space for time and opportunity to launch flank attacks. I'd also be surprised if Russia maintains the capacity to launch deep offensive thrusts. I think we'll see advances on broad fronts, as at the moment, but again I think there are sustainment issues. If artillery ammunition is truly running short for the Russian's that kind of thing essentially becomes a human wave attack. Will the Russian army try and take a second stab at Kyiv? If they do its not going to be a surprise, its going to be slow and its going to be into the teeth of prepared defensive lines, possibly without much in the way of armour and artillery support.

Druzhina17 Dec 2022 10:34 p.m. PST

How are you measuring defeat, by land area lost?

The Russians have advanced about 10km, at the widest SE of Baktmut, in 3 months. Very impressive!

The Ukrainians have found enough reserves to be able to rotate out troops that have been fighting there. Have the Russians rotated their troops or just sent more to replace their losses?
Do you think a comparison to Verdun means the Russians are winning?

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

nickinsomerset18 Dec 2022 3:20 a.m. PST

Druzhina, looks like Carnot has swallowed Putin's stories, I will keep listening to friends out there and others producing objective "information"

Tally Ho!

soledad18 Dec 2022 3:20 a.m. PST

Well Carnot, yes Ukraine casualties might be 80.000. That is not unreasonable. Maybe 10.000-15.000 dead rest wounded.

And you are probably right, Russian losses are nowhere near that. they are most likely much much much higher. Ukraine claims about (approx)100.000 dead so far.

Wounded, I do not know but since russia does not care about its wounded and in many cases (anecdotally) even murder their own wounded probably lower numbers in wounded.

Russia has for a few months failed to take Bakmut. They attack and are slaughtered for minimal gain. Russia is paying a high price for basically no gain. Not that "Russia" probably cares for its dead and wounded but still, no gain.

A new Russian offensive? Maybe. If they are able to actually conduct such an offensive with minimally trained conscripts, worn out officers, old and cobbled together equipment I think it will not end well. They will most likely conduct a true WWII style attack. first artillery and the drive forward. they will have some limited success but will strategically fail.

Ukraine has more and better weapons, better equipment over all and more well trained soldiers and better command and control and much higher morale. they have had the time to conduct proper defenses. Attacking that will not be easy.

Modern manúuvre warfare is difficult to master. So far Russia has not really excelled in it, even with proper "professional" troops. to think that speedily trained conscripts will succeed…

But never underestimate your opponent.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa18 Dec 2022 6:12 a.m. PST

I don't think things will go well for the Ukrainians, who are running out of men and equipment.

No, clearly the Ukrainian government believe there population can sustain another call up. And exactly how can Ukraine run out of equipment when its essentially being supplied on a line of credit by countries that contain a significant proportion of the worlds most powerful militaries and play host to some of the worlds largest international defence companies? Heck if the US actually started breaking out tanks and AFVs from its deep stockpiles and giving them to Ukraine it would probably be saving the US tax payer money! Russia is loosing men and equipment to systems which the West gifted to Ukraine partly because it considers sufficiently antiquated that they can risk getting them captured. Russia in the meantime seem to be increasingly deploying equipment of even greater antiquity to the frontline.

Griefbringer18 Dec 2022 7:42 a.m. PST

The Ukrainian seem to be preparing the battlefield around Metropol.

I presume that you are referring to Meliopol, a town located straight south from the town of Zaporizhya. It would be quite a drive there (over 100 km from the current front line), and if the Ukrainians wanted to really isolate the forces in Kherson region they would probably need to drive further on to the Azovan coast. That would require quite a lot of forces, and the Ukrainians also need to maintain strategic reserves in case Russian army tries a winter offensive somewhere.

Ukrainians seem to have lately been big on maintaining surprise and operational security, so it is a bit difficult to predict when or where the Ukrainian military will next strike.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa18 Dec 2022 9:33 a.m. PST

Oops, yes Meliopol. Its a significant transport hub and the Ukrainians do seem to be intent on hammering both transport and Russian military infrastructure there. Probably not necessarily to directly take the place itself but throttle Russian logistical efforts across the wider area – as they have done in preparation for previous operations. It also increases Russian reliance on the already degraded routes up through Crimea. Though ultimately I'm sure they'd like to take it back since it would isolate Crimea. Its a rather obvious target for an offensive – may be too obvious?

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2022 11:34 a.m. PST

And you are probably right, Russian losses are nowhere near that. they are most likely much much much higher. Ukraine claims about (approx)100.000 dead so far.
No matter what the Russians have taken heavy losses in men & equipment. The Ukraine has taken losses too. But not as high as the Russians AFAIK. However, the Ukrainians are fighting to keep their nation free of Putin and his imperialists. Again it's the Ukraine's backyard. E.g. remember the VC, etc.

soledad +1

ROU +1

Griefbringer +1

Druzhina18 Dec 2022 12:59 p.m. PST

Not Metropol nor Meliopol, usually it is Melitopol.

@ carnot

I don't see anyone mentioning the ongoing Ukrainian defeat at Baktmut, which has all the characteristics Verdun.

See my post about Bakhmut of 27 May 2022 and my post of 23 Oct 2022 about Bakhmut.

It would only be similar to Verdun if the Ukrainians were replying to Russian human wave attacks with their own human wave counter-attacks.
People aren't posting it as a defeat because a temporary loss of territory where enormous casualties have been inflicted on the attacker is not necessarily a defeat.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa18 Dec 2022 2:55 p.m. PST

If we're being generous pyrrhic victory perhaps? That may rather presuppose the Russian objective was to push back the Ukrainian front lines a few hundreds of metres over a period of weeks (months) in a sector that no outside observer can suggest a particular significant strategic value for.

First hand Ukrainian accounts seem to pretty much agree on the relentless and damaging Russian artillery but also that unsophisticated Russian attacks often get destroyed piecemeal and even where they take ground they are sometimes driven off again with considerable loss (and while not ideal as evidence I've yet to hear of any Western news organisation indicate they are being restricted in what they can say or do as has happened in more authoritarian regimes).

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2022 4:35 p.m. PST

as a defeat because a temporary loss of territory where enormous casualties have been inflicted on the attacker is not necessarily a defeat.
Bingo !

soledad19 Dec 2022 12:33 a.m. PST

In a way Russia can more easily absorb the losses at Bakmut. They only lose "rabble" and trash "humans". Ukraine loses trained soldiers. And Russia is full of that kind of people.

When it comes to Melitopol everyone knows its importance. This might be a case of everyone knowing Ukraine will target it and it all comes down to who can win the fight. Even if Ukraine would sustain serious losses but capture Melitopol it is still a major strategic win worth the losses. It would unhinge all of Crimea. Almost making it impossible to support all units there. They could (almost) be starved into submission (although that would take a long time). It would put Russia at huge strategic disadvantage.

So obvious target or not, Melitopol needs to dealt with and everyone knows it.

Or Ukraine could drive towards Berdiansk? Cut off Crimea and from there target the Kertch bridge more easily.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa19 Dec 2022 5:41 a.m. PST

Definitely pertinent. Russia hasn't gone the full 'human wave' yet but is clearly bleeding huge quantities of resources to sustain the operations at Bakmut and along that sectors defensive line more generally. Also looks like the Ukrainians may have rotated units which a major catastrophe occurring.
TMP link

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2022 10:53 a.m. PST

Russia hasn't gone the full 'human wave' yet but is clearly bleeding huge quantities of resources to sustain the operations
That seems to be their SOP … hopefully along with the USA/NATO, etc. support and the Ukrainians will cause them to "bleed the Russians dry". The Russians seem to be their own worst enemy.

Griefbringer19 Dec 2022 11:00 a.m. PST

Not Metropol nor Meliopol, usually it is Melitopol.

Oopsie, that was an embarrassing typo on my part. Especially since I even double-checked the place from map before writing that message.

As for Bakhmut, that seems to me a bit more reminiscent of Stalingrad battles in autumn 1942 than those of WWI. An attacker that makes very slow but costly advances by stubbornly pushing time after time on a tenaciously defended urban area, ruined by fighting and of little strategic value. It seems as if somebody in command has a strange obsession with that bit of land.

Predictably attacking the same spot time after time does not give much of an advantage of surprise.

Druzhina19 Dec 2022 12:57 p.m. PST

The Russians don't have enough infantry to do "Verdun style" human-wave attacks.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa19 Dec 2022 2:43 p.m. PST

But the Wagner attacks do seem very scripted for want of a better term. Seems to partly defeat the idea of infiltration tactics. I'm not sure that any analogy with WWI German Stormtroopers being claimed on the Russian sides holds up well since I suspect they did and were expected to show initiative in the field.

Any analogy will break down – off the top of my head I can't recall any significant sustained urban conflict in WWI. But Stalingrad etc is probably not bad for whats going on in and around Bakhmut proper – clearly local features are being fought over tooth and nail and repeatedly changing hands. I suspect a good chunk of the mass causalities on the Russian side, reportedly among lower quality troops, may be down to them being used to hold such features.

And apparently I can't read a map either….

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2022 9:37 p.m. PST

Wagner's attacks may be better overall than the Russians … but that does not take too much.

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