This two-part series in the Washington Post is a must-read because of what it tells the reader about the abysmal performance of the White House and the Department of Defense. I found it genuinely shocking. I knew that Biden, Austin and Milley were bad. I just did not appreciate how bad. On a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 marking the biggest fuck up in history, these guys rate an 11.
Part two, In Ukraine, a war of incremental gains as counteroffensive stalls, pushes the false narrative that what is happening on the ground in Ukraine is a “stalemate.” No. What is going on is a major ass kicking by Russia. Here is the definition of a stalemate in chess, which also applies to war:
A stalemate is a special type of draw in the game of chess that occurs when the chess player who has to move cannot make any legal moves to a safe square but is also not in check. Stalemate typically ends the game with a draw—a scenario in which there is no way for either player to win the game.
No way for Russia to win? Think again. By decimating Ukraine’s army that is precisely a path to victory.
Part 2 describes in detail how the U.S. designed plan of attack fell apart during the first week of the counter offensive.
The Ukrainian troops had expected minefields but were blindsided by the density. The ground was carpeted with explosives, so many that some were buried in stacks. The soldiers had been trained to drive their Bradleys at a facility in Germany, on smooth terrain. But on the mushy soil of the Zaporizhzhia region, in the deafening noise of battle, they struggled to steer through the narrow lanes cleared of mines by advance units. . . .
By day four, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top commander, had seen enough. Incinerated Western military hardware — American Bradleys, German Leopard tanks, mine-sweeping vehicles — littered the battlefield. The numbers of dead and wounded sapped morale. . . .
Rather than try to breach Russian defenses with a massed, mechanized attack and supporting artillery fire, as his American counterparts had advised, Zaluzhny decided that Ukrainian soldiers would go on foot in small groups of about 10 — a process that would save equipment and lives but would be much slower.
Zaluzhny’s alternative proved to be equally brain dead. Sending guys in on foot over several kilometers requires them to carry in excess of 60 kilograms of gear, ammunition, food and water. If you think that is easy then you have never hoisted a heavy pack on your back and tried to walk over uneven ground. But once these Ukrainian soldiers reached the line of conflict, they ran out of ammunition within a half hour. Who was going to resupply them? The answer — NOBODY!!
Here are the Key Findings from Part 2:
● Seventy percent of troops in one of the brigades leading the counteroffensive, and equipped with the newest Western weapons, entered battle with no combat experience.
● Ukraine’s setbacks on the battlefield led to rifts with the United States over how best to cut through deep Russian defenses.
● The commander of U.S. forces in Europe couldn’t get in touch with Ukraine’s top commander for weeks in the early part of the campaign amid tension over the American’s second-guessing of battlefield decisions.
● Each side blamed the other for mistakes or miscalculations. U.S. military officials concluded that Ukraine had fallen short in basic military tactics, including the use of ground reconnaissance to understand the density of minefields. Ukrainian officials said the Americans didn’t seem to comprehend how attack drones and other technology had transformed the battlefield.
● In all, Ukraine has retaken only about 200 square miles of territory, at a cost of thousands of dead and wounded and billions in Western military aid in 2023 alone.
If you take the time to read the entire article you will come to the realization that this debacle is totally the fault of the U.S. military planners. Arrogance and hubris combined to send the Ukrainians off on a mission that genuinely was impossible. No army in the world can breach fortified defensive positions without air power. Hell, that is the fundamental principle of U.S. combined arms. And yet that is precisely what the U.S. demanded the Ukrainians do. Madness!!!
The 47th had been selected to be a “breach force” at the tip of the counteroffensive and would be equipped with Western arms. But as Milley made his rounds and chatted with Ukrainian soldiers — from young men in their 20s to middle-aged recruits — many they told him that they had only recently left civilian life and had no combat experience.
The combat maneuvers that Milley and other U.S. commanders expected the Ukrainians to perform are difficult for U.S. soldiers who have had 14 months of training under their belts. In the case of Ukraine, the United States insisted that a motley collection of inexperienced recruits do this with two months of training. What the fuck did Milley and Austin think would happen?
U.S. and Ukrainian officials said they never expected that two months of training would transform these troops into a NATO-like force. Instead, the intention was to teach them to properly use their new Western tanks and fighting vehicles and “make them literate in the basics of firing and moving,” a U.S. seniormilitary official said.
This is nothing short of military malpractice on the part of the U.S. and Ukrainian commanders. They provided the recruits enough information to get them on the battlefield where they could be slaughtered.
I wish those U.S. advisors were forced to go to the front and try to execute the orders they were issuing so glibly to the Ukrainians. Here’s a prime example from Part 2:
U.S. military officials believed that Ukraine could have made a more significant advance by embracing greater use of ground reconnaissance units and reducing its reliance on imagery from drones, which weren’t able to detect buried mines, tripwires or booby traps.
Sure. Conduct recon while getting shelled with artillery, mortars and attacked by drones. Piece of cake.
The reporters continue to push the lie that Russia relied on human wave assaults:
Throughout the Zaporizhzhia region, the Russians had deployed new units, called “Storm Z,” with fighters recruited from prisons. The former inmates attacked in human waves called “meat assaults” and were used to preserve more-elite forces. Around Robotyne — the village the 47th was supposed to reach on the first day of the counteroffensive — they were mixed in with Russia’s 810th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade and other regular army formations.
Where are the graves? Where are the grieving relatives? Just because the “Storm Z” fighters were recently freed convicts did not mean that they had no families or concerned relatives. If so many were killed why was there no social media to corroborate such losses? We certainly see that type of info on the Ukrainian side.
Part 2 of this Washington Post report clearly shows that the Ukrainian leaders had a better grasp on reality than their American counterparts:
The Ukrainians were insistent that the West simply wasn’t giving them the air power and other weapons needed for a combined arms strategy to succeed. “You want us to to proceed with the counteroffensive, you want us to show the brilliant advances on the front line,” said Olha Stefanishyna, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. “But we do not have the fighter jets, meaning that you want us to throw our soldiers, you know, and accept the very fact that we cannot protect them.”
When allies said no, she said, “we heard … ‘We are fine that your soldiers will be dying without support from the sky.’”
In an August video conference, soon followed by an in-person meeting near the Poland-Ukraine border, U.S. military officials pressed their case. They said they understood the logic of preoccupying Russian forces at different points on the front, but argued that deep advances would not come unless the Ukrainians massed more forces at a single point to move quickly and decisively.
Zaluzhny, in response, laid out the challenges in stark terms: no air cover, more mines than expected, and a Russian force that was impressively dug in and moving its reserves around effectively to plug gaps.
After reading this report I now understand why Ukraine and the West routinely are disparaging the Russian forces as inept, poorly led and bereft of morale — I believe it is a Russian disinformation campaign. The Russians are spreading that information in order to mislead the Ukrainians and their NATO allies. It is being fed to the Western intelligence agencies and they are lapping it up without looking for corroborating information.
Sadly, this. report shows that Western military leaders have not learned a damn thing over the past six months. They repeat the false mantra that the war is a stalemate and continue to delude themselves that Russia is weak and vulnerable. How many more Ukrainians need to die before Washington and London wake up and realize that they have lost?
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