Analyzing Russia's Massive Failures in War Against Ukraine

Analyzing Russia's Massive Failures in War Against Ukraine

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It's been one year since Russia began its  war to defeat Russia by invading Ukraine,   and in that time Vladimir Putin has set himself  up to become the most catastrophic Russian leader   in modern history. This is the ultimate  compendium of Russia's failures so far. Russia's failures begin before the war started.  When planning a military campaign there are   certain steps critical to the planning process.  First, one must sort out the internal logistics   of a military action: supply and logistics chains  stretching back to the factories that produce   your war fighting kit need to be evaluated for  robustness in an increased tempo environment.  

Food and medical supplies need to be stockpiled  and pre-staged for rapid distribution. Plans for   the ongoing resupply of forces, while accounting  for battlefield attrition of your logistics force,   need to be established. The domestic  temperature needs to be taken into account,   just how supportive is your population of  the war to come? Intelligence assessments of   your enemy's capabilities must be conducted.  Predictions about the international response   to your military action must be made with  plans to account for different scenarios.

Instead of doing most of this, Putin just  said “Yolo” and sent his tanks into Ukraine. To be fair, there was some preparation for the  invasion. Putin tasked his intelligence services   with infiltrating Ukraine and “taking  the temperature” so to speak. In 2014  

when Russia annexed Crimea, it did so with a  significant amount of local support. It also   completely overran a Ukrainian military  that was as disorganized, inefficient,   and untrained as... well, Russia's military  today. Because Ukrainian forces for the most   part broke and ran, Russian forces never got a  chance to truly shine- and by “truly shine” we   mean show the world, and Russia, that its  military is a bunch of clown shoes. It's   easy to be the second best army in the  world when nobody is putting up a fight. The details remain unconfirmed, but what  is known is that the intelligence reports   returning from Ukraine were favorable-  the Ukrainian military would hardly put   up a fight and its people would largely  welcome Russians as liberators How in the   world anybody believed that last part after  Ukraine erupted into violence against its   Russian-backed President eight years earlier is  beyond any of us here at the Infographics office. Very credible rumors have circulated around those  intelligence reports, with allegations that the   operatives tasked with carrying out this operation  had in fact pocketed the millions of rubles given   to them by Putin and simply made up favorable  reports. These rumors remain unverified, but are  

extremely believable for multiple reasons. First  of all, corruption is the name of the game in   the Russian military and government, more on that  later. Second, Putin kept his intentions to invade   Ukraine secret from all but his most senior staff-  at the time of the invasion, the vast majority of   the military was completely unaware that it would  be crossing into Ukraine. More on that later   as well. Thus it's completely believable that  corrupt intelligence officials simply pocketed  

the money figuring that Putin would never be  crazy enough to invade his next door neighbor. Shortly after the invasion , Sergey  Beseda was put on house arrest. By April,   he was in prison. His deputy was also placed  under house arrest, and rumors are several other   intelligence officers had been imprisoned.  Not only had Putin's intelligence services,   whom were feared globally during the  Cold War, misjudged Putin, but they had   completely misjudged what little intelligence  work they had bothered to do. Thus it came as a  

surprise to all when Ukrainians greeted Russian  invaders with Kalashnikovs instead of flowers. But the pre-invasion fail train doesn't  stop at just this station. Because Putin   had kept the invasion secret, when the  Russian military was mobilized it did so   without taking into account the supply and  logistics chains which would be needed to   push hundreds of kilometers into Ukraine.  Instead, units were given enough supplies   for a few days. Because the Russian military is  basically fueled by corruption at every level,   we have verified reports from the very eve  of the invasion of Russian soldiers selling   gasoline and diesel for alcohol and cigarettes  to locals. In a professional, western military,   you might have been able to keep a cross-border  invasion secret without worrying about your   soldiers literally selling their own equipment  to the nearest taker, but this is Russia.

The lack of logistics planning also meant  that Russian forces basically had no plan   for resupply deep inside of Ukraine. Putin, whom  it's important to note has no military background,   apparently thinks that food, fuel, and ammo can  simply be wished into existence by soldiers on   the move, because while planning his top  secret military invasion he never bothered   to have the head of his logistics command  in on the planning. Thus Russian logistics,   which are already famously terrible,  were caught completely unprepared to   support a fully mobilized expeditionary  force deep inside enemy territory. And then suddenly, the go-order  was given and nearly 200,000   Russian soldiers realized that they were not on  exercises. That's when things got really stupid.

In 1991, the United States military led an  international coalition against one of the largest   military forces in the world- the Iraqi army. In  a matter of weeks, the Iraqi military was defeated   in what is possibly the single most one-sided war  in history. Ten years later, the US did it again-   and this time with a fraction of the troops  and allies. Both times it absolutely trounced   any resistance put up against it through a  combination of multi-domain warfare, technological   superiority, and very well trained, professional  troops a significant cut above their counterparts. Vladimir Putin saw both US victories and  thought, yeah- I can totally do that too.

He could not. To be perfectly fair, it's not really Putin's  fault he believed his forces were even remotely   capable of 1/10th of what the US and NATO  could do. Vladimir Putin has ensured his   own political survival thanks to a breakout  of freak accidents involving political rivals   falling out of windows or accidentally running  into bullets fired by assassins. Over the years,   he has consolidated his grip on power and like any  good dictator, surrounded himself by weak Yes-Men   whom he perpetually pits against each other. By  making sure that those around him hate each other  

more than him, Putin ensures that none of them can  gather the support needed to oust him from power. However, this level of extreme corruption  has a direct impact on the running of a   government. For starters, if you're appointing  thoroughly corrupt yes-men to positions of power,   you can bet that in order to secure their  own power, they are doing the exact same   thing under them. This repeats itself on  and on down the line to the point that   you have even individual unit commanders  who's qualifications are not competency or   ability, but loyalty. The real problem comes  when it's time to do a self-evaluation,   a health check-up if you will. Rather than passing  along negative news about things like readiness,   equipment condition, and troop training, you pass  along favorable reports instead- because after   all, any negative reports could be capitalized  on by others wanting your position, and the   last thing your boss wants is to tell his  boss something they don't want to hear.

It's like a game of telephone,   only the original message being passed  along is already an outrageous lie. But this culture of corruption bred by  Putin is even more insidious, because   like an aggressive cancer, it eats the Russian  military alive from the inside out. After all,   if you are corrupt and stealing public funds,  you can bet your syrniki that the person under   you is doing the same. On and on down the  chain to the point that conscript soldiers   are tearing the wiring out of combat vehicles  so that it can be sold for cash- under the   direct orders of older conscripts who threaten  them with beatings if they don't find a way to   raise enough cash for them to buy vodka  and cigarettes. Those older conscripts,   naturally, are already busy selling  grenades and ammunition from the armory. Thus, while Vladimir Putin reviewed readiness  reports as he prepared for an invasion,   he could hardly be blamed for not knowing  that his military was an absolute shit-show,   hardly prepared for basic parade drills let  alone invading another country. Having drunk  

his own kool-aid, Putin gave the go-ahead  and even planned his invasion believing   he was at the head of the world's second  most powerful army. Within hours though it   was clear he'd have to fight for title  of most powerful army inside Ukraine. The initial plan was for a lighting strike into  Kyiv, with the vaunted Russian paratroopers   at the very tip of the spear. They would take  key air fields around Kyiv and hold them long   enough for Russia to fly in reinforcements,  with an armored thrust south out of Belarus   to add mass to the attack. Within three days  the capital and Zelenskyy’s government would   both fall. It was a bold, ambitious plan, a  lighting operation to make even the United  

States envy Russia's capabilities- one  that would put Putin in the history books. And it did put him in the history books,  just not quite how he envisioned it. Operation Fail Hard, Fail Fast began with a  pre-emptive attack on Ukrainian radar and air   defense sites and command and control networks.  This is always a good idea before any military   invasion. It's an even better idea however when  you have actual up-to-date maps. In a turn of   events that will surprise absolutely none of you,  Russian maps were out of date, with many of them   going back to the Soviet era. This meant that  many modern installations were unaccounted for,   or the maps were inaccurate enough that precision  strikes... well, weren't. During the Gulf War,  

the US famously put a bomb through a  ventilation shaft of an Iraqi government   buildings. In February of 2022, Russia was lucky  if its missiles were hitting the right city. But to be fair, the initial Russian bombardment  succeeded in disrupting the Ukrainian air defense   network, though this was largely due to the  effect of electromagnetic attack and the fact   that Ukraine believed it was facing the second  most powerful army in the world. Thus Ukrainian   air defenses quickly moved from their positions in  a famous tactic known as “don't be where you were   when the bombs fall”. But whereas the US spent  weeks prepping Iraq for invasion the first time,  

and months using special forces and CIA  operatives to undermine the Iraqi military   and identify targets the second time, the  Russian military threw a handful of missiles   around Ukraine and called it “good enough”.  This would soon be a disastrous decision. The disruption of Ukraine's air defense  network allowed for the insertion of   low-flying helicopters carrying hundreds  of soon-to-be-corpses. The Russian VDV, or   paratroopers, are Russia's most elite troops- so  celebrated that they even have their own official   holiday. No news on what 2023's festivities will  look like considering many of them are now dead.

The paratroopers were dispatched to airfields  outside of Kyiv, where supported by attack   helicopters and a few combat jets, overwhelmed the  initial defenders. The plan was going swimmingly,   reinforcements were loading up into  transport jets, and the VDV had its   first actual military victory against  a conventional foe since WW2. However,   within 48 hours the VDV would go  from proudly displaying the might   of Russia's airborne forces on hostile  soil, to being turned into road kill. We're not kidding either. According to Georgian   Legion commander Mamuka Mamulashvili,  when he ran out of ammo he got into a   car and pursued the fleeing Russian  paratroopers, running several over.

The plan to take Kyiv in 3 days had failed,   and the war would turn into a catastrophe  for Russia. But what went wrong? We all know that Russia underestimated  Ukraine, but the level of underestimation   goes past simple “our intelligence was bad,  slash, we didn't do any intelligence work”,   all the way to pure arrogance. Without a  preparatory bombardment on the Ukrainian   air defense network before the invasion, the  nation's air defense units were quickly back   on the job. This immediately shut down the air  space around Kyiv to the Russian air forces,  

preventing them from supporting the  airborne forces with close air support. And they needed that air support badly,  because they were up shit creek with no paddle. The initial defenders at Antonov and  Hostomel airports were largely conscripts,   and easily overrun. However, within  hours Ukrainian special forces and   regular mechanized infantry responded to the  assault. This was never supposed to happen.

Prior to the invasion, Russia had slipped  multiple units of Spetsnatz into Kyiv.   Their mission was twofold- eliminate  the Zelenskyy government and sow chaos   amongst the defenders of the city. As the most  elite of elite forces in the Russian military,   the Spetsnatz were more than up for the task. Or so you would think if like most Russians,  you've been on a steady diet of copium since   the end of the Cold war. Details here are  incredibly scarce, and likely will never  

be fully known until long after the end of the  war. What is known however is that these units   failed catastrophically at their job. There  are multiple reports of mob justice against   Russian special forces, and the details are  too grim to post on Youtube. Suffice to say,   Ukraine's own special forces and even civilians  had a lot to say about the Spetsnatz plan.

Over at Hostomel airport, not  only did Russia suffer the loss   of multiple helicopters to ground  fire, but once they managed to land,   Ukrainian artillery devastated the airborne  troopers. In a regular, competent military,   this would never happen- or would be quickly  neutralized by overhead air support. However,   not only did Russia not bother with a preparatory  air campaign, but aside from helicopters,   its ability to provide air support for ground  forces is limited- at least with any form of   precision. Few Russian pilots are even trained  for a ground support role, and just as few Russian  

planes have the required targeting pods for it.  Lack of training is hardly surprising, considering   that Russian pilots have been struggling to  get 60 hours of flight time a year, while US   pilots are getting an average of 120- and this  is considered dangerously low for the Air Force. With air support shut out of the  sky by Ukrainian air defenses,   and the plan to fly in reinforcements untenable,  the paratroopers were forced to retreat and   launch a new assault with the aid of the forces  pushing south out of Belarus. Unfortunately,   the lack of logistics planning and a  series of Ukrainian ambushes severely   limited the capabilities of the ground  force. Ultimately the attack would fail   and Kyiv stood. Military historian Frederick  Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War,  

would refer to the failure as “stunning”, after  citing that he knows of no parallel to a major   military power invading a country at a time  of its own choosing and failing so utterly. The assault on Kyiv was a complete disaster,   but a lack of logistics planning and  the basic terrible state of the Russian   military itself would lead to one of the  most embarrasing moments in modern warfare. Ukrainian defenders bravely fought of Russia’s  attack on Kyiv, and Putin responded by pouring   even more forces and armored vehicles into  the battle. However, now the achille's heel  

of the Russian military would be put on full  display- and we're going to have to be way   more specific because the Russian military has  not one, but at least a dozen points of failure. Remember how we mentioned that Putin launched this  invasion without consulting his logistics chiefs,   and how Russian troops had no idea they  were about to invade Ukraine? Well,   left to his own devices, Private  Conscriptavich sold off as much   fuel and food as possible to Belarusian  citizens, and without resupply worked out,   the massive armored convoy heading  to Kyiv just sort of... stalled out. The images were absolutely shocking, 40  miles of tanks, armored personnel carriers,   mobile air defenses, and supply trucks all ground  to a complete halt. It was reminiscient of the   Iraqi mass exodus from Kuwait during the Gulf  War, where thousands of vehicles attempted to   flee the allied assault. Only this convoy hadn't  been brought to a stop by overwhelming air power,   instead the Russian convoy had been  brought to a stand still by good   old fashioned Russian incompetence-  just like Uncle Stalin used to make.

A lack of fuel meant diesel-hungry armored  vehicles were forced to pull over to the side   of the road. But the fuel trucks couldn't reach  them because other armored vehicles were waiting   for their turn to go. Having set up no staging  or resupply areas, a few traffic snarls soon   added up to the full-body paralysis of the entire  affair. For Ukrainian infantry armed with western   anti-tank weapons, it was like shooting fish in a  very tiny barrel- and because vehicles like tanks   can't just turn their engines on and ride off to  combat when the enemy shows up, they were forced   to keep their engines idling for hours, resulting  in even more vehicles running out of gas. If Ukraine had had a fraction of the air power of  even a modestly sized NATO power, such as Spain,   Russia would've faced a catastrophic loss  of combat power on the highway to Kyiv,   reminiscent of the 2,000 or so vehicles Iraq  lost on the Highway of Death in 1991. Instead,   Ukraine used Turkish made drones to  exact painful losses on the stalled   out vehicles, which in itself is an  absolutely absurd turn of events.

Bayraktar drones are not stealthy, and while they  may be low-observable they are easily detected at   range by modern air defense radars. Despite this  we have multiple videos of Bayraktars taking out   Russian air defense vehicles, and the reason why  takes the absolute cake for stupidity- and that's   a very tough competition given the fact that the  Russian military is basically fueled by stupid. Modern short and medium range air defense systems  were getting blown to bits by simple Bayraktar   drones because... their operators never turned on  their air defense radars. Despite being stalled   out and vulnerable to air attack, Russian air  defense operators largely failed to... defend from   air attacks. But even more perplexing, the Russian  air force itself did not provide air cover for the  

massively vulnerable convoy that was quickly  becoming missile-bait for Ukrainian drones. Multiple reasons why this happened have been  proposed, ranging from a lack of fuel forcing   the vehicles to shut down, to simple incompetence  from an overwhelmingly conscript force. However,   recently it’s been revealed that the biggest  reason Russian air defense operators weren’t   defending the convoy from simple drone  attacks is because they were jammed- by   the Russian military. Its electromagnetic  warfare campaign to shut down Ukrainian air   defenses resulted in fratricidal jamming across  many parts of both fronts, which meant that while   Ukrainian air defenses were having trouble  engaging Russian planes, the same was true   for Russian air defenses. So Ukraine switched to  using simple and cheap drones to leisurely hunt  

for Russian vehicles and traded inexpensive  dumb bombs for multi-million dollar assets. But the disaster was far from over, because as the  convoy was forced to slowly, painfully retreat, it   was forced to leave many of its vehicles behind-  and the world would finally get a good, close-up   look at one of the leading causes for the failure  of the world's second most powerful army: tires. Tires are important. If you don't believe us,  just try driving your car without them. But   military tires are even more important,  mostly because they are responsible for   the mobility of vehicles worth up to tens  of millions of dollars. To make sure that  

tires are up for the task of keeping heavy  and often very armored vehicles running,   manufacturers put them through a variety of tests  including x-ray imaging to detect defects. But   these high quality tires are expensive, and  if you're a corrupt logistics officer in the   Russian military, that's money that could  be better spent on babushkas and vodka. As the convoy retreated, dozens upon dozens of  vehicles were discovered pushed to the side of   the road. These vehicles were completely  undamaged and had tanks full of fuel,   but the tires had burst. A quick investigation  revealed that the Russian military was using  

cheap Chinese tires that were not rated  for military vehicles, and in the muddy   terrain the tires had failed. However, other  vehicles showed sings of something even more   shocking- they were equipped with tires over  thirty years old and dating back to the USSR. But Russia wasn't just using cheap or ancient  tires, they were failing at the most basic   task of military vehicle maintenance. When kept  in storage, vehicles are regularly started up   and turned around- this prevents one side of  the vehicle from being constantly exposed to   the sun and thus prevents tire rot. Evidence  shows that Russian vehicles were thrown into  

motor pools and then just left there to bake in  the sun for months, possibly even years on end. The tire controversy would have been deeply  embarrassing for any professional military-   but for Russia, it was just business as  usual. You know you're a failed power   when bad tires cause you to abandon a  10 million dollar air defense vehicle   in perfect working order. That's ok  though, it obviously wasn't doing   the Russians much good anyways, so better  to let the Ukrainians put it to good use. The absolute comedy of errors that was the Russian  assault on Kyiv basically ended all credibility   the Russian military had as the world's second  most powerful army. At the heart of its failure  

was a logistics system that has been bad  since the days of the Soviet Union though. Most of you are probably familiar with  the humble wooden pallet (use image   blob:null/8cd51efc-474c-4a9c-b892-453d5b86b641).  Pallets allow you to efficiently stack   and transport goods, but the Russian  military is not just at war with Ukraine,   it's at war with efficiency. Thus while  the entire modern world is using pallets   and forklifts to quickly move goods around,  Russia relies on the ancient technique of   “loading a bunch of shit in your arms  and moving it from place to place”. But logistics problems don't just stop there  for Russia, because since the days of the Soviet   Union, Russia has relied on rail transportation  to move supplies from place to place. On the   one hand, railroads are incredibly efficient ways  to move lots of goods very quickly. On the other  

hand, railroads are notoriously inefficient at  going places were no railroads actually exist. Compared to their western counterparts,  the Soviets- and now the Russians- have   less than half the logistics personnel and  trucks of a similar sized unit. Thus, when   planning an offensive into NATO territory, the  Soviets relied on capturing western locomotives,   as their own locomotives couldn't operate  on western gauge railroads. For any military   geniuses in the audience, you've probably  already spotted the flaw in that plan. Everyone   else who's not a military genius or Soviet  military planner has probably also spotted   the flaw in the plan- NATO militaries being  fully aware that Russian locomotives couldn't   ride on western tracks would never allow their  own locomotives to fall into Soviet hands.

Soviet idiocy aside, modern Russians at least  enjoyed the benefit of Ukraine still using   soviet-gauge railroad. However, the Ukrainians  thought about that- which is why they blew up as   much of their railroad as they could. The  Russians, who apparently did not realize   railroads weren't immune to explosions, were  thus forced to use trucks to move supplies from   safe bases in Belarus into Ukraine itself. Given  that the Russian military lacks enough vehicles   to fully resupply units, the further from safe  logistics hubs Russian forces went during their   travel towards Kyiv, the longer it took to  deliver an already insufficient amount of   supplies. The end result was a cascading state  of fail that crippled any advance towards Kyiv,   only made worse by the fact that Ukraine quickly  changed its strategy from blowing up Russian   armored vehicles to blowing up Russian  trucks. Soon, the Russians were forced to   press civilian vans and trucks into service-  though it wouldn't be enough to save them.

But the Russian navy would soon  do its best to catch up to the   incredible amount of failure exhibited  by the Russian army and air force. At first, things in the Black Sea were going  pretty good for Russia. And then they weren't. The Moskva. Flagship of the  Russian Black Sea Fleet,   a Slava class guided missile cruiser  and one of the few parts of the Russian   Navy considered a legitimate threat to  NATO forces. Until suddenly it wasn't. On the 13th of April, the Moskva was sailing south  of Odesa when it spotted a Bayraktar drone with   its air defense radar. As the ship responsible for  fleet air defense, this was of little surprise.  

What was surprising was the two Neptune anti-ship  missiles which slammed into the port side of the   Moskva. 12 hours later, the flagship of the  Black Sea Fleet was now an artificial reef. Confusion reigns over the attack on the  Moskva, with Ukraine and the United States   both remaining tight lipped. What is known  is that the US provided intelligence directly   leading to the attack on the Moskva. What's  not known is how the attack succeeded in the   first place. As a fleet air defense vessel, the  Moskva's primary purpose was to prevent such an   attack from occuring in the first place.  The ship was equipped with a tripe-layer   air defense system that would have given it  up to 4 minutes of warning of the incoming   missiles. Claims that a Bayraktar drone had  been used to distract the Moskva are invalid,  

as the ship should have been easily capable  of tracking multiple airborne targets. Since the sinking, a maintenance report  from the Moskva has surfaced online,   indicating that the ship was in dire need  of repair. This report is unsubstantiated,   though given what we've learned about the state  of repair of Russian weapon systems, it's not   impossible that the Moskva was simply in such  bad shape that it couldn't even defend itself.   Russian conscripts also made up a significant  part of the Moskva crew, and its possible that   poorly trained conscripts simply did not know  how to respond to the situation. Other, wilder   theories claim that NATO special forces attached  limpet mines to the hull of the ship- but given   how shy NATO has been about giving assistance  to Ukraine, this is unlikely in the extreme.

The facts of the matter hint at a catastrophic  flaw in Russian naval warships. Since the sinking   of the Moskva, the entire Russian Black Sea  fleet has not strayed far from safe harbor,   in effect ceding the Black Sea to an enemy without  a navy. As two Neptune anti-ship missiles should   never have been able to cause catastrophic enough  damage to sink a ship the size of the Moskva,   it's strongly suspected that Russian  ships suffer from a serious design   flaw that makes them floating coffins. It  would certainly explain why the Russian   navy has been demoted to lobbing long range  missiles from the safety of friendly waters.

From the Black Sea, we now go to the east  of Ukraine- because if you thought Russian   stupidity had reached its zenith north of Kyiv,  you severely underestimate Russian stupidity. In the east of the country, Russia fared much  better against Ukraine thanks to the fact that   most of the east is relatively flat rolling  plains. This is perfect for Russia's vast   fleet of armored vehicles, which was one of  its biggest advantages over Ukraine. However,   Russia would very quickly do its best to  level the playing field by what can only   be described as industrial-grade,  weaponized, concentrated stupid. Rivers are the only real natural obstacles in the  east of Ukraine, and for a military force rivers   are historically a difficult challenge. We're  not here to trash Russia for having difficulty   crossing a river, moving large amounts of  armored vehicle and troops over deep water   is a dicey proposition in the best of times- let  alone when someone else is trying to kill you.

But Russia came up with a novel way of  crossing the Dontets river- instead of   using traditional pontoons, it  apparently attempted to fill the   river with armored vehicles so the rest  of its army could just drive over them. At least that's the best explanation we have as  to what occurred outside of Bilohorivka. After   spotting a Russian bridging effort, Ukrainian  forces allowed armored vehicles to cross before   pounding it with artillery. The crossing was then  repeated right next to the original crossing,   which had been sighted in by Ukrainian artillery.  To no one's surprise, this crossing was also   pounded into oblivion. At this point, Russian  forces retreated to rethink their plan to cross   the Donets river. Just kidding, they tried it  at least two more times in adjacent locations. 

The attempt to cross the Donets river  resulted in the estimated loss of two   battalion tactical groups, and remains the  deadliest engagement of the war for Russian   forces. Even pro-Russian military bloggers would  lash out at the Russian ministry of defense,   with some calling it outright sabotage. Even  internet tough guy and pro-Russian mil blogger   Yuri Podolyaka commented that the disaster was due  to the quote- stupidity of the Russian command”. However, the Russian aerospace forces will not   tolerate any competition for the title of  dumbest branch of the Russian military.

Russian military doctrine states  that rotary aviation needs to be   able to respond to requests for fire support  within 15 minutes. This necessarily means that   helicopters must be stationed closer to the  front line than fixed wing aircraft. However,   this very quickly breaks down into  aggressive levels of stupidity,   and nowhere was this on fuller display than  in Chornobaivka. In total, Ukraine shelled   the airfield at Chornobaivka an estimated thirty  times, destroying and damaging dozens of Russian   helicopters. After every single attack the Russian  military simply... brought the helicopters back. The Russian attempt to defeat Ukrainian artillery  shells with helicopters met with little success,   and Ukrainian artillery won the day. It was in  effect the most insane game of whack-a-mole,  

only the mole absolutely refused  to go down into its hole.  But this war far from the Russian aerospace  force’s greatest follies in the war.  As Russia gradually realized that Ukraine wasn’t  capitulating and, oh crap, it’s actually fighting   back pretty effectively, it started throwing  planes at the problem- and those planes were   getting shot down. So Russia swapped to night  operations and low flying. This was effective in  

preventing both Ukrainian air defense batteries  from engaging them and Ukrainian soldiers armed   with MANPADS from spotting incoming attack jets.  However, if you’re going to be running night   operations, then you should probably have aircraft  capable of doing so and pilots trained in them.  You can already guess what’s coming next. Russia did not, in fact, have an air fleet   capable of night operations. Only a small portion  of its attack jets could carry out night attacks,  

and significantly lacking in precision  weapons, all its night campaign ended up   doing is creating very large and expensive  holes in Ukrainian fields. In about a week,   Russia was back to day time operations- but  this time from far behind friendly lines so   as not to risk getting blown out of the sky by  Ukrainian defenses. This has forced Russia to   use up almost its entire stock of long-range  attack weapons, including hypersonic weapons   which in the words of one western analyst  is quote- insanely disproportionate value   for the cost. Especially when you consider  most of these attacks were against civilian   infrastructure and had no military value. The mystery of the missing Russian air   force however is probably best solved by the  simple fact that Russia is incompetent and   can’t deconflict its own air space. Numerous very  high profile incidents of friendly fire resulted  

in Russian air defense units shooting down their  own jets. In the initial stages of the invasion,   this was especially problematic with the Russian  ground forces doing more to defeat the Russian   air forces than Ukraine. Since then, the situation  hasn’t greatly improved, forcing Russia to use its   air forces very sparingly and very carefully so as  to avoid having them blown up by their own assets.

This is what happens when you don’t train your  military properly, and when the exercises you do   put on are highly scripted. For context, during  Desert Storm allied forces had approximately   4,000 aircraft operating in Iraqi air space,  and suffered only a handful of blue on blue   incidents. Russia meanwhile is operating an  estimated 350 aircraft across airspace twice   the size of Iraq. To say Russia is utterly  incompetent would be to call the ocean wet. Another one of Russia's biggest fails  during its campaign in Ukraine is its   inability to contend with modern weapon  systems. When HIMARS arrived on the scene,  

it had an outsized impact on the Russian  military. Despite Ukraine having barely   a dozen of the weapon system, HIMARS  single-handedly changed the course of   the war by destroying Russian command and control  nodes and supply depots close to the front lines. Historically, Russia has waged wars  against vastly inferior powers- so it   can hardly be blamed for being surprised  by the use of precision weapons. Except   Russia has long droned on and on about  how it was more than a match for NATO,   which means it should've been ready for NATO  weapons in Ukrainian hands. It was not. Instead,  

the entire Russia military was put on its  back foot by a tiny amount of NATO weapons. The precision HIMARS strikes forced Russia to  retire many senior officers prematurely- by   burying them in graves. It also forced them to  move their supply depots even further back from   the front lines. Remember earlier how we talked  about terrible Russian logistics and their lack   of trucks? Well, the same problem that appeared  north of Kyiv once more reared its ugly head,   as the pace of Russian resupply was slowed to  a crawl. This effectively stopped the Russian   offensive in the east of the country, and  allowed Ukraine to begin to use its new   NATO toys to shape the battlefield for a  stunningly successful offensive to come. We're not going to talk much about the offensive,  except to say this: Russia's 1st Guards Tank army,   the very force which was meant to take on  and defeat NATO's best defenses, got wrecked   by a patchwork Ukrainian force equipped with  Cold War era tanks. This was the nail in the  

coffin for any pro-Russian bots claiming that  Russia's setbacks were due to the fact that it   was not committing its best forces, and holding  them in reserve until Ukraine exhausted itself. By the culmination of the Ukrainian offensive,  Russia should have been accustomed to the use   of precision weapons. Apparently though, Russia  learned nothing, because on New Years Eve one   of the most explosive moments of the war- pun  intended- rocked the entire nation of Russia.

Shortly after midnight HIMARS rockets rained  down on a vocational school in Russian-controlled   Makiivka in the Donetsk region. The school had  been used as temporary barracks for over 500   fresh Russian conscripts. As if that wasn't bad  enough, some genius Russian officer also decided   to use the same building to house ammunition,  because Russia really is its own worst enemy. The soldiers had been warned about using  their cell phones, but naturally, ignored   this order and had been sending text messages  and phone calls home to wish happy new years to   families and loved ones. Ukraine triangulated the  electronic activity and sent its own warm wishes  

to the tune of an estimated 400 dead, though to  be fair this number would have been far lower   if Russian leadership hadn't decided to stuff  the basement full of high explosive ammunition. This would be a sign of things  to come in the new year. As the temperature plummeted it  soon became clear that Russia   had not prepared for a winter campaign. Its  feared winter offensive never materialized,  

and its troops were documented begging on social  media for basic supplies. The Russian mechanized   forces became thinner and thinner on the ground,  and eventually disappeared altogether leading   to foot assaults against Ukrainian trenches in  the style of World War 1- with similar results. The lack of Russian armored  vehicles is best explained by   disasters such as the infamous Battle of Vuhledar. In Chornobaivka the Russian military attempted  to defeat Ukrainian artillery shells with parked   helicopters. In Vuhledar, it was now time  to defeat Ukrainian anti-tank missiles and   mines with tanks. With the town heavily  fortified and surrounded by mine fields,  

the Russians were quick to discover several  lanes clear of mines. To their credit,   the Russians realized this was a trap, and  attempted to use engineers to clear their   own lanes through the mine fields. However,  Ukrainian artillery quickly put a stop to that. Naturally, Russia simply yelled “YOLO” and poured  its tanks and infantry into the very obviously   trapped lanes free of mines. To the surprise of  no one, not even the Russians, their advances into   Vuhledar ran straight into Ukrainian ambushes. To  the surprise of no one, especially the Russians,   after several crushing defeats the Russians  simply tried it again. And again. And again.  

And again. And one more time after that  and then a few more times after that one. We don't know how many losses Ukraine suffered,   but we do know that Russia lost around 120  armored vehicles in what's become known as   the biggest tank battle of the war. Except  Russia was facing very few Ukrainian tanks,   and mostly just running into mine fields,  anti-tank infantry, and pre-sighted artillery.   Finally, after completely exhausting their  available armor, Russia retrated from Vuhledar. 

The Russian commander in charge of the battle  would be promoted for his glorious contribution   to the motherland, because in Russia you don't  fix stupid- you aggressively reinforce it. Now go check out Putin's New Major  Problem For Russian Military,   or click this other video instead!

2023-05-10 22:06

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