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Ukraine’s Planned Counteroffensive – force readiness, leaks, politics & expectations

Yet another very interesting presentation from Perun…

11 comments to Ukraine’s Planned Counteroffensive – force readiness, leaks, politics & expectations

  • Carnivorous Bookworm

    Each time I see Perun’s work, I resent all those mind numbing presentations I had to sit through that put me to sleep even when the subject matter was actually interesting. THIS is how it should be done.

  • Bruce

    Whatever happened to “operational security”?

    Or,is this “black ops disinformation”?

  • Whatever happened to “operational security”?

    Analysis based on OSINT is not relevant to operational security. Moreover, Perun actually discussed how Ukraine increased the noise-to-signal ratio to obscure what it really intends to do 😉

  • Paul Marks

    By the end of this summer the war will be won.

    “But won by which side?”

    I do not know.

  • Chester Draws

    Wars of attrition don’t end with one side being worn away to zero. They are won when one side cracks and gives up, or one side finds a new technique that ends the attrition.

    I have no idea when the war will end, but it will be quite sudden. Ukraine will attack when they think Russia is ready to collapse, and not before. Why would they attack before that point. That means that they might not even know when they will attack.

    Perun gave away no information that anyone could not quickly work out. Ukraine haven’t been demanding Western equipment like tanks and APCs because they intend to win by infantry infiltration techniques. They clearly want to deep strike. That’s hardly secret information.

  • Kirk

    Observe the Victory Parade in Moscow, today:

    One single solitary WWII-era T34 tank.

    That’s telling us something, that is. No idea what, though.

    My guess is that Russia is going to take a nose-dive before the end of this. I do not see them pulling a rabbit out of the hat of “military competency”. Could be wrong, but I think that Ukraine is probably going to shatter a lot of people’s illusions about Russia, particularly Russian ones.

  • Relevent to some discussions you were part of a few months ago here, it is striking how off-the-mark so many (albeit not all) former senior officers were at predicting how the war in Ukraine would go. Your deeply unimpressed take has certainly been vindicated 🤣

    I have a chum with many years experience at very rarified levels who is even more scathing than you, for what it’s worth.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk – on Russia.

    Some (some) people seem to think that private property is safe in Russia – in reality most land is state owned and what property that is not state owned is certainly NOT safe.

    Some (some) people also seem to think that there is Freedom of Speech in Russia – there is not. Or that there is not Gun Control – there is Gun Control. Or that babies are not killed – in reality the baby killing rate is very high in Russia.

    Essentially the place that some (some) of our conservative and libertarian friends are really describing when they say they are describing Russia is Texas – nearly all land privately owned, Right to Bear Arms, Freedom of Speech, Right to Keep and Bear Arms. And although they are both big – it is a bit odd (to put the matter mildly) to confuse Russia and Texas, to describe Texas and think one is describing Russia.

    But why the totally false picture of Russia that some (some) people have in their minds?

    I think the root of it is horror and despair at what America, under the Federal Government and the Collectivist “liberals” (who are the opposite of liberals – as that word used to be understood) in the public and private institutions, is becoming.

    Desperation and despair – seeing the American (and general Western) situation for the nightmare it is becoming and desperately looking round for an alternative.

    In seeing Mr Putin as some sort of alternative to the (admittedly horrific) situation in the West, they are indeed like drowning people grabbing hold of a poisonous snake.

    Yes indeed (as Perry often says) “the state is not your friend”, but as Perry also knows – Mr Putin is also a state, and he is not a friend either.

  • Kirk

    @ Perry,

    I won’t lay claim to any particular genius or foresight, but I will say that what I said before still holds true: The Russians simply don’t look like professional soldiers, or even well-trained conscripts like you’re going to see with the Israeli Defense Forces or the old South African Defense Force.

    Good soldiers have a look to them; a set of markers that you can identify. The Russians I’ve seen, no matter where, no matter when…? They look like the same sort of half-hard blowhard thugs common in those Third-World pestholes where the armed forces are one step away from banditry.

    I think a key missing piece is the lack of a professional NCO corps. There’s nobody out in the ranks imposing discipline from within; it’s all top-down, and because of that, entirely artificial. One of the things that I was told coming up the ranks was that the real test of a unit’s discipline and conduct wasn’t what they did when the commander was around, enforcing his will. It was in what got done when nobody was around to tell anyone what to do; a well-disciplined unit will do the right thing in the absence of command. I’ve been in several of those, over the years–One was the one I served in on my first German tour, where we had a USAEUR alert one morning when the trunk line from the Army phone system into the German civilian phone system was out; none of our off-post personnel got the alert notification. The first they knew of it was when they arrived for PT formation only to discover the trucks loaded, the weapons issued, and the troops who lived in the barracks ready and waiting to go out the gates…

    No leadership was there to make that happen, really. Nothing above squad/section level, anyway… That alert was the fastest we ever managed to do one, and our extremely frustrated Sergeant Major later commented that he was going to start making it a policy that nobody ever tell the commanders or other officers about future alerts, because all they apparently did was slow things down.

    If the troops do what they’re supposed to, without anyone standing over them and cracking the whip? That’s a disciplined unit; you don’t have to worry about them doing the “right thing” under fire; just get them the ammo and the food, they’ll do the rest.

    The Russians can’t even maintain order and discipline in their barracks when in garrison. What hope do they have of doing so under fire, on the march? Dedovschina is still a thing, thirty-plus years after the Soviet Union fell. From that fact alone, you should be able to accurately extrapolate how well those poor benighted bastards will do under fire.

    War is the province of the unknown and the unexpected. Russia could still manage to do a lot better than they look likely to, but… I kinda doubt that’s going to happen. I think it’s a lot more likely that all those pretty little lines of fortifications are going to crack like a walnut hit by a 16-lb sledgehammer, and it’ll look a lot more like a recap of the “Rzhev slaughterhouse” than the Soviet victories at Stalingrad or Kursk.

    Soviet propaganda did a lot of good work, hiding the brutal incompetence with which they fought the war. Absent the copious amounts of Lend-Lease they got, and all the distractions provided by strategic bombing of the German industrial heartland, I kinda think WWII would have looked one hell of a lot different than the “Russia-Stronk!!” types imagine. The Russians have only ever done well as part of a coalition where they have allies that can support them economically and industrially. The rest of the time? Their track record only looks good when you look at the times they were beating up relatively tiny neighbors. Peer competitors? Not so much.

  • Paul Marks

    Historically the great strength of both Russians and Ukrainians was in irregular warfare – Cossacks (who can be Russian as well as Ukrainian) and others. It was not, mainly, the regular Russian army that conquered from Moscow to the Pacific – it was, mainly, irregular forces retaking land that had been inhabited by their Indo European ancestors centuries before.

    But the Central Government, even long before the Marxist takeover, has been deeply suspicious of irregular forces – looking back to such things as the great revolt against Catherine the Great in the 1700s. Moscow tends to prefer the regular army – no matter how incompetent it is.

    That is a weakness.

    This does not mean Russia will lose the war – I do not know who will win and who will lose But the poorly trained and poorly organised army has cost Russia a lot of lives. The individual soldier must understand, and support, the combat mission and be a thinking and skilled person – and professional NCOs are vital. Having senior officers, even Generals, doing such things as directing traffic (which happened last year) and getting sniped by “Ukrainians” (or whoever really shot them – British, Americans or, perhaps, Ukrainians) is mad.

    Private soldiers should not need such help (they should be able to do such things as read maps themselves) and if they do need such help it should come from corporals and sergeants – not senior officers.

    The Russian answer to all this is “you are out of date – we have been training all winter and spring and we know what we are doing now”.

    Firstly this is a de facto admission that the Russian Army did NOT know what it was doing last year, and as for whether they really have dramatically improved – well we will see.

    I repeat – by the end of this summer the war will be won, the only question is “by which side?”

  • Kirk

    The Ukrainians have been training all winter, too, and with actual professional military instructors that know what they are doing.

    There’s this weird set of behaviors and beliefs at the core of the Soviet/Russian military. On the one hand, they run all the “leadership” through this vast system of military academies, so it looks all professional and very well-organized. The graduates of these institutions can tell you all sorts of things, in theory, and they should be able to do the job… Yet… There’s this gap, this seemingly tiny yet utterly vast space in between that which is theory, and that which is the real world.

    You can see it in the prevalence of Dedovschina. Despite all the protestations of professionalism, there’s still this literal “Lord of the Flies” crap going on out in the Russian barracks, where the “senior privates” who’ve only been in the forces for a bit longer than the new conscripts, are given free rein to abuse the living sh*t out of the newly assigned. Who, in turn, once they’ve got the necessary accumulated time, do the same thing to the next generation of conscripts.

    All while everyone piously mouths the soldierly platitudes about comradeship and trust. Then, the vast majority of the officer corps treats their jobs as sinecure, giving them access to opportunities for graft and corruption, sometimes literally selling their men to outside agencies and others for what is essentially slave labor. Hell, there’ve been outraged complaints about young conscripts being pimped out as male prostitutes by their seniors and officers both, describing a literal hell for such men. Is it any wonder the troops go wild in the field, committing acts of criminality against civilians? Why they’re so indifferent to routine disciplines like littering and keeping their positions clean?

    I don’t know who is going to win when the Ukrainians really get going, later this year, but I am going to be very, very surprised if the Russians manage to keep their forces from routing or collapsing. All the signs are there; this latest deal in Bakhmut should be seen as that first rock that comes bouncing by when the avalanche is starting…