Russians teach themselves the wrong lesson

Boy, do they not know us:

The Zapad-99 exercise ended with Russia victorious. Baffled by the limited preventive nuclear strike and faced with the choice to either begin an all-out global nuclear war or back down, NATO stopped its attack on Kaliningrad. After Zapad-99, Moscow accepted that preventive nuclear strikes would be the best way to stop a NATO attack that Russia’s weak conventional forces cannot repulse.

Nothing will bring out a lasting and overwhelming U.S. response than something with the black-and-white moral clarity of a “preventive nuclear strike.”  If Putin thinks we’re a problem now… wait until the gloves come off, and whoever’s in office has a 95% approval rating for anything that hits back.

Advertisements
Next Post
Leave a comment

45 Comments

  1. Russia has not changed since Peter the Great. They have seen the West as the great enemy since forever, and the Communist revolution was little more than trading one authoritarian for another.

    The people there have no more idea of what a democracy is than the poorest citizen of Iran or Baghdad. They have no tradition of it, and you can teach you cat to whistle Dixie faster than you can teach the Russians how to be a ‘civilized western nation.’ They understand money and they understand power. Anything else is just a western ideal that has no realization in that part of the world.

    As a cold-war baby, I know that there are a lot of traditions here that say that the Russian is not capable of thinking like a westerner. What I am pointing out is that there is a long history of that peoples not want to understand the west, and they do not want to do so. They DO understand us. They do NOT want to be like us. Period.

    Reply
  2. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    How many Russians have you really met? Don’t confuse the views of the oligarchy with the views of most Russians. Certainly they want to keep their culture and don’t want to be exactly like us, but every single one that I have met wants, and enjoys, our western-style freedoms.

    Anecdotal my evidence may be, but I haven’t met anyone yet that is yearning for a return to the cold war. Maybe the stability of the old Soviet days, but certainly not a return to the dictatorship that came with that stability.

    Reply
  3. Anna

     /  June 7, 2007

    Alex- you talking about the ones that left Russia, or the ones that are still there? There is a difference, I think…

    Reply
  4. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    I agree with Anna on that one. My girlfriend likes the US and the West and capitalism and everything about it. But she sure as hell doesn’t want to go back to the Ukraine or Russia (she is ethnic Russian who is from the Ukraine after her grandparents were moved there by Stalin) as she thinks that lots of Russians prefer the old adage “let them hate so long as they fear”.

    If you want change or want to live in a free country, you come here if you have half a brain. Most of the crusaders for Russian Democracy have given it up in the face of Putin and the problems they have encountered.

    Reply
  5. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    You know, I find it to be a pretty weird situation when you have the Russians saying that they are incapable of stopping a NATO conventional attack. I mean really, when did that dynamic change? The US has maybe a division in Europe now, and we could get maybe one or two in their fairly quickly, but the Russians are working off of senario that conventionally they can’t beat the West?

    Damn.

    I am wondering if it was just for Wargaming purposes or if this is an actual planning fact? I am not really worried about the idea that they are working a nuclear senario. That is something that Strategic Forces (ie the nuke shop) in every country do on a routine basis. You should try to have a believable senario for it, but sometimes you just can’t so you end up fighting the Kansasastans.

    Reply
  6. Anna

     /  June 7, 2007

    Mike-
    just a thought: there must be a reason why both Russia and the US are so actively courting the East-Central European states right now. My little region was a bufferzone and seems it will be again. Unfortunately, what with the Socialists in power in Hungary, looks like my country is siding with Russia (they made numerous heavy courting steps in the Great Dance lately) while the US is planning on placing missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland.
    Weird, how removed one can view this once not living there.

    Reply
  7. “let them hate so long as they fear” — Wow, if there was a motto for Mordor I couldn’t possibly think of a better one. Who’d want to be in a society where screwing folks over is considered a virtue? Jeez, I thought the moral of Checkov’s short stories was “It sucks to be a Russian peasant”, but really it should be “Russia sucks”.

    Reply
  8. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    Anna,
    You make a very valid point, as all of these former Russians are indeed ex-pats. Those few Russians I have met who still live in Russia are a few scientists here and there who manged to scrape out a niche after everything fell apart.

    Reply
  9. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    Jim,
    “Let them hate as long as they fear” is a Roman saying, attributed to Lucius Accius and/or Caligula, but it’s a pretty universal phrase for both Mordor and modern day power struggles.

    Reply
  10. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    Mike,
    I think the Russian army has some very good datapoints which give them reason to strongly believe they would lose a conventional war with their current equipment and disfunctional army:
    6-days war
    Yom Kippur War (Soviet style massing tactics vs. highly mobile Isreali army)
    1st Gulf War
    2nd Gulf War/Invasion of Iraq

    Our technological edge and highly trained army is very hard to beat in a conventional fight, hence the Russian use of tac. nukes and I wouldn’t be surprised if other wargames have looked at insurgency tactics to bring us down.
    All Putin has left to retain his Russian Pride and perception that Russian leads the Slavic world is his nukes and his petrochemical stocks. After that he has nothing and he knows it, hence his recent sabre rattling to save face.

    Reply
  11. Russian special forces is still excellent. They’re in the course of trying to create a volunteer army, and produce some real non-coms. I don’t think they can do it without eventually becoming a Turkish-style military-guarantor state, given what has to happen in order to have real non-coms. So I can see both Kaliningrad, and their mainline forces getting stomped.

    We have a high-quality veteran army. They have high-quality units in a low-quality mostly-unblooded (unless you count Chechen peasants and Muscovite dissidents) army.

    So that assessment doesn’t surprise me.

    “Weird, how removed one can view this once not living there.” — TRUTH. Easy to turn people into chessboard pawns when their lives don’t apply to yours, eh? Wonder what the view is like in the Kremlin, as it once again goes about ruining Russian history.

    Reply
  12. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    Bleah, isn’t that cheerful? Sheesh the more things change the more they stay the same. However I do feel vindicated for my “Let NATO expand” stance back in the 90’s. I always thought we would have some problems with the Bear again. And I was always of the opinion that when the next round came along it would be better to have the 11th ACR standing watch on the Polish/Russian border, or even better the Ukrainian-Russian Border. Yeah Russia might feel a bit threatened by it, but it reassures the hell out of me and anyone with half a brain.

    Alex, while I will be the first to admit that our system of warfare is pretty much unbeatable, that wasn’t the point I was making. We have only 10 divisions and we are the largest NATO military. Well, if you count the Marines and the reserves we have probably double that. But how the hell could we threaten Russia with that? England doesn’t have half that, or France or Germany or anyone else. All of NATO (old NATO) together could maybe field the same sized army as us for say a total of 40 odd divisions (at most, it would probably be much smaller), with our new NATO forces we could add maybe another 15 divisions. So that’s 55 roughly. Russia has drawn down and is trying to modernize and become a professional army (which bones them, you can’t have one like the West if you are totalitarian so they won’t be able to make an NCO corps or real good junior officers), but they still have over 120 divisions of troops, with the best equipment Russia has (all the old stuff ended up in the satillites), plus lots of independent brigades and stuff. So I could say they have between 150 to maybe even 200 divisions of personnel. And they have a load of combat experience like us (Chetynahas been a warzone since 1995 and Russia has been learning things like we have).

    Okay size-wise that is a pain. Let’s not forget the truely fun fact of Russia’s sheer size. Hitler tried with 300 plus divisions and got a no go. NATO with 55? I don’t care how advanced we are, no way in hell if they really want to fight. WE simply couldn’t control it. Now if the exercise had been that Russia couldn’t take the offense against us, that I could see. NATO attacking Russia? Oh hell no.

    Reply
  13. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    The experience Russia has been getting from the Chechen conflict is nothing to take lightly. The USMC studied the Battle of Gronzy prior to the Battle of Falluja rather closely (as they should have, turns out that the insurgents had several vets of that battle instructing them in urban combat) and as a result of this information exchange the USMC routed the AIF in Falluja.

    Yeah our equipment is much better than the Russian stuff, but Russian stuff isn’t made in China. The T90s we would be shooting at would be shooting much higher quality ammo and would have lots of bells and whistles that no one else we have fought have had. But as the Germans found out, quantity has a quality all its own. 1 M1A1 tank that can kill 7 T90s is great until they send 8 at you. And Russia can still do that provided they pull it together. I think our Battlefield systems would still give us the edge, but if we had to go on the offensive? There is just to much Russia and not enough NATO to go around.

    Of course, we could argue several things in our favor. One, we have no buffer to fight through anymore. Poland, the Baltics, Ukraine and so on are joining or have joined NATO. So our march to Moscow has a better starting point. Two, we wouldn’t do the stupid things that Hitler and Napoleon did, mainly turning the population against us. WE would at least try to make nice and make friends. Our Naval Forces would rule the water, but Russia doesn’t have much of a naval threat anymore and they are not exactly like England where a naval blockage would bring them to their knees. A place where we could probably really bone them would be in the Stans down south. MOuntainous, broken terrain, nice light fighter turf. Russia is not so good in that terrain. We and many of our allies are REALLY good (Canada, England, France, even Germany and Norway) in that climate. For those interested, read “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” for a great explaination of how the Soviets fought in Afghanistan and how they would possibly do it again.

    Tanks, tanks, and more tanks.

    Reply
  14. Tanks are the name of the game.
    But as regards Kaliningrad, I don’t have an issue there with our conventional going through their conventional: how do you get real mass into Kaliningrad, for God’s sake, unless WWIV is already at a “game on” status?

    Reply
  15. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    The current Russian army – Spetznatz aside – is a joke. They may have some good equipment in the form of T90s, MiG-29 and Su-27 – but they lack the training, the cohesiveness, and most importantly, the infrastructure to make it work.
    Post Soviet-era the great military-industrial complex that was the Soviet Army collapsed. I have heard many stories about needs to machine nuts and bolts from scratch on antique machine shop tools to keep factories running. Their chemical industry is practically non-existent and they’re living off of their existing stockpiles. Where Russian industry has come back to life is makes cheap knock-offs of Chinese knock-offs.
    So Mike – with a Army this poorly put together, not to mention your average recruit one hop skip and a jump away from desertion. 55 NATO Divisions could easily handle 150-200 divisions of half to quarter strength (in reality) army units that will not fight as a coherent force. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these units are under the monetary influence of a local oligarch who wants his new industrial assets protected. The Isrealis pulled of a similar sets of victories in the Yom Kippur war because they had the will, the training, and better equipment. Had we not re-supplied them then they may have been in trouble, but since any fight between NATO and the Russians now would have the will, training, and infrastructure on our side, Russia knows it cannot win a conventional war because of this.

    China on the other hand has massive numbers, the will, and the infrastructure, which is why you hear Def. Sec. Gates commenting about concern on Chinese Military Spending but makes no comments at all about what the Russians are saying other than the current Nuke posturing. All the Russians really have is the nukes and their oil – and that’s it.

    Reply
  16. Anna

     /  June 7, 2007

    Alex-watch out, the WWII Soviet army had the same reputation for ‘no equipment, old equipment, rusting weapons, etc.’ too…down to the morale rumors. 100-200 divisions are a lot of manpower, and being able to produce them from the hindcountry was always Russia’s advantage. I have NO idea what’s hiding in or behind the Urals…and not sure I’d like to find it out the bad way, if Putin decides he had a bad day. The problem with tyrants, they are unpredicatble.

    Reply
  17. alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    Anna,
    Oh I know how underestimated the WWII soviet army was, but this army is a lot more transparent thanks to the internet and the fact that the Russians don’t have as much control over the populace now as they did then. Also, it took the invasion into Russia and Kursk for the Soviets to become the force that could not just outnumber the Germans, but beat them back. Soviet morale was truly underestimated, and I’m sure there are good units in the current Russian army, but not for maintaining a prolonged high-tech fight. Manpower only works if you use it right, and the Russian Army in its current form doesn’t have the capability to use it right. Insurgency and defense in depth with their current manpower – oh yes they would do okay now, but launching and winning a pre-emptive strike against NATO – no way. They will lose. Which is why Putin is acting the way he is and he knows that his perception as being an unpredictable tyrant with nukes and the perceived will to use them is his best weapon for getting what he wants. This perception is why the EU and the US for the most part complain about Russia’s abuses of human rights, but don’t actually do anything about it. Putin is strangely transparent if you look at him psychologically. His use of his big pet dog in meetings to put his guests at “unease” is very telling.

    Reply
  18. When the chips are really down, I wonder if the army would even follow Putin. Of course it’s one thing if Russia is invaded, but if an attack is ordered on the West, I wonder if the military would say Da to it. There might be some lingering suspiciousness since Putin is former KGB.

    With regard to Germany’s failure in the USSR, this was much more of a logistic failure than a strategic one. By the time the Wehrmacht was on the outskirts of Moscow, everything had broken down. For example, the tank treads on the Panzers had an estimated life before the invasion of 200 km, and yet they had almost no replacements, not to mention the fact that they didn’t have an efficient means of getting to them to the front. If the logistic problems had been adequately planned for, Moscow would have been taken before the Siberians had a chance to come over and help.

    Reply
  19. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    I think we are getting a bit apples to oranges here. On the defense, we pretty much can’t lose (NATO I mean). Offensively, that is a whole other ballgame. Yes their equipment sucks, but it doesn’t suck as bad you think it does and it is legion (still, even 100 divisions is more than I would want to fight even with our current stuff). And this is still Russia, our tanks are great, but how about moving the logistics? It has stopped everyone so far, and we would have a hell of time. Now I think we have the best chance of anyone for doing it right (logistics is our true great strength, we can moving anything anywhere at pretty much anytime), but this monster would the have all end all test, and I’d rather not find out if we are as good as we think we are. Oddly though, in this area our Iraq experience would do us the most good (moving convoys, clearing roads, moving security, we have been working that stuff for years now).

    But the point of this is NATO is supposed to be an aggressor. NATO would (probably) never be one, so really the whole arguement of beating the Russians offensively is really moot. I think we all agree that on the strategic defense (with tactical offensives and counter-offensives) NATO would mash the Russians into bear-jerky. Offensively, why the hell would we want to take that place over? And also remember, the terrain must be SECURED Alex. Troops must camp on the ground. 55 divisions CAN NOT do that, not over all of Russia.

    If we get the locals to sign on maybe that could be done, but no one has ever been able to do it yet. Yeah we are nicer that Putin and would be nicer guys to deal with, but I would rather not put it to the test.

    Reply
  20. Alex

     /  June 7, 2007

    Mike I’m not making myself clear. I didn’t say we win the war, I said we’d beat their army. VERY big difference. In a set piece battle using the conventional tactics with todays equipment on both sides, NATO would win easily if we took the limited offensive operation outline in the Russian’s wargame. We wouldn’t be fighting all of their 100 divisions just like they wouldn’t be fighting all of our 55 NATO divisions, but we could easily wipe out most of their units if they were dumb enough to mass them and try to win with numbers in fine Soviet fashion. The T90 cannot take out an M1A2 unless it gets around it and shoots it in the rear half or in the treads. All other hits can be survived and it will be very difficult for the T90 to even get that close with the firing system the M1A2 has, and the Leopard II, and the Challenger, and the LeClerc…..NATO armor will easily beat Soviet armor.

    The aftermath of that battle and actually holding the land is another matter all together, and in none of our most recent conflicts have we really secured any terrain other than a few key outposts we needed to keep fast moving logistic trains going, or to cut off rally points from the enemy. If you look at the 6 day war as an example if you move fast enough you don’t really have to truly secure the land, just wipe out the organized resistance quickly. We are so fast and mobile that we quickly wipe out standard military units. Where we would falter and lose is in the aftermath of truly trying to secure the land, as well as the cities.

    So – if Russia doesn’t want to lose its army alltogether in one short 4-5 day war, they have to use tac. nukes to hold us off, or win against our conventional forces. If it was a case of who will win in the war of attrition to hold Russia, then the Russians win and we lose badly after many many years of getting ground down. The point I was trying to make and I admittedly didn’t cover all my points very well, was that in the scenario the Russians came up with , Tac nukes are their only real choice for victory. And I fully agree that NATO would not be the aggressor unless something really weird were to happen in the Putin Dictatorship.

    Reply
  21. Mike

     /  June 7, 2007

    That clears it upa bit. But my problem is that I can’t wrap my brain around a short war with Russia. A 6 Day analogy is great for tactical talk. I was looking at this in operational and strategic terms, in which case you seemed totally off base. The 6 Day War isn’t a good comparison when we are talking the scale that we are. Again, tactically good comparison, bad one operationally and strategically.

    Although I still think you are taking their military a bit lightly. They are weak on the force projection which I think was the driving point behind th exercises we are talking about. Defensively though it becomes another ballgame. Our smart weapons would give us a huge edge, but that is a lot of stuff to hit and a lot of territory to hide in. Kosovo is a good example of how our airpower and smart munitions can be foiled (you need to flush the enemy, to do that you need to have troops in contact, Russia big place, lots of nice hiding places, NATO doesn’t have to many troops to flush and keep going and secure the supply lines). But again this is abit apples to oranges, NATO will probably not be an agressor so the arguement is pretty much moot on whether or not NATO could knock off Russia in a invasion.

    Reply
  22. blackpine

     /  June 7, 2007

    You know, if Vlasov could sell German chauvinism and National Socialism to raise some 20 divisions, what could Russian expats do on the ground ahead of us?

    Just a thought on logistical equalizers.

    Reply
  23. happycrow

     /  June 7, 2007

    They could do lots.
    Alex: I agree with Mike, on both counts: what possible reason NATO could have for an invasion of Kaliningrad simply baffles me. I’m also not real excited about Russian enlisted troops… but they do have GOOD troops available, and I think you’re a little too far on the technological determinism side of the equation.

    Strictly as regards Kaliningrad, sure. But NATO’s not actually designed for the offense right now… which suits me just fine (not that they’re consulting me…)

    Reply
  24. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    Not designed for the offensive? Boy you are not kidding on that fact. Countries like Germany were stretched thin supporting the Bosnia mission for crying out loud. When it comes to power projection, there are not many countries that can do anything like that. France, England, the US and that is about it. Other countries can maybe send something somewhere, but they are usually focused on being a regional power. Some want to ramp up (Poland has been thinking along those lines), but nowhere near ready yet.

    My 55 division number is also strictly manpower numbers, total manpower numbers. So you won’t get 55 division as you always keep some in reserve. Plus the fact that many of the European divisions don’t have the assets to move outside their own country or in areas that are less developed (like Russia).

    I am not trying to cut down our military advantage in technology, but it isn’t as massive a thing as you might think. I got wounded by a 9 volt battery, 2 2x4s, a truck spring and one 155HE shell. For a couple hundred bucks, the bad guys wounded 3 Americans and trashed a serveral hundred thousand dollar vehicle and equipment. Don’t get me wrong, the tech of the armor on that thing saved our lives. But that vehicle is wrecked beyond repair and 3 troops were out of comission for awhile. A good return for low tech, cheap stuff.

    Reply
  25. alex

     /  June 8, 2007

    I think the Zapad-99 exercise was focusing just on just on short incursions which is why I said what I said about a quick tactical victory that could only be stopped by a tac nuke, but now with some other comments made (very clearly Mike, Danke) I forgot something very important about our technological edge and how it really works in the NATO vs. Russia/USSR scenario.
    Technologically and tactically NATO could easily beat Russian Forces today if the Russians use the tactics that all of their equipment was designed for – mass attacks with combined arms. All NATO equipment was specifically designed to handle 2:1 odds in Soviet favor, but what I forgot was that this was in defensive, not offensive operations. A Regiment of T90s coming at a company of M1A2 (or even Challengers, LeClercs, etc.) would be wiped out by hull-down defensive position M1A2. This tank and all the other tanks in the NATO arsenal were specifically designed to beat, easily, Soviet Armor when outnumbered. All of NATO’s other equipment (Air, APC, infantry weapons, Anti-Tank missiles) was meant to quickly wipe out Soviet equipment when it was massed and far away. If the units got too close, then NATO was in danger of being overrun and we lose our edge.
    So assuming a tactical event where we go on the offensive (assuming that we could mobilize most of our NATO forces in one spot) I still say we’d quickly and tactically beat the Russians, but NATO would not be able to hold the terrain, merely able to neutralize the massed Russian Forces,
    As for holding onto our technical superiority, since I’m working very intimately on Armor for vehicles today, I am starting to get a very clear picture of what our older armor systems (and even our current ones) can really hold up against, and I can say with a great deal of certainty that the only things that will beat a M1A2 are:
    Another M1A2.
    A hit with a 120mm round to the back half of the vehicle (which will only knock out the vehicle, it won’t kill the crew).
    Pulling the fire extinguishing handle located on the right rear side of the tank which kills the engine and the power supply.

    I finally propose that since all NATO equipment was specifically designed to beat Soviet equipment (which it has been shown to do easily thanks to several other wars) that we do have a very solid technological edge right now. However with the new vehicles that I’ve seen which are coming with more of an emphasis on other tactical and strategic issues (namely counter-insurgency), that edge may change. And finally as Mike so clearly pointed out, against non-Soviet equipment and some very cheap offensive capability, our best tech can get easily wiped out, especially the Humvees which were always meant to be battle taxis in a Western European environment, not for convoy duty and securing terrain.

    Reply
  26. blackpine

     /  June 8, 2007

    A little tipsy, but I have to say that there is one thing that would be the unknown factor for Russia, that would play to our immense advantage: full mobilization by Western Europe.

    War is its own employment program, and the Europeans would be fighting for energy equity from Russia. Any peace we sign would obviously have a large set of conditions dealing with the energy trade between Russia and Europe.

    Russian equipment would do better than advertised because for once it would fighting on the terrain it was designed for, as opposed to a giant Battlezone reenactment in the desert. However, Europe’s commitment will have been hugely underrated.

    Reply
  27. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    Your comment about the armor has merit Alex. I forgot what you did for a living. LIke I said earlier I think this discussion has a bit of apples (Offensive) to oranges (Defensive) where there is a very significant difference to tactics, equipment and weapons capability when you switch from one to the other.

    I am still not 100% on the Russian weapon capability though. Yes we have mashed their exported gear repeatedly, but it was export stuff. The difference in quality of ammunition alone is pretty massive (as an example, SABOT rounds for Russian tanks, Russian stuff is (in theory) able to kill a decent tank out to about 1.2 Kms. The Iraq copies made under license or purchased from Russia had half the range and penetration and killing power.). We still really haven’t fought the “best” Russian equipment yet. I agree with you that we have better stuff, but is it better in the terms of a 1 to 2 kill ratio, or a 1 to 5 or a 1 to 10 ratio? That is my question that really doesn’t have an answer, and I tend to worry about it because the next question is what is the Russian ratio to throw at us?

    Damn, I can tell I am working on my Master’s in Military History and going to CGSC by this thread. I can’t look at a question without thinking out to 3rd or 4th term effects.

    Reply
  28. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    We also moved out of the strategic point of this. This was a strategic level wargame that was geared around nuclear plans, so really our tactical discussion is a moot point. But I think we are all agreeing that the Russia basis for this wargame is seriously flawed in its setup.

    What would be interesting would be a wargame of nuclear versus the non.

    Huh?

    This is a newer idea that has been kicked around a bit by some folks. The basic theory is that our (the West, especially the US) precision munitions are so accurate and deadly now that we may not need to use nukes in order to take the other sides nukes or bio or chemical weapons out. In order for the enemy to knock us out still requires them to use nukes in order to achieve the same effects (i.e. knock out our weapons systems, key transport hubs, C2 centers), which will still cause lots of nasty side damage AND cause us to retailate with nukes.

    That’s a nasty mess. In order to fight us on a somewhat equal footing they have to use nukes to get enough effects to disrupt our conventional attacks. And if they do that, then its a nuclear war which they would probably lose since they have probably already been smashed up due to our very accurate conventional strikes.

    Reply
  29. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    I know that is what the Russians did, I am talking about the US doing one. Ours are usually not a mix, you have one or the other without much crossover.

    Reply
  30. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    And to further clarify, the conventional I am talking about is not tanks. I am talking strategic conventional stuff: cruise missiles, stealth bombers, tomahawk missiles, JDAMS, ATACMs. Normal “we go BOOM” stuff, but is so accurate that they can take out hardened sites that 20 years ago would have needed a tacnuke.

    This “conventional at the strategic” type of fight would be something like Operation PointBlank in WWII. A strategic bombing campaign, hitting targets with conventional equipment.

    Suddenly a 500 pound bomb is a strategic asset again.

    “What a difference a day makes…”

    Reply
  31. happycrow

     /  June 8, 2007

    “France, England, the US and that is about it. ”

    Glad you caught the “damn them with faint praise.”
    And France’s projection capacity is near-regional. England’s about to lose its projection capacity almost entirely once the naval cuts come through.

    Reply
  32. happycrow

     /  June 8, 2007

    That works in theory, Mike… so long as we actually have boots on the ground… you’ve already cited how the Serbs made monkeys out of our standoff campaign…

    Reply
  33. Anna

     /  June 8, 2007

    Seems to me logistics still rule the military scene…

    Reply
  34. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    Anna you hit it dead on. Getting the people there is relatively easy, getting the ammo, gasoline, parts, vehicles, food, potable water, medicine, slim jims and playboy magazines to the troops on the ground is the truely nasty part. I never thought logistics would be interesting but now that I am working the operational level, it is getting that way. And we are the only guys who have been able to do it right it seems. You could argue that Detroit is a force multiplier of huge magnitude and you would not be far wrong.

    And yes, the boots on the ground are the endstatement for a successful attack. You must have eyes on for many targets (anything mobile like a SCUD type launcher, mobile C2 post, armor unit), if things don’t move they become effectively invisible to much of our eyes in the sky. If you move troops around in their area the enemy gets spotted or is forced to move, either one is a killer. For a hardened site, not so much. Unless you don’t know about it of course. A nice new C2 post that is never used until we attack would be a nasty item to deal with if hardened and hidden right.

    Reply
  35. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    The French actually have a interesting set up for force projection, but it only works in Africa. The Foreign Legion has lots of “leased training areas” that have legionars already at. The French have several permanently deployed battalions and supporting equipment (such as C-130s) that enable them to force project in Africa quite well. It works great against the “militias” they have to fight, but they would have a problem against someone who really fought, say South Africa. And of course getting more people from France is not easy.

    Reply
  36. alex

     /  June 8, 2007

    Detroit as a force multiplier – that’s one I didn’t see, but we’ll see if Detroit/US Auto Industry can handle what is about to hit them.
    The US Marines are getting ready to push through a replacement for every single Humvee in their arsenal to be replaced with one of several different model MRAV (Mine reinforced armored vehicles) and the concern is that there is not enough metal and rubber and industrial capacity in the US at the present time to meet these orders unless the US Dept. of Defense invokes wartime production clauses – which mean that the Big three have to stop producing normal cars and only produce the military vehicles until they fill the order.

    I wonder even if they pull this order off with all the bitching and complaining that will come from the big three if they’ll even be able to get enough steel since most of our domestic produced steel is exported to China.

    Reply
  37. alex

     /  June 8, 2007

    Yes Mike, I did digress heavily into the tactical, but that’s how I see the Russian response. I think they saw what would happen to their normal military units tactically if it was a set piece battle and concluded that tac. nukes was the only way to hold NATO off strategically.

    I think the Russians know us much better than we think they do, and our response (going all the way back to the original response) would only be as good as our leadership in the executive branch at the time. If you have someone as CinC who hesitates against this menace, you’ll rapidly create confusion in the populace as for which way to respond to the Russian action. While our democracy is a strength, it’s also a weakness in times of crisis if you have poor leadership at the helm and I saw the Russian response as probably the best one for the scenario they spelled out – Strategically it would be good for them if their goal was to save their army. Otherwise there are far better ways to win.

    Reply
  38. alex

     /  June 8, 2007

    Mike,
    The best stuff that the Russians have to offer is available to us. I’m very sure that we have all sorts of their equipment that we just walked over and bought, even the high quality T90 APFSDSDU rounds. Their newest RPG system (RPG-29 or 27, I can’t remember which) has been tested against Isreali Blazer armor and some of the newer armor kits and it has still failed to get through – unless you know where the weak spots are.
    But going back to logistics and capability, the Russians don’t have the infrastructure to produce the high tech weapons that would give them a prolonged edge. I’m sure they do have some equipment which may have caught up to ours, and maybe even better in an area or two, but they have very very little of it, and even less that is functioning. I still say that Nukes and Oil are the only strategic weapons they have left, but I may be overlooking their cyberwarfare edge which I have no doubt they could use but don’t want to advertise it.

    Reply
  39. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    Well, I am just going to credit the Russian with probably more ability than they have and err to the side of caution. Much better that than the other way around. It is much cooler to be much more lethal than you think you are then to suddenly find out you are not nearly as tough as you thought you were.

    Reply
  40. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    And you bring up a great point. Anymore it seems tactical, operational and strategic levels can blur pretty quick.

    Reply
  41. happycrow

     /  June 8, 2007

    I’m totally with you on the logistics. If I went for an MBA, that’d be the field. No question.

    Reply
  42. Mike

     /  June 8, 2007

    Bleah. It is interesting sure, but not THAT interesting. But the ability to get things from Point A to Point B is a great thing to be a genius in. I think we were the first Military to have a 4 star slot for this area (WWII, the guy was J.C. Lee) and give him clout.

    Of course the rat bastard promptly abused it and ignored an order from Eisenhower NOT to set up shop in Paris. The only reason he got to stay was it would have used up to much gasoline to move back where they were supposed to be.

    Important or not, a REMF is a REMF.

    Reply
  43. happycrow

     /  June 8, 2007

    Hey, I’m not saying it’d be my MOS…

    Reply
  44. blackpine

     /  June 10, 2007

    Logistically we would crucify the Russians. Technology has made Russia small. We can every city, every factory and every rail line without invading. Plus, if we hit them in the winter, the three best generals in Russia are working for us.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Featured Eyeballs

  • What’s today again?

    June 2007
    M T W T F S S
    « May   Jul »
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 131,923 hits
  • Recent Comments

    Cults and Context |… on So, about that Bruce Jenner…
    Cults and Context |… on Yes, I AM, in fact, looking at…
    Cults and Context |… on How The Internet Says “D…
    Kat Laurange on Hungarian Military Sabre …
    Kat Laurange on Rose Garden! The Home Edi…
  • %d bloggers like this: