For those with ears to hear, and a head used as something more useful than a hat rack, we give you some off-the-cuff down-in-the-weeds military analysis of a couple of videos from Ukraine, which are neither propaganda, nor assailable on any number of grounds, but which nonetheless make our non-dominant eye twitch.
This is Military Science 101 stuff. Why? Refresh the warning from Gunny, above, in your mind.
A) How To Tell Us You're Using Retarded Conscripts Without Telling Us You're Using Retarded Conscripts
Here you have a Russian "hasty" (as opposed to deliberate, i.e. well-thought out and executed) AT (anti-tank) minefield. Where the primary value of the word "hasty" is half-assed, slipshod, and damned near total waste of time.
1) A minefield is an obstacle. In order to be effective, (say it with me grunts of the world): obstacles must be under constant observation, and covered with direct or indirect fires.
2) What you have here, is neither, and thus totally ineffective. When someone in a sedan can defeat your barrier, you're a No-Go faceplant at the "Hasty AT Minefield" station.
3) Some dumbass, or dumbasses - plural, thought, or were told, that strewing a few dozen (it looks to be 30-40) AT mines across a hard-surface road was a good idea, because reasons. F^(# NO, it's NOT.
4) The brave idiot-savant civilians in the video defeated it by simply driving diagonally over it. With enough time to get out and video the feat.
5) Yet no mortar or MG fire, thus no observation, thus pointless waste of AT mines.
6) As the video notes, it takes 300+# of pressure to detonate one of these (to keep from wasting them on squad-level snuffies, and cheap sedans). You want tanks, or troop-laden APCs to blow one of these.
7) None of that happens. And it looks, for all the world, like Pvt. Ivan Jackassovich just laid them out in neat little rows, probably with not only no observers nor covering fires, but without any anti-handling devices. Meaning any dipshit could walk up, grab the carrying handle, and pick them all up and carry them to the side of the road. An anti-handling device means besides the pressure plate fuze on top, there are 1-3 other places where you can put a pressure-release or pull-triggered fuze, so that if you push, pull, lift, or try to carry off Mr. TankF**Ker, or any of his 40 other little round friends in the picture, he will blow you into bitsy pieces travelling up and outward at several hundred feet per second. IOW, they just set them on the road, and walked away.
8) I could be wrong, but I'm not stupid. Assuming no EOD, you simply get a length of rope or wire, long enough (say, 50-100m in length, long enough to be hiding well away from the blast) to tie onto one or more of those nasty little things, and drag them out of the way, without becoming one with the universe in a pink mist. If you have enough length, you lasso the whole bunch, and use a vehicle to pull the lot off to the side of the road. If that works, you now have 40 AT mines you can re-purpose. More about that in a moment. If not, your ears are ringing, and you need a new length of cord.
9) If 1 (or more) out of 40 were properly anti-handling bobby-trapped, your road has a new "men at work" hole in it, and the blast alerts sleeping Ivan Jackassovich nearby that it might be time to lay some RPD, mortar, or artillery fire on your AO at those co-ordinates, and doom on you.
10) What else did Ivan forget? The way you stop that sort of silly sh*t, is by sprinkling some anti-personnel (AP) mines amongst and amidst the AT field, so that little Jimmy YouTuber can't get close enough to screw up your handiwork without going all explodey. Think Russki versions of Claymore and Bouncing Betty mines, and again, all with anti-handling devices. Now no one wants to drive through your minefield any more, and it's an actual military obstacle.
11) But they didn't do that, so they were noobs, idiots, and time-wasting wankers, along with too stupid to know that, not supervised by any NCO with at least half a brain, and/or don't have AP mines, anti-handling devices, anyone with the wit and skill to emplace them, nor OPs, binoculars, radios, mortars, machineguns, or artillery to spare for such a basic Infantry 101 function. Thus, f**king amateurs.
12) Takeaways you can use:
a) In the 1956 Hungarian uprising, Hungarian partisan townies in Budapest stopped Russian tanks with this tactic. Using green-painted upside-down dinner plates. Yes, really. If you have plaster or concrete, you can make your own AT mine mold, and crank out as many realistic looking AT mines as you like. If, unlike Ivan Jackassovich, you cover that obstacle by observation and direct fire, you can stop a tank with 5 pounds of concrete and some dark green spray paint. At least for a good while. If you sprinkle in a couple live ones, with anti-handling boobytrap devices, you can make a few real mines seem like dozens to hundreds. Only combat engineers and several hours' time, under fire, will be able to figure out what's what. While they're getting shot at. (There are higher-tech ways to breach minefields, like combat engineer vehicles (CEVs, i.e. tanklike killdozers) which throw detonation cord explosives a couple hundred yards over such a field, and blow a pathway through it. Maybe 2-4 times, before they're out of line charges. Then it's back to doing it the hard way. So, how many fake, or thin but realistic, minefields before you've still halted an advance for hours, days, or weeks? That's up to you.)
b) If you collect those unguarded AT mines, you can cart them somewhere else and emplace them for your own purposes. Like properly buried, waiting for Ivan Tankovich to come lumbering by, and blow himself into vapor. Even in a hole under the hard-surface, with a chunk of the roadway on top, because remember, 20 pounds of concrete or asphalt isn't gong to set off the pressure plate. 50 tons of tank, however, makes a nice fireball, and none of his friends want to come visit their former buddy, Ivan Blownaparte.
c) If you have dummy mines, you can trade live mines for dummy mines, which Ivan Jackassovich and his commanders may check on, not knowing you're driving everything right through that "minefield" whenever it suits you, allowing you to get in places you aren't supposed to be, or get out of places they want to keep you in.
I told you that, to talk about this next video:
B) The Small Ballsy Ambush That Could Have Been Soooo Much Better
1) One or two really ballsy Ukrainians took an NLAW and wasted a Russian tank.
2) Okay. Buuuuuuuuuuut.....These guys were checker players, not chess players.
3) As the scene develops, yes, they got a tank. Which is a nice trade for one NLAW. And they slowed a battalion task force down, because they had to engage the ambush.
4) Now try this, after anticipating what that NLAW would do.
5) One shot, one kill: Good. Five more seconds of thought and planning, and a couple more pieces on the board: Much better. Let's review the cast of characters:
6) Suppose we'd brought some help, for what was an entire battalion task force. Because the four tanks and three APCs are at least a motorized rifle company team. And there's another one behind it on the same road. Two companies = battalion.
7) So, instead of 1-2 guys with balls the size of church bells, to ambush a T-72/T-80 from less than 100 yards away, we send eight guys, with half a dozen NLAWs, and a machinegun team for backup (or a couple of good designated marksmen with good optics).
8) And all those AT mines we pilfered from Ivan's half-assed minefield? We found someplace to put them, along the sides of the road at our much-better ambush.
9) Our original NLAW team triggers the opening ambush, as before.
Ivan's APCs all move to the far side of the road to take cover and support the counter-ambush.
Where they hit the AT mines on the far side of the road, and blow up.
The tanks, doing a doctrine herringbone to the sides, hit the AT mines on the near side.
Now Ivan's down 3 tanks and 3 APCs, for 1 NLAW, and those scavenged AT mines.
The MG team mops up the dismounts from behind.
The bottom NLAW takes out the point tank.
The top NLAW team goes after anything left alive in the kill zone, or takes on the following company.
10) If the lead company tries to blow through the kill zone, the bottom team stops that.
If the following company moves up, lather, rinse, repeat.
If they sit there in shock, the teams displace, and either retreats unscathed, or have a go at moving into position to hit the stalled company as well.
If the column tries to focus on any one team position, the other teams hit them from the other directions, as cover for the targetted team to displace and get away.
If air support or supporting artillery starts coming online, the ambush team executes the GTFOofDodge maneuver, and lives to fight another day.
11) Now 8 guys, plus half an hour to dig in those two AT mine strips along likely ambush exit routes, have wiped out an entire company, and/or possibly even a battalion task force.
And it's all over in 2-4 minutes, before any air support or artillery fire can be called in on them.
a) Roads/trails are kill zones. Always, always, always.
b) Flank security, if you're the convoy. That means drive on both sides of the road, and ready for anything form any direction.
c) Don't focus in on just the first point of attack, it may be just the opening.
d) If you're the fox, instead of the hounds, bring friends, and plan for the enemy's first, second, and third likeliest responses. Kill everything you can, and then get away. Unless you can wipe out the whole unit, and scavenge.
e) Ambushee: GTF OFF THE "X".
f) Ambusher: Make it very hard to get off the X. Know when it's time to go.
Ukraine, on both sides, is amateur hour. A little more thought can make a big difference either way.
Now imagine you're the one hiding from a large heavy task force like this one, or trying to stop one. Think of other ways to halt or destroy that force with what you have on hand, or could cobble together. No NLAWS? How about molotovs and flammenwerfers? No MGs? What about snipers? No mines? What about anti-tank ditches and obstacles?
There's no horse that can't be rode, and no rider that can't be throw'd.
Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.
Scavenge anything useful the enemy provides, and give it back to him, pointy end first.
UPDATE: For those of you still swinging long after the 10-count, you should go read this article over at Peter's BRM blog, based on a WSJ analysis of Russia's war-making shortcomings.
TL;DR: The Russians suck at logistics as well as at tactics.
Show of hands: who thought Russia was good at military logistics, EVER, other than a brief period from 1943-1945, and even then with Murmansk convoys bootstrapping them up to bare competence?