Monday, April 4, 2022

Amateur Hour

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

So what?

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.)

Thought Exercise: If someone (you, me, whoever),
decided to 3D print the fuse assembly and prongs
at the top X 100, and attach them to 100 metal coffee
or paint cans painted green with suitable markings,
and buried them appropriately with the trigger
prongs sticking out of the ground, who wants
to go up to them and see if they're real?
And what if one or two of them were?
{cf. F**ked Around, Found Out}

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

We know you can't see this here; sign in, go to YouTube, and WTWT.

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.

The Con

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:

The Set-Up

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.

The Sting

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.

12) Takeaways:

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?


Anonymous said...

The basics will always be the basics; hence the term.
Good exposition, Brother; even the current public school products should be able to follow along.Boat
Boat Guy

Thecollossus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thecollossus said...

FM 5-102. The Engineers bible on this very subject

From Norway said...

Had seen a version of the first one without the explanation, but extra material from the unedited video. Two ukranian soldiers kicking the mines to the side of the road. But they also pointed the location of the mines and it looked to be placed by ukranian army, since in was about 70km west of Kiev. But who knows.

I saw the second video the first week of the war, so looks like everyone was amateur and the Russian though they were in a road trip. How you can pretend to advance like that, single column and no scouts in enemy territory is beyond my understanding. I do not think they go around like that anymore.

elysianfield said...

Forgive me, but how do you authenticate footage found on the internets? How do you vette personal experiences relayed? I suffer from not believing a god-damned thing I see or hear on the net, so I am skeptical. We know that the MSM uses stock footage to describe various actions reported on...and that the entire war seems to be politicized in our media(s). I listen to your reports with enthusiasm, but do not take as gospel what is presented as facts, other than your direct experience and former training.

My position is, I know, fraught with issues...I can assimilate all that is presented, but remain in ignorance.

On another note, your ambush scenario, while no doubt correct doctrine, is hardly peer to peer combat. More like asymmetrical warfare, without artillery, air cover, etc...

Color me ignorant.

Survivormann99 said...

About the landmines on the asphalt, this would suggest that reluctant/disgruntled/demoralized Russians complied with orders to "mine the road," and nothing more. They could truthfully report to their superiors that the road was mined, and then run for it.

And then there is the possibility that the road was mined the way it was is an indication of just how fast the Russians were beating a retreat and skedaddling.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes things aren't always as they appear. Let's try to keep that in mind as well.
Ohio Guy

Anonymous said...

It's really dumb to place your AT mines atop the surface. It's more stupid to do so in a regular pattern, so that any idiot in a sedan can just drive diagonally through, straddling them. If they can do so whilst TOWING A FUCKING TRAILER, that's just plain retarded.
--Tennessee Budd

JNorth said...

Did you see that same youtube channel had another video of soldiers removing the mine field. Definitely didn't have any anti-tamper devices, they were just shoving them to the side of the road with their feet.

Aesop said...

1) elysianfield,

You're suggesting someone had time, amidst a war, to fake a mined road, and a tank battalion ambush, including cooking off a tank just for show? Or what?

As for peer-to-peer, the Russians clearly had neither air cover nor supporting arms in this ambush, nor had planned any supporting fires along their lines of advance either. Doom on them.

Both sides are tactical assclowns in this respect, and appear to be blundering about, and relying on "think happy thoughts" for protection.

RandyGC said...

See if I can get edumacated here:

Many moons ago I got a very brief and cursory training on counter-ambush tactics from the point of view of Infantry.

We were taught to charge into the ambush while getting out of the kill zone. If the OPFOR knew what it was doing you were probably screwed anyway, but by charging them you might get under the fire of some of their heavy weapons and might be able to break them up and cause them to pull out.

Has that changed over the years? Is it different for Mech Infantry? Or was the activity on that video just another example of poor training, tactics and leadership?

Anonymous said...

Seeing this makes me think the Bucha atrocities are real.

Incompetent, poorly led soldiers in a village where everyone hates and despises them. They lash out in senseless violence knowing they lost and are leaving. Maybe they thought if they killed them all, there would not be any witnesses?

Alternative reasons? After 75 years, today's Russian Army is no better disciplined or compassionate than the Soviet Red Army that raped and slaughtered its way across Germany in 1945.

Jonathan H said...

Exactly on point, a good exposition of the subject.
This the a reason for Combined Arms doctrine - every piece of equipment has its vulnerabilities, which can be reduced by others.

If you want to have fun, or look ahead, in the US Bowman and Company in Florida has multiple types of inert AT mines in stock, as low as $10 each in bulk (they have so many they ran a big sale last week). You can find their listings on GB, but you'll get a better deal calling them directly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Go to they have millions of 3d printer files. There is a guy who posted the files for a few dozen different mines.


Aesop said...

@Anonymous 8:12P,

Nice catch. Same spot, different time, proves what I just said.
Placed by idiots, removed by amateurs.

Aesop said...


Yeah, but.

Charge into my ambush, or any decently-laid one, and I'll have something waiting for you.
Punji stakes, caltrops and nails in boards, tripwire-fuzed Claymore, tiger in a pit, something nasty.
The VN-era recommendation when ambushed was to drop in place on the trail and return fire.
So Plan B is aggressively return fire, and see about getting off the X.
Forward, backward, whatever. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
At least back the way you came isn't mined.
Anywhere else? Dealer's choice.
And the X is obviously the point where all the ambusher's weapons are expecting to be sited.
IIRC, for an armored column, everyone should herringbone to both flanks and open up with everything they've got. Suppressive fire.
If they'd done that, instead of dismounting and holding a Spaz-Ex, they probably would've knocked off the lone AT team in about 30 seconds, and it would have been a suicide mission.

But...amateurs. Both sides.

Steve the Boomer said...

"Seeing this makes me think the Bucha atrocities are real."

Seeing it bolsters my belief the images are real, but also that they are probably not atrocities. Particularly the ones in restraints. You take up arms without wearing a uniform, you are an irregular, and should expect to be treated as one. Zelensky has done Ukrainians no favors by making it clear to everyone that irregulars are everywhere.

I'm with FromNorway and a couple others here. I don't believe a damn thing on the internets, or on mainstream media, or from government. If it's too stupid to be believable, maybe not believe it just because you want it to be true?

Aesop said...

What, in all of human history, leads you to believe that reports that the Russians rounded up civilians and butchered them is too stupid to be believable?
"The ones in restraints" include women and children, FFS.
Show all work.
They've done this in every conflict since...ever.
The tales of the Russian Army looting and raping their way from the Volga to Berlin from 1943-45 are too numerous to count.
This sort of thing is what they do.

Steve the Boomer said...

I was talking about the "Russians" who deployed the minefield. What evidence do you have that was really Russians? Show your work.

Re: women and children, they might be atrocities. I don't know and neither do you, unless you take at face value whatever the propagandists are spouting. But they might also be what Poopypants was talking about. Women standing with rifle in hand facing down tanks. And you can take it from the American Leftoids -- if you have a detachable magazine, or any magazine with more than 10 rounds, that's a weapon of war.

We can quibble about whether Geneva Convention should treat regulars and irregulars differently. What we cannot quibble about is whether the Geneva Convention makes the distinction.

Aesop said...

If that was a Ukrainian minefield
a) the Russians would've pushed it out of the way, and they wouldn't have left it behind afterwards
b) they would have been letting civilians out themselves
QED, it was Russian. The only explanation that fits common sense under the exigent circumstances.

How many non-combatants are normally left behind in mass graves with their hands bound and a bullet through the head? How many middle-aged civilians? Find a picture of women with rifles in hands "facing down tanks". Just one. (Try to recall your witness there is serial liar Emperor Alzheimer's Poopypants, and rethink that idiotic phrase having any corresponding reality.)
In breaking news, this is a fucking WAR. Peple facing down tanks with rifles in their hands get machinegunned on the spot, by the fucking tank. Always. For 100 years and counting.
They don't get disarmed, tied up, and executed. The idea that those were all "irregulars" cleverly caught by Russian forces and summarily tried and executed is simply recockulous.

If you're going to be skeptical, be sceptical of stories so far-fetched they require Elvis to fly in on a unicorn shooting thunderbolts out of its ass to make sense.

Anonymous said...

Y'all out of your depth in this discussion :) Mine laying on roads with hard surfaces is an SOP for all post soviet armies. In this particular war both sides do it, Russians and Ukrainians. If you look for some photos from about 2 weeks ago from Kiev, you will notice that Ukrainians were even more clever, often tying their TM-62's to a rope or a chain, so that they could easily pull them all at once from the front of their barricade, to make a passage. No reason to believe Russians didn't watch their "barricade" (probably there was also a concertina on the right hand side of the image). That is when they were still in the hood. Obviously at the time the pictures were taken, Russians were long gone.

In order to answer the question why this is done this way, try to think about a low tech army, that relies heavily on maneuver. The only way to quickly open a passage in a well protected minefield, like the ones you are talking about, is to blow it up. You can't do this on a highway pictured. Esp., if you are waiting for the command "vperiod" at any moment. (But if they are on the surface you can easily push them aside and there is equipment for doing just that.) And when instead comes the command "nazad", you just leave it and get the hell out of there.


Zink said...

This is an excellent article, pure gold!

I have been to Ukraine several times. I have Ukr relatives currently over there. Based on what I have experienced, none of this is really far fetched. Most Americans have no idea how different these places are, many of the atrocities from the Soviet times left permanent multigenerational scars, the current generation has grandparents and parents who were beaten tortured executed and imprisoned by Soviet Russia. Americans don't get it man, this is a part of the world were shit gets brutal and has been for thousands of years. Seems like every city in Ukr that I visited had a museum of torture. If people would look at the massive amounts of media available on the war in the Donbass for the last 8 years, none of this would seem far fetched.

John Wilder said...

The first label is gold, pure gold.

Unknown said...

Why are we talking about the Geneva Conventions? Russland withdrew from that in 2019. The Soviet Union did sign in 1960, but it is debatable if the Russian Federation sees that as binding, and the did officislly withdraw from a part in 2019.

Aesop said...


Nobody's "out of their depth" in this discussion.
I have no doubt the SOP and doctrine is exactly as you described.
Because they're effing amateurs.

There's a right way to do a road-blocking minefield, and a wrong way.
That doctrine is the wrong way.

That was the whole point.

Mike-SMO said...

Depends (and not the Presidential ones).

The mines on hard surfaces do tend to prevent "drive bys" and give the missile team time to aim. The anti-tamper effect was probably a bunch of infantry. Once the order came to mount up, they didn't bother to "safe" the speed bumps and load them all into the truck. Not surprising early in the game. I'd be cautious because of the likelihood of anti-personnel goodies in the flowers along the flanks of that position. Maneuver operations can be hard work.

The rope trick is a good idea if you are expecting supply deliveries but this was certainly less work than cutting pavement for an obstacle. Leaving the goodies does allow for recycling by Team B. As I recall, that was a problem with artillery projectiles from over-run Iraqi positions. Those shells were eventually returned with a different "fuse" and a tail of wire.

Anonymous said...


No, they work in a completely different environment that you just cannot and never will understand. (That is assuming you do not volunteer to experience their famous hospitality first hand for a few years.) Their doctrine overrules everything, there is no space for creativity at the lower levels, it is simply assumed that soldiers are stupid, even younger officers are assumed to be morons. They are to follow regulations and orders precisely, even if local conditions might suggest a better solution than the regulation one. Not allowed. Their top people for years have been developing procedures, where - at the scale at which they operate - they assume that statistics will eventually take over and prove them right. Human life - not very important, if it can prevent them from reaching their objectives.

In the first case you presented, the road was secured temporarily, but was supposed to be ready for a forward move at any time. If that happens, dismantling this mine field takes a few seconds. And the doctrine does not allow for creativity to get in the way. Not unless you want a long vacation in Kolyma. If the order came from above to prepare a real defensive position, segments of the highway would have been blown up and prepped accordingly.

It seems stupid to you only b/c you take for granted modern solutions, like minefields that can be turned off and on remotely, or working comms at every level, or caring about the loss of human life. Not things that Russians overly concern themselves about.

Now, there are plenty of examples of pure stupidity and not following the doctrine on the Russian side. That second case is a perfect illustration of doing things the wrong way - not what soviet textbooks teach. The first one? Not necessarily.


Phelps said...

You are ignoring the time element.

Assume it was to cover a retreat (and wasn't Uke or whatever.)

You DO have it under observation and indirect fire -- during the retreat.

You don't conceal it -- the purpose is for pursuing units to SEE it and stop, either allowing your orderly retreat, or allowing your indirect fire to start raining on them, especially if your range card is properly prepared and you don't need to adjust the fire.

Not concealing it also accomplishes a humanitarian goal of it being easily removed once your retreat is complete.

Once the retreat is complete, you pull out your observers and, you know, retreat.

This is the same problem we've had from the start -- improperly assuming Russian motives and then attributing unexpected behavior to incompetence. It's like complaining that the dish the cook made looks nothing like a hamburger -- because he was making a pizza.

Capitalist Eric said...

>>"What, in all of human history, leads you to believe that reports that the Russians rounded up civilians and butchered them is too stupid to be believable?"<<

So sorry, but your obvious bias for Ukraine has clouded your judgment.

Your technical analyses of military engagements appear (to my uneducated eye) to be legit, but your attributions of blame are not trustworthy.

Worse, your emotional bias is intertwined with your ego, precluding your from thinking logically and methodically, regarding the actions of both sides in the current conflict.

The propaganda coming out of the region is almost exclusively Ukrainian. And as far as I can tell, Russia is playing it relatively straight on the information that is disseminated- scant though it is. I can find no obvious examples since the conflict started, of obviously Russian-generated disinformation, but I've seen DOZENS of examples of Ukrainian lies- Ghost of Kiev, bombing of hospitals and schools, chemical attacks, Snake Island, Azov battalions NOT being actual Nazis, #nowar video of a city explosion from Tianjin China in 2015, video of an explosion of a Beirut port in 2015 (supposedly the Ukrainian headquarters being bombed by Russian forces), many examples of the same famous Ukrainian actors who strangely keep getting injured or dying in different regions... And finally, the HOURS of videos uploaded by the Ukrainian government, of Azov Nazis systematically shooting Russian POWs as they're unloaded from trucks- some in the feet, others in the legs, and then being savagely beaten to a pulp... and finally, some having their genitals literally blown off, and kicked in the groin as they die from shock... and THEN the Azov soldiers calling up the wives or mothers of the dead soldiers, BRAGGING what they did, and mocking the poor women...

I've watched several of these... sickening... videos, which I reiterate were CONFIRMED AS LEGIT by the Ukrainian government...

And yet, I put my emotions aside and analyze objectively.

I urge you to put your ego and emotions aside; this is your biggest weakness, and continues to compromise your judgment.

Aesop said...

(Phelps too, since you too seem to be stuck on the same page)

1) Warfare is warfare. From Sun Tzu to Caesar to Machiavelli to von Clauswitz to Guderian to Mao. An obstacle that doesn't obstruct isn't an obstacle.

2) All you've done is lay out the myriad ways the Soviet method of warfare fails, absent stupid massive overwhelming force. Which they haven't had anywhere since 1945, and their client states haven't had since 1975. Which failures have been proven from the Sinai to Baghdad, over and over.

3) I'm taking nothing for granted. All this method ultimately accomplished was to contribute a truckload of AT mines to their enemy, as a gift, after spending time, space, blood, and treasure they couldn't spare, just to haul them there.

4) Following their own doctrine slavishly is the bug in the software, not the feature here. (As it's been in Ukraine since about Feb. 26th.) That's why it's amateurish. The doctrine admits it's for an army of amateur conscripts, at anything below general-level. This doctrine is literally walking itself into the Amateur Door, and hitting it face-first.

5)Professionals adapt, improvise, and overcome, doctrine or no. Amateurs use rote repetition and plod right into disaster. That lesson was learned, by anyone paying attention, when taught by Professor Arminius in 9 A.D. It was driven home again at Midway by Professor Spruance in 1942.

6) Soviet doctrine might - might - have worked against NATO, circa 1980, when Russia had a 5:1 tank advantage.
40 years later, against near-peer adversaries, without even the standard 3:1 attacker superiority ratio necessary, and against third- and fourth-gen fire-and-forget AT weapons? Not so much. Rather obviously. If Russia wants to re-learn those lessons in body bags, I applaud them for that, and bid them to continue that method, unabated. Ideally, until their army is at 25% of its current strength, and barely able to prop Putin up anymore. That will give them about five other problems to concentrate their focus on, and hasten their complete withdrawal from Ukraine.

They cuffed around civilian militias and bigger amateurs in Chechnya and Georgia. They got their asses handed to them in Afghanistan by ragamuffins with homemade rifles. And Stinger missiles. And they didn't re-write their tactics from 1980 to 2022 because they forgot they aren't the biggest, baddest, meanest m*****f****rs in the valley any more, don't have overwhelming numerical superiority, and, oh yeah, they went broke trying it the other way in 1990...? Sucks to be them. Second place prize in war is always a lot of body bags.

Aesop said...

@Capitalist Eric,

I have no bias for Ukraine, other than wanting them to prevail over Russia.
But if you haven't seen any Russian propaganda, you've been living in a hole, and you're blind.
Starting with the Russian casualty and loss figures, which are 1/20th of Ukrainian claims (which I'll stipulate are over-enthusiastically inflated), and 1/10th of western intelligence estimates (which aren't any such).

And just yesterday, Russia upped their admission ten-fold from a couple of weeks ago. So either they got their asses handed to them in the last 2 weeks, or they've been lying all along, and the western estimates are far more accurate.

Armies that are actually winning don't retreat, and leave whole battalions dead in the streets, and sitting in POW pens. The last time a Russian Army was "winning" this big was October 1941.

I'm sure they'll try something again, maybe even succeed somewhat better. Then again, the West upping what they're sending to Ukraine is going to put an even bigger crimp in Vlad's wishes and dreams, and Russia has shown nothing approaching basic competency in anything but city-shelling, so who knows?

As to Ukrainian excesses, I invite you to consider how you'd treat foreign invading troops captured on American soil. I can't speak for you, but personally, if American cities were shelled like Mariupol, I think leaving POWs' severed heads on poles along the avenues of approach, with their removed genitals tucked into their mouths, would be a tender mercy. The ones skinned, and slow-roasted alive would probably be the widespread norm, and other methods would both impress and sicken Apache warriors of old with the thoroughness and creativity of the methods chosen.

The Russians are practicing medieval siege warfare, and their atrocities are a regular feature of their armies since, literally, EVER. I urge you to familiarize yourself with accounts of medieval warfare, as you're liable to see a lot more of it, and perhaps a lot more closely observed than with which you'd be happy.

I repeat, you will see this material again.

Anonymous said...


I see, so what it all boils down to is that your definition of amateurism is measured in terms of the amount of equipment left during a retreat. It's an interesting definition. Wrong. But interesting.


Aesop said...

No, it was amateurish from start to finish, from doctrine to execution. The leftovers are simply a boon to the enemy.
As you noted, doctrine is that everyone involved are idiots.
Idiots may be professional idiots, but they are not military professionals.

Own your explanation of how it is.

Anonymous said...

Aesop, this is the kind of constructive material I enjoy, and you do so well at.
Ohio Guy