Video presented because it's even-handedly "Just the facts, ma'am."
1) Russia has a lot of artillery shells.
2) They're dumb shells, overwhelmingly from pre-1990 days.
3) Nobody has any wild idea how many.
4) Nobody has any wild idea how many.
5) Shooting a lot of shells is nice. So...how'd that strategy work out for Germany or the Allies on the Western Front from 1914-1917?
6) Shooting a lot of artillery shells is a huuuuuge logistical strain on anyone. Even more so on an army so skilled at wartime logistics that they lost entire mechanized regiments early on because their vehicles simply ran out of gas, and were subsequently abandoned intact.
7) Even Russian ammunition reserves are not infinite, and the glacial pace of their advance despite prodigious ammunition consumption puts a time limit on even their current slow gains. At some point, they have no choice but to cut back, from a host of inescapable factors. Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.
7a) Whether their logistical ability to maintain their current artillery expenditures outlasts the Ukrainian forces' ability to resist is precisely the point at issue. We won't bother to point out the multiple fanboy analyses that declared the war was over a month and more ago. Those quotes and posts aren't aging well, and even worse with every passing day. Things can go any which way yet, but it isn't over until it's over, and the Fat Lady hasn't even gotten to the opera house yet.
8) Wear and tear, fuel, and simple time and distance makes trains, trucks, tires, spare parts, and simply feeding drivers as important, if not more than, how much ammunition they can fire, and for how long. If you ain't got it, you can't shoot it.
9) As we tried to tell the fanboys in an earlier post, wear and tear on artillery tubes leads to unavoidable accuracy problems as well, and physics always wins. The Russians can ignore accuracy, and probably will, but they can't ignore the consequences of ignoring accuracy. And they then expend even more shells to even less effect, the longer they continue to do so. C'est la guerre.
10) Russia has always loved artillery, because the math is basic, and once you pull the string, your military worries are over. Unlike with aircraft, tanks, APCs, missiles, trucks, or even conscripts, who still have to be fed, watered, and supplied. Plain Jane artillery works in all weather, 24/7/365, as long as you don't give a damn about accuracy.
"Minute of city? Da, is good enough, comrade."
Russia has demonstrated their total inability to dominate the air, conduct effective combined arms operations, or master maneuver warfare, but they have conclusively shown the unsurprising aptitude for rubble-izing any troops or real estate not able to get out of the way of a rain of HE shells. Gravity is a great help to them in ensuring that their expended artillery rounds do eventually fall to earth...somewhere. But that weight of ordnance has not translated into any amazing breakthroughs, rather instead to ensuring nothing but an endless meatgrinder, and destroying the very territory and population they claimed to covet with such lovingkindness.
Thus my conclusion at this point is part of a familiar quote to many readers:
"...what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count."
Russian artillery is hitting minute-of-city-block.
Ukrainian artillery is hitting minute of tank or APC.
Time will tell which is the better tactic.
That isn't telling you (as I never have) that Zelenskyy will be dictating terms from within sight of the walls of the Kremlin, nor even that Ukraine will "win".
What it does tell you is that Russia is not marching from victory to victory, but rather feeding its own face into a woodchipper just as hard as they're pushing on the Ukrainians. Afghanistan showed they aren't fast learners in that respect, but at some point, a lot of problems go away the minute some bright young actual field marshal decides to liberate Putin's brains kinetically onto the wall behind where he sits, and sooner or later, it's likely that the lightbulb will switch on, and someone thereabouts may decide the lemon is worth the squeeze.
And Putin's megalomaniacal quest to re-form the Soviet Empire isn't going over well anywhere from Oslo to Ankara, and Europe is digging in, not softening its stance.
Every minute this continues, the whole world suffers for it. The minute is stops, worldwide problems and tensions ratchet down about five levels. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with how corrupt Ukrainian leadership is, nor the fecklessness and cynicism of the dog-wagging jackasses who actively pushed and pulled this conflict into happening on both sides of the Atlantic.
The minute Russia, with or without Putin at the helm, realizes it has more to gain from ending the conflict than continuing it, the faster the ten crises the war accelerated go from glowing cherry-red and about to blow, back to a nice tepid not-nearly-so-serious problem.
But if you really frothingly want WW III to kick off tomorrow, by all means keep rootin' for Putin.
I'd rather turn that burner way down, and concentrate on the epic housecleaning hereabouts that's coming like a freight train, without having to deal with it in MOPP Level IV gear, knowwhatImean? That shit is uncomfortable as f**k.