Sunshine galore and cold this late-afternoon Wednesday here in Calfornia’s Central Valley — supposedly a few days of sunny respite from the heavy wet, though, more rain forecast for the weekend.
Meanwhile, in the Ukraine war zone, it appears Vlad Putin’s troops/army is losing big time, not only in human troops killed or wounded but also in the great tank disaster — Russia supposedly lost 130 tanks in the last three weeks.
Via The New York Times this afternoon:
A three-week battle on a plain near the coal-mining town of Vuhledar in southern Ukraine produced what Ukrainian officials say was the biggest tank battle of the war so far, and a stinging setback for the Russians.
In the last major engagement, a week ago, the order came in during the gray pre-dawn to prepare an ambush for a column of 16 Russian tanks and armored vehicles advancing toward the Ukrainian lines. The crew said their prayer, patted their tank and drove forward.
“We hid the tank in a tree line and waited for them,” Private Hrebenok said. “It’s always scary but we need to destroy them.”
In this instance, they stopped about three miles short of the ambush site, just out of range of return fire, and shot in coordination with a drone pilot who called in coordinates on a radio for targets they could not see directly.
The Russian column stalled on mines and, Private Hrebenok said, The Wanderer opened fire. The Russian tank crews had little chance once they were in the kill zone, he said.
“We destroyed a lot of Russian equipment,” he said. “What they did wrong was come to Ukraine.”
Someone tell Vlad — and it’s worse for the lives of Russian soldiers than we supposed:
More Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine than in all Russian wars COMBINED since World War II, including Chechnya & Afghanistan. The avg rate of Russian soldiers killed per month is at least 25x more than Chechnya & 35x than Afghanistan. See our report: https://t.co/wRbd9jaGDk pic.twitter.com/5McxX3mbKw
— Seth G. Jones (@SethGJones) February 28, 2023
Nutshell details from the Center For Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) earlier this week:
Russia suffered more combat deaths in Ukraine in the first year of the war than in all of its wars since World War II combined, according to a new CSIS analysis of the force disposition and military operations of Russian and Ukrainian units. The average rate of Russian soldiers killed per month is at least 25 times the number killed per month in Chechnya and 35 times the number killed in Afghanistan, which highlight the stark realities of a war of attrition. The Ukrainian military has also performed remarkably well against a much larger and initially better-equipped Russian military, in part due to the innovation of its forces.
One of the most interesting puzzles is how Ukraine—which has a significantly smaller military, weaker military capabilities, a limited defense industrial base, and a smaller economy—was able to blunt a Russian blitzkrieg and then conduct a series of counterattacks against dug-in Russian forces. Before its invasion in February 2022, Russia had nearly five times as many military personnel as Ukraine, a defense budget eleven times larger, an economy almost eight times larger, and significantly better military capabilities. Examples of Russian capabilities included advanced fighter aircraft (such as the Su-34 and Su-35), artillery (such as the 2S7 Pion, BM-21 Grad, and 2S4 Tulpan), main battle tanks (such as the T-72 and T-90), nuclear weapons, and one of the world’s most feared offensive cyber capabilities. Yet Russia’s preponderance of power has failed to deliver it swift victory on the battlefield.
This analysis makes three main arguments. First, the war in Ukraine has become a war of attrition characterized by dug-in forces, trenches, human-wave attacks, artillery barrages, and high casualties on both sides. Russia likely suffered more combat fatalities in Ukraine in the first year of the war than in all of its wars since World War II combined, including the Soviet and Russian wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya. The average rate of Russian regular and irregular soldiers killed per month in Ukraine over the first year of the war was at least 25 times the number killed per month in Russia’s war in Chechnya and at least 35 times the number killed per month in the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan.
Second, Ukraine has performed extraordinarily well against an adversary with a significant advantage in material resources. One factor that has likely contributed to Ukraine’s performance is military innovation, exemplified by Ukraine’s utilization of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) in combined arms operations. Many of Ukraine’s innovations have come from the bottom up, thanks to a military environment that encourages and enables junior officers to seek innovation.
Third, while military innovation will be necessary as the war continues, it will not be sufficient to outweigh the matériel needs of the Ukrainian military, such as air defense systems, long-range artillery, armored vehicles, fighter aircraft, munitions, spare parts, and logistical resources. The West, including the United States, should prepare for a protracted war and long-term support to Ukraine.
Way-much more at the link — an excellent deep-dive by the noted, top-notch think tank.
Despite the obvious, Vlad is still an asshole and won’t let go — so, here we are once again…
(Illustration out front found here.)