We examine recently 'recovered documents' outlining a new Russian doctrinal replacement to the BTG system.
Interesting to read, especially the visuals. Carry on 💙🇷🇺❤️
Thank you Simplicius76.
As usual, exceptional reasoning and analysis.
I am a retired US infantry E-5. Your research is incredible. I got out in the 80's, so I am dated. BUT. Even then, there was no lower level decision making. A LT. calling in artillery! Fucking incredible. I spend a lot of time at the VA hospital in Tulsa. Most of the kids are sandbox kids. They talk about how the US chain of command is so intractable that NO decisions can be made.
This is fascinating. Long ago (And I'd been out of circulation long enough about military thinking generally that I have no idea what the current state of thinking is), there was some talk about how the revolution in surveillance and communication technology will create ever greater temptation for command push mentality in NATO armies (or rather, the US Army): if the high ranking commanders (think they) see everything through drones and such and issue instantaneous commands to the troops in the field, what do you need lieutenants for?
🍻I definitely appreciate your ❎🐂💩 analysis, & related links. Just the facts. IMO, you are the best I've found so far.
With 8 years for Ukr to prepare, this war has been a wyrd blend of WW1 trench warfare & WW2 Normandy bocage but on a scale x100 as half or more of Ukraine is farmland cut by 100s of rivers. Not exactly conducive to armour breakouts. Attrition will eventually be the key to any major breakouts.
Warfare is the greatest teacher in the end, isn't it?
What is your opinion as to why Ru seems to be "taking its time" in terms of military operations? Since vast numbers of troops are currently just sitting outside the conflict zone. Who has time on their side? I am reluctant to go along with the presumption that Ru has time on her side; a year ago the notion of tanks, fighters, long range missiles was "no way". A year from now we may have Chinese armaments all over the battlefield and NATO aircraft bombing Ru assets within Russia.
War is like wildfire - and what really scares me is how arrogantly the collective West seems to think they have control over it. Listening to analysts like Koffman, Zeihan, and the ISW types, and the like; you get the feeling they just talk to eachother and are a weird marriage of corporate-consultant-meets-warfighter... and then this total and complete blindspot about Ukr leadership; that their absolute objective is 1) to get as much money & stuff while the going is good and 2) to do whatever they can to draw NATO directly into the war; regardless of the consequences (its a no-bigger-loss for Ukr either way)
I know nothing about warfare other than chess. Your articles and the embed videos (excellent idea) are providing an education and a half. Thank you
I find with claims like those made by the British and Australian military - without knowing the source of their 'facts' about the Russian military - are just empty assertions. They may be right, they may be wrong, but to just claim that this or that is the current state of the Russian armed forces is unpersuasive. We need hard facts, times places. Plainly, Russia is not conducting hostilities as if this were an invasion or war. Their priorities are very different. To assume that they fail, or would fail to conduct a comprehensive assault upon Ukrainian forces (demolishing backup or support) seems to ignore the value of air strikes and the greater precision satellites now give them. And both sides adopt these hit and run, cavalry-style tactics. But one side can unleash devastating destruction across the whole of Ukraine's electrical infrastructure, at will with innumerable consequences for combat logistics. You're not really seeing the whole picture, just concentrating on the fine points of assault tactics.
Demystifying something is always a pleasure to see.
Russia’s huge adaptive capabilities is so obvious and so effective that only indoctrinated persons can’t see it.
But see it they will, one way or another.
No sleight on yourself for having pursued this - it's a topic of keen interest with a background of much widespread misunderstanding, at least in the West. However, both source and context for this discussion are highly dubious. I think it is apt here to remember that this is an Infowar, and those parties which do not send theirs into the front itself i.e., NATO+, are especially busy at this virtual "front" of perception management and efforts to tarnish competing brands - in this case the "brand" so targeted being the Russian Army. Given the material's suspect origins and context, the fact that one of the NATO+ generals publicly amplifies such claims around it is, in my view, an example of very cynical and unethical professional misconduct.
This purported "Ukrainian officer" with the smooth idiomatic written English starts with a very loaded premise i.e., "after [Russia's Army] experiencing failures". Really? That assertion is presented as uncontroversial fact, but then combines with beat-up over what appears to be a Russian military doctrinal reference that's been in their system for years (strange the "ukrainian officer" gives no publication date or publishing HQ or training command, author/s etc).
There's nothing in either the structure or its method of flexible mission-oriented kit allocation that is exclusive of the BTG concept per se. True enough, an absence of logistical and MLRS elements would be a conspicuous difference from BTG structures we've seen publicized from the start of SMO in Feb 2022, but it is precisely a feature of BTGs to provide for such modular flexibility to suit mission and environment. Therefore, such alteration would be consistent with a longer mission duration, as expected for assault operations against close, concentrated enemy defenses such as we see on the Bakhmut Axis. To relinquish logistical and longer-range artillery or MLRS assets would be a logical and doctrinally consistent modification of BTG structure where Regiment or Brigade must take closer control of those assets. In other words, such an 'Assault BTG' becomes less autonomous in that it loses an ability to move farther and cover itself at longer range. Nonetheless, it would expand its range of tactical responses at closer ranges with greater choice of direct-fire weapons systems and armored vehicles for fight-through and exploitation.
Also, note that the "ukrainian officer" makes no quote or scan-reference to the claimed "battalion-level detachment" term (in the original Russian) which he purports to have replaced the BTG term! Besides, where the original source material itself does offer direct evidence it refers only to platoon and company levels. The source never once provides even a direct semantic reference to such a "detachment" - the very definition of this claimed "reform" or "restructure". Without any publication date, we could be practically dealing with an old Soviet-era training manual, which were known to build on actual reforms from close combat in assault tactics used at places like Koenigsberg, Budapest, Breslau and Berlin
I am in no way an expert or even an informed observer on any of this. But when I read the Daily Kos article that you referenced then even I can see flaws. To quote from it:
“We’ve never seen a video of 20-30 tanks and 120 infantry fighting vehicles swarming down a field toward an objective. The U.S. could easily manage that with a BCT. Heck, it could do so with multiple BCTs at once.”
Given all that you have written about ISR I struggle that anyone in a modern battlefield would mass so many vehicles and men in one place. One drone sighting and the whole lot could be destroyed in one go. Strikes me that we are seeing a continued progression of the “empty battlefield” and that Russia’s force organisation plus deployment reflects that.
Does seem that the west is still (at least in public, I have no idea what they say behind closed doors) fixated on WW2 Blitzkrieg / Desert Storm style mass tank battles based on an assumption of total air superiority and an opposition that lacks drones and missiles. As you suggest.
The western “exerts” also seem to criticise Russia for undermanning BTGs by having fewer infantry than they might expect but then accuse Russia too of human wave type tactics. There is a contradiction there! My own sense of history is that casualty averse and relatively sophisticated armies tend to be highly capital intensive, as the Russian army is. As a parallel, the British Army of late WW2 was arguably the most casualty averse of all the participants at that time (being deliberately starved of men by politicians who did not want a repeat of WW1) and was known too for being highly artillery rich and never really doing anything without absolutely overwhelming artillery firepower in place.
As you say, it will be interesting how this pans out as Russia brings its full force into battle. Very few other commentators seem to recognise that on the ground Russia is still outnumbered and yet is still advancing and Ukraine has not managed any form of serious offensive to take advantage of having superior numbers on the ground.
One final thought occurs to. Wagner seems to be playing a significant role; albeit they talk about it, whereas regular units don’t so it may be relatively overstated too. I wonder if their deployment is in line with this paper as complete units with the full range of equipment. Or are they the purely equivalent of assault platoons attached to regular Russian units that then deploy tanks and artillery.
Very interesting, thank you.
I'm just a Swiss infantry lieutenant and did my last refresher in the early 90s. I did not have access to artillery, but we were routinely encouraged to coordinate with our battalion-internal 8.3cm mortar company to record planned fire on our trenches in case one section was overrun and we needed to prep for re-taking it.
I think it’s important to remember this is action taken by Russia to stop Ukraine’s assault on Donbas called a SMO not a declaration of war.
This is important distinction from a declaration of war. If for example Ukraine invades Transnistria Russia has said they will call a declaration of war which changes the dynamics altogether.
If an event does occur that causes Russia to declare war then all the gloves are off.
Yes, I understand currently the SMO has all the appearances of a war but, believe you me if this turns into an official war then the U.S. will be sent to scrambling.
Among many other things their ISR advantage will promptly be degraded.
Its amazing how little Western "intelligence" knows about Russia. Really demonstrates ignorance, stupidity and arrogance. Russia has destroyed 2 Ukrainian armies supported by NATO, and working on destroying #3. Russia has not deployed more than a third of the mobilized soldiers to date, and is conducting a systematic grind and pulverize campaign across the front, with Ukraine eager to comply by throwing massive numbers of resources at the front to be slaughtered. Scott Ritter claims the Ukraine KIA's are north of 300,000, and total casualties over 500,000. Russia goals are to demilitarize, de-Natzify Ukraine and reclaim the 4 regions as Russia. Strong progress being made and Russia has not really used any significant power yet. Russia is holding back its power anticipating a NATO intervention of some sort this year. Multiple Western talking head politicos and MSM spew massive volume of propaganda and disinformation every single day, often contradictory with what they said the day before. They dutifully read or print their daily talking points provided by the US State Dept. Yes, they are stupid, but this disinformation is planned and very deliberate, to confuse their citizens and the enemy. The war would have been over already, but Russia is carefully managing escalation and ensuring it avoids political exposure for the Global South.
Some aspects of this approach remind me of my forward observer filed time in RVN. We had a dedicated 105 battery in direct support and the only clearance need for a fire mission was air traffic deconfliction. I recall no delays after calling in my fire mission.
Later in my tour I set up a system that linked our recon patrols in the surrounding mountains and army special forces units operating further out directly with a relevant firing battery. Prior to setting this up all recon & Special Forces fire mission had to go through the artillery regiment control center which relayed the requests to a relevant battery. As I recall the fire adjustments needed go go through this inefficient pathway. The good news was that then artillery regimental command was quite supportive of such an improvement.
On another topic my company spent time in the mountain foothills and also settled flatland (Arizona Territory) where there were often NVA incursions. Jim Webb (platoon commander when I was in then field, later company commander and much later Secretary of the Navy) spent much time in this terrain and described in one of his books that every tree line had trenches and every dwelling had a bunker - which was challenging to deal with as there were typically family members in bunkers that needed to be cleared. He described the tactics that had evolved at the small unit level to address these challenges.
Such adaption in tactics to local (or systems) challenges was quite possible, but was (in my experience) driven by individual rather than "doctrinal" initiative.
Your analyses are AMAZING and deeply informative. Keep up the great work
One funny thing I note about this war is the sheer number of Brigade HQs and Ammo Dumps Russia overran in the early war days just in the south. Kherson City was home to 5 Brigade Bases all of which were overran within 3 days with most of their logistical gear which Oryx never added to his counts.
In fact Ukrainian Vehicles Losses exceed Russian losses by a large margin. To the point many Ukrainian Units have to walk miles due to lack of trucks. Many Ukrainian Units have not been resupplied for weeks on end with basic food or had their dead removed. Meanwhile Russian Logistics continue to deliver on scales that dwarf what NATO is capable of despite Trent Trelenko's stupid assertions. Hell the RuAF launches more sorties in a day than NATO launched in a month fighting ISIS and half those sorties were reconnaissance runs.
The sheer self-deceiving psyops by NATO has created a completely false picture to casual listeners on the scale of the Afghan Shock when to most people who weren't paying attention, thought the Afghan Army collapsed in 15 days. In reality the Taliban had the year prior cut all direct connections between cities on the ring road, fatally crippling ANA logistics, then began defeating the ANA in open field battles for months. The 15 days collapse most saw was actually the result of a full year of successful Taliban attacks that broke ANA and isolated them to the Provincial Capitals and defeated them in detail.