These are difficult days, and suddenly very deadly, to be a general leading Russia’s unprovoked invasion in Ukraine.
After three weeks of fighting, Ukrainian forces managed to stop Russian advances in the country that is nine-tenths the area of Texas.
Worse still for Russian strategy and morale is the death of nearly 12 senior officers, including five generals. Intelligence estimates that there are approximately 7,000 Russians dead.
Unconfirmed reports also claim that four more generals were fired in Moscow due to the poor performance of the third-largest army in the world, which has so far been the best in Ukraine.
Even the Ukrainian forces were able to launch a nervy commando attack on an airbase in Russia. A group of people from Belarus has been disrupting rail lines carrying supplies to the Russian invaders.
This is the largest armed conflict in Europe in 77-years. It has created an estimated 4 million refugees from a population of 44 million.
Presumably or hopefully, the Pentagon is up close studying Russian forces, strategies, the tactical preferences of certain senior officers, and the performance/weaknesses of equipment that NATO forces might someday themselves encounter.
How is it possible for Ukraine to resist such an invading army from abroad and, most importantly, to kill so many of its senior officers?
A retired senior U.S. General provided professional insight Sunday. Former CentComm commanding officer Gen. David Petraeus warned that it is not enough to judge the strength of military forces involved in this conflict.
Everyone wants to tell you that the Russians have 200,000 and the Ukrainians 100,000. It is not true.
Ukrainians are home to 100,000 people, as well as every adult in the country. They’re all willing to help or take up arms, even if it’s just to jam radio signals or vlog.
Russians in Russia call them and ask, “Do you know how bad this is going for?”
Petraeus stated that the invasion had become “a stalemate”, a bloody standstill, and a war against all odds.
He said, “It’s still a deadlock on the battlefield with continued damage on both sides and lots of destruction from the Russians,”
“But there is a battle for attrition in a sense between the will of Kyiv and the nation and then between that of Moscow and particularly in the Kremlin as their economy, financial system, and all that rest are just collapsing.”
Why is this? General with 37 years of Army experience, the general notes increasing pressures and even presidential anger coming from Moscow. He also points out numerous systemic failures within Russia.
This includes conscripts’ inexperience and poor training. Shoddy communications. And most importantly, a chronic lack of initiative among the lower officers’ ranks, as they fearfully or hesitantly wait to be told what should be done.
[Historical note: The Allies arrived at Normandy on 6 June 1944. You may remember that there was a period of uncertainty when the invasion could have been stopped. Panzers and reinforcements were nearby for the Germans.
Their commanders refused to move without Berlin’s orders. Hitler was already asleep that night and nobody wanted to awaken him with bad news. It was too late to stop the Third Reich’s beginning.
Petraeus once again:
Bottom line: Russian command-and-control is broken. The Ukrainians have jammed their communications. Their secure communications didn’t work.
They were required to only go to one channel. That’s jammable. That’s exactly what Ukrainians have done.
Russians use cell phones. The prefix Russia was blocked by the Ukrainians. That didn’t work. They then took down 3G. They are now literally taking cell phones from civilians in Ukraine to communicate with one another.
This is not a sign of a well-oiled Warmachine.
Ukrainians are fighting for their homeland, and they are receiving arms from European democracies.
Barack Obama sent blankets, MREs, and blankets to Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea. Joe Biden was late to provide lethal weapons, as he is often when it comes to crucial policies.
Biden did not authorize $800,000,000 in new arms and ammunition until after the invasion, and President Volodymyr Zilensky’s emotional address before Congress. One NASCAR racer became so frustrated with the government that he bought one million rounds of ammunition on his own.
Russian forces are made up of conscripts who have been trained for a year and were misled about their mission.
According to Ukrainians POWs claim that they were told they would be welcomed as liberators by fascist U.S. troops. Sometimes, Russians surrendered to the Americans, leaving behind food, water, and fuel. This indicates that they are not well-equipped for logistics.
None of this can predict the end of the fighting, but it does show the predicament that the overconfident Russian forces, which includes Vladimir Putin, are currently in.
Russia’s Army is home to approximately 900,000 troops on active duty, while Ukraine has 170,000. The U.S. Army boasts 485,000 active-duty troops, while the People’s Liberation Army of China has nearly 2.2 million.
Biden will be visiting Poland this week after a NATO meeting in Belgium. Three European prime ministers risked artillery firing to provide in-person support for Ukraine last week.
Senior field commanders require a wide battle overview. They are usually not near the fighting front. Petraeus points out that a major problem in Russia is the lack of initiative by lower ranks, who are afraid of making mistakes. They are then beaten down by weaker Ukrainian forces, who run.
The column is stopped. The general, who is impatient, sits back in his armored vehicle or other vehicles. Because there is no initiative, he goes forward to investigate.
There is no corps of non-commissioned officers. At junior levels, there is no sense of initiative. They are content to wait for instructions.
It’s a great place to be. The Ukrainians are very skilled snipers. They have been picking them off all day. At least four of these five have been confirmed. We will also hear the fifth, I believe.
This was exactly what happened at Mariupol last Wednesday. Maj. Gen Oleg Mihayaev went to check on the situation with his troops. He was saved by a sniper who had been trained to target officers.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry published a photo identifying the body of the general at 48 years old. He did not seem to be hungry like his troops.
АЗОВ знищив генерал-майора окупаційних військ!
Хто з мечем до нас прийде, від меча і загине!
Слава Україні! pic.twitter.com/1mvLUYvNjk
— АЗОВ (@Polk_Azov) March 15, 2022
The American general said, “It’s very rare. This was just within the first three weeks. These are very senior generals.”