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  #391  
Old 11-04-2022, 09:36 PM
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The next batch of aid to Ukraine will include 90 upgraded T-72 tanks from Czech Republic, half paid for by the US and half by the Dutch. Reuters claims they'll match the T-72 Avenger upgrade from earlier this year. 26 are supposed to be delivered by the end of 2022, with the remainder being delivered next year.
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  #392  
Old 11-05-2022, 07:07 AM
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The Avenger upgrade looks very good on paper. The Czechs already did well with their own M4 upgrade of the T-72, too. So they know what they're doing and what can be done to a T-72 in general.
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  #393  
Old 11-06-2022, 07:48 AM
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Avenger is a much less expensive upgrade than M4CZ, based on the allocated funds. Each Avenger is around $1 million to upgrade, while the M4CZ was around $5.2 million when the work was done almost 20 years ago (~$7.5-8 million in today's dollars), and they spent another $47 million a couple years ago replacing obsolete parts in the 30 tanks and 3 recovery vehicles. The outlay to upgrade the 90 T-72 to Avenger status would, as a very rough guess, be about enough to upgrade 12 tanks to T-72M4CZ.
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  #394  
Old 11-06-2022, 09:07 AM
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Avenger...that's a new one on me. New one to research...
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  #395  
Old 11-06-2022, 02:13 PM
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@Vespers War
As you said, the M4CZ upgrade is around 20 years old, that alone makes prices incomparable, because of inflation on the one side and R&D on the other. What was terribly expansive in the early 2000s is now readily available. Also, if I remember correctly, the M4CZ upgrade included development of a new 125 mm APFSDS round, which would still be useful, but needs no money spent on R&D.

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Avenger...that's a new one on me. New one to research...
The Avenger upgrade is very similar to the early upgrade called "Scarab", also done by the company named "Excalibur Army". Avenger T-72s include 196 ERA tiles with an alleged equivalent of 400 mm RHA, modernized night vision for all crew, a new LRF, fully passive night vision without the need for active IR (probably just for the gunner), a thermal sight with a ballistic computer, periscopal optics with laser protection, a new 840 HP power pack, a new digital driver's cockpit, a new fire protection system and new internal and external communications, including an encrypted digital radio.

I also presume, the 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun in a remotely controlled weapon station, which the Scarab fields, would be present with the Avenger, too. Also, the ERA bricks on the turret are hidden under a clean metal bodywork, altering the appearance of the turret significantly. The turret rear and sides, directly adjacent to the frontal ERA protection, are covered with SLAT armor bars, giving at least some protection against handheld AT systems, such as the ubiquitous RPG-7.

So, it's completely refurbished on the inside, including a new power pack, but the main weapon system seems to remain pretty standard.
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  #396  
Old 11-06-2022, 05:23 PM
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I'm currently unconvinced about the ERA protection amount. That 400mm RHA equivalent would be Kontakt-1 levels of protection. Scarab mounted DYNA, which is closer to 600-650mm RHA equivalent on a T-72M1 hull. They certainly could be using Kontakt-1 if Ukraine requested it for logistical reasons, but Ukraine already imports Kontakt-1 from STV Group in Czech Republic, so either ERA system would require importing replacement tiles.
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  #397  
Old 11-07-2022, 02:50 PM
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Yes, I was surprised about the rather low number of 400 mm RHA. It just seems so little today.
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  #398  
Old 11-09-2022, 07:08 PM
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Here's an interesting look at WWII weapons in use in Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDd8NFftuXI
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  #399  
Old 11-11-2022, 01:11 PM
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Default Kherson Liberated!

Back in March, who would have predicted Ukrainian forces liberating Kherson?

Although I'm very happy for the UAF, I am doubtful that they can seize a sizeable bridgehead on the east bank. The Russians have spent the past few weeks digging in there, and any crossing attempt would be pounded by Russian artillery. This may be the high water mark of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the region. Still...

Slava Ukraini!

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  #400  
Old 11-11-2022, 08:48 PM
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Back in March, who would have predicted Ukrainian forces liberating Kherson?

Although I'm very happy for the UAF, I am doubtful that they can seize a sizeable bridgehead on the east bank. The Russians have spent the past few weeks digging in there, and any crossing attempt would be pounded by Russian artillery. This may be the high water mark of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the region. Still...

Slava Ukraini!

-
Cross the river elsewhere and bypass and encircle the entrenched Russian forces. The Ukrainians seem to be very proficient at flanking maneuvers and interdiction of supply lines. Isolate Russian pockets and let them wither on the vine.
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Old 11-12-2022, 02:09 PM
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This seems to be the clear path forward. If Ukraine ends up attacking into Crimea, they'll have to do it through the Melitopol path. Unless Ukraine has some magical way of instantly transporting huge numbers of Ukrainian soldiers across the Dnipro, it seems like that part of the front is going to become static for now. I imagine this will open up a number of forces on both sides however as it will be easier for both sides to defend the Dnipro with fewer troops. I don't see Ukraine making much headway in the south anytime soon as it gets reinforced with all of these soldiers from Kherson, but there might be a path up in the north.
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Old 11-12-2022, 02:39 PM
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Cross the river elsewhere and bypass and encircle the entrenched Russian forces. The Ukrainians seem to be very proficient at flanking maneuvers and interdiction of supply lines. Isolate Russian pockets and let them wither on the vine.
That would be good, but any UAF attacking force would have a long, exposed flank and the Dnipro bisecting their MSR (we've seen how that impeded Russian resupply operations during the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive); the Russians, meanwhile, would have the interior lines of supply.

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This seems to be the clear path forward. If Ukraine ends up attacking into Crimea, they'll have to do it through the Melitopol path. Unless Ukraine has some magical way of instantly transporting huge numbers of Ukrainian soldiers across the Dnipro, it seems like that part of the front is going to become static for now. I imagine this will open up a number of forces on both sides however as it will be easier for both sides to defend the Dnipro with fewer troops. I don't see Ukraine making much headway in the south anytime soon as it gets reinforced with all of these soldiers from Kherson, but there might be a path up in the north.
This seems the most likely next phase.

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  #403  
Old 11-13-2022, 07:05 AM
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Although I'm very happy for the UAF, I am doubtful that they can seize a sizeable bridgehead on the east bank. The Russians have spent the past few weeks digging in there, and any crossing attempt would be pounded by Russian artillery. This may be the high water mark of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the region. Still...

-
The Ukrainians of course are already on the Eastern side of the Dnipro, since Russia never took the North of Zaporizhia oblast (including Zaporizhia itself) or indeed the Dnipropetrovsk oblast. Hence, the Ukrainian forces are now in the comfortable position to either shift their forces in Kherson to Donbas or cross the Dnipro at Kherson, which is risky, because it's a wide river and the enemy is entrenched. However the enemy is also on the run and his forces consist mainly of untrained and inexperienced mobilized men.

A third option would be, to move through Zaporizhia oblast and cut into Melitopol in the South, where partisans have been fighting the Russians for months now. This would cut of southern Kherson and Crimea from Donbas and Southern Russia (Rostov-on-Don). Since the Kerch bridge will likely be down for month to come, that would necessitate to supply Crimea by sea, which likely means that support in any meaningful way is out of the question.

Personally, I think that the Ukrainians will want to pressure the Russians on as many fronts as possible at the same time, keeping them guessing on what happens next. If the Russians don't rally their troops soon in southern Kherson, their entrenchments will be useless and the Ukrainians can cross the river to establish a bridge head either at Nova Kakhovka or across from Nikopol.

Either way, the Russians are screwed and have been for a long time now. But the Kremlin has no way out. Basically, I think the Kremlin power circles will keep throwing their male population under the bus for as long as the current power structure remains in place.

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  #404  
Old 11-13-2022, 07:11 AM
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This seems to be the clear path forward. If Ukraine ends up attacking into Crimea, they'll have to do it through the Melitopol path. Unless Ukraine has some magical way of instantly transporting huge numbers of Ukrainian soldiers across the Dnipro, it seems like that part of the front is going to become static for now. I imagine this will open up a number of forces on both sides however as it will be easier for both sides to defend the Dnipro with fewer troops. I don't see Ukraine making much headway in the south anytime soon as it gets reinforced with all of these soldiers from Kherson, but there might be a path up in the north.
The Russians have few good troops left and even less equipment to reequip these forces. Melitopol seems the way to go for the Ukrainians I think, unless they assess the situation of the Russians on the other side of the Dnipro as so dire that crossing the river seems viable. I lack information on that, obviously.

But taking Melitopol would cut of southern Kherson and Crimea from the rest of Russian GLOCs and put the UAF in a position to encircle Russian forces or hit them in the rear (again) as they flee into Crimea. By then, Crimea would be yet another dead end, however, since the Kerch bridge remains out of operation. Also, taking Melitopol would allow Ukrainian forces to strengthen it's forces in Donbas.

This winter will bring a lot of action and as far as I read it, the Russians don't have enough winter equipment for their forces. Oh, the irony.
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:20 PM
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The Russians have few good troops left and even less equipment to reequip these forces. Melitopol seems the way to go for the Ukrainians I think, unless they assess the situation of the Russians on the other side of the Dnipro as so dire that crossing the river seems viable. I lack information on that, obviously.

But taking Melitopol would cut of southern Kherson and Crimea from the rest of Russian GLOCs and put the UAF in a position to encircle Russian forces or hit them in the rear (again) as they flee into Crimea. By then, Crimea would be yet another dead end, however, since the Kerch bridge remains out of operation. Also, taking Melitopol would allow Ukrainian forces to strengthen it's forces in Donbas.

This winter will bring a lot of action and as far as I read it, the Russians don't have enough winter equipment for their forces. Oh, the irony.
I don't disagree at all, but targeting Melitopol is such an obvious move right now that I have to imagine Russia is reinforcing that direction as we speak, likely with troops from the Kherson Oblast (there and in the east near Bakhmut).

Some other observations -
  • This is the first time in the war that the front has become just a static line without the Dnipro cutting it in half. and it's also reduced the length of the front line significantly. Any movement from either side at this point is going to be taxing that side's supply lines heavily while the other side will be free to respond largely without impediment.
  • Ukraine is likely suffering more losses than any of us actually know. Paired with them having a far smaller military than Russia at the start of the invasion means that they have to play it much more conservatively with any attacks.
  • Attacking Melitopol or pushing south will be a really hard campaign. Russia has had months to reinforce the direction, add mines and defensive fortifications, etc. Ukraine would need to have a resounding opportunity there to try for it since it would be such a big risk to their own units getting surrounded/cut off.
  • Russia moving forces from Kherson east is going to increase pressure on their already taxed logistics hubs, and reduce the number of targets for HIMARs, which will only help Ukraine.
  • Totally agreed that Russia is in big trouble with regard to winter approaching. If the rumors are true about their lack of cold weather gear, the first cold storm of the season is going to see Russians getting frostbite and taken out of action. This could definitely open some opportunities for Ukraine, especially once the ground freezes.

Overall, I see the war as being like a boxing match - an old heavyweight champ against a spry young fighter. The younger boxer took a couple of mean hits in the beginning of the fight, but has since been guarding, trying to wear the older fighter out. He's patient and smart - jabbing to the stomach, and then baiting the older fighter with feints and ducking in with heavy hits anytime the champ makes a mistake. This preserves his own energy while sapping the older boxer's energy. The young fighter's already won on points at this stage of the fight, but the older champ is still holding out hope for a stray knockout.

In this analogy, I don't see things changing a whole lot in the immediate future. Zelensky has done a really admirable job of restraining his own desires to push harder and risk his own forces on unnecessary assaults. I think Ukraine continues to hold for now and keeps hitting Russian logistics nodes while keeping its defenses tight, and then strikes hard when Russia makes mistakes. In short, anyone hoping for a big sudden push from Ukraine anytime in the near future is probably in for a disappointment. But once winter hits and parts of the Russian front begin to fall apart from lack of morale/winter clothing/supplies, we might see some great movement. Since Russia seems most intent in the east (that's where they claim they're making the most gains) they'll probably continue to reinforce the east to the detriment of the other directions -> future Ukrainian pushes will likely be up in the north near Svatove, or like you say, down near Melitopol. Personally I think we'll see a hard drive for Svatove first, but I'd be happy to be wrong if its in the south.
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  #406  
Old 11-15-2022, 07:27 PM
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Between regular military units and the Territorial Defense Forces, Ukraine is pretty rapidly approaching a million uniformed personnel. That's at least in the ballpark of what Russia can mobilize without a formal declaration of war, and might well exceed what Russia can actually deploy to Ukraine, even if neither can completely ignore their other neighbors. The TDFs are light motorized infantry, which aren't really suited for offensive operations without significant regular army support, but they can hold territory to free up other units for offensives.

They did have a far smaller military at the start of the war, but they also had a lot of veterans with recent experience because of their policy of rotating units in and out of the Donbas. There were reports that recruiters were being bribed to take people into units that had already met their recruiting quotas, the opposite of Russia where large numbers of conscription-aged men are fleeing the country to avoid service.

Russia does have a vast number of untapped reservists, but given how they've been scraping the bottom of the barrel to re-equip from recent losses and how they've re-formed training units into front-line forces to replace manpower losses, how they would train and equip those reservists would be a mystery even if they had the political will to declare war to make them eligible for call-up. Last week Ukraine captured a T-62 Obr.1967, which is pretty much as old as the name suggests (the Obr.1972 was the next model). No fittings for ERA (1983), no active protection system (1983), too old to have a laser rangefinder (1975) or even a pintle-mounted gun for air defense (1972). By this point I half-expect the next set of replacements to show up with Berdan rifles and tachankas with Maxims because they've already issued everything newer that wasn't looted for parts to sell on the black market.

Russia's still dangerous, to be sure, but their infantry and armor are showing severe shortfalls in capability, with the dangers coming from artillery (both tube and rocket/missile) and air support (both drone and crewed). If those can be suppressed through anti-air and counterbattery provisioning, I think it will largely mitigate Russia's advantages and allow Ukraine to exploit their advantages in having forces with better training and better morale.
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Old 11-15-2022, 10:57 PM
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One, maybe two stray missiles landing in Poland... not good. If it turns out they were fired by Russia, it'll be largely irrelevant that they were off-target. If they were Ukrainian ADA munitions, much of the world will still make the point that Ukraine wouldn't need to fire anti-missile missiles if they weren't being attacked by Russia.

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  #408  
Old 11-16-2022, 01:29 PM
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Even beside the recent news that the missiles were likely Ukrainian in origin (which I'm only half convinced is true in any case), I don't think NATO has any interest in escalation over what was, in all likelihood, an accident.

I saw an interesting analysis last night that the GPS coordinates of the explosion in Poland, when reversed, would target a train junction near Lviv, which could also be a potential explanation for what took place. If it happens again on the other hand, well let's just hope it doesn't happen again.
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Old 11-16-2022, 01:42 PM
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I wonder what this [errant?] strike on Polish soil- regardless of who launched the offending missiles- will do to Poland's resolve to continue its support of Ukraine. It could go either way. This incident could either strengthen Poland's resolve (now we're really in this together!) or it could weaken it (why continue to support a combatant next door if it's leading to collateral damage here at home?). The Polish government is putting on a brave face, ATM. In a democracy, however, popular sentiment usually prevails in the end.

Does anyone have a sense of popular opinion in Poland re the war?

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  #410  
Old 11-16-2022, 05:41 PM
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Does anyone have a sense of popular opinion in Poland re the war?
I know nothing about what the people of Poland currently think of the war next door, but I do know that Poles in general remain DEEPLY p*ssed off regarding their treatment by the Soviet Union since 1939. And successive Polish governments in recent times seem to take military readiness pretty seriously.
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Old 11-20-2022, 06:31 PM
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Between regular military units and the Territorial Defense Forces, Ukraine is pretty rapidly approaching a million uniformed personnel. That's at least in the ballpark of what Russia can mobilize without a formal declaration of war, and might well exceed what Russia can actually deploy to Ukraine, even if neither can completely ignore their other neighbors. The TDFs are light motorized infantry, which aren't really suited for offensive operations without significant regular army support, but they can hold territory to free up other units for offensives.

They did have a far smaller military at the start of the war, but they also had a lot of veterans with recent experience because of their policy of rotating units in and out of the Donbas. There were reports that recruiters were being bribed to take people into units that had already met their recruiting quotas, the opposite of Russia where large numbers of conscription-aged men are fleeing the country to avoid service.

Russia does have a vast number of untapped reservists, but given how they've been scraping the bottom of the barrel to re-equip from recent losses and how they've re-formed training units into front-line forces to replace manpower losses, how they would train and equip those reservists would be a mystery even if they had the political will to declare war to make them eligible for call-up. Last week Ukraine captured a T-62 Obr.1967, which is pretty much as old as the name suggests (the Obr.1972 was the next model). No fittings for ERA (1983), no active protection system (1983), too old to have a laser rangefinder (1975) or even a pintle-mounted gun for air defense (1972). By this point I half-expect the next set of replacements to show up with Berdan rifles and tachankas with Maxims because they've already issued everything newer that wasn't looted for parts to sell on the black market.

Russia's still dangerous, to be sure, but their infantry and armor are showing severe shortfalls in capability, with the dangers coming from artillery (both tube and rocket/missile) and air support (both drone and crewed). If those can be suppressed through anti-air and counterbattery provisioning, I think it will largely mitigate Russia's advantages and allow Ukraine to exploit their advantages in having forces with better training and better morale.
It looks like the UK is sending more air defense aid to Ukraine in addition to another US military aid package. While neither side can control the air the additional assets make it more risky for Ivan to fly anything other than cruise missiles over Ukraine.
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Old 11-20-2022, 08:14 PM
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It looks like the UK is sending more air defense aid to Ukraine in addition to another US military aid package. While neither side can control the air the additional assets make it more risky for Ivan to fly anything other than cruise missiles over Ukraine.
And hopefully neuter Russia's cruise missiles at the same time. Ukraine will be much better off if Russia can't keep terrorizing civilians with cruise missiles.
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Old 11-20-2022, 08:27 PM
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I'm curious what the 100+ anti-aircraft guns will end up being, since I think the last new piece of AAA adopted by the British Army was the QF 5.25-inch Mark II in 1942. There were a few prototypes of systems after that, but they introduced missiles for land-based air defense in the late 1950s and never looked back.
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Old 11-22-2022, 01:35 PM
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I can't imagine what AAA would be either unless the UK is purchasing guns from a third party to ship to Ukraine-a run of Swiss or Swedish Oerlikons? Surely nothing captured from Argentina would still be held.

Wonder if quantities of Blowpipe missiles are still in inventory that could be reconditioned and fitted with new batteries? The Blowpipe had a questionable reputation in Afghanistan but seemed perfectly good elsewhere.
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Old 11-22-2022, 01:57 PM
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I'm curious what the 100+ anti-aircraft guns will end up being
Ma Deuce?? (L111A1 in UK)

If that particular term "anti-aircraft" was used by anyone in politics or media rather than the military, I could see it.
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Old 11-22-2022, 05:14 PM
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I wonder what this [errant?] strike on Polish soil- regardless of who launched the offending missiles- will do to Poland's resolve to continue its support of Ukraine. It could go either way. This incident could either strengthen Poland's resolve (now we're really in this together!) or it could weaken it (why continue to support a combatant next door if it's leading to collateral damage here at home?). The Polish government is putting on a brave face, ATM. In a democracy, however, popular sentiment usually prevails in the end.

Does anyone have a sense of popular opinion in Poland re the war?

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Old 11-23-2022, 05:54 PM
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Default Trickle of Tanks

Thanks for that piece, Rainbow. That's reassuring. I was worried that Poland's far right would be sympathetic to Putin's brand of populist authoritarianism.

As I watched yet another video clip of UAF ATGM teams engaging in a game of Russian tank turret toss, it struck me that I've only seen one or two videos- and those from early in the war- of more than a couple of Russian tanks operating together- it's almost always singletons or pairs. Also, in said clips (I've watched at least 100 by now, I'm sure), Russian armor is never supported by dismounted infantry.

Both are big tactical errors, and are assuredly big contributors to Russian AFV losses. I keep wondering why the Russians continue to deploy their armor piecemeal. Perhaps all those [Cold War] years of imagining masses of Soviet tanks and IFVs swarming across the fields of the Fulda Gap have conditioned me resulting in cognitive dissonance.

By the same token, in the terminal phases of the Twilight War, armor would nearly always be tactically deployed in very small numbers, so that's helpful.

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Old 11-23-2022, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Thanks for that piece, Rainbow. That's reassuring. I was worried that Poland's far right would be sympathetic to Putin's brand of populist authoritarianism.

As I watched yet another video clip of UAF ATGM teams engaging in a game of Russian tank turret toss, it struck me that I've only seen one or two videos- and those from early in the war- of more than a couple of Russian tanks operating together- it's almost always singletons or pairs. Also, in said clips (I've watched at least 100 by now, I'm sure), Russian armor is never supported by dismounted infantry.

Both are big tactical errors, and are assuredly big contributors to Russian AFV losses. I keep wondering why the Russians continue to deploy their armor piecemeal. Perhaps all those [Cold War] years of imagining masses of Soviet tanks and IFVs swarming across the fields of the Fulda Gap have conditioned me resulting in cognitive dissonance.

By the same token, in the terminal phases of the Twilight War, armor would nearly always be tactically deployed in very small numbers, so that's helpful.

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As I understand it Russian BTGs are very light on actual infantry, some 200 per BTG. If we assume they've got an offensive frontage a few km wide the density of infantry is super low even at full strength.

It seems to me (I'm no expert) that even modest combat losses to a BTG's infantry means they don't have enough men to cover their frontage and spare some to maneuver with the tanks. So tanks might have dismounted infantry in a well coordinated push but most of the time the tanks end up by themselves.

My understanding could of course be way off.
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  #419  
Old 11-23-2022, 08:18 PM
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Jack Watling of RUTI isn't sure it's even worthwhile to discuss BTGs any more, that Russia's level of effective unit coordination has devolved down to the company level. If that's accurate, then in addition to the general infantry shortages, there's going to be relatively little sharing of assets of different types, since AFAIK Russia still generally has the old Soviet 3:1 ratio where armor units have 3 of an armored unit size to 1 infantry unit of the same size, and infantry is vice versa.

Assuming they can still do their usual split of the smaller unit, that means a company of tanks might be assigned a platoon of infantry or a company of infantry might get a platoon of tanks, but those platoons still report up to their company leader, not the company leader they're being loaned to. Russia's very hierarchical command structure and lack of promoting initiative among junior officers makes coordination slower and more difficult.

And there are likely still infantry shortages in general, since the small(ish) professional core of the Russian military tends to emphasize more technical roles, and there are probably still motorized rifle platoons where you've got 3 BMPs and only enough men to have 4-5 dismounts when accounting for the fact that the infantry platoon provides the IFV crews. So you might end up with a tank company of 10 tanks having their loaned platoon of infantry being 3 BMPs with their crews and a half dozen guys who actually fight on foot.
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Old 11-24-2022, 05:47 PM
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sThanks. That helps explain the lack of infantry support.

I'm still baffled why Russian armor so often operates in such small groups. This video, assuming it's real, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

https://twitter.com/UAWeapons/status...C8zb_UsaAsAAAA

That Russian tank is completely on its own. What was it's crew, and unit commander, thinking?

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