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In Ukraine’s Kherson Offensive, an Echo of a U.S. Military Fiasco: The 1944 Battle of Rapido River

Ukraine
Russian Military T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On August 29, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, after months of preparation, launched an offensive to retake the Kherson region from occupying Russian troops.  As many had warned in the weeks preceding the attack, there was no viable military path to victory for the Ukrainian offensive. The Ukraine military launched its attack anyway. Early independent assessments indicate the attack has indeed failed, and at a high cost in troops lost.

(Watch 19FortyFive Contributing Editor Daniel L. Davis on the BBC discussing the war in Ukraine.)

While its reasonable to ask why the Ukraine military would launch an attack that evidence strongly suggested they could not win, we have some of our own dark military history to provide a partial explanation. In a remarkably similar situation to World War II, the United States Army launched an offensive action in 1944 against the Germans defending along a river line in central Italy. It was called the Rapido River. It would turn out to be one of the worst military defeats for the United States in the war.

It proved to be an attack that was unnecessary and completely avoidable. Nearly an entire division was pointlessly sacrificed.

American Army at the Battle of Rapido, 1944

In late 1943, the Allies had decided to flank the German defenses in Italy by conducting a surprise beach landing south of Rome at the resort city of Anzio. To prevent the Germans from moving troops from their main line of defenses in central Italy to send reinforcements to Anzio, Allied commander Gen. Herold Alexander had given U.S. V Corps Commander, Gen. Mark Clark, an order to attack the German’s main line of defense at the Gustov line to hold the enemy in place. Anchoring the German defenses on the Gustov line was the Rapido River.

To execute his commander’s mission, Clark ordered his 36th Infantry Division, known as the “Texas Division,” to attack the Germans by conducting a combat crossing of the Rapido. The 36th Infantry’s commander, Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker, knew the mission was suicide. The Germans had spent months preparing defensive positions with interlocking fires, covered with pre-positioned artillery and mortar targets, and they held the high ground.  To even get to the river, Walker’s men would have to march over open ground, exposed to German artillery. With no protection from enemy fire, Walker knew, his men would be wiped out before making any viable crossing of the river.

Knowing the tactical situation on both sides of the river, Walker had identified an alternative location from which to attack that would have afforded some protection from German observation and artillery fire, and was shallow enough to cross without the need for boats. Five times Walker asked Clark to alter the mission, and five times the commander refused. Clark stubbornly demanded the men of the 36th Division attack at the main point of the river into the teeth of enemy strength.

In Congressional testimony after the war, Walker said of his mission prior to executing the order that it “was very obvious to even an inexperienced soldier that an attack such as the one ordered had practically no chance for success. All the teaching of sound military tactics would be violated by such an attack.” As it turned out, Walker was proven right, at the cost of over 1,700 men killed, wounded, or captured in barely 48 hours of fighting.

Litter bearers bring back wounded during attempt to span the Rapido River near Cassino, Italy.” 23 January 1944

Litter bearers bring back wounded during attempt to span the Rapido River near Cassino, Italy.” 23 January 1944

Everything Walker feared came to pass. On January 20, 1944 Walker’s men began the assault, at night, to try and evade detection from German gunners. He didn’t succeed. The enemy unleashed countless barrages of artillery that cut the U.S. troops to pieces. The first night no American breached the river. Undeterred, Clark remained unmoved and told Walker the order to attack the next night was still valid. On the 21st, the 36th attacked again, suffering withering artillery and mortar fire. Some men made it across the river this time, but only a handful, and the second echelon of Germany’s layered defenses quickly eliminated them.

In the end, the attack wasted an entire American infantry division, as the 36th was rendered combat ineffective and had to retire from the field. Eventually the Allies moved on to other parts of the front and – ironically – successfully crossed in the location Walker had originally identified near a fordable portion of the Rapido. What this battle exposed, was what happens when military leaders are so focused on the outcome desired that they ignore sound military judgment that indicate a given course of action has a high likelihood of failure.

Not unlike what appears to be unfolding with the Ukrainian attack at Kherson.

Ukrainian Offensive at Kherson, 2022

Last May, I explained that for Ukraine to have any chance of defeating Russia, it would have to do three things: blunt Russia’s Donbas assault, create mobile defenses in depth to the west of Donbas, and create a new 100,000-man offensive force. In the months since, it has been proven that Ukraine has been entirely unable to do two of the three requirements – blunt Russia’s attack in Donbas and create a 100,000 man offensive force – and only partially successful at one – prepare more lines of defense west of Donbas.

Russia's T-72 Tanks Ukraine

A man jumps from a Russian T-72 tank destroyed during Russia’s invasion, in the village of Yahidne, Ukraine April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

In June, as it was becoming evident that Ukraine would be unable to stop Russia in the Donbas and couldn’t muster either the personnel or equipment to form a major offensive force. At the time I wrote, “Zelensky and the Ukrainian people will soon come face-to-face with the ugly prospect that continuing to fight will only bring more death and destruction to its people, cities, and armed forces.” The military fundamentals, I explained, were in Russia’s favor.

In July, just after the fall of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, I pointed out it was becoming ever more evident that the fundamentals were increasingly against Ukraine. “The Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue to suffer loss after loss, surrendering more territory to the Russians,” I argued. If Kyiv and the West were to continue ignoring combat reality, I continued, “Ukraine may suffer an outright military defeat.” As the weeks and months passed, Kyiv was open and blunt about preparing for an offensive in the Kherson region to try and recapture lost territory there.

Should Zelensky order such an assault, I wrote in an early August assessment:

Every important historic battlefield determinant indicates Ukraine would fail if it tried to launch an offensive against Russia in Kherson… Russian gunners and drone operators will be watching and able to engage armored vehicles and infantrymen in the open, with only limited protection. Russia still has considerable amount of artillery in the Kherson region, ability to launch rocket attacks, and still a major advantage in air power. Ukraine would run the risk of being cut to ribbons if they ventured into the open. 

The Kherson offensive began on August 29, according to Ukrainian government sources. In the six days following, Kyiv was unusually mum on providing any details of the battle, citing “operational security,” as the reason for its opacity. On Sunday September 3, however, Zelensky claimed Ukrainian troops had made significant progress, though he too refused to offer details of how or where his troops had succeeded. Russian media, however, was far from silent.

Through the fist week of battle, Russian media reported that Ukraine troops had suffered a series of significant losses – up to 3,000 killed in action. They claimed that Ukraine had indeed launched an offensive from three axes west of Kherson and penetrated some Russian lines, but then claimed the Ukrainians were destroyed in local Russian counterattacks and eventually driven back to their start points.

Russian media and government reports, however, are notorious for lying or greatly exaggerating, so nothing they say can be taken at face value. On Wednesday, however, the Washington Post offered one of the first independent looks at what actually took place after the first week when it conducted on-location interviews in hospitals with Ukrainian troops wounded in the Kherson offensive. It wasn’t pretty – or surprising.

Ukraine

Russian T-72 tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ukrainian soldiers, the Post reported, “said they lacked the artillery needed to dislodge Russia’s entrenched forces and described a yawning technology gap with their better-equipped adversaries.” Russian tanks emerged from newly build cement fortifications to blast infantry with large-caliber artillery, one soldier to the Post. Anther wounded trooper said “(w)e lost five people for every one they did,” while another added, “(i)f we fire three mortars, they fire 20 in return.”

As with America’s loss at the Rapido River, the military fundamentals clearly indicated an attack against a well-entrenched opponent – one that had months to prepare – would have no genuine chance of success. Russia’s known superiority in artillery, mortar, and air power would make virtually any attack, across open land, near-suicidal. The Americans in the 36th Infantry Division and the Ukrainian soldiers in the Kherson front likely knew their task was impossible, yet made the attempt anyway – and suffered the expected results.

Differences between 1944 and 2022

There are, however, critical differences between the Rapido disaster and the one apparently unfolding in Kherson today. In early 1944, the U.S. was part of a major alliance consisting of millions of troops. Germany was already reeling in the east to a Soviet onslaught barreling towards Berlin and on June 6, 1944, suffered the Normandy invasion that opened up a third major attack against its troops.

In Germany’s case, they had no help and eventually had to withdraw from the Rapido River, despite having defeated the U.S. in that battle. The U.S., even though it had lost the 36th Infantry Division as a combat-capable force, still had hundreds of thousands of other U.S. and allied troops to continue the offensive elsewhere in Italy.

Today, Russia has no such pressures on other fronts, and the Ukrainian side has only limited numbers of remaining troops – and even those few troops are equipped with insufficient amounts of inadequate armor. Western defense ministers are meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday to discuss the possibility of providing a new tranche of weapons to Ukraine.

If the group doesn’t promise near-immediate delivery of 750 to 1,000 units of modern tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers, and all the ammunition and support necessary to launch and sustain offensive operations, it is likely Russian advantages in firepower and armor will continue to press the frontlines to the east. Even were the Western defense ministers to provide such a massive tranche, likely the best Ukraine troops could hope for would be to prevent any further Russian advances in Kherson, Kharkiv, and the Donbas. The most likely outcome, however, will be that the West provides a fraction of that total.

Ukraine

Russian Su-25s. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

It’s time the West woke up from its happy talk of hopes Ukraine is soon going to succeed despite age-old combat fundamentals being on the side of their Russian enemy. Clearly, the hope among many in the West is that the war will deteriorate into a long-term stalemate that will perpetually bleed Russian strength. There are two problems with that aspiration.

First, any weakening of Russia is going to be a temporary condition that, in almost every conceivable case, will eventually regain its strength. Ukraine, on the other hand, will pay for this temporary diminution of Russian power with the permanent loss of tens of thousands of its citizens, the destruction of scores of its cities (many of which may never be rebuilt), the scattering of millions of its residents abroad. Second, its not at all clear Ukraine can hold out against the expected Russian fall and winter offensives without breaking.

Conclusion

As of this writing, there is still much uncertainty as to what, exactly, happened with Ukraine’s offensive against Russia in Kherson. It is possible future reporting could reveal that Ukraine’s losses weren’t as bad as it appeared or that Russian losses were worse than has been reported. Yet regardless of what subsequent reporting uncovers, the combat fundamentals that augured against a Ukrainian offensive remain:

Zelensky’s forces don’t have remotely enough modern ground combat equipment to defeat Russia, remain deficient in artillery, have insufficient air defense capacity, have virtually no air power remaining, and most of all don’t have the trained and experienced personnel to conduct the sophisticated combined arms operations necessary to defeat entrenched opponents (even if they do eventually get the many hundreds of modern armored tanks and artillery).

TOS-1A Ukraine

TOS-1A fighting in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

It is always possible that Russia could run out of steam, that their forces might not be able to capture substantially more Ukrainian land, and that a stalemate could eventually settle in. If a stalemate does eventually develop, it would result in a grievous, long-term bleed of Ukrainian people and virtually destroy Kyiv’s national economy. Yet it also remains possible that Russia’s military advantages could eventually result in Ukraine’s defensive collapse and Kyiv could lose the war. It’s too early to say conclusively how this all ends.

What isn’t going to happen, at least not before the passage of some significant number of years, is a Ukrainian offensive that drives Russia out of all occupied Ukrainian territory and allows Kyiv to win the war. At the very least, its time the West came to grips with what is possible – and what isn’t.

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis.

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. TheDon

    September 7, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    The press is nearly silent with only regurgitated news without real on the scene verification.
    The losses seem more realistic given the sizable difference.

    Its an unfortunate war for both. Russia & Ukraine will continue to have losses. One loss is always worse, but both side have soldiers who dont return.

    Will Russia keep stomaching the loss.

  2. Brian Innes-Will

    September 7, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    Learned garbage, given the progress by the Ukrainians reported in the daily news.

    The Ukrainians are fighting what might be described as “mechanised guerrilla warfare” as opposed to the article’s imaginary WWII brigade-strength frontal attacks. With a front of hundreds of miles, both sides are relatively thin on the ground.

    All the Ukrainian fanfare about a southern offensive conned the Russians into thinning out their Eastern front even more, creating conditions for Ukrainian attacks.Neatly done, Ukraine. Brains beats brute stupidity and bullshit any time.

  3. Jon

    September 7, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Fortunately, you seem immune to verified news reports. As I type, Ukraine is capturing towns in Kherson and the Luhansk/Donbas areas, with substantial surrenders and captures of primary arms.

    Please relate another daydream.

  4. Walker

    September 7, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    I’m done giving Davis the benefit of the doubt. He knows he is a lying sack of shite. The article from the Post states that Ukrainian soldiers saying they made progress in Kherson and Davis totally ignores that and harps only on the toll on Ukrainian forces. We all know that hard fought offensives are harder on the attacker than the defender. No one expected Ukraine to take Kherson without taking casualties. But to Davis this is the only metric that can allow Ukraine to win. It’s funny that he finds this one article on Ukrainian losses without seeing all the other articles showing the hidden gains that Ukraine has made. Or the captured communications from the Russian troops saying exactly the opposite of what the Ukrainians in the Post article are saying. What does this mean? It likely means that certain areas, Russia has the advantage in others the Ukrainians but overall Ukraine has the advantage as they are making gains and Russia is not.

    One other point I think is important. Davis at the beginning of this article
    Said the Ukrainians need three things in order to achieve success and that they only had one. The one thing he said they had to have was to stop advances in Donbas, but they don’t have that. Russia has taken less than one kilometer per month for the last few months and this week they have actually started pushing Russia back, due to Russia moving forces to hold Kherson. But he says the opposite as if it is a fact when he is wrong. This is something that Davis always does. He treats falsehoods as self evident truths and doesn’t even give evidence to support his “truths”. His articles to me come close to “giving aid to the enemy” in that they aren’t to me in the least bit truthful.

    Davis needs to be reminded that the Ukraine did not start this war. Russia did when it decided that Ukraine should be a “protectorate”.

  5. David Sofer

    September 7, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you for telling the truth, Lt Col Davis.
    This Ukraine disaster is the fault of former Senator Biden and his old buddy Senator McConnell who jointly promoted this disastrous war, and, of course, the fault of that inept incompetent comic Zelenskyy who is needlessly getting his country destroyed so that it can be rebuilt for his friends the Ukrainian oligarchs to loot again.
    Rinse and repeat, will We the People ever get control of our military industrial complex? How many more such costly costly failures do we need to endure before we give its leaders the pink slip?
    Now we have to fasten our seat belts for an ugly ugly fall and winter.
    Thank you again, Lt Col Davis, for telling us the truth. Here is hoping the Senate and House Armed Services Committees finally invite you to testify and engage in a lively Q & A about the inconvenient truths of this misguided Ukraine alliance that We the People have gotten stuck with.

  6. Gary Jacobs

    September 7, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    LoL, Daniel Davis will likely go down as the single most incorrect “analyst” in reporting this war. Cherry picking outlier news that fits his agenda against all other available information. Let’s recall that the US spent an entire month on an air campaign in the 1st Gulf War to degrade Iraq’s forces before launching a ground war. Ukraine is essentially improvising that strategy with HIMARS, HARMS, and Excalibur GPS guided Artillery rounds.

    As well, Ukraine does have limited forces and they actually care about the areas they are liberating. The plan was to go slow. That said, in fact the north east Kherson bulge of Russians is collapsing. The Ukrainians have already made it as far south as Novovoskresens’ke.

    In the central Kherson axis they have advanced well south of their bridgehead over the Inhulets from Davydiv Brid to Kostromka, which appears to be contested.

    And in the west they appear to have advanced to Kyselivka about 5 miles from the Kherson Airport. Kyselivka appears to be contested

    Now they have some decisions to make, and a bit of an operational pause in some areas is warranted to consolidate gains and to make sure they dont get too far ahead of other axis thereby becoming encircled.

    As for other fronts, the Ukrainians just launched a multipronged offensive near Izyum [which I have been speaking out as a possibility for weeks], and look poised to potentially take back both Izyum and Lyman. Some are speculating that they could get all the way to Kupyansk in a short amount of time. If they manage that, Russian GLOC from Belgorod is largely cut, and will make life much more difficult for remaining Russian invaders in the area.

    As well, this author Davis appears to be unaware that the Ukrainians conducted a staged fighting retreat from Lyschansk and took up much more defensible positions. They allowed the Russians to punch themselves out… and then essentially stopped the Russians cold on the Russians main effort while launching two counter offensives at the same time. That’s why Bakhmut and Soledar have not fallen in the 6 weeks since Lyschansk.

    So far from being defeated, the Ukrainians are taking the initiative, and far more informed sources than this author Davis are giving a much better picture of what is actually going on.

    It’s true CNN mistakenly reported an advance into Shyroka Balka and other areas west of Kherson on the day the counter offensive was announced. And I will be the first to admit I got too excited about that. That one mistake has made me triple check everything posted here, and everything since that CNN report. That triple checked, informed conclusion is that things are not going well for the Russians, and the next 3-5 weeks will likely see MASSIVE loses for them. Only a large influx of new troops, ammo, and equipment – including rapid expert use of large amounts of Iranian drones – has the chance to save the Russian war now. While that’s possible, I wouldnt bet on it.

  7. Bender

    September 7, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    when you need the most Pro-Russian, anti-factual reports, you can count on Daniel Davis!

  8. PxThucidydes

    September 7, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    The writer has no idea what is happening on the ground. This is pure speculation on the part of a Russian sympathizer. Davis has been pumping up Russia in this war since day 1.

    The Rapido River comparison: well, maybe the Ukrainians have better Generals than Matt Walker.

  9. Error402

    September 7, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    More like the dustup at kasserine pass in 1943 in north Africa where the GIs got their surprising comeuppance from their less well equipped foe.

  10. Walker

    September 7, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Davis is completely wrong for one simple reason. Ukraine only loses by only one method, that is following Davis’s ill begotten idea to sue for peace.

    Russia can not win. This is simple if you think about it like this. The Soviet Union lost in Afghanistan because it was untenable. Russia faces this same situation in Ukraine. It is losing more soldiers at a faster rate than the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan. And what is it’s measure of success? To acquire Donbas? Then what? It has to continue to fight as long as Ukraine refuses to accept Russian sovereignty over Donbas. Eventually, Russia has to find a way to seek peace. Ukraine does not have this problem. As long as Ukraine can keep producing soldiers willing to fight for their country, they can and will continue.

    I have t yet said the other way that Russia can win, that is to subdue all of Ukraine and terrorize the people into submission as it did in Chechnya. However, we know already this is not possible to do in Ukraine.

    Eventually the Russian people will realize that it can’t achieve any real objectives in Ukraine and will have to give up. Ukraine will get back all of its territory to pre-2014 lines including Crimea. It is because Ukraine can keep Russia from any real win and never give up. It will be very costly on Ukraine, but it is an end that will likely make Ukraine stronger in the long run, just like the American revolution.

  11. Frank

    September 8, 2022 at 1:49 am

    A solitary voice of reason. Keep it up Mr. Davis.

  12. ironargonaut

    September 8, 2022 at 2:34 am

    I wonder if this luitenant colonel would agree with your assessment. https://english.nv.ua/nation/ukrainian-troops-capture-russian-army-lieutenant-colonel-on-kharkiv-front-50268510.html Would appear your entire basis for saying you were right(which is the point of this article) is an interview with some privates in the hospital.

  13. Bo

    September 8, 2022 at 2:39 am

    I’m sure the West has a better grip on it than you.

  14. Noel Campbell

    September 8, 2022 at 2:45 am

    Seems the article is a little bit out of date. Ukraine taking swathes of territory in the East. Izyium is about to be surrounded. Heavy Russian loses. Supple routes cut off. AFU isolates Russian troops in Kherson. They have completely fooled and outflanked the Russian army.

  15. Yrral

    September 8, 2022 at 5:44 am

    They continue to support an helpless and hapless leader in Ukraine, Google Washington Post Kherson

  16. Jojo

    September 8, 2022 at 9:38 am

    What is with this guy and why does this magazine keep publishing him. He obviously has little idea of what he’s talking about; his analysis is based upon hypotheses that are being proven more deluded every day. Is Daniel Davis really Baghdad Bob? It seems like the two are doppelgangers.

  17. Gary Jacobs

    September 8, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Updates from today further undermine the original thesis of this absurd article.

    Part of Yesterday’s report from The Institute for the Study of War is worth reposting here. And even this is out of date after one day. They show Ukraine advancing 20km in the east as of yesterday, and now reports from today have them as much as 50km advancing in less than 2 days. It now appears they are bypassing Izyum for the moment and are headed to Kupyansk to cut the GLOC and squeeze Russian troops in that entire area down to Izyum. They can then degrade the Russians who are trapped and unable to resupply until the Russians either surrender or die.

    The best part of it is the panic and shock coming from the Russian Milblogger community who have been so surprised by how far the Ukrainians have advanced so rapidly that they now believe this was the main counter attack all along and that Kherson was a distraction to fake the Russians into redeploying troops away from the Kharkiv-Izyum Area. The amount of progress in Kherson makes that incorrect, but it does show the depth of the panic among the Russians.

    Not mentioned in this ISW report is that if the Ukrainians take Kupyansk, or at least surround it to cut the GLOC and squeeze the Russians there without engaging in urban combat… they can establish HIMARS range on Starobilsk, which is the other main Russian GLOC from Belgorod to Luhansk. Of course the Russians have more options further south to supply Luhansk. However, Belgorod is a major hub, and cutting it off from Luhansk further stretches Russian logistics, which they are already bad at. And sanctions have cut off supply of rail car parts, which is starting to affect Russia very badly.

    A great thing ISW does is include their source material. And sometimes in packs. So in the quote below, many of those reference numbers are associated with multiple links to panicked Russian Milblogger accounts which can be found at the bottom of the ISW page at the link below.

    From ISW:

    Russian milbloggers voiced concern that this Ukrainian counterattack seeks to cut ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Russian rear areas in Kupyansk and Izyum, which would allow Ukrainian troops to isolate the Russian groupings in these areas and retake large swaths of territory.[3] These milbloggers used largely panicked and despondent tones, acknowledged significant Ukrainian gains, and claimed that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south may be a distraction from the ongoing actions in Kharkiv Oblast, which they name as the main Ukrainian effort.[4] The level of shock and frank discussion of Ukrainian successes by Russian milbloggers speaks to the scale of surprise achieved by Ukrainian forces, which is likely successfully demoralizing Russian forces.

    https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-7

  18. dogmeat

    September 8, 2022 at 10:53 am

    Daniel Davis is a clown. Nuff said.

  19. ohengineer

    September 8, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Mark Clark was an incompetent General and it showed at Rapido. The Division commander had no choice to carry out the order.

    The situation in Ukraine is far different and not comparable. If the author were competent, his screed would never have been printed. Like MacGregor, he’s simply not attached to reality.

  20. Hồng Thắng

    September 8, 2022 at 11:27 am

    The author of the article must have forgotten the lesson of Vietnam, when a nation stood up against foreign armies.

  21. Mark

    September 8, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Mr. Surrender and Retreat appears to be wrong again. 1945 does itself no favors continuing to publish this guy but I’m sure the Russian propagandists love him!

  22. Wesser

    September 8, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Davis is a well-known pro-russian. He literally have to use a fairly irrelevant comparison to bulk out what is the only point he ever has.

    That Ukraine should just surrender and allow the russians to capture the whole country to “end the bloodshed”.

    Even if his military analysis seems quite flawed and dated only hours after it was written it quite ignores that Ukraine surrendering might end the battles, but quite ignores what atrocities and poverty are in store for Ukraine during “peace”.

    We shouldnt be overly optimistic about what Ukraine might achieve, but one thing that is certain is that this evil ork and his lies should be disregarded by all clear-thinking people

  23. Paul

    September 8, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    Seems that at this website the authors are merely speculators, while the more precise analyses are to be found in the comments field

  24. Roger Bacon

    September 8, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    The author reminds me of Baghdad Bob talking about Iraq’s great defensive against US forces and then you see the American tank rolling by in the background on live TV.
    Yes, both sodes are taking losses. The ONLY thing you need to know is that the Ukrainians are willing to fight and die for their land. Russian troops are not willing to die invading a country that didn’t do anything to them.

  25. Ucrane

    September 8, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Daniel Davis is a clown. Nuff said.

  26. Pitosga

    September 8, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    Someone forgot that the Ukrainians defeated the Russian army at its full strength at the Battle of Kiev, with little more than a few rifles and grenades. It was certainly not with force but with intelligence.
    The same intelligence, which they are using in the battle of Kerson and Dombas, but the problem with intelligence moves is that they are only noticed at the end…
    In 1756 -1763 Portugal with a force of 4 000 peasants and some soldiers defeated the armies of Spain and France together (40 000 soldiers) with the loss of 14 soldiers (yes only 14), against the death of 20 000 occupants and as many prisoners .
    This is something like this that is happening in Ukraine, but it is not fast, nor is it conventional, but just like in this war, intelligence wins over force.
    Who has the “intelligence” to think that an army with almost no weapons can defeat another at its maximum strength, and when it receives sophisticated weapons it can’t do the same??

  27. Jacksonian Libertarian

    September 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    The moment I saw that Davis was the author I knew this would be Russian Propaganda. Rather than waste my time I scanned through his apples to oranges historical comparisons just to confirmed by opinion of him.

    The truth is Clausewitz’s “Culmination point of an Offensive” has been reached and Ukraine is now taking territory. In the “fog of war” the only measure is the frontlines. In the age of the “mature precision strike regime” Ukraine is the only one with smart weapons.

    Combat Power rule of thumb: 1 smart weapon = 500 dumb weapons

  28. Luis Espinal

    September 8, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    Filing your opinion piece under “Aged Like Milk.”

  29. Yrral

    September 9, 2022 at 9:13 am

    This man is telling the truth,if American was so interested in human rights,civil rights and preservation of freedom,they would start by preserving it at home, Ukrainain have not had a historical record of these virtues

  30. Gary Jacobs

    September 9, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Yrral… Meh. No one needs to sugar coat Ukraine’s history to understand the progress that they have made. As well, compared to Russia’s history of invading its neighbors for centuries, The Pale of Settlement forcing millions of Jews into Ghettos not to mention future ethnic cleansing and degrees of mass oppression of Jews. Mass starvation of Ukrainians by Stalin, Mass theft of neighbors land by Peter and Catherine “the greats”. Mass atrocities by the Russian Soviets against freedom seeking neighbors. etc…

    For all the Ukrainians that unfortunately sided with the Nazis in WWII, Ukraine also lost many more fighting the Nazis… and Ukraine’s elected president is now a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust. Let’s also not forget that Russia had a deal with Hitler, the Von Ribbentrop Pact, to carve up Eastern Europe Between them – including Ukraine, Poland, and beyond. Only Hitler’s lunacy of invading Russia in the winter broke that pact. Stalin had not intention of siding with the west. He and Hitler were kindred spirits. But sometimes two alpha dictators clash.

    As well, Ukraine has a long history of tension with Poland and yet Poland is now one of Ukraine’s biggest backers of military aid, and Poles have taken in massive numbers of Ukrainian refugees into their homes. Not in tent camps. Into their homes.

    Fear of Russia is a great unifying factor for the neighbors that have been on the receiving end of Russian aggression for centuries.

    People like you need to do a better job of understanding the historical reality of Russian aggression and adjust accordingly.

    Have a nice day.

  31. Hugh

    September 9, 2022 at 11:16 am

    This article is disappointing.

    We need realistic articles that don’t just amplify the good news for Ukraine.

    This article was completely unconvincing in its negative viewpoint. Defeatist and unsupported.

    Please do better.

  32. Begemot

    September 9, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    A lot of comments express their unhappiness with Mr. Davis’ point of view. “Defeatist.” “Russian propaganda.” These people remind me of Hitler in his final days. “Mein Furhrer, the Russians have crossed the Oder and on advancing on Berlin.” “Nonsense”, cries Herr Hitler. “This is not what I want to hear and does not conform to the reality I want. You are a paid agent of Stalin! A defeatist! Take him out and shoot him! Victory will still be ours. We have wunderwaffen that will defeat our enemies. We will be victorious.”

    Right. Wishful thinking is not a strategy for anything except defeat.

  33. Enfield

    September 9, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Current results 30 miles of advancement in 3 days. Someone says we can move slowly we are in no hurry. Where do all these strange tactical statements come from?

    We will win on the battlefield maybe but is it possible it will all develop into the Battle of the Somme. It’s only the beginning of September and plenty of time before the calendar shows November 18.

  34. Eric

    September 10, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Daniel Davis: Ukraine can’t win, shouldn’t try, and we should stop helping them.

    CNN: Ukrainian forces have entered Izium after forcing Russian troops to retreat, an officer involved in the operation to liberate the strategic eastern city told CNN Saturday.

    Izium, which sits near the border between the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, had been under Russian occupation for more than five months and had become an important hub for the invading military.

    Davis is wrong, again.

  35. Wesser

    September 10, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Wonder what Random historical battle Davis will use to explain how operations towards Izyum and Lysychansk are all playing into a russian victory..

    Thank God its people like Davis commanding the russians

  36. Vaclav

    September 11, 2022 at 1:58 am

    This article didn’t age nice.

  37. ironargonaut

    September 11, 2022 at 2:12 am

    “Today, Russia has no such pressures on other fronts, and the Ukrainian side has only limited numbers of remaining troops – and even those few troops are equipped with insufficient amounts of inadequate armor.” Davis. Didn’t take long for this to be proved 100% wrong. Hilarious how quickly the author has been shown to be completely and utterly wrong. I would not be bragging about being an officer after showing such lack of military acumen.

  38. Anon

    September 11, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    I’m noticing a sort of theme to your articles, how much does Russia pay you for them?

  39. adscfvasf

    September 11, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    meanwhile back in realityland ukraine liberated TEN THOUSAND PLUS SQUARE KM OF LAND.
    you are a moron and probably a paid russian vatnik whore.

  40. Mario

    September 12, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    “Zelensky’s forces don’t have remotely enough modern ground combat equipment to defeat Russia, remain deficient in artillery, have insufficient air defense capacity, have virtually no air power remaining, and most of all don’t have the trained and experienced personnel to conduct the sophisticated combined arms operations necessary to defeat entrenched opponents”

    Seriously, mr davis: Have you ever been in the Military? What is the goal denying the evidence? Accept it: your friends are finished and, if you still you keep something of a REAL army officer,watch, shut up and learn from those who know

  41. BRIAN in Philadelphia

    September 13, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Well written, but it is truly amazing how an article can seem to be proven so wrong in such a short amount of time. It seems that the Ukrainians (perhaps with some encouragement) DO actually understand the concepts of a feint, misdirection, and disinformation.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they pivot yet again with a thrust towards Crimea, which might result in an actual end to the war, if only because it could result in a permanent case of indigestion for Putin.

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