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Putin Could Launch an All-Out Attack on Ukraine (But It Could Be His Downfall)

HIMARS
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, fire a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a truck mounted multiple-rocket launcher system, during exercise Steel Knight at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 13, 2012. The battalion conducted this historic live-fire exercise, simultaneously utilizing HIMARS, M777 Lightweight Howitzer and Expeditionary Fire Support System. This is the first time all three artillery weapons systems were fired during the same exercise. (DoD photo by LCpl Joseph Scanlan, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

In my previous work at 19FortyFive examining the range of possibilities for Russia’s upcoming winter offensive, I examined the low-risk and medium-risk options. This segment will consider the Kremlin’s third option of a high-risk/high-reward attack. If Putin selects some version of this course of action, he will face the potential for a major military victory – or lay the path to his fall from power.

(Watch above as 19FortyFive Contributing Editor and author of this piece, retired U.S. Army LT. Colonel Daniel Davis discusses the Ukraine war.) 

When Putin and his military commanders contemplated the possibility of launching a major second offensive, they would likely have conducted a private and brutally honest assessment of what went right and what went wrong with the opening invasion in February.

If the Russian general staff develop a new plan that has a chance of success, they will have to acknowledge and rectify their past failures, account for the current state of their armed forces (after suffering significant battle losses and now fielding a largely conscript army) and come up with a new plan of attack. The scenario that follows does not consider the political and military factors that would lead Putin to selecting the all-out war scenario, it will only look at the planning factors and potential objectives if he did.

Russia’s Entry Mistakes and Putin’s Adjustments

Russia’s biggest strategic and operational mistakes in the opening rounds were that Moscow based its entire campaign on attaining a series of best-case-scenarios, all of which would have needed to come to pass. Virtually none of them did, and thus their gambles all failed, resulting in the disaster of the April withdrawals from all of Kyiv and Kharkiv regions. Had the Kremlin assumed things would go wrong, that the enemy would fight tenaciously, then they likely would have adopted more modest initial goals – which, given the amount of troops allocated for the task, might have proven strategically successful.

It was clear from the outset that when Putin only sent 200,000 troops, he would not have sufficient manpower or firepower to take even one major city, much less multiple cities. Spreading his thin number of troops out over four axes, into a country of 41 million, ensured that Russia would not have sufficient power to subdue any area by force if Ukraine chose to resist.

For Putin’s initial plan to have succeeded, Zelensky would have had to panic and give up without a fight. While that was at least theoretically possible, it was strategic malfeasance to risk the entire operation on the necessity of every key factor attaining a best-case-scenario outcome. By merely contesting the invasion and refusing to surrender without a fight, Zelensky’s troops doomed Putin’s invasion to failure.

To make matters worse for himself, Putin also went light with the initial air and missile attacks. Had he chosen a massive “shock and awe” type barrage, like what the United States used at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, Putin could have destroyed all of Ukraine’s air defenses, crippled their electric grids (on which the majority of their trains ran), and destroyed much of the military infrastructure required to sustain and move the UAF to move about the battlefield.

Instead, Russia went cheap on the missile density, hitting some of those targets, but not destroying any. As a means of comparison, the United States and its allies launched 2,000 bombs and missiles in the first four days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By the end of the 10th day of its war against Ukraine, Russia had fired a paltry 600 missiles.

For the all-in scenario, Putin will likely avoid repeating the major mistakes made in February, choosing to concentrate his new strike forces where they are most needed, and unleash a devastating and concentrated air and missile attack preceding the ground assault. The big question, however: does Russia have enough cruise missiles and bombs in its inventory to conduct any version of a ‘shock & awe’ bombardment?

It is unclear at this point how many missiles Russia has left in its inventory, given they have fired several thousand missiles from its inventory since last February. It is likely, however, that Putin always kept a strategic reserve in the event NATO ever got involved, and in any case, Russia’s military-industrial complex has significantly ramped up production and is reportedly producing new missiles. Whatever the number of assets Putin has to employ at the start of his offensive, however, the Ukrainian air defense system and energy infrastructure will already be in a degraded state.

In retaliation for the attack on the Kerch bridge linking Crimea to Russia in October, Putin unleashed a torrent of rocket and missile strikes against Ukraine, targeting military and especially civilian energy infrastructure. By early November, more than 40% of Ukraine’s electricity capacity had been knocked out and a considerable number of its remaining air defense missile inventory has been depleted. That capacity has been even further gashed when Russia launched the largest ever missile strike against Ukrainian targets on November 15, knocking some entire cities into darkness.

Putin Strikes Ukraine: An All-Out Attack

If Putin orders an all-out attack, it will most likely start with a massive air, missile and drone attack to complete the destruction of the Ukrainian electric grids, substations, fuel storage facilities, rail yards, diesel locomotives, and communication facilities. Intent will be to make it intensely difficult to support the UAF, complicate communications, make intra-country movement of troops much harder, diminish their capacity to logistically support troops in disparate fronts with food, water, medicine, ammunition, and spare parts.

By increasing the burden on Kyiv to take care of the civil population throughout the country, there will be yet fewer resources to allocate to supporting the war. If Kyiv prioritizes supplying the combat units, civilians could freeze to death or starve as a result, putting the government in a terrible no-win situation.

HIMARS

A U.S. Army M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launches ordnance during RED FLAG-Alaska 21-1 at Fort Greely, Alaska, Oct. 22, 2020. This exercise focuses on rapid infiltration and exfiltration to minimize the chance of a counterattack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

Russia will seek to saturate the airspace so that what limited air defense Ukraine still has left, it will be quickly overwhelmed. Subsequent waves would be launched so that what few missiles Kyiv had, would have been used up, so that the third or fourth wave may encounter no air defense at all. If Russian strikes cripple the air defense system, especially in the forward battle areas, the for the first time in the war Putin’s forces will be able to make tactical use of their air force fighter and bomber fleets.

The objective of this opening phase of the campaign will be to gain air superiority so that Ukraine can’t use its air force, can’t stop Russian fighters from supporting the ground troops, and to degrade Ukraine’s system of supporting and transporting combat troops within the battle zones that the UAF will find it hard to sustain high intensity combat operations in any one place over time. To whatever degree this phase of Putin’s plan is successful, the next phase will be striking with new formations on the ground.

Available Ground Forces

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest failures of Russia’s February invasion was that it allocated too few troops to accomplish the tasks assigned and then dispersed along too many axes. Russia will not likely repeat that mistake. In an all-out winter offensive, the Kremlin will likely prioritize one main effort and only two supporting efforts, concentrating the highest percentage of troops to the top objective. The intent will be to bring the highest number of Russian troops to bear against the smallest number of Ukrainian troops, and strike in an area where Kyiv least expects it.

Putin officially mobilized 300,000 troops, 82,000 of which were reportedly immediately sent to the existing fronts to shore up the line and prevent any other large-scale losses to Ukraine. With a few volunteers, Russia is currently training about 218,000 total new troops (added to the roughly 200,000 still fighting in Ukraine).

M777 Artillery Like in Ukraine

U.S. Marines with Ground Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, fire a M777 during fire missions training at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, Australia, Aug. 6 2020. The training provided Marines a unique opportunity to develop new techniques and procedures to integrate direct and indirect fire. The ability to rapidly deploy fire support and employ indirect fire weapons provide the Marine Corps an advantage as an expeditionary forward force deployed to austere environments. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lydia Gordon)

Even if Russia had a total of about 400,000 troops, that would still not be enough to directly destroy the Ukrainian military or seize by force more than one or two of Ukraine’s many large cities (such as Mykoliev, Odessa, Kharkiv, or Kyiv). The key to understanding what Putin’s objectives may be is to assess what an additional 200,000 troops could reasonably accomplish in Ukraine: a three-pronged axis of advance designed to sever Ukraine’s life blood – the supply corridor from the Polish border through which all NATO supply and equipment enters Ukraine. Tomorrow’s edition will focus on what the Russian campaign might look like.

Also 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. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    November 18, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Russia could do many things, but it would still be doing so with poorly trained, undisciplined troops managed by incompetent leaders, using poorly maintained/substandard machinery and arms.
    Until Putin is deposed and smarter, more moral individuals take the helm of Russia, this dumpster fire of war will go on forever, sowing widespread death and destruction.

  2. Neil Ross Hutchings

    November 18, 2022 at 11:44 am

    A good teaser article, setting up the next article in the series. What indeed will be Putin’s objectives in the next phase of the war after his initial objective of replacing the government in Kyiv was a complete failure? I would think that simply reinforcing the current battle lines would not be sufficient for Putin, but then I do not pretend to be a mind reader. This remains the unanswered question in all the western media stories I have read. I am sure though that Putin has not wavered much on his initial demands at the beginning of the conflict, but his approval ratings will soon suffer if he does not show some permanent gains from the conflict.

  3. Gary Jacobs

    November 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    LoL, Daniel Davis swings and misses again.

    He says, “Russia will seek to saturate the airspace so that what limited air defense Ukraine still has left”. Lots more air defense systems and ammo on the way. He acts as if there was a one time SAM delivery and that’s the end of it. Epic fail.

    As well, NASAM systems in particular use NATO standard AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles of which there are literally thousands available to send to Ukraine. Ukraine has also gone low tech with high caliber machine guns to shoot down Iranian drones. German Gephards are great, but other countries have stepped up with their versions. And Ukraine has requested C-ram units from the US.

    I 2nd Dr. Scooter’s comment above about Russia’s poorly trained troops. Russia couldnt even beat Ukraine with its most professional troops.

    Take Pavlivka for example, the Russians are throwing human waves at the Ukrainians and losing badly. Vuhledar is the high ground commanding that area and the Ukrainians are well entrenched. By some accounts The Russians have lost over 1000 troops in that one small area in about a week. That appears to be a conservative estimate.

    As well, the Ukrainians have 18 more HIMARS on the way over the next few months, more ammo, more SAMs, more NATO trained troops, and more motivation.

    Davis makes minor mention of Russia’s use of 200,000 troops in a country of 41 Million…and then ignores that math in the rest of his article. Many Ukrainian citizens have done their part for the war effort since day 1. Whether its 13-15 year old kids flying drones to help target Russians, old army vets picking up guns to defend their towns…. and even construction and mine workers parking their massive equipment on the airstrip in Kryvyi Rih to deny Russian landings [The Telegraph in the UK has a great story on this]… the Ukrainian people have repeatedly stepped up. And now with a much better regular army to mix with…the Russians are fighting a lot more of the Ukrainian population on Ukrainian home turf…and they have the support of western weapons to fight with.

    Russia may still have some dirty tricks up their sleeve, but as of now it isnt looking good for them…and 200,000 poorly trained troops with ancient T62s are highly unlikely to turn the tide…no matter how much Daniel Davis dreams them to.

    Have a liberating day.

  4. Steve

    November 18, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    Davis keeps referring to Ukraine’s ‘limited air defense’, but due to Western aid Ukraine’s current air defenses are now far better than when the war started. Russia would pay a high price if it attempts to overwhelm Ukraine from the air.

    The other thing Davis ignores is that Russia will not have the element of surprise. The U.S. is likely to alert Ukraine to any concentration or regrouping of Russian forces, and Ukraine will be able to deploy its long range artillery against them to a far greater degrees than they were able to do for the February invasion.

    Russia is stuck with a poorly trained, poorly equipped & poorly led cannon fodder conscript army that severely limits its ability to mount a large scale offensive.

  5. Richard Hershberger

    November 18, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    This is the Hulk Hogan theory of the war. Yes, he appears on the verge of ignominious defeat, but just wait! In a moment he will start vibrating. Then he will seize a folding chair and chase his opponent from the ring.

  6. Jim

    November 18, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    The Russians went for the big swing & missed. It was a gambit for quick settlement which failed.

    One reason many prognosticators got it wrong early is because they expected combined arms maneuver(s) that would envelop large numbers of Ukrainian soldiers and cut off resupply… encirclement.

    That never happened and, thus, Ukraine’s lines of defense remained intact & functional… and substantial with fortifications built up over eight years of steel, concrete, and thick earthen works… that have proven hard to break through or reduce.

    It seems many analysts are still expecting a grand & sweeping set of open field military maneuvers.

    But Russia may have other plans & will be satisfied with attrition… as they have been for many months.

    Russia, time & again, down through history has shown patience in their military strategy… and believe it or not, their international political strategy.

    Right now the collective West is slowly strangling… certainly Europe is suffering, but the U. S. is seeing signs of stress, as well.

    Question: who is losing more troops & equipment… that matters in a battle of attrition.

    This is hard to measure.

    Sadly, meaningful negotiations are off the table (for now).

    Certainly, Russia would only launch an offensive if they thought it had a high probability of success. That means attrition has to be far along… Ukraine’s military has to be hollowed out first.

    If there is any offensive, it is to be later rather than sooner because the attrition campaign has to be completed first.

    The big question: does Russia believe they need to go for the big knock out blow?

    I think the jury is still out.

    (But know this: Russia believes in the power of attrition to shape a battlefield.)

    Another reason many analysts have been wrong is that they misjudged the ultimate shape of the settlement (goals) that Russia wanted to achieve with Ukraine & it’s backers, principally the U. S.

    Goals dictate tactics & strategy.

    Go back to Russia’s demands before the war started (which were ignored by the U. S.) and you start to understand what Russia’s goals are… and thus what they will do.

  7. TG

    November 18, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Interesting. Of course, I have no inside information, and have no professional military experience (not that this has done much good for Russia’s generals, so far). But it seems to me, that the real deal is that western surveillance assets are so good that basically Ukraine is under a microscope. There is nothing that Russia can do, that the Ukrainians can’t see it coming from miles away, and then they just get the coordinates phoned in and set the dials on their howitzers and missile launchers and slowly kill the Russians bit by bit. Sure, Russia has satellites etc. but not I think anything like the integrated multi-modal AI-assisted sensor fusion systems the west has developed. I don’t see how any Russian strike could possibly succeed – Ukraine has FUNCTIONAL tactical air superiority!

    In my highly fallible opinion, Russia is just going to keep grinding away, and see who runs out of ammunition and resources and energy and will first. It’s not really about Ukraine – that can be turned into a wasteland, the western elites don’t care – but the west as a whole. Without massive continuing western aid Ukraine collapses. How long will the west keep supplying Ukraine with weapons and fuel and supplies etc? I guess we will find out.

  8. Mark

    November 18, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    The ironic thing is that, if Putin did/does succeed in conquering Ukraine and anschlussing it back into the Russian Empire, he’ll have also succeeded in bringing NATO closer to Russia’s borders. The very thing he claimed he launched this war to prevent. The end result of such a victory will be NATO reinforcing its Eastern flank against any revanchist move to bring Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Balts back into the Empire; and the instant admittance, no questions asked, of Moldova into NATO.

  9. 403Forbidden

    November 18, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Russia could well go all out, especially if zelenskiyy foolishly decides to attack Crimea (on the urging of biden’s CIA & DoD ) and yes, Putin could fall with the fall of crimea’s defenses.

    But ultimately, Russia will have the FINAL SAY in this bloody proxy war by Biden, the 80-year-old dementia-hit president of America who wants to rerun for president in 2024.

    Russia will have a capable leader after Putin, someone not ailed by dementia or feeling of brotherhood with Europe or America.

    TIME FOR RUSSIA TO USE NUKES in this dumb stupid fackin’ fricking proxy war !!!

  10. Gary Jacobs

    November 18, 2022 at 4:52 pm

    Davis happens to be on something like his 5th or 7th article in a row predicting a mythical Russian invasion/victory without discussing logistics.

    Their reliance on trains for supplies has been repeatedly exposed as a major problem for them. Especially with the Kerch Bridge out helping to seal their fate in Kherson. But Davis doesnt really want to discuss any of that. He only wants to talk about Russia’s ‘retaliation for Kerch, not the consequences for Russian logistics for the bridge being unable to support heavy equipment. The Russians themselves are now saying they cant bring it back to heavy lift standard until July.

    And now pictures emerge, from Russians, of the consequences of Ukrainian HIMARS strikes with a guy holding up a calendar starting from 11/17/2022 Calendar Guy], on the railway infrastructure near the Ilovaisk railway station in Donetsk.

    One look at a Map of Ukrainian railway system for better understanding of importance of Ilovaisk railway station in Russian logistics shows that is a choke point that takes out several other lines stemming from it. It’s HIMARS o’clock in Starobilsk as well. Expect Ukraine to continue targeting key locations like this.

    It’s really an amazing absurdity to see a Russian providing great battlefield damage assessments to the Ukrainians, without having to leave their Twitter account. Thank you Calendar Guy for your continued hard work and updates! I especially loved the burnt out shells of the fuel tanker train cars, but it was nice to see the rest of the rail tracks so destroyed as well. Good luck to the Russians trying to repair all that.

    Perhaps it’s also a message from Calendar Guy to Putin of just how incredibly stupid their invasion of Ukraine has become. Clearly he has guts because he doesnt even bother to hide his face.

    Let’s hope more Russians have that kind of courage to show Putin just how unwinnable the war is for Russia.

    As the Ukrainians have advanced, they continue to put more and more of the Russian logistics routes for resupply under threat of HIMARS stikes… and while the results may not be as dramatic as Kherson, the Russians situation in other parts of Ukraine are not much better than they were on the right bank of the Dnipro.

    Have a liberating day.

  11. Ben Leucking

    November 18, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    All of Davis’s prior predictions have been wrong. Now he comes out with another one. Yawn.

  12. Steven

    November 18, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Russia’s screwed. You can’t tell me Putin right now isn’t scared for his life. Russia is done with him. How many years back has Putin pushed Russia? They are piriahs again, like during the cold war, and not only do they have nothing to show for it, they have destroyed their military and navy in the process, not to mention the 70,000+ dead, and 210,000+ wounded.

    Way to go, Putin…

  13. Steven

    November 18, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Not to mention dead, wounded, and the destruction of Ukraine…

  14. ATM

    November 18, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    The rule of thumb is you need 300 troops to attack 100. Russia is putting about 500,000 on the ground thus Ukraine needs 1,500,000 well trained troops to attack Russia’s current positions. All Russia has to do hold it’s position and keep bombing Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Zolinky will keep sending wave after wave into Russian cannon fire.

    Russia would be nuts
    to attack when Ukrainians will throw themselve on Russian cannons all winter.

  15. Busby

    November 18, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Even a broken clock is right two times a day. These pro-Russia pundits like Davis and McGregor have been wromg every step of the way. Ukraine has been punching above their weight and our systems have proven decisive. Russia has taken a beating in more than just blood & treasure. Their very reputation is in tatters.

  16. Goran

    November 18, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    The fact that Davis now entertains the possibility of Russia losing and mentions nukes whole zero times, is the best evidence of what a flake of an analyst he is. Just a month or so ago, the danger of nuclear escalation if Putin doesn’t get his way is all Davis banged on about. The man’s got the consistency of a sea cucumber. He’s been wrong more times on this subject than an average housewife and having his opinions still published is starting to feel like a social experiment.

  17. June

    November 19, 2022 at 2:02 am

    Daniel Davis is still trying to distort the facts to support Russia. Unlike the US and NATO, Russia is not a rich country. The US and NATO can use 2000 cruise missiles in four days but Russia cannot. Furthermore, Ukraine already knew Russia was going to invade Ukraine and modern air defense systems are mobile. So, unlike the Iraq war, Russia did not have an option to destroy the air defense system. Russia could use fighter jets but, due to the lack of precision guided bombs, the cost would be prohibitive. As you see, there is no other option for Putin from the beginning. I believe Russian generals did their best for the given condition (poor equipment and poor morale). In the beginning of the war, Ukraine air defense was weak but it has been augmented dramatically. By the end of this year, Russian cruise missiles may not be very effective. Ukraine already shot down more than 85% of Russian cruise missiles. With the current usage rate (100 cruise missiles = around 200 millions dollars per day), the Russian army will go bankrupt in the near future. Out of 100 cruise missiles, only 15 reached the target and the destroyed infrastructure were mostly fixed in a week with a fraction of Russian’s cost. So, it does not make sense economically. On the other hand, the Ukraine army is using shells and missiles to destroy logistics, artillery and tanks. Without modern artillery and tanks, 300000 untrained soldiers are not very useful. Although Russia can sustain a trench war with mobilized soldiers, that would not last long due to prevalent suicide loitering weapons.

  18. WillLongfield

    November 19, 2022 at 3:21 am

    The commenter Gary Jacobs is highly emotional and entirely credulous of the biased Western media – most of whom have no journalists on the ground and rely on Neocon and CIA funded operations such as the Kagan’s ISW.

    The most important thing to note here is that the party that knows most about the ACTUAL state of the Russian armed forces is Russia herself. And Russia clearly believes that she will win.

    Commentators have noted Russias traditional approach to war is methodical and patient, using its strategic depth (land) to draw its enemies on and on to exhaustion and defeat:

    Ukraine is well aware of this tradition and indeed was instrumental it’s creation. However, time is not on Ukraine’s side and she has no choice but to attack. The status quo IS
    defeat to Ukraine.

    The big picture is that Russian resources are effectively unlimited in this conflict, while Ukraine is spent. Russia remained untouched while Ukraine is being ground to dust. This cannot go on indefinitely.

    If the US had wise leadership, they would push Ukraine into negotiations. Failure to do so will lead to the collapse of the Ukrainian state.

  19. aldol11

    November 19, 2022 at 5:43 am

    delusional Putin troll keeps dreaming on

  20. Walker

    November 19, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Ok, Let’s assume that Russia really learned its lesson. It hasn’t, we know that because it still doesn’t seek air superiority. But let’s assume Davis is right here.

    If they do as Davis suggests. Use smart air tactics and then use a single high speed maneuver to take Kiev. It is possible. Even with purely untrained soldiers. What do they get? Zellenskyy. That is what they get. Ukraine will lose a lot of soldiers, but they will still have a working military.

    So then what happens? Russia has a large group of soldiers in the capital totally surrounded. These soldiers are poorly trained but will have at first better morale for taking such a high prize. But Ukraine’s army is not arranged like Russia. Their military will fight on. And they will be aided by the people in the capital. They can hang Zellenskyy, but it will be worse for them for doing so.

    Nope, Russia has already lost the war. They just don’t want to admit it yet. There is now no way possible for Russia to win. If I were Putin, I would dig my troops in deep and go full defense. Make Ukraine loose troops. Drag out the war until the west considers it a wasteful money pit. Putin’s life ends as soon as Russia loses. He should try to live as long as possible.

    But don’t expect Putin to make any correct choices. Decisions will get worse over time not better. Putin will not trust anyone but himself to make real choices. The delays this will cause will continue to see high attrition rates in the Putine Army. But Putin will not accept blame and will continue to want increasing control. The more mistakes he makes the more he will want to increase his control of all decisions. It is a recipe for disaster and disaster is what we will watch.

  21. Jeff Huxton

    November 19, 2022 at 8:45 am

    America is being run by psychopathic leaders bent on pushing around the rest of the world, so as to brook no further resistance to their globalist agenda of a racially-intermixed, CRT indoctrinated, homosexual and transgender transformed society, all served up in a gooey glop of rigidly-controlled bio-units, otherwise known as obedient American citizens. This is their goal. It is pure evil. It may win. If it does it is the end of American freedom forever. Ironically, a former enemy from the Cold War era is our last hope. If he fails to defeat the corrupt nest of vipers led by some former dancehall trollop and gayish high-heel kicking show-boy and his crooked cronies funding the Democrat Party from afar, then America – via their agents, will turn Russia into another homosexual-worshipping, negro-infested, crime-ridden “Blade Runner” nightmare. So Putin must win. He must go all-out this time and totally obliterate Ukrainian forces. And Zelensky must die. Die quickly or die screaming, but die. God be with you, Mr. Putin.

  22. Neil Ross Hutchings

    November 19, 2022 at 9:46 am

    “The most important thing to note here is that the party that knows most about the ACTUAL state of the Russian armed forces is Russia herself. And Russia clearly believes that she will win.”

    Clearly the most knowledgable and accurate comment I’ve read in the months of following this blog, as opposed to the endless inaccurate comments that are based on the misleading details found in western media.

  23. Neil Ross

    November 19, 2022 at 9:59 am

    Assuming (as stated above) that Russia has indeed reserved a stockpile of weapons in case of direct NATO involvement, and that these stockpiles will be used in the coming offensive, it is troubling to think that there are some minds in Washington and NATO that will perceive this to be the most advantageous time to directly attack Russia while it is at its weakest.

  24. Luis Espinal

    November 19, 2022 at 10:06 am

    “Could, would, lemme look at my tea leaves once again to see if I am not proven wrong once again since this war started.”

    That’s Mr. Davis here.

    Rather than being silent for a moment to think on how he got everything so wrong, he keeps moving the goalposts.

    I don’t blame him. He gotta keep moving the goalposts if he wants to find a topic to write about and get paid I guess.

  25. Gary Jacobs

    November 19, 2022 at 10:07 am

    Willwrongfield.

    LoL…standard issue ‘neocon’ nonsense from Putinista trolls. Do I look at ISW, sure.
    Is that my only source? Not. Even. Close.

    It doesnt take a ‘neocon’ to draw a 90km line from Ukrainian held territory to see what is in range for HIMARS. Russia has zero answer for HIMARS, and there are 18 more on the way.

    Your faux notion that ‘time is not on the Ukrainians’ didnt work out too well for Russia in Kherson on the right bank of the Dnipro. Or Kyiv. Or Sumy. Or Kharkiv.

    In Kherson, Russia was defeated exactly as I predicted, it just took an extra 2-3 weeks from my initial assessment at the end of August. And Russia is facing a similar dilemma related to their logistics in other places that are now in HIMARS range.

    Instead of attacking my ‘sources’ like ISW, you should try addressing the actual issue related to Russian reliance on trains to supply their troops, and what they might do to mitigate it. Because it isnt ISW with the satellite images showing Russia retreating from large areas of the left bank of the Dnipro…it’s every single commercial satellite imaging company with the same images.

    Those sat images also show Russia building trench lines and dropping in Dragon’s teeth…essentially making their own Maginot Line. Plenty of social media footage of Ukrainians in newly liberated areas using their IFVs to drive right over those dragons teeth on purpose to show just how useless they are.

    And ISW didnt hire Calendar Guy to post on his Twitter account images from the Donetsk train station. He’s Russian, in Russian controlled territory. The guy was posting wide shots, and posed in front of the sign to the train station just to triple confirm that’s exactly where he was. Everything was easily geolocated and confirmed.

    As I have said to Jim multiple times, I dont think you even know what a neocon is. As well, the support for Ukraine isnt run by any sort of ‘neocon’ playbook. And I have a lot of sources far and wide beyond ISW. My own family was ethnically cleansed from the Pale of Settlement by the Russians. I know more about Russian history and the Russian way of war than just about anyone on this site. Including the actual authors of the articles.

    Have a liberating day.

  26. Jim

    November 19, 2022 at 10:41 am

    One of the misconceptions many Ukraine supporters have is the belief of unlimited supply of U. S. high tech weapons.

    The U. S. does not have unlimited weapons to give.

    CNN has reported the Pentagon has concerns of running low on reserves of weapons… And Europe is already nearly exhausted…

    Ukraine is not America’s alter ego… it’s wrong to identify with Ukraine as if it’s America, itself… The U. S. doesn’t have a treaty alliance with Ukraine…

    But too many Americans see it this way… which potentially sets a pathway to being caught short on weapons when we need them most.

    Realism demands clear eyed assessments of capabilities & limitations… of ourselves, our treaty allies… and our adversaries.

  27. TrustbutVerify

    November 19, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Hey, ATM, the 3:1 attacker to defender ratio only ever worked relative to the POINT OF ATTACK. All “500,000” poorly trained Russians are not in one area. So, by your logic, if Ukraine keeps their defensive positions well manned, denying a 3:1 ratio for attacking Russians, they can build up and concentrate forces for offensives along limited axis of attack that overwhelm the Russians at that point on the line.

    See Kharkiv and Kherson offensives and breakthroughs. If you think a nation of 41M people, with a military age population fit for service of just over 15M, can’t build up enough reserves to make this happen, you’re nuts. What they lack is training and equipment.

    Russia has 1.2M people reach military age every year and they go in for a one-year conscription (used to be 2) and they had trouble getting even the dregs mobilized, let alone trained, in their latest conscription.

    Good luck with that.

  28. Dan Farrand

    November 19, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    The war is already lost for Ukraine. The 1945 articles are generally more balanced than the insane MSM, but still contains a lot of wishful thinking.

    It’s unclear what Russia will do or how far their war aims have expanded as the true intent of the West have revealed themselves.

    The economic war launched by the west has blown up in their faces. The damage to western economic order has just begun and the west will grow weaker economically as Russia grows stronger.

    The destruction of Ukraine as an organized society able to feed, house and keeps it’s people warm, has proceeded to the point where a nudge is all it will take.

    On the diplomatic front, the west becomes increasingly isolated. The major commodity producing nations of the world are slowly joining with Russia to demand an end to USD tyranny.

    I’m not even sure the Russians plan for a grand offensive. The main constraint is the unpopularity of having so many men languishing in uniform for years. If not for that, the Russians would be content to let this go on for a couple more years as economic, social and political costs accumulate.

    There is no doubt the Russian Military has deficiencies. After all they only spend 65 billion/year – they cannot afford American scale corruption. But many of the commenters here are living on wishful thinking. The Russian state is mobilized and united. The West is eating itself and enjoying the meal.

  29. David Chang

    November 19, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    Russia is heading socialism warfare,
    although five years ago, some people wanted to stop this war. Winter is coming, now we can only try to lose less.

    Russia’s scorched earth strategy in Ukraine is a test for the existing Ukraine people. By any way, we pray to God for them and hope Ukraine will not be Soviet Ukraine again.

    But U.S.A. should not pay more, which are the obligations of Russia, Europe Union and United Nations.

    God bless America.

  30. mawendt

    November 19, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    There are roughly 10 MILLION Ukrainian men in Ukraine, of which 5 million are fit for military duty. I’d assess at least 2.5 million would be willing to fight any invader, although some grudgingly – all they’d need is a weapon and bullets to defend their local turf.

    Ukraine has about 200k men in their army ground forces, plus free-wheeling local militias of about 20k. They know their ground, and the West and Russian abandonment of weapons has them well armed and supplied with ammo.

    Think mathematics.

    Most modern combat tactics calls for a four to one ratio of combat force for the attacker on defender for success (the US calls for ten to one). Combat force is a management of multipliers: An infantry company counts as one, each armor platoon counts as one, with artillery support adds a factor, with an airstrike adds a factor, with mortars adds a factor, and so on with defenders intrenchments adding one, mine fields add one, anti-armor and anti-air add one and so on. Weather, temperature, and terrain may favor one or the other. Leadership, morale, health, and commitment to fight all have major effects.

    Mathematically, Russia’s manpower isn’t enough, has abysmal morale, terrible leadership, lousy logistics and supply, and is in generally poor health. Russia is lacking 2800 or so armor destroyed or captured. Russian air power is virtually non-existant, excepting a very minor helicopter use. Russian long range artillery seems to be the only thing in favor of Russian combat multiplier – but when you use that multiplier with an infantry/ground factor close to zero you have little effect.

    Everything hinges on *Russian combat troops*, immediately followed by Leadership, Morale, and commitment to victory which has to be amplified by logistics THEN provided by support from armor, artillery, and air.

    Russia has none of that. Period. And won’t for several years, if not decades. Russian combat troop do not have the numbers, training, morale, leadership and commitment to win. And less soldiers, armor and artillery daily.

    LTC Davis does not recognize this, and never addresses this in any analysis he does. He shows himself to be without tactical and strategic analytical talent or skill.

    If soldiers and decision makers relied on his assessments, they’d be dead, and whatever side he was involved in would lose.

    Hopefully he’s got a great personality to make up for it.

  31. ATM

    November 19, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    TrustbutVerify with 200,000 Russia was too thin everywhere now they can run an active defence. Furthermore terrain is in thier favor. In the south Ukraine who is poorly trained will need to execute major river crossings and in the north they will fight uphill. Ukraine may have sufficient training for those opps by Feb, but the question is will the Alliance hold together that long, hence it is time to talk.

  32. Gary Jacobs

    November 19, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Jim,

    You continue to fail at seeing the bigger picture. Ukraine is both important to the EU and NATO, and since those are our biggest allies, by extension Ukraine is important to the US. Its as simple as that.

    However, there is so much more to it. In 2021, Ukraine was among the top 10 countries producing titanium, iron ore, kaolin, manganese, zirconium, and graphite. Among the 120 types of main minerals consumed in the world, 117 are found in Ukraine.

    In addition, deposits of 22 out of the 30 minerals that are included on the EU’s critical list are concentrated in Ukrainian territory. Free from Russian imperialism, Ukraine could become an important mineral resource player in the EU economic zone and an integrated part of industrial chains united with the EU.

    As well, Ukraine is a major supplier of food to the world market. Lack of food destabilizes governments. I hear you constantly claim to be so concerned about the global south, well having their food controlled by Russia alone makes them susceptible to coercion. Go read Bill Browder’s books called Red Notice and Freezing Order to find out what a corrupt and murderous mafia state Russia is, and then ask yourself if you really want so much of the world’s food supply controlled by Russia.

    As for the weapons supply… as a citizen lobbyist with an organized group I have been to DC to lobby congress 8 times, as well as visiting local SoCal congressional offices more times than I can recall… I can tell you that there is some real concern about the supply chain… but for the most part they are trying to get ahead of the issue by raising an alarm in advance.

    Lockheed just got a large contract to expand production of HIMARS launchers and ammo. They announced their ability to supply Ukraine the next 18 and sell Poland another 20 launchers in 2023 alone. Poland is set to receive 220 HIMARS launchers over the next few years. That is not a typo. 220 HIMARS launchers for Poland. Taiwan, among others, have also placed orders. And they are buying the longer range ammo.

    Furthermore, The US just bought 100,000 artillery rounds for Ukraine from South Korea, and the US is working with partners to ramp up production of more. And on the air defense side, so many countries have stepped up, that Ukraine is unlikely to run out anytime soon. And for NASAM specifically, they use an air to air missile that is so standard that dozens of NATO countries have a total of thousands to supply Ukraine. Next year Ukraine will get the VAMPIRE system which uses the APKWS rockets. Of which we have thousands to send. The UK just announced sending Ukraine 125 anti-aircraft guns to shoot down Iranian drones on the cheap…and Ukraine requested C-ram from the US, which is also an anti-aircraft machine gun. Those bullets are much cheaper than missiles and keeps the cost per shoot down quite low.

    There’s a lot more coming on the offensive side on the ground as well. 90 refurbished T72 tanks. 250 Armored Personnel carriers the US is taking out of mothballs, etc etc etc.

    Bottom line: The west isnt running out of weapons to send Ukraine anytime soon…we just need to ramp up production to keep pace. It would be nice if we sent them higher quality weapons to end the war sooner than later – with ATACMS #1 on that list. But I digress.

    Have a liberating day!

  33. Morris

    November 19, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    I take issue with your article. You say Russia is training 218,000 conscripts. But “training” isn’t what is should be in Russia. Russia does not have an adequate number of experienced NCO’s, Junior officers or Major officers. They still struggle with communications. They don’t have precision guided munitions for their aircraft. They lack the ability to coordinate. Ukraine and NATO intelligence sees every move Russian forces make so there will be no surprise. Russia still cannot overcome logistical issues and don’t have the military trucks to do the job. Instead they have been relying of civilian trucks and tankers that are far easier for Ukraine to destroy. There isn’t the stomach among the population of Russia to continue this invasion. They cannot produce significantly more armored vehicles or artillery because they don’t have the capacity, materials or enough trained employees. I don’t see any chance of a massive offensive. More likely, they will lose the rest of Kherson and Crimea and focus on holding Donbas. Conscripts of this nature are of use only holding defensive positions. They lack the ability, training or equipment for offensive maneuvers against a well trained, experience enemy.

  34. Steven

    November 19, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Putin trolls are whistling past the graveyard…

  35. dave

    November 20, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Gary Jacobs fails to see the big picture. The west is bankrupt, we are out of ammunition,we have no strategic interest in Ukraine, the people do not want to fund Ukraine,the Republicans may cut off funding,our weapons are not any better than Russians, and some are inferior. The NATO trained troops, are all dead, wounded, or captured.Ukraine has been having a hard time recruiting troops since 2014!

  36. Gary Jacobs

    November 20, 2022 at 9:15 am

    Dave,

    LoL. While I am concerned about US national debt, inflation, etc…support for Ukraine is the best bargain the US military has ever had. Perhaps support for Israel is a better return on investment considering the amount of innovation from their that positively affects the entire world, but let’s put that aside for now.

    When viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, US and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost effective investment. 

    Altogether, the US gave $40bn in aid for Ukraine for 2022 and Biden requested an additional $37.7bn for 2022. More than half of this aid has been earmarked for defense. 

    These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total US defense budget of $715bn for 2022. And an overall budget of $4 Trillion. I am happy to cut spending, and reduce the debt. Pretending Ukraine is out big problem is pure Putinista fantasy.

    The assistance represents 5.6% of total US defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the US, a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger. In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia’s conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to US lives.

    The Ukrainian armed forces have already killed or wounded upwards of 100,000 Russian troops, half its original fighting force; there have been almost 8,000 confirmed losses of armored vehicles including thousands of tanks, thousands of APCs, artillery pieces, hundreds of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and numerous naval vessels.

    US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability is an absolutely incredible investment. If we divide out the US defense budget to the threats it faces, Russia would perhaps be of the order of $100bn-150bn in spend to threat. So spending just $40bn a year, erodes a threat value of $100-150bn, a two-to-three time return. 

    The US military might reasonably wish Russia to continue deploying military forces for Ukraine to destroy. 

    Meanwhile, replacing destroyed kit, and keeping up with the new arms race that it has now triggered with the West will surely end up bankrupting the Russian economy; especially an economy subject to aggressive Western sanctions. How can Russia possibly hope to win an arms race when the combined GDP of the West is $40 trillion, and its defense spending amounting to 2% of GDP totals well in excess of $1 trillion when the disproportionate US defense contribution is considered? Russia’s total GDP is only $1.8 trillion. Putin will have to divert spending from consumption to defense, risking social and political unrest over the medium term, and a real and present danger to his regime.

    Second, the war has served to destroy the myth that Russian military technology is somehow comparable to that of the US and West. Remember that Ukraine is using only upgraded second generation US technology but is consistently beating whatever Russia’s military can deploy. Wars are shop windows for defense manufacturers; any buyer in their right mind will want the technology made by the winner. Putin’s misjudgment has merely provided a fantastic marketing opportunity for its Western competitors. 

    Poland alone is buying 220 HIMARS launchers, 250 M1 Abrams tanks, and a lot more. Among other things, Every EU country is planning to by more HIMARS and/or M270s from us. Longer ranger ammo is coming soon as well.

    Note also that the war is also pushing NATO partners to quickly increase spending to the 2% of GDP and above target. Given the US tech advantage in defense equipment, a sizeable share of this additional military outlay will be spent on US equipment. 

    And we havent even gotten to the extra sale of US LNG now that Russian gas is being eliminated from the EU. 30+ ships are waiting off Spain to be unloaded, and Germany just finished their first floating LNG conversion terminal. 2 more are coming soon.

    Bottom line: your Putinista talking points have near zero value here.

    Have a liberating day.

  37. Janice Hope

    November 20, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    .. and to think I thought Freezing Order was a new way to get anti-freeze for my car and Red Notice was a fine you got after racing through traffic lights on stop until I finished my MI6 induction program by studying Bill Browder’s books and the epic non-fiction stand-alone spy novel, Beyond Enkription (misspelt intentionally) in The Burlington Files series. These books are all must reads for espionage cognoscenti. Do look up the authors or books mentioned on Amazon, Google The Burlington Files or visit theburlingtonfiles.org and read the news article Bill Browder would have loved to have written dated July 21, 2021 (updated since) about FSB infiltration of and influence in the British and US governments.

  38. Paul

    November 20, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    WillLongfield
    You write “The most important thing to note here is that the party that knows most about the ACTUAL state of the Russian armed forces is Russia herself. And Russia clearly believes that she will win.”

    Plenty of Russians that disagrees with that statement. In any case you should also consider that the Russians you think “know best” also believed that they would just kick in the door and kill a few drugged nazis on their way to Kyiv. Once they had strung up Zelensky the Ukranians would hail Putin as their liberator and eagerly join the Russian federation. That did not go according to plan did it.

    Putin sees facts as something subjective. The evil west have their facts and he’s got some other. He has built up a propaganda machine that spews out “facts” that supports his and his fellow nationalist Russians world view so that he can dupe his own people. But Putin also lives in his own information ecosystem and have come to believe in the “facts” made by his own propaganda machine. Too bad when you make real live decisions based on fake news of your own making.

    Russia is also a brutal kleptocratic oligarcic nation that does not reward honesty. To tell Putin facts about the prospects of the war that he does not like is not going to enhance your career, so everyone shuts up or tell him what he wants to hear. When Putin wants to know the status of his armed forces he is unlikely to get the facts if they are bad news. If the money that should have gone to preservation programs for tanks etc in deep storage, instead have been skimmed by corrupt officers, Putin will not be told that his tanks have rusted away, or that vehicles are stripped of motors and other valuable components. He probably believes that the resources poured into the military in recent years have given him a strong army. Nobody dares to tell him how much have been skimmed along the way.

    So I do not share the idea that “the Russians” know best themselves. The whole system is rigged to steal as much as you can, only tell good news or shut up.
    Everyone views information through a cultural lens, including europeans and americans. But it turns out living in democracies with access to a free and critical press makes us better prepared to find “facts” that align better to reality

  39. JohnnyReb

    November 21, 2022 at 12:30 am

    Why the hell are articles such as this even published ???
    Do you idiots realize you’re probably giving the Russians a blueprint to winning the war ?
    Any of you know those German posters from WWII that say:
    “Psst, Feind hört mit !” ???
    I think a firing squad would be of essence …

  40. robert woodfork

    November 29, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    Well, to begin, Russia never intended to capture cities. That was never their operational objective. 1) Russia’s objective was to neutralize the Nazi regime. 2) Render Ukraine militarily impotent 3) Secure the DPR and LPR. Kharkiv and Kherson are clear examples of that. Ukraine has nearly exhausted its resources regaining a foothold in those territories. 4) The Ukrainians will not be able to withstand the winter offensives. Do you armchair generals really think the Russians didn’t plan for this for 8-10 years? They have executed a brilliant strategy. 1) Exhaust your enemies forces and resources taking back territory you never intended on holding. 2) obliterate your adversaries weapon stockpiles. 3) make a ton of money during the entire SMO while your opposition is going broke and fragmenting their societies. The sanctions have hurt NATO countries way more than Russia. Russia been busy securing alliances and treaties all around the world during the SMO. It’s the G20 and NATO nazis they are fighting Russia; and now all the other countries siding with Russia; the majority of the planet. They’ve won the hearts and minds, economically, politically, and now they’re about to dustbin Ukraine. Poland is fucked and so is the rest of Western Europe. This influx of refugees is gonna tilt the scale and that’s it! The Russians haven’t even gotten started yet. The US is not sending out regular military to fight the Russians. Deals are being cut regarding US corporations getting some access to the Belt Road Project which is what all this is about. Ukraine will never be a threat to Russia again and the shit is about to hit the fan when this new Congress takes over. If you don’t think our military and the Russians aren’t in coordination about things, you’re confused. Notice the weaponry that’s been sent to Ukraine… the paltry amount of forces we have sent to “assist”…… the Pentagon’s position on Ukraine and Russia v the White House and Dept of Defense. If we wanted to stop Russia, we’d have been a lot more involved and committed. Nope, the warmongering tribe over here is getting paid along with the gas companies so Russia ain’t lost nothing and wins this.

  41. Big Iron 44

    November 30, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Why is the US so determined to destroy Russia? Nobody has ever explained this. The only answer I can come up with is that we are pursuing this deadly war in Ukraine because we are the evil empire. The USA is utterly sick to its soul and morally diseased. The world will cheer when it finally collapses… just as most of the nations of the world are cheering for Russian victory now.

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