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Ukraine Got its Miracle in Taking Kherson Without a Fight (But Winter Is Coming)

NATO Ukraine Russia
NATO M270 MLRS. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On August 6 here in 19FortyFive, I published a military assessment entitled, “Ukraine Needs a Miracle to Drive Russia’s Military out of Kherson” in which I argued Kyiv would need three miracles to retake the oblast of Kherson. In light of Ukraine’s recapture of the city of Kherson, its worth reexamining my arguments against how things have played out since. Possibly of greater importance is looking forward to what might come next.

The Fight for Kherson, Explained

To its great credit, Ukraine produced one of the three needed miracles and succeeded, against the odds, in retaking Kherson city. Capturing the remainder of the oblast, however, will require Kyiv to produce the other two miracles, each progressively more complex than the last.

The first of the three miracles Ukraine needed was for Russia to fail to make changes and adjustments to the Ukrainian offensive in the south so that Zelensky’s troops would be able to overcome the stout defenses. Up until barely two weeks ago, all appearances were that Russia had adjusted to the approaching reality of a Ukrainian drive on Kherson, in that Russia increased the number of troops it had defending the western bank of the Dnipro and reportedly building significant defensive positions in and around the city of Kherson.

As recently as October 25, one of Zelensky’s senior advisors, Oleksiy Arestovych, declared that in “Kherson everything is clear. The Russians are replenishing, strengthening their grouping there.” For the Ukrainian military, Arestovych continued, it meant “that nobody is preparing to withdraw. On the contrary, the heaviest of battles is going to take place for Kherson.” Three days later, Ukrainian media reported that another 1,000 Russian troops had been sent to defend Kherson, bringing the total to approximately 30,000.

With such a force, Russia could have built a defensive position that would have imposed a severe cost on any attacking force. One of the reasons cited by Russian Gen. Sergei Surovikin as necessitating the withdrawal was the difficulty in resupplying the Russian garrison at Kherson. Indeed, since July, when Ukraine first started using HIMARS rockets to attack the bridges over the Dniper that Russia used to resupply the city, logistics were indeed seriously hampered.

But Zelensky had been signaling since at least July that his forces intended to retake Kherson. The first miracle that Ukraine needed to make their dream of recapturing the oblast was for Russia not to take the threat seriously, and especially given the attacks on the logistic routs to their troops on the western bank of the Dnipro. If Russia had taken the threat seriously, they would have started last summer stockpiling significant quantities of all key war stocks, especially food, water, ammunition, and fuel.

Yet when Gen. Surovikin took over the Russian war effort in October, he hinted that his troops may eventually have to leave Kherson when he said “difficult decisions” might need to be made. There were many pro-Russian war bloggers and military analysts that assumed Russia would turn Kherson into a modern day “Stalingrad” in which they would fight to keep the city no matter how great the cost.

Given the amount of reinforcements and the time Russia had to stockpile supplies, I feared they would indeed take the “Stalingrad” path. We now know they didn’t, and that unexpected decision handed Ukraine the first of the three miracles, in that they retook control of Kherson without having to even fight the battle. But to continue to fulfill Zelensky’s pledge to recapture the oblast, two more miracles are needed.

Where the Kherson Fight Is Now: Miracle Two Needed

As pointed out in my August 6 analysis, the second miracle Ukraine needs is to overcome geography. While having the Dnipro River at their backs was a hindrance for Russia to keep its troops supplied in Kherson, it also served as a major obstacle for Ukraine to continue eastward.

Ironically, on August 6 I wrote: “If Ukraine overcame every obstacle and successfully drove Russia out of Kherson (city), they would still need to cross the Dnipro to drive Russia out of the region. If Putin’s troops were driven out of Kherson, they would certainly destroy the bridges on their way out.”

That is exactly what happened. As soon as the Russians cleared the Dnipro with the last of their troops, they blew the last three bridges spanning the Dnipro. It would now require a major effort by Ukraine to reestablish crossing points over the Dnipro, and at present it is unlikely the Ukrainian army has the physical capacity to launch such an operation. Thus, for the present, Russia will likely retain control over the roughly 70% of Kherson oblast it still occupies.

The third miracle I noted from the August 6 analysis was that Ukraine would have to be able to overcome Russia’s substantial advantage in artillery and rocket fire. Though Ukraine has been able to narrow the gap with the delivery of millions of rounds of artillery shells and howitzers from the West, Russia still holds the advantage. It’s what is likely to come next, however, that may prove the most decisive.

Putin’s Winter Offensive?

As part of Putin’s response to the deteriorating situation in his Ukrainian war effort, he announced a mobilization of 300,000 reservists in September. Despite significant difficulties and shortcomings by the Russian state in conducting the effort – and reportedly up to 700,000 Russian men fleeing the border to avoid serving – there are now more than 200,000 new troops (82,000 of the 300,000 mobilized reservists have already been deployed to Ukraine) preparing for a winter offensive that could completely change the nature of this war.

By surrendering Kherson city without a fight and blowing the bridges over the Dnipro, Surovikin has preserved 30,000 of his best-trained and experienced troops for use in the coming offensive, sealed off the southern front from a risk of a Ukrainian flanking action and will soon have a massive new force to employ (I will publish a separate analysis next week looking at potential objectives of this offensive).

Once this force is ready to launch Putin’s winter offensive (likely in late December/early January when the ground has sufficiently frozen), it will likely be preceded by a massive new attack on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure to plunge the country into darkness, cripple the remainder of its electrified rail system, and significantly hamper the government’s ability to supply its troops with basic needs, complicate their ability to move troops around the battlefield, and most critically, degrade their ability to communicate with troops in the field.

It is still a very much open question as to whether these new Russian forces can learn from the (significant) mistakes they have made over the first nine months of the war. Maybe they won’t. But the odds will be in their favor, as the fundamentals still decisively tilt in Moscow’s direction.

Ukraine should celebrate its accomplishment in taking Kherson city, but they and their supporters in the West need to realize that the Russian loss was not a fatal wound. The greatest danger for Zelensky’s forces will come in the next one to two months when the ground freezes and the reservists are ready to employ. Only then will we know whether Ukraine was able to pull off the other two miracles.

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.



  1. Rick

    November 12, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Davis doesn’t seem to understand that shaping the battlefield and destroying the supply lines was not a miracle. What is a miracle is that 1945 publishes your tripe.

  2. Freeborn John

    November 12, 2022 at 8:55 am

    I wonder what excuses Putin-troll Davis will have come March for why his latest predictions are as bad as his earlier ones?

  3. abraham lincoln

    November 12, 2022 at 9:09 am

    On behalf of Daniel Davis I hereby say:
    Ukraine can’t win!
    Winter is coming!
    Spring will see the Ukrainians defeated by all the songbirds returning!
    Summer will make the Ukrainians sweat more and lose electrolytes and they won’t be able to fight!
    Autumn will see the Ukrainians defeated because they won’t be able to see through all the falling leaves!
    There – one year’s worth of Daniel Davis articles in a single comment.

  4. Richard Hershberger

    November 12, 2022 at 9:18 am

    Casting what happens as “miracles” is to remove agency. Indeed, this likely is the point of using such language. There is the briefest of nods in the direction of Ukraine “producing” this “miracle,” but otherwise, this is not Ukraine being better at war than Russia, it is Ares bestowing a fleeting smile upon Ukraine, but who knows? Maybe tomorrow he will smile on Russia.

    A winter offensive by untrained and barely equipped conscripts? We can only hope.

  5. Ulf Larsen

    November 12, 2022 at 9:24 am

    Almost everything this guy have written about this war has been proved wrong by events.

    He is either dumb og paid by Putin – take your pick.

  6. Anybody

    November 12, 2022 at 9:26 am

    “Surovikin has preserved 30,000 of his best-trained and experienced troops” I have a hard time believing this war will go on for long. I am waiting with my popcorn and slurpee for those troops to be pulled back to defend Moscow from M. Wagner. M. Putin et M. Lapin will need all that and more to guard themselves from taking long walks out tall story windows.

    1st sign – Wagner troops getting pulled back to Russia.

  7. Whodunnit

    November 12, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Russia is still under severe sanctions so replacing what has been lost so far will be the miracle. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, western governments are still supplying modern weapons, air defence systems and training Ukrainian troops. Given the efficiency of the Ukrainian command it would be ridiculous to think that that haven’t already formulated a plan for the assault on the east bank. Maybe circumvent the Dnipro altogether by wresting control of the peninsula and a flanking manoeuvre from the South West ?

  8. Christophe

    November 12, 2022 at 10:18 am

    A miracle is an explanation for a bunch of religious zealots, not for an expert (or a so-called one).
    Actually, what DD depicts as miracles are just long term calculations and miscalculations that real experts have been talking about for weeks, if not months.
    DD is more and more on the defensive side, trying to save face and providing excuses for his past mistakes. A Putin fellow traveler faces the same issues than Russian generals or anchors, that makes sense.

  9. Gary Jacobs

    November 12, 2022 at 11:01 am

    LoL, the idea that Kherson was taken without a fight is limited to the city of Kherson itself. The oblast is littered with Russian bodies and vehicles that were either killed or captured. While some of them made it out, The notion that all 30,000 Russians made it out alive is pure fantasy. And many of their best troops that did are likely extremely exhausted. Reports have it that many of them had not been rotated out since the beginning of the invasion.

    As well, it wasnt just the bridges that were repeatedly bombed. Ammo depots, fuel depots, troop concentrations, and other supply storage were bombed all over the the oblast. And while the Russians were able to remove some equipment, and scuttle others…pictures are already emerging of captured Russian vehicles and ammo. It remains to be seen how much of haul the Ukrainians got from the Russians this time, but it looks substantial.

    And let’s not forget the Kerch Bridge is likely unable to be used for heavy resupply until July.

    As for Ukraine crossing the Dnipro, they dont have to have a Normandy type invasion to cause havoc on the east bank from the west bank. Russians are already starting to evacuate their helicopter base in Chaplynka as HIMARS are now in firing range to there. The base was also an important command post.

    HIMARS range now extends to the north tip of Crimea. The Russians moving of men and gear out of the 90km GLMRS zone will continue. But if they go east they will have to go the long way as the M14 Highway is in range of fire from the west bank. The same problems they had with HIMARS on the west bank now apply to the east.

    Davis finally mentions logistics, but only as a supposed detriment to Ukraine if/when the Russians next attack the electric grid they will supposedly have no use of rail lines. The Ukrainians are already shifting to some steam power and diesel powered trains.

    but the Russians have a bigger logistics problem, and they know it.

    First and foremost, the only rail line from Kherson to Donbas is in range of HIMARS almost the entire way east through Tokmak and beyond. And the Russians are impaling themselves trying to take Pavlika in what seems to be an attempt to reconnect the one rail line from Donbas to Tokmak and over to Kherson.

    How does Davis imagine the next Russian invasion force will be supplied? In three articles now, He never says. It wont be from the Kerch Bridge anytime soon. Belgorod is likely to be cut off from Starobilsk soon. And the Belarus border is both being reinforced and already has a massive marshland that makes invasion from there an even worse idea for Russia than it was on Feb 24, 2022.

    Russian Minister of Transportation Savelev is on camera Oct. 31 saying that 250 light cars on average cross the Kerch Bridge per hour. He implies No trucks allowed on the bridge. Heavy cargo is being sent via occupied land corridor from Rostov oblast [7.5k trucks since Oct 8], along with some ferries to Crimea when the weather permits. And in over a month only 16 “light trains” have crossed on the rail portion of the bridge. Full repairs will be complete by July. The first Russian supply ship just got to Mariupol.

    On that Bridge for only 250 cars an hour = FOUR a minute, one every 15 seconds. That means they’re only letting one car slowly cross the damaged span at a time.

    The lack of heavy train capability on the bridge makes the situation for Russia’s military very bad all throughout the south of Ukraine. The reality of the dire supply situation the bombing of the Kerch Bridge has led the Russians to make moves on the battlefield that have cost hundreds of Russian lives in one small area of Pavlika in less than a week…and helped cause them to retreat from the west bank of Kherson.

    One likely reason the Russians are trying so hard in the Pavlika area is that they are trying to create a buffer and establish a Melitopol-Donetsk railway connection. The Russians would need to push away the Ukrainians from the railroad in the Volnovakha area. That’s likely an exercise in futility considering the range of HIMARS, but hey, if the Russians want to impale themselves over such a thing…great.

    And while Davis gives the Russians the mythical benefit of “sealed off the southern front from a risk of a Ukrainian flanking action and will soon have a massive new force to employ.”…In reality many have already arrived in Ukraine very poorly trained as canon fodder. Considering how badly some of the best trained Russian troops have performed…dont expect a new force of troops that have been badly trained for 5 weeks or less to make a massive difference in anything but body count and ‘exchange fund’ as POWs for Ukraine to trade for their own people back. One big problem the Ukrainians may have from the new Russian force is how to handle all the new POWs and dead bodies. It may become a massive logistics nightmare.

    Furthermore, the Ukrainians have the option of using their short-ish internal lines of transport to send much of their offensive maneuver forces [under minimal fire] from Kherson through Dnipropetrovsk over to Zaporizhia. From there they head south to Melitopol and Tokmak while sending units west at various stages to take back the ZNPP and squeeze the Russian troops on the east bank of the Dnipro in Kherson…and come in behind the Maginot Line they are building facing west.

    If they trap the retreating Russians from Kherson there, great. It’s then a giant kill zone without the threat of a major city like Kherson being destroyed by urban combat [unless the Russians just act like terrorists and bomb the city just to bomb the city]. That also completely cuts the land bridge to Crimea through Donbass, as well as shuts off the mouth of the Crimean Canal from Nova Kakhovka.

    Davis also waxed on about the Russian artillery advantage…even though they have had zero counter for HIMARS’ range and precision in the artillery rocket category…as well, The 152mm shells that are standard for the Russians are far outclassed vs. NATO standard 155mm. Dont let that 3mm number fool you as that’s just diameter…NATO 155mm are Up to 300mm longer, which makes them far more destructive than the Russian 152mm. Excalibur is also more precise than Russian “precision” shells.

    As for the weather, the Ukrainians have the home field advantage of knowing the terrain, and the winter weather should freeze the mud and some streams to allow them to maneuver their forces off the roads again soon. Time is not on the Russians side.

    The biggest thing that scares the pro Ukraine crowd right now is the possibility of Russia using Iranian ballistic missiles like the terrorists they are. Though it turns out NASAM has ballistic missile defense capability, and the Italians are about to provide the SAMP-T system with that capability as well.

    Biden should be telling Russia if they use Iranian ballistic missiles, we will provide ATACMs, among other weapons, to counter the Russian move. The US election likely provided Biden the political buffer to step up weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

    Bottom line: Davis’ is still a doom and gloom merchant trying, and failing, to undermine Ukraine’s chances of winning. As he likes to say, the war isnt over yet… but people like him should have learned by now to stop betting against Ukraine.

  10. Goran

    November 12, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    What seems to be missing from this article is Davis’ trying to convince Ukrainians to lay down their weapons before Putin beats the snot out of them. His analysis is still wrong on so many levels, but at least he can’t find it in him to repeat the usual crap that he all too often presents as the solution. That’s a step forward. Another talking point that’s missing is the urgent call to stop assisting Ukrainians lest Biden instigates a nuclear war. Not repeating that insanity is another step forward, but it’s quaint how one day he’s in panic mode about it and the other day he doesn’t even mention it. The next step in his evolution should be him accepting that the course of the war is defined by willpower and capabilities of Ukrainians and not the incompetence of Putin’s military or more recently, magic.

    I am an optimist though, I have faith that he will give us one accurate assessment yet. Come on Mr. Davis, don’t let the war end without you making a single right call.

  11. Neofeudalfuture

    November 12, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    The Ukrainians will supplied with weapon systems and if necessary people to operate them. All of Putins red lines have been pooped on and hes done nothing. The winter offensive will be naval landings secured by nato warships. Putin will not fire on their ships and his army will run away.

  12. WAYNE

    November 12, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    I dont think this guy has been right once in almost a year

  13. TheDon

    November 12, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Dont need a bridge to inflict big damage.
    The Ukranians can move freely, will have local support, and can cause significant damage.

    Russia will get in return a weaker military, trained convicts, and a real future problem bigger than Ukraine.

  14. 403Forbidden

    November 12, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    The german wehrmacht swept deep into USSR in summer of 1941 mostly in many areas without a fight but in winter 1941 suffered over 250,000 frostbite casualties which contributed to their failure in the main battle near moscow.

    All russia has to do now is concentrate on busting ukros’ electricity grids and waterworks. Use old ICBMs for the job if necessary.

    If that strategy succeeds, at or after beginning of spring, ukros would all be in eastern germany looking for hot soup kitchens and heated washrooms.

    Thanks a lot, scholz.

  15. Kelvin Clarke

    November 12, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    Just follow Margarita Simonyan and Dimitri Peskov, Daniel. They will give you all the lines you need for your following articles.

  16. Walker

    November 12, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    F’n hell!!!

    Davis makes claims every single time that Russia will win. And every time he is wrong. But he claims in every next article that he was right because in his arguments in the previous articles he stated what Ukraine would need to do to win. When they do that he says. “See I was right!” Even though in that article he implied that Ukraine would not be able to do that.

    So let me rebuff his praises of Russia where in three places he has made mistakes. And yes, Davis, on at least these three points you are wrong.

    1.) Putin’s retreat from Kherson saved him 30,000 troops. – WRONG! By all estimates, 20,000 troops remained on the left side of the river. Ukraine will remove them from the field of battle.

    2.) Russia destroyed all bridges making it impossible for Ukraine to cross the Dniper. Now here you have a half point and when you are wrong as you will be you will not admit saying it is impossible. But Ukraine is not going to have problems like this. The IS is helping Ukraine build a river army. Plus Ukrainian artillery can push Russia away from the edge of the river so they can make safe crossings. Bridges are gone, but Ukraine can and will cross with little hindrance.

    3.) Winter will favor Russia. – WRONG – Winter will favor Ukraine for the most simple of reasons. The Ukrainian army is better equipped for winter.

    So let me make a correct prediction contrary to Davis. When I’m right and he is wrong, 19fortyfive, you need to give me Davis’s job.

    By Spring, Russia will be routed from Kherson Oblast. Ukraine will be fighting and winning in Crimea and Russia will be unable to used Sevastopol port as any warship will be under Ukrainian fire.

  17. aaall

    November 12, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    “…(82,000 of the 300,000 mobilized reservists have already been deployed to Ukraine)…”

    And how many are still alive/not captured?

  18. Ben Leucking

    November 12, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    Davis keeps leading with his chin:
    1. Ukraine retook Kherson without a fight? What does he think Ukraine has been doing for the past two or three months. Playing golf?
    2. Ukraine has already said they aren’t about to take a break in pressing the counter-offensive against Russia.
    3. Russia has burned through its armor and troops. They are the ones that need several months to regroup and refit.
    4. The UAF is now in within HIMARS range of the Isthmus of Perekop, the thin strip of land that connects Crimea to the mainland and is where a critical highway and railroad passes through. Even if Putin gets his Kerch bridge repaired soon (a real miracle), Ukraine will pound the Perekop to prevent Russian resupply. The Russians have solved nothing and escaped nothing by giving up the west bank of the Dnieper.

  19. Neil Ross Hutchings

    November 12, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t pretend to know what is in the minds of those involved in this conflict, as many commenters here do, so I can really only try to come up with some sort of analysis based on observations on what has happened. Seems to me, that in an invasion, you take whatever territory your opponent is willing to give up as long as it doesn’t put you in a more vulnerable position. Russia easily occupied Kherson with little opposition within the first four days of the conflict, for reasons I have yet to fully understand. They have occupied pretty much the same amount of territory for the past 8 months until their decision this week to give up the right bank for strategic reasons. They still occupy two thirds of the area of the oblast including the land over which the Crimean water canal flows. Whether Putin wanted to continue Russia’s offensive all the way to Odessa or whether he wanted to stop at the left bank, I do not pretend to know. All I can derive from this so called retreat is that Russia is now in a far more advantageous defensive position than it was a week ago. Russian artillery, I am guessing, could easily stop any attempt at a crossing of the Dneiper by the UAF (or level Kherson), utilizing only a fraction of the troops and weaponry that was withdrawn from the right bank.

    I appreciated reading this article by Davis, it is a much more sober analysis of the current situation when compared to the misleading cheerleading going on in most mainstream media. Russia seems to have sacrificed little in this latest action, except possibly the ongoing support of those Kherson city residents that aided with the initial occupation. I await Surovikin’s next move and must agree with Davis’ statement that this war is far from over.

  20. Beth

    November 12, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Seriously this Daniel Davis needs to stop with the Kremlin talking points..

  21. ATM

    November 12, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Russia only has about 200,000 troops in Ukraine. If they are distributed evenly across the occupied territories that adds up to 1.5 troops per square kilometer. A large concentration of forces in Kherson left some other areas weak. Now that the river and marshland helps their defence it is the equivalent of shortening there lines by more than 200 km, and they can run a much more flexible defence. Staying in Kherson they would have been encircle and it would have been a major victory for Ukraine. Now Ukraine will have to find a better place to concentrate thier forces for the next offensive. With global warming the ice will be too thin for a winter offensive in this area even if they fix the bridges.

  22. WillLongfield

    November 12, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    A good, thoughtful article, devoid of the hysteria and hopium of most of the Western media (and most of the troll-like commentators as well!).

    The reality is that Russia has just mobilized over 200k new troops. Most of their weaponry is intact and their arms production is in high gear. Contra the commentators, the losses have mostly been on the Ukranian. As in 1944’s Operation Bagration, they are biding their time and concealing their intentions and their strength.

    Their strategy of interdicting Ukraine’s power and water is smart – Ukraine and the West are forced to waste advanced missiles that cost millions of dollars trying to shoot down drones that cost $20k. Additionally it puts pressure on the Ukranian regime as civilian suffering moints and resupply becomes progressively more difficult.

    Unpopular though it is to say, Russia holds all the cards in this conflict. We must hope that the rumored peace talks come to pass and that no more lives are wasted in this fratricidal war.

  23. Jai

    November 13, 2022 at 12:08 am

    ‘It would take a miracle for X to happen’

    (X happens)

    ‘See, I predicted this miracle!’

  24. Newt

    November 13, 2022 at 1:27 am

    I appreciate 19FortyFive presenting Davis’ view even though it is very different from the other authors’.

    In a sense, Russia’s strategic retreat to conserve resources and manpower makes it more dangerous in the next battles.

    Until an army is annihilated, or its resources and supplies depleted, or its morale completely collapsed, a few battles won do not imply the war is won.

  25. June

    November 13, 2022 at 3:41 am

    Read Daniel Davis’s old articles. His prediction has been consistently wrong, he distorts the facts and his argument is illogical. He is most likely a paid Russian agent. What he describes as a miracle is superior western weapons and Ukraine army’s tireless effort to defeat the Russian army. If we adopt Daniel Davis’s logic, the Ukraine army will produce many miracles in the near future. Ukraine is getting more powerful modern weapons every month. Russian soldiers do not have the will to fight and cannot win against these modern weapons. The Russian army’s condition is getting worse every day. Russian media shows they are losing the war. In a way, Russian media has more common sense than Daniel Davis. Ukraine winter is relatively mild and modern weapons do not fail even with harsh winter.

  26. Enfield

    November 13, 2022 at 4:19 am

    Regardless, these are still very small areas where different sides are gaining and losing ground.

    Stalingrad was something completely different, one of the cruelest battles in human history. The Germans simply did not know what to expect when they bombed and destroyed that city. Stalingrad was unconscious creation that led to enormous inhuman suffering.

    Today’s conflict has such small formations that it is difficult to reproduce Stalingrad.

    It is moving towards negotiations that should have started several months ago.

  27. James M Senner

    November 13, 2022 at 8:40 am

    Why should we take the analysis seriously of someone who topped out at O-5 in the Army? Moreover, someone who has been so wrong in the past?

  28. Neil Ross Hutchings

    November 13, 2022 at 8:50 am

    The only thing right about predictions is that they are always wrong. Get over it and add value to the current conversation…or not 🙂

  29. Elijah

    November 13, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Three miracles that the Russians need in order to “win”. They need to have a more advanced weaponry than that of the United States of America. They need to have a motivated and trained army. They need to have brilliant generals who would be willing to do that which makes sense militarily and not just politically.

    The first miracle of better weapons is just not going to happen. While the US spoon feeds (slowly) newer and better toys to UA, the Soviets are reverting in tech, going back to their long term storage crap. The second miracle. Russian motivation as the untrained, ill-equipped, cold, and hungry Russians stupid and poor enough to get drafted, is going nowhere but into the toilet. Third miracle. Suravikin’s brilliance, if there were such a thing, will be overshadowed and overridden by no other than Putin himself. Suravikin may even be removed from his post – in due time and before his talents are fully realized.

    I listen to professional Russian propagandists from time to time just to see how their mind works and it is sick, unfortunate set of inverted ideas. Daniel Davis has something which ties him to these ideas, but I am not so sure that he is on Putin’s payroll. That would be illegal and hard to execute. I think he genuinely believes Russia has the upper hand. Maybe after a couple of American defeats and watching how Afghanis failed so spectacularly, he is applying this pessimism to Ukraine. But look at the last 8 months and surely anyone can see that this war has no resemblance with the Afghanistan debacle.

    I forgot to mention the fourth miracle. Republican red wave. I don’t know what happened to my Republican party, traditionally the party of strong defense, but apparently Putin thought that was his hail mary. Russians literally pegged their hopes on Republicans coming in and cutting off support. I highly doubt that was ever going to happen – Republicans letting Putin to win. Nope!!

  30. Harmen

    November 13, 2022 at 10:02 am

    I wonder how long Russia can hold on in this fight, especially politically.

    If the current grind continues, Russia may have to mobilize another batch of unwilling conscripts a few months from now. Will that lead to another exodus of eligible young men? Will that lead to more political unrest? I suspect the answer is yes to both questions, though how it will exactly play out remains unclear.

    I also wonder how much longer main supporters of the war will keep at it. Wagner is for sure losing huge numbers of people. Many of them will be former prisoners and maybe not too important to Wagner’s top. But they will also lose experienced soldiers. I could well imagine Wagner deciding at one time or another that they must cut their losses if they want to remain in business afterwards.

    The same thing may play out for Kadyrov: how many Chechen soldiers can he afford to lose before it starts hurting his political position back at home?

    If the war keeps going poorly for Russia – so no major successses and maybe even further setbacks – I would guess that somewhere, somehow in 2023 something breaks politically in Russia.

    Maybe it is the political fallout of a new mobilization drive. Maybe it is Putin’s supporters, like Kadyrov, the military command and the Wagner top, telling him it is time to end the war. Maybe it is another big Ukrainian victory.

    I don’t know, of course. Who can predict the future? But if I were to bet, I would bet Ukraine hangs on and Russia starts cracking somewhere in the coming year.

    Time will tell.

  31. Froike

    November 13, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Mr. Davis, your vision would be much better and your writing more accurate, if you removed your Nose from Vlad’s Posterior.
    Your Article could be used to fertilize fields. Total BS.

  32. NorgeX

    November 13, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Russia ‘preserved’ it’s 30,000 ‘experienced veterans’ necessary for a speculative upcoming battle? Guess he didn’t get the word about the massive casualties suffered during the withdrawal, or the thousands of desertions and surrenders or these experience, and hardened veterans. But, the author, like myself, has gotten old. I, however, have learned it takes a bit of effort and contemplation of the actual facts to ‘keep up’ at our age. Sometimes it’s just best to admit you were wrong, before, rather than equivocating with word-salad excuses. BTW, does Putin still pay his stooges in petro-dollars or are you forced to convert rubles?

  33. Gary Jacobs

    November 13, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Russian retreat from left bank of Dnipro in Kherson continues:

    Russian occupation “officials” relocate their administrative presence further away from the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast on November 12.

    Russian outlet RIA Novosti reported on November 12 that Kherson occupation administration spokes-tool Alexander Fomin announced that from now on the temporary administrative capital for Russian-occupied Kherson is officially Henichesk – as far south east as one can get and still be in Kherson Oblast, just above Crimea…roughly 130km from Kakhovka on the bank of the left bank Dnipro. Out of HIMARS range. Scared much?

    Russian sources reported on November 12 that Kakhovka raion occupation head Pavel Filipchuk announced that occupation administration employees are leaving the 15km evacuation zone on the left bank of the Dnipro River, and Russian occupation officials and their families planned to evacuate from Nova Kakhovka to Arabat Spit, several miles directly south of Henichesk, on November 12.

    Russian occupation officials will likely further struggle to administer Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast in these new administrative locations.

    Images are already emerging of Ukrainian SoF operating on boats along the Dnipro. With such a long river, the Ukrainians will likely look for weak spots in the Russian defenses to land small amounts of troops to cause havoc behind enemy lines, and to help targeting for HIMARS and artillery fire…in preparation for their next offensive.

    Further undermining Davis’ premise…More images emerging from the burnt out hulls of Russian vehicles on the right bank of Kherson…as well as a number of fairly large, in tact, ammo depots. Unlikely to be as large as Kharkiv+Izyum, but still substantial.

    As well, Russian mouthpiece Alexander Sladkov stated that 20,000 Russian troops evacuated Kherson. Davis claims the Russians had 30,000 on the right bank in Kherson. Reconciling those numbers leaves 10,000 dead or captured by the Ukrainians. Whatever the real number is… Davis’ notion of an orderly painless withdrawal by Russia is still pure fantasy, and as more images become available it with further reinforce that as fact.

    Bottom line: as usual just about everything Daniel Davis posts is completely incorrect, or at best incomplete.

  34. Luis Espinal

    November 13, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Mr. Davis keep moving the goalposts.

    Winter is not as much a problem for well-equipped Ukrainian troops as it is for poorly-equipped Russian ones.

    One must remember these are the same folks who fought through the winter against the Nazis.

    Give good equipment and motivation, and winter becomes just another variable, not an insurmountable challenge (especially against an under-equipped and unmotivated enemy.)

  35. wesley Bruce

    November 13, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    A good military commander makes his own miracles. Davis’ analysis is assuming the Russians are still the army that fought Germany in the 1940’s and that it thinks and operates like a western army. Its not and hasn’t been for two generations.
    Russia fell back because it was being warn down north of the city and lacked supply. What was Paulus’ mistake in Stalingrad? He went into the city and got trapped there. Ukraine avoided that mistake. It besieged from the edge.
    Ukraine will not attack across the river, it does not need to, its across the river in the north east. It will not stop advancing when winter comes. I suspect hundreds, if not thousands, are training right now in Scandinavian snow war tactics and equipment. Its weapons have a range advantage so it can use light unarmored units.
    Attacking the electrical power infrastructure also can’t succeed long term. There are those worldwide that sell mobile and underground power infrastructure solutions that are all heading to Ukraine. There is no point rebuilding easy targets. The country will have the most robust and decentralized power and water infrastructure in the world in under a year. These companies have been deploying these systems in the west, mainly where hurricanes and tornados are a problem or where NIMBY means you have to hide the power substation. Ukraine now has experience digging miles of trenches. Putting power lines in them is expensive but cheaper than rebuilding every time the bear gets grumpy.
    Ukraine will stay on the offensive and Russia will not have the time to rest and regroup. Ukraine rotates its forces though the fronts cycling from combat to rest with training, in some cases in the west and NATO.
    If Ukraine eventually attacks Crimea it will not be by the obvious path across the river at Kherson. Innovation is now the Ukrainian style. Unexpected attack is now their norm.

  36. Paul

    November 14, 2022 at 2:59 am

    We Russians are patient. We will defeat these Nazis too. A good article, calm and analytical.

  37. Eric

    November 14, 2022 at 10:22 am

    “reexamining my arguments against how things have played out” should be Daniel Davis’s priority number 1. Nobody wants to continue to read the predictions written by the guy who continually gets his predictions wrong.

    Attacking a Russian weakness, logistics, is not a miracle. Obviously, the Ukrainians are just trying to play the best they can with the hand they were dealt. IMO, the Ukrainians are are doing pretty well considering Russia still has a lot of capabilities.

  38. Jim

    November 14, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    General Milley suggested negotiations, Bill Burns meets with his counterpart in Turkey, Zelensky is sounding conciliatory… open to negotiations.

    While the weather cools down the negotiations warm up.

    Is the Peace Treaty of Ankara far behind?

    I hope so, for the good of Ukraine, Europe, Russia and the U. S. A. … and the rest of the world.

    What do we want?

    Peace & prosperity for the 21st Century?


    An American Century of Peace & Prosperity…
    For us & the world.

  39. Anon

    November 16, 2022 at 12:35 am

    Every time this guys writes an article on here it is about how Russian has the advantage and Urkaine should sue for peace. No matter how many battles Russia loses and how far they retreat Daniel will keep spewing his same garbage. By far the worst writer on this entire site. It is borderline Russian propaganda at this point.

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