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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Giving Ukraine Modern NATO Weapons Is No Game Changer

M1 Abrams
U.S. Army soldiers of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion 66th Armor Regiment, Task Force 1-2, 172nd Infantry Brigade conduct a live fire training exercise with M1 Abrams tanks, on Range 132 at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Oct. 13, 2010.

Modern NATO Gear May Not be Enough to Produce Successful Ukrainian Offensive – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will host the latest iteration of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Airbase in Germany on Friday, where Western defense leaders are expected to announce yet more deliveries of tanks and armored personnel carriers to Ukraine. As increasing types of modern NATO weapons are promised to Ukraine, many are confident that the tide of battle will soon turn in Kyiv’s favor.

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Modern NATO Weapons for Ukraine: A Game Changer or Not? 

A closer examination of what is being offered and a deeper understanding of how modern armored combat works, however, should temper expectations.

The situation is not as good as many believe. This will be the first of a series of articles examining the military fundamentals necessary to enable Ukraine to build a viable offensive capacity and will examine the challenges and opportunities to achieve that goal.

The hope is understandable among both Western and Ukrainian audiences. Knowing Zelensky’s troops have resisted Putin’s forces for nearly a year using old Soviet gear, it seems intuitive to believe that if the West provides Kyiv the same modern weapon systems NATO uses, then Zelensky’s forces will reverse the losses and drive Russia back to their country. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to creating combat power than introducing even genuinely good and modern weapons.

There are remarkably few people in the U.S. today who have any combat experience, and only a very small percentage of those who have fought or trained in tank-on-tank battles. Subconscious or not, the truth is some equate the “reality” depicted in the video game Call of Duty with how things work in real combat. In the video game, one simply “gets” military gear or vehicles and then possesses the full combat capacity of that kit. So once a player gets an armored vehicle, they get the benefit of vehicle in full with its possession. Real combat is nothing like that.

Tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), howitzers, air defense systems, fighter jets, and the like, provide peak capacity only if the users are fully trained and experienced. Further, even with qualified operators and crews, the vehicles must be supplied with sufficient fuel and ammunition, maintained properly and routinely, and expertly employed at the crew, platoon, company, and battalion levels. A breakdown in any of these areas and even the best of equipment becomes of marginal utility – or a burning hulk in war. Throughout my 21-year Army career, I observed these truths first-hand in training, operations, and direct combat.

My U.S. Army Expertise On This Issue

I have served in armored and mechanized units in combat, in operational environments, and in training units. As a fresh Army second lieutenant I served in 1990 as a fire support officer in an armored M981 Fire Support Vehicle in support of Eagle Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR). With Eagle Troop I fought in 1991 in the largest American tank battle since World War II, the Battle of 73 Easting, during Operation Desert Storm.

I also served with Eagle Troop though the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) in Germany (where combat operations are replicated in every way except exchanging “laser-tag bullets” for live rounds), and during the Cold War, served with the 2nd ACR on patrol missions, armed with live ammunition, over a section of the East-West German border, defending against a possible incursion of the massive armies of the Warsaw Pact. In the mid-2000s, I served as the second-in-command of the divisional cavalry squadron (1-1 Cavalry) in support of the 1st Armored Division in Germany.

In all of these units I participated in or led every operation necessary to conduct combat operations, from the individual training (to be proficient on my personal weapons), crew training (on my combat vehicle), unit training (at the platoon, company, and squadron level), and responsible to ensure the delivery and sustainment of the logistics, maintenance, and supply necessary to conduct combat operations over time. Without exception, every aspect of fighting in an armored unit I experienced is fuly applicable to the situation facing the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) today.

Zelensky and his senior military leaders have been pleading for heavy armor almost from the outset of the war. They contend that if sufficient numbers of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery pieces, and air defense systems can be provided by the West, they will be able to drive Russia from their land. But there is far more to creating combat power than merely possessing a given type and quantity of modern armored vehicles. I cannot stress enough how difficult it will be for Ukraine to produce mechanized forces of sufficient strength to expel Russian forces under current conditions.

What Happens Next? 

At the moment, Ukraine is rolling toward the one-year mark in its bloody war with Russia. Zelensky’s troops have likely suffered hundreds of thousands of killed and wounded in the many fierce battles they have fought. The UAF is presently locked in a major battle with Russia in the Donbas that is considered a “meat grinder.” The number of casualties suffered are applied perhaps equally to both sides, but for the purpose of this analysis, I will deal with the implications for the Ukrainian side, particularly as it relates to acquiring modern NATO tanks and IFVs for the purpose of building the combat power necessary to drive Russia out of Ukraine.

The next edition of this series will examine the building blocks necessary to build combat power in a modern field army. The next part will address the centrality of individual and collective combat training and explain why it is vitally important. Since much media focus has lately focused on the Bradley Fighting Vehicles the U.S. will soon deliver to Ukraine, I will explain how a U.S. military unit trains for war (as a means of highlighting what the Ukrainian Armed Forces will have to do).

The last in the series will tie it all together and illustrate the challenges that will have to be overcome by the UAF to accomplish Zelensky’s goal of recapturing all Ukrainian territory. War is such a dynamic, brutal, and cruel endeavor and literally nothing is ever guaranteed. But American policymakers, lawmakers, and citizens need to be aware of the steep climb Ukraine will have to make to convert these modern war machines into sufficient combat power to win its war.

As this series will show – and my many years of experience in armored units confirms – the chances of success are far lower than commonly believed.

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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.

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. abraham lincoln

    January 19, 2023 at 4:48 pm

    I look forward to the series. However, Daniel Davis seems to err on the Russian side all the time, rather than being objective. He believes the Ukrainians have suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties, but gives no source for that assumption.
    Sure, the weapons themselves are useless without substantial ability to coordinate their use, train adequately etc. But all of those are sped up massively in war. Sure, it’s a complicated thing to do combined arms and to get everything going in the same direction, at the same time, with the same purpose. But Ukrainians have shown they are more than able to adapt and overcome and use anything we give them.

  2. T. Martin

    January 19, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    Someday, someone will figure out that borrowing money (raise the debt ceiling) in order to fianance a proxy war is not a good idea. Someday, someone will figure out that not having an industrial base – that won’t replace attrited equipment. At some point, somebody is going to run out of money, equipment, and useful manpower.

  3. Cheburator

    January 19, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    And where are the weapons and armored vehicles from previous deliveries?
    Where are half a million Ukrainian soldiers trained by NATO partner countries? After all, Ukraine has no losses.

    Considering Russia’s absolute advantage in artillery and aviation, it is difficult to come up with a more effective anti-advertising for the NATO military-industrial complex.
    Obsolete tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, a small amount of artillery and ammunition, while most of them will have to be removed from the balance sheet of NATO member countries.
    The question is – in the event of an emergency situation, NATO countries will arm their armies with sticks and stones, or maybe they will requisition bows and spears from museums?

  4. Johnny Ray

    January 19, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, tank war is complicated, technical and expensive. Yet, having tanks, and other heavy weapons, is a good thing compared to nothing. Frankly, I see the assault on Crimea being won as an air, sea land battle with guided munitions, electronics and high quality intelligence turning the corner. There is certainly a place for tanks and armor of all kinds in the battle, but not the main priority, in my view. For example, if guided munitions could take out Crimean air defenses, an air assault in troop positions and fortifications could quickly gain the advantage, as well as armor.

    To be clear, Donbas has become a shot up shat hole and not worth fighting for, at the moment. Once the Russians are run out of Crimea, everything else will fall in place quite nicely, for Ukraine. Crimea is the crown jewel. Resources should be allocated accordingly.

  5. Harmen Breedeveld

    January 19, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    “As this series will show – and my many years of experience in armored units confirms – the chances of success are far lower than commonly believed.”

    Thank God that it is Daniel Davis predicting that the chances of success are far lower than commonly believed. Because that actually means that the chances of success may actually be quite good.

    I may sound facetious here, but I am serious. Davis was completely off with his predictions that Ukraine would find it nearly impossible to take Kherson. Davis was off with his many previous claims of Russian superiority.

    It genuinely seems he is inclined to persistently overestimate the Russian capabilities and underestimate Ukrainian capabilities (augmented by its many allies).

    That persistence may actually continue, as Davis has proven to lack the intellectual rigour and courage to reflect critically and deeply on his mistakes in his earlier predictions. This means that he is less likely to learn from his mistakes and improve his predictions from here on out.

    So, is a good chance he is off with his current predictions as well.

    Here’s hoping that Ukraine will do well in the coming year. They need and deserve all the help they can get.

  6. G

    January 19, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    So far Ukrainians proved otherwise. All provided weapon systems are very successfully used against Putin’s army it’s just not enough. Ukrainians simply don’t have any other choice but learn how to use every weapons provided the most efficient way. Yes it’s not going to be easy.but alternatives are dire.

  7. Cheburator

    January 19, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Johnny Ray

    And how is Ukraine going to enter the Crimean direction? it will not work to force the Dnieper in the lower reaches or to make a land corridor along the left bank of the Dnieper – having no superiority in aviation and artillery, this undertaking is doomed to failure.
    And the listed supply of equipment and weapons hardly covers the need for one division. It turns out that NATO makes Ukrainians put out hot coals with their bare asses.

  8. Walker

    January 19, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    Here he goes again. I like how he spent so much time talking about his experiences and how they fit this situation. He is lying. How do I know this? Because I was there same as he was. When I say he is lying, I don’t mean that he wasn’t there, nor that his experiences have no meaning. I mean that he is stretching the truth when he says his experiences apply to this situation. They don’t. This is uniquely different. There are some corollaries, and things we learned that could be applied here, but to say he has unique experience that only he can give is dishonest.

    I also like how he says Ukraine must have hundreds of thousands of killed or wounded. We just don’t know that. He also states that Ukraine has equal numbers of casualties as Russia in the meat grinder. I would say the opposite. We can be sure that Ukraine has far less. The casualty rates for Ukraine there are likely high, but to say they are equivalent to Russia is what tells me that Davis is not being honest. Perhaps he isn’t being honest with himself.

    Let me put it in simple terms. Ukraine is fighting a defensive battle in Bakhmut. They are trying to stay alive to hold Russia back. Meanwhile, Russia is doing suicidal attacks to break the lines. Only when Russia breaks the lines do they have success in inflicting large numbers of casualties. But even then, when Russia breaks through, Ukraine pulls back to protect its people then calls in artillery to strategically kill the attackers. Otherwise, they only get indirect casualties. Russia on the otherhand loose large numbers every attack. Davis and others mistake the battle as each side playing by the same rules. That isn’t the case. Therefore, the casualty rates aren’t equivalent and Russia is on the losing side. They know this, they just don’t care. For the Russian side it is OK to expend a lot of lives for a little land. Ukraine is not using this strategy.

    Where Davis has it right. The current style battle can not be won by modern armor. You can’t put tanks in Fox holes and expect them to change the outcome. Ukraine needs to do something different. What they need to do is away from the meat grinder break through weaker Russian defenses and UN through like they did in Kharkiv. With Bradley’s and other modern tanks, this is doable. They can come up behind Russia in Bakhmut even. So, yes, they can win with modern tanks, they just need to know what they are doing. Russia can not effectively guard the entire line of conflict. They no longer have the numbers. Therefore Davis is completely wrong. But a couple hundred tanks is to going to cut it if Ukraine wants to completely push Russians out of Ukraine, it will take a lot more. It is definitely possible, but it won’t be easy and it won’t be like Iraq.

    I wonder why 1945 gives this crack airwaves on here as he isn’t competent for giving either correct information or good advice. His purpose is clear. He lies and obfuscates in order to convince us that Ukraine can’t win. Then, there is no reason to help Ukraine. His main purpose is to turn the US away from the strategy we have used since WWII. He believes in isolation. Not sure when this ideology became so prevalent. It sure wasn’t in when he and I were in the military. We studied the negative effects of isolation before WWII.

  9. Chris Kane

    January 19, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Gosh, LTC Davis! “Why don’t you knock off with them negative waves…”

    The Russians can manage the hysterical reaction to the possible arrival of Leopard 2’s and M2 Bradleys all by themselves.

    “Have a little faith, baby!” 🙂

  10. Ben Leucking

    January 19, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    Davis has been so consistently wrong in his predictions that I discount everything he says.

  11. Johnny Ray

    January 19, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    @Cheburator -“And how is Ukraine going to enter the Crimean direction?”

    That is an excellent question which I feel unqualified to answer, but Ukraine and it’s allies have very superior military leaders who can work out the details.

    However, my answer to your question would be, “from every which way with everything they got”. Maybe Ukraine doesn’t have high tech landing craft, but there must be a lot of fishing boats that could move troops to a beach. Etc.

    Where’s Patton when you need him? He would know EXACTLY what to do!

    Crimea is one of the most historically iconic battlefields of all time…

    “Charge of the Light Brigade” at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, 1854:

    “Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!” he said.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.”

  12. Michael Droy

    January 19, 2023 at 7:08 pm

    Poor Davis, blown about by the latest Pentagon concerns.

    The war is pretty much over, the weapons are run out, the troops are run and and demoralised (outside western media there are dozens of videos of Ukrainian troops begging for proper weapons and commanders, who then jointly sign off with Slava Ukraina and a promise to keep fighting – it is quite tragic).

    So right now we had a brief “well we must accept defeat sooner or later moment” that has turned into a “no – a PR disaster in 1 month is far better than admitting we screwed up today”.
    So promises of new weapons, but seriously – Abrams tanks can’t go without a few hundred US engineers to keep them working. Patriot missiles cost $1m a shot, and 2 need to be fired to bring down a single Russian Drone costing $15k (while the whole Patriot system costs $1 billion – get real it is not being sent, just promised).

    Does Kiev have an ounce of credibility left – well of course not and pretty much anyone can see that even in the Western media.
    The problem is not what happens on the battle field, but who can be found to negotiate defeat on behalf of Ukraine – there are no credible leaders or friendly countries.

  13. Cheburator

    January 19, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    Johnny Ray

    I explain – the lower reaches of the Dnieper is a river several tens of miles wide – all crossings in this region have been destroyed. Those. Ukraine cannot cross the Dnieper. – It was not in vain that Russia left the Kherson direction beyond the Dnieper – a physically insurmountable obstacle for Ukraine.Russian it is enough just to lazily exchange fire across the river.
    Ukraine may try to develop an offensive from Zaporizhia – but this is hundreds of miles of open steppe – i.e. Ukraine will have to advance hundreds of miles under air and artillery attacks.
    Now the question is how will they do it?
    The forces of Ukraine are running out, and a new supply of weapons will not fix anything – in addition to weapons, additional staffing is needed – Ukraine was helped by a truce in the summer. Now such a respite may not occur. I am already silent about the training of crews of armored vehicles and other complex equipment that requires lengthy training – can you imagine what a zoo of military equipment Ukraine has – this is a real hell for logisticians and support services – tanks of almost all models, dozens of models of armored vehicles, etc.
    The only way to fill the manpower gap is to send NATO soldiers, even though the same Poles are already dying by the thousands in Ukraine.

  14. Freeborn John

    January 19, 2023 at 8:30 pm

    Daniel Davis seems to try to use the 1st of his 3-part articles to try to restore his battered credibility before trashing it again in the final part.

  15. Steve

    January 19, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Cherburator: “And how is Ukraine going to enter the Crimean direction? it will not work to force the Dnieper in the lower reaches or to make a land corridor along the left bank of the Dnieper – having no superiority in aviation and artillery, this undertaking is doomed to failure.”

    The path to Crimea will likely be through Zaporizhzhia, and if the United States delivers Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs, as now reported, Ukraine will have even greater artillery superiority than HIMARS currently provides. 93-mile range and accuracy measured in meters would put almost all Russian supply depots, ammo dumps, command centers, and troop concentrations at risk, and Ukraine needs to only advance a bit to put all of Crimea in range. How is Russia going to deal with that?

  16. Yrral

    January 19, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    Ukraine is being carved up like Thanksgiving day turkey, with only the carcass to be fed too the dog,as long as this war continues

  17. Goran

    January 19, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Daniel Davis : “A study of the geography and a comparison of the forces involved, however, exposes the reality that only a miracle could see Ukraine drive Russia from Kherson. Actually, Kyiv would need closer to three miracles to pull an effective offensive there.” August 2022

    Not one, not two but three miracles to take back Kherson?! 🙂

    Anyway, most of the areas still occupied by Putin’s army will not have to be liberated by force, and will be reintegrated via some sort of peace agreement in exchange for a non-territorial autonomy for Russians within Ukraine and lifting of the sanctions imposed on Russia. This is not about defeating Russian military in the field, this is about denying it a victory until economic and diplomatic tools create a sufficient pressure on Putin to abandon his imperialistic goals and come to terms with the fact that Ukraine is a sovereign country, a UN member with freedom to decide its own course.

  18. Neil Ross

    January 19, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    “I am moderately sceptical, moderately pessimistic because the Germans are defending themselves against this like a devil protects himself against holy water,” Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters.

    You would think that your average German probably didn’t like being called a ‘devil’ by an official from Poland, but then Poland/Germany relations are at a low point thanks to Poland’s recently ignored reparations request.

    But it was refreshing to see Germany throw the decision to send Leopard MBTs to Ukraine back into Washington’s court.

    And after 10 months of hearing about how the West’s hi-tech MANPADS and drones were decimating Russia’s tanks, it was interesting to read this week that it was in fact good old Ukranian artillery that accounted for the vast majority of kills, and that the MANPADS and drones had shockingly low success rates against Russian armour. So much for the adage of 1 smart weapon being equal to 500 dumb weapons. I hope Davis addresses this in his follow up articles.

    Friday’s press conference from Estonia should be enlightening, just don’t expect to hear a lot of truth.

  19. Jon

    January 19, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    Once again, Davis proves as reliable and useful as a stopped clock. He has shifted, imperceptibly, from ‘nothing Ukraine can do will stop Russian victory, to ‘more modern weapons for Ukraine will be too complex and only upset Russia’. There’s no end of trolls that will do better work than this, cheaper. Where is Capitalism, when we truly need it?

    The fact is that the #29 ranked military is besting the world’s #2 military, on their own initiative and the closet cleanings from NATO nations.

  20. Jim

    January 19, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    There are a lot of Ukraine supporters who want to crack heads… they’re sure if their wish list is supplied victory is around the corner.

    A-okay… you get your wish list… although, Germany is being “sticky” with Leopard 2’s and there is no sign, yet, M1 Abrams are on the way… in fact, Germany says they won’t allow Leopards until Abrams are sent.

    War supporters may yet get Leopards…

    But it’s not equipment alone.

    The command & control structure, the operational flow chart, if you will, has been degraded. NCO’s and officers need advanced professional training and field experience… the previous army, the one we spent eight years building, has been expended, mostly destroyed, “burned” at a intense rate… it doesn’t exist anymore.

    Nothing I could say would persuade war supporters.

    But they need to consider in their own minds what would be defeat… how bad does it have to get before they’re open to acknowledging the war is lost and it’s time to negotiate.

    How bad does it have to be?

    If Ukraine can’t win… do Ukrainians deserve to be destroyed in a brutal, dead-ended, futile effort…??

    I recall a prior futile & brutal retreat in a war where the leader claimed the little people deserved their fate (of losing their lives & country) because they couldn’t successfully fight for him… they didn’t measure up to his self-styled brilliance.

    Are you people ready to put Ukraine through that?

    If you are (willing to sacrifice Ukraine to slaughter), I suggest you are no better than that previous leader… is that someone you want to emulate?

    Really?

    When will enough be enough… think about it.

    How much hell do you want Ukraine to suffer?

  21. The Al U Know

    January 19, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    @ Walker

    “We just don’t know that.”

    Not we. We are along for the ride.
    General Mark Milley is quoted as saying:

    “You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded,” Gen Milley said. “Same thing probably on the Ukrainian side.” -BBC, Nov.’22

    EU President Von der Leyen echoed this.

    Ah…but….but…Zillionsky say it is only 13,000.

    “Again, progressive NYT can’t back Zelensky on his ‘official’ count:
    “Sergei K. Shoigu, said that 5,937 Russian troops had been killed since the war started.”
    “They/mediazona/ did not set out to document every death, and estimated that their Russian count was about one-third to half the true total.”
    They estimated 10k deaths.

    When it came to Milley’s claim however:
    “There have been similar estimates for Ukrainian losses, with Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, telling a Ukrainian news station this month that up to 13,000 Ukrainian troops had died in the conflict.”

    Who has the more accurate count? Is Zelensky obscuring, masking a Soviet begotten tactical inefficiency that is borderline rotten? Or is the high General inflating what his extensive intel infrastructure tells him for political sympathy at home? You would Both sides make so much propagandistic hay that the barn smells so bad that the MSM and the main weapons supplier that backs the AFU call it into question.

    Walker, with this in mind, your other point does not make sense. There were 10K civillians in Soldedar. Twice as many in Bakhmut(GJ TY). So why would AFU still hold onto these if it could pull out to draw the RF in a more advantageous area and wear them down on open ground? All while fighting in and environment that is like Verdun and have all those civilians as collateral?

    Also,not that they are coming now but aren’t tanks more efficient in non-urban areas?

    From The Al U Know

  22. pagar

    January 20, 2023 at 1:36 am

    2023 is the year humanity GETS TO WITNESS the first mushroom clouds…since…since…since..the voluntary ban on all atmospheric tests by nuclear powers on this planet.

    What could be more stupid than a super duperpower acting to foment war against a nuear rival on its front doorstep.

    Like asking or insisting to open the gates of hell !!!

    Well, nobody is as dumb as Biden, the man who with his dementia-ailed brain makes Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson look like two pre-puberty church choir boys.

  23. dave

    January 20, 2023 at 1:41 am

    Ukrainian army down to 140,000 last week from 600,000. We don`t even know how many others in the 7 previous drafts, #8 is ongoing. Plus at least 10,000 poles. This isn`t hard to figure out how it ends.

  24. ruslan

    January 20, 2023 at 7:04 am

    Ukraine was only able to liberate the territories that the Russians themselves had abandoned (Chernihiv, Sumy, etc.) as well as the Russians themselves withdrew from Kherson after destroying the infrastructure. But Ukraine claimed that it had allegedly liberated the city victoriously. Today, they deceive their people and their actual masters (USA, NATO countries) by talking about their successes, which in fact there are none! They have no trained and trained resources, and the crumbs that the U.S. and NATO countries are training are incapable of turning the tide of war.
    In addition, they have repeatedly claimed victory over the Russians that it will be at the beginning of summer, then late summer, then late fall, now spring… But these are all empty words. One can live in illusions, but at some point one must become realistic. The only battle they have won is the lie through the media… and that’s with our help.

  25. Harmen Breedeveld

    January 20, 2023 at 8:17 am

    To Jim,

    You ask “How much hell do you want Ukraine to suffer?”.

    Well, the true hell is Russia occupying Ukraine. Russian soldiers have murdered many Ukrainian civilians during the initial stages of the invasion.

    If Russia were to occupy Ukraine, I imagine that Russia will be brutal with anyone in their way.

    Mass murder, rape, a deliberate wiping out of Ukrainian culture and heritage, the installation of pro-Putin, incompetent, corrupt and brutal leaders who will inflict grievous harm on anyone whose lives they control …

    Now, you may believe that is great – I suspect that you are Russian.

    But the Ukrainians clearly believe that that is a horror beyond all horrors.

    I suspect they remember the Holomodor, when the Russian communist empire under Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians to death and murdered countless more Ukrainians through executions, deportations and the like.

    In other words: Ukrainians have learned in the hardest way possible that nothing good will ever come from Russia.

    They will choose to fight to the death rather than surrender.

    And I am sure that Putin’s regime will have long collapsed under the ever-increasing political strain of this war before Ukrainians come anywhere close to having all fought to the death.

    Assuming you are Russian, I will say it in a very easy way: your country has created an implacable foe that you cannot defeat, no matter how many mobilizations you decree, no matter how many missiles you fire, no matter how many criminals you send off via Wagner to get themselves killed in brutal and largely futal human wave-style attacks.

    The question is: when will the Russian political system crack?? In 2023? In 2024?

    Time will tell.

  26. Doyle

    January 20, 2023 at 8:56 am

    Tired of listening to Russia/Putin lovers pontificate about things which they just plain do not have sufficient information to pontificate or just taking the Russian side for everything. If you do not believe Western weapons have made a difference in this war you just plain are not paying attention. The Soviet era weapons that Ukraine fielded at the start of the war, and yes still do only because Russia is their best weapons supplier still, would not have yielded the results they have to date. Despite overwhelming numbers in just about every category the land, air and seas around Ukraine are contested and Russia can do nothing with impunity.

  27. Simon Beerstecher

    January 20, 2023 at 9:36 am

    DD is once again wrong,when fighting for freedom,sovereignty and trying to avoid another HOLODOMOR , death squads etc is a far different thing to fighting in a desert environment for no other reason than G Bush said so.Ukraine is a battle for survival,a war partly played out as a guerilla war and part conventional.Tanks are extremely important to not only defend against Russian gains but also to “fix” enemy resources at certain points on the battlefield.This war is not a war against an adversary that you know you can dominate,in terms ISTAR, of air and on the ground.Neither party will gain the upper hand.This is a slugfest against an adversary whose invading combatants are not too sure what they are doing their.Much like the American troops in Vietnam.The Ukraineans know why they are their,combined arms or not given the basics they will win.Give them the tools to protect their airspace,they will win.Outproduce and supply more weapons to Ukraine while the economic rot sets into Russia,they will win.Train and supply F16s they will win.I do not see how the Russians against the whole of the technological and military industrial base of Europe and America can hope to win.You are too small minded in your assesment of this conflict and probably need to look at the greater picture both inside Russia and outside of Russia.Russia is made onf many Oblasts and Republics all tenuously stitched together by the impression of Moscows Imperialistic might.The sam might that has been now totally exposed as a paper tiger by a smaller and determined democratic nation, that seeks nothing more than self determination.As an American I find it surprising that you do not identify better with the emotions and determinations of the Ukrainean peoples.

  28. Jim

    January 20, 2023 at 10:02 am

    Mr. Breedeveld,

    I suspect you want to fight to the last Ukrainian.

    And, when it’s somebody else fighting & dying, somebody else’s country being destroyed… well, if they don’t win they deserve to be destroyed.

    If the leaders of that country sell out & abuse their own citizens in service to a murderous ideology (murder Russians) and to their “sugar daddy” (the USA) who uses their country as a tool to “weaken Russia” do they really have the welfare of their own people at heart… or is it a selfish, self glorification to a murderous ideology and their own personal pocket book… damn the little people…

    I reject that kind of moral calculus.

  29. Lee C.

    January 20, 2023 at 10:07 am

    It is absolutely true that bringing the UA ‘up to speed’ with new weapons systems will take time. And it is also absolutely true that the US and other nations have taken quite a long time to come to that point – multiple years in many cases. But the Ukrainians are uniquely motivated to learn fast & well – unlike all recent prior opportunities (incl US forces), the troops being trained were on a peacetime basis. War time changes what is possible, esp. for training. The biggest delay any new weapon systems to Ukraine is likely to face is the delay in the Western sources getting the equipment (often currently in reserve) ready to send – the Ukrainians will surprise the world with how quickly they come ‘up to speed’ & will likely shock the West with some of the innovative ways they will employ the new weapons. No magic, just supreme motivation in action.

  30. from Russia with love

    January 20, 2023 at 10:56 am

    @Harmen Breedeveld
    no, Jim is not Russian. I am Russian.
    I have not seen such concentrated nonsense as you wrote for a long time. 😂
    for starters, let’s decide what kind of Ukrainians you are talking about here. if from those Nazis whom the United States brought to power in 2014, then I agree with you. just destroy them. and yes, we, in Russia, are sure that this is a great idea. 😎👍
    you probably don’t know, but Russia accepted the largest number of refugees from Ukraine, several million, and these are definitely not the “Ukrainians” whom the United States is now arming.
    not our country has created an enemy. the enemy was created by the United States by carrying out a coup d’état in 2014 and putting its puppet government at the head of Ukraine. now Russia has no other choice but to destroy the Ukrainian junta.🤷‍♂️
    about corruption and rape is generally gorgeous! 🤣🤣🤣 even in Ukraine they fired a politician who wrote this nonsense about rape. but 7 months have passed and the delirium can be repeated. there are still idiots who believe in mass rape and the issuance of Viagra to the Russian army. 🤣🤣🤣 about terrible corruption is also very funny. 😂👍 especially against the background of Zelensky, who during his presidency increased his capital from several thousand dollars to more than a billion!
    about live wave attacks is also not bad.😉 even pro-Western media already write that for 1 dead Russian soldier there are 7-9 dead Ukrainian soldiers. basically you guessed it. very similar to the tactics of living waves, but in the Ukrainian army. 😂
    when will the Russian government stagger? definitely not before 2030 😎 before the governments in the EU and the USA will stagger. in the EU and Britain there are already mass protests and strikes. in Russia, on the contrary, production growth, debt reduction and a high level of employment. sanctions, they are such strange sanctions.

  31. PubliusNaso

    January 20, 2023 at 11:00 am

    We have to look not just at the numbers but also at the quality of the troops deployed. On one side are Russian conscripts and convicts. It is well known that anyone in Russia with half a brain avoids conscription like the plague; the really smart ones have long left the country.

    On the other side you have the entire Ukrainian male military age population, not just young conscripts. They are professionals in real life – engineers, IT professionals, technicians of all kinds. In this day and age one can easily and accurately translate technical manuals and arrange video session training sessions. Are there simulators for operating tanks and other military equipment, like there are for military planes? Also for logistics – several countries close to Ukraine have operated this equipment for years and have logistics systems in place. It is actually a valuable training opportunity for these countries to practice fixing and maintaining their equipment under wartime conditions.

    Ukrainians are smart, and they are not alone.

  32. Gary Jacobs

    January 20, 2023 at 11:03 am

    Jim,

    LoL…You clearly dont know many Ukrainians. They volunteer to fight Russia to defend their families and their homeland because they have centuries of Russian Imperialism to refer back to as a reminder of what happens if they do not fight. You focusing on the US helping them stand up for themselves says more about your bias/agenda than anything else.

    Putin is not shy about waxing nostalgic for their imperialist past that he wishes his legacy to be a part of. Centuries of Russian history is replete with thieving from their neighbors and brutally oppressing them.

    In fact, as many times as you use the word ‘neocon’ incorrectly… in reality Putin fits the actual definition of neocon better than anyone in this situation. He led Russia to invade Ukraine to change its government to his liking in an act of naked aggression… and is attempting to destroy Ukrainian culture and remake into ‘Russkiy Mir’. Pretty much the deepest darkest definition of neocon possible… but you dont want to accept any of that reality as it flies in the face of your faux notion of smarts.

    I would say the Ukrainian mind set is something akin to the Jews in Poland during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They knew they were outnumbered, and likely faced death against the Nazi war machine. But they also faced death from the gas chambers, or starvation…or Mengele’s ‘medical’ experiments. No matter how much you want to pretend otherwise, the Russians are essentially acting like Nazis in Ukraine…and the Ukrainians will continue to fight them.

    The US support for Ukraine against Russia is one of my proudest moments as an American.

    They have already proven to be great fighters, and have push Russia back from a lot of the occupied territory.

    Now it’s time to help them liberate the rest of their country. We should have given them better weapons months ago so this war can be over asap.

  33. from Russia with love

    January 20, 2023 at 11:48 am

    offensive on the southern front began. as sane people wrote, not in the direction of the Crimea, but in the direction of Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk. the dominant heights and several settlements have already been taken.
    also about how bad things are in ukraine says mobilization, which has not stopped for a second since february 24. Zelensky still has about 2 million Ukrainians whom he can kill in his adventure, but these Ukrainians have less and less desire to die for Zelensky.
    one can understand why Western countries are not enthusiastic about transferring their modern tanks to Ukraine. a tank needs infrastructure and trained personnel. Ukraine has neither the first nor the second. yesterday’s clerks who have completed 1-3 monthly training courses are not the qualified personnel who can stop the Russian army. in addition, Russian aviation dominates in the sky. sending Abrams M2 and Leopard there is the same as throwing them in the trash. the question is whether the United States is ready to pay for this disposal.
    in addition, these are tanks for the “last war”. they are not ready to operate in conditions when the enemy controls the sky. they are not ready to operate in the conditions of serious electronic warfare. they are not ready to act in conditions when UAVs conduct constant reconnaissance and see all their movements. they are not ready to act in conditions when the enemy is ready to respond to 1 of their shells with 10 shells. they are not ready for a 152mm Krasnopol projectile or Lancet UAV to hit the roof in the engine compartment. they are expensive and complex and have a serious chance of not reaching the front line or burning down somewhere at the railway station under the impact of Russian missiles.
    in short, the only thing that can bring these tanks to Ukraine is Biden’s desire to launder another 40-50 billion stolen from American taxpayers.

  34. Neil Ross

    January 20, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Davis advised us in the past to not listen to what was being said by retired U.S. Generals. What about what is being said by active U.S. Generals? Today U.S. General Mark Milley said at the Ramstein press conference that it would be very difficult to remove Russian forces from Ukraine this year.

  35. Jim

    January 20, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Mr. Know,

    Thanks for presenting evidence of casualties.

    Amazing how some blow out snowstorms of B. S. to push their agenda.

  36. aldol11

    January 20, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    first time i agree with Putin’s troll
    Game changer is uniquely air superiority

  37. Cheburator

    January 20, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    The Al U Know

    How do you propose to wear down the Russians in the open? Hoping they run out of ammo?

    To operate in open areas, it is necessary to have an advantage in artillery and aviation, and this advantage is on the Russian side, and any attempt to attack will make the Ukrainian troops a cockshot to the Russians

  38. Jim

    January 20, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Gary, you miss state the history. Historically, there was little or no “Ukrainian” consciousness before World War One in Southern Russia… Novorossiya was an old idea… only small ideologues claimed so-called ukrainian ethnocisim.

    The Bolsheviks took control of what was the Russian Empire.

    They cut a separate peace with Germany in 1917… relinquishing control over what the Germans picked up and called “Ukraine”…

    Ukraine as a separate entity was organized by the Germans… (an organizational structure) because the Bolsheviks agreed that “Ukraine” was subject to German requisitioning of supplies (food) and material (basic industrial goods) for Germany’s war effort against the allies.

    Before the Bolsheviks sold out Southern Russia… the concept of so-called “Ukraine” was almost unknown among the Russian People… (including those Russians living in the geographical area in question)

    It was a Bolshevik “fiction” to cut a peace deal so they could consolidate their domination over the Russian nation… with all the ensuing terrors that happened at the hands of the Bolsheviks…

    Go to bloody blazes with all your talk… Baghdad bob.

    Your understanding of history is so one sided as to be utterly worthless… biased beyond repair.

  39. Roman

    January 20, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    “and is attempting to destroy Ukrainian culture and remake into ‘Russkiy Mir’.” – is same as claim what Americans try to destroy English culture.

  40. Yrral

    January 20, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Jacob, Milley say Ukraine, liberation of their is a lost cause by and he should know Google Milley Ukraine Eject Russian

  41. Paul

    January 20, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    DD in November 22:
    Russia could commit their newly conscripted untrained and unmotivated soldiers to a winter offensive on three fronts, Liviv-axis, Sumy-axis and Donbas-axis. Any problem that these conscripts are civilians who just recently put on uniforms. No no, Not a problem according to DD.

    DD in January 23:
    It is far too complicated for the highly motivated Ukrainian army to learn how to use advanced western weapons, in a bid to launch a new offensive. They should not even try and the west should just save their equipment. I will explain why in a new series of humbug articles. In these articles I will describe how horrible difficult western tanks are to operate, supply and maintain. I will also sprinkle some meaningless references to Sun Tzu, Patton, Von Clausewitz and Rommel in a bid to confuse my readers and add credibility to my BS.

  42. Roger J. Buffington

    January 22, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    I was an armored forces and artillery officer in the US Army, and I’m here to tell you that this article is rubbish. Modern western equipment can quite literally wipe the floor with even the best Russian junk, when the latter even works, and Russia is not using its best gear anymore. Because the Ukrainians destroyed most of the new stuff. This writer always seems to grind out the viewpoint that “resistance is futile” and that Ukraine must submit to Russia. Not so. Armored forces are a kind of “rock, paper, scissors” dynamic, where using them together using modern western combined arms tactics is vital to achieving good battlefield results. The Russians have manifestly and completely shown themselves unable to do this. And now, with their mobilization, and after horrific officer attrition, they are worse of than ever in this respect. Combine this with the very inferior Russian equipment versus the really good equipment that we are giving Ukraine, and we can expect a Ukrainian victory. That’s “victory” with a “V”.

  43. Harmen Breedeveld

    January 24, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Dear “Jim”,

    I understand that you prefer to see Ukrainians live under “enlightened” Russian rule.

    Well, we have seen what that enlightened Russian rule entails: torture, executions, destructions of cities, corruption, a callous disregard for life (both of Russian soldiers who are sent into battle ill-prepared, and of Ukrainians).

    More importantly, the Ukrainians have seen it. As have western political leaders. The result is a grim determination to see this through.

    I am sorry, “Jim”, but your countrymen – the Russians – will lose this war.

  44. Casey

    February 3, 2023 at 6:25 am

    Why do so many commentators keep bringing up the foolish idea that ‘if NATO -particular of ppl speaking from side of America, or more likely- Russian Trolls- that the West shouldn’t arm Ukraine cause they could run out of their own arms? Well I would first point out that our industrial base can produce these items in short order of we really need to, and I’d ask, if Russia goes down then who would we be fighting? Russia will be off the table and China wouldn’t involve much in the way of land forces as well as that potential conflict not happening any time soon.

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