Strategic Impasse of the Special Operation: Problems and New Reality…

NEW – October 4, 2022

As usual, I try to prepare large analytical reports for the weekend. Today I will collect a few questions from Readers about the situation on the fronts of the Special Operation, and estimate its further course. We take the introductory notes: during the “counter-attacks” in the Kherson and Kharkov regions, the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered significant losses. I speak confidently because the interception of the strategic initiative ended in nothing. Our hasty “regrouping” was not used, the battles at Krasny Liman turned into tough defensive fights without rest.

Despite the danger, large reserves of our troops are not being transferred there, and the state of the defense line is very, very alarming, fraught with breakthroughs and withdrawal of troops to new frontiers. Two mechanised and two tank, amphibious and amphibious-assault brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, replenished every day, with incomprehensible military perseverance, beat their foreheads against units of the L/DPR shock corps, “Bars” volunteers and a combined hodgepodge of Russian units of the 20th combined arms army.

(illustration from open sources)

Heroes of Liman

I don’t know how the Liman operation will end, but reinforcements arrived last night, and the “wheels” joined the battle, if to believe the direct inclusion of military correspondent Evgeny Poddubny from the scene. Once again … if so, then the situation is clear. With their steadfastness, the defenders of Krasny Liman thwarted the broader plans of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who were going to strike at Ugledar in the middle of the week. Against them stood only one “Vostok”battalion of Aleksandr Khodokovsky, and a dozen “supporters” of not very combat-ready units.

On September 30, the enemy took Krasny Liman into an operational environment, blocked the Svatovo highway with artillery fire and actions of sabotage and reconnaissance groups. Reinforcements to the Ukrainian side come continuously, battered units are not even taken to the rear, they are completed right in the course of the battle.

Again, there is a lot of foreign speech on the air, but unlike the “Kharkov regrouping”, there is no panic, the aircraft are flattening the enemy’s orders, the lack of artillery affects, the existing one does not have time to make two shots, as it is detected by numerous counter-battery stations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and is subjected to retaliatory strikes. Ugledar is forgotten, at least two brigades have been deployed from there, and attempts are being made to conduct a classic encirclement operation.

The task is ambitious, if successful, the enemy is able to defeat the Donetsk Special Operation group, leave (at least) the agglomeration of Severodonetsk and the borders along the Oskol River, and surrender previously liberated territories to the enemy. This is hard to believe (although I won’t rule out the cold logic of military operations), since the Kherson scenario of the end of August is being viewed. When with difficulty, rolling back and securing themselves, the combat-ready units of the UAF Reserve Corps were dragged into large fire pockets, they were slowly dislodged.

(illustration from open sources)

Here and now, the enemy with maniacal persistence wants to take exactly territory, settlements, and not develop operational success. Maps show that the rough terrain allows to make a dash to Svatovo, but with a rush worthy of better use … the initiative is lost, intercepted by our forces. This, having exhausted the enemy to the utmost, forcing them to spend all their reserves, will organise the deblocking of Liman, and withdraw the garrison from there. Or they will throw the enemy back to their original positions.

Reflections.

I adhere to restrained assessments, the state of the Special Operation forces here is frankly unimportant. There is a severe shortage of personnel units, confusion with the general command, the enemy has at least a three-fold advantage over the entire contact line, exceeds the means of NATO intelligence, calmly unloads from echelons in the front line, manoeuvres reserves. It’s not possible to fight like this. I do not foresee catastrophes, tactical successes of the Ukrainian army are possible, nothing more.

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Another tense point in Donbass was easily guessed, the strike on Svatovo would be delayed, within a week or two we can expect strong attacks by at least three brigades, equipment is continuously being transferred from near Kiev and Chernigov. The conclusion is simple: the Western curators, namely the military ones … were not impressed by the results of the “victory” on the Izyum high road, our forces were not defeated, they simply evaded, causing huge losses to the mercenaries and the UAF with aviation and artillery.

Real success is needed, not propaganda hype, but a radical change on one of the fronts. The “window of opportunity” is small, in a month our conscripts will start arriving smoothly after retraining, Special Operation units will be released from rear control, and with the beginning of 2023, interruptions in NATO equipment and ammunition will begin, several reputable American experts counted the volumes and became sad, allotting to the UAF only two months of a well-fed life.

(illustration from open sources)

And the happiness with uncontrolled allocation of funds will stop if Republicans occupy Congress. I do not share the experts’ optimism, because the Poles actively enter Lvov and concentrate in Dnepropetrovsk and Poltava. They are freeing up border units, replacing Ukrainian policemen in cities, and territorial defence units. If equipment appears not from warehouses, but from units of the Polish Army, the High Command will have to make difficult decisions, 300,000 of our mobilised troops will not be enough reinforcement for the current front line.

In the meantime, having a strategic initiative and a preponderance in people, the pressure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces continues in Donbass, in the Zaporozhye region, maniacal attempts to hold and fill the bridgehead in the Kherson direction with troops, with the direction of the strike on Kakhovka. The plan is also clear, the Ukrainian general staff members are pulling apart our few reserves, which are dangling like crazy on a ribbon, creating confusion, violating the “combat vicinity” system. They strike in the gaps.

If … we do not remove the white gloves, do not paralyse the ability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to manoeuvre entire brigades in the near rear, calmly roll out military echelons, take equipment for repair, get Western equipment – there will be problems. Military science says that after two “counter-offensives”, the UAF will restore large manpower losses in a month and a half, and equipment – in two or three. Provided NATO applies extra effort, as in the case of completing the Reserve Corps of the “South” and “East” groups.

AndNATO troops need to hurry, the autumn mud is gaining momentum, the “green” will thin out, they will have to hide in cities again. Two logistics flows that are built by Western strategists are clearly visible. The remnants of Soviet-made equipment are sent to the Kherson direction, and there are also untrained units, but more numerous. Cover with personnel the lack of artillery, which is concentrated in the direction of Krasny Liman. All 155-mm guns of Western designs and MLRS HIMARS are assembled there.

Deliveries of “Dana” Czech self-propelled guns are expected, there are up to two divisions promised, floating infantry fighting vehicles in the amount of seven to eight dozen. For a good prod it should be enough, another attempt to show the sponsors a heroic attitude to fight to the last Ukrainian. Get a few billion to live on from the IMF and Germany. I will not talk about the ability of the Special Operation to withstand this last storm of 2022, after which the parties will take an operational pause. The guys will survive. We’re obliged, help is already on the way.

(illustration from open sources)

Mobilisation.

For more than a week, I got an idea of the events being held, the assembly points and training grounds where the mobilised people started to restore their military skills. The mess is getting smaller, but there are a lot of problems. They relate to equipment, combat training, weapons systems, and coordination within platoons/crews. It is not yet possible to look at the company and battalion levels, but fellow reserve officers … do not yet understand what kind of war they are going to. Although, I start to grumble in vain, little time has passed, the rusty mechanism has just begun to rotate.

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The magic kick in the ass will not be superfluous, so that the units do not turn out “raw”. The first conscripts have already appeared in Donbass after honing their personal skills, and now they are being trained at the training grounds of Novorossiya under the supervision of shelled fighters. In at least three weeks, they will start replenishing the thinned units, the right decision. What will happen to the rest of the divisions: will they start being created from scratch or will they strengthen the existing ones? If the first option is used, then only in three months all the stages of formation and combat coordination will be completed, up to fully-fledged exercises at the regiment/brigade level.

But even those who have been trained and brought down in new formations are not able to seriously influence the course of the Special Operation, even 500,000 soldiers will not be enough to confidently control the Left Bank. It means … the calculation of political unrest within Ukraine and the collective West. Yesterday they received a notable blow with a whip, part of Novorossiya returned to its native harbour. And reinforcements will also hang over the front for the winter cold.

Vladimir Vladimirovich, clearly under the fierce blackmail of the Turkish sultan, delayed the issue of joining the liberated regions to Russia for as long as possible. But after the direct threat of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and the Western figures who went off the rails and started preparing nuclear provocations … he threw away the political plays, did not allow Zelensky to lose without losing face. Now equivalent negotiations are impossible in principle, and the West has begun to prepare a new dictator, General Zaluzhny (who said a lot of compliments to our General Staff the other day).

(illustration from open sources)

A battle of attrition begins, the Commander-in-Chief does not intend to make any sudden movements. It will be very interesting to see how the paralysed economy of Ukraine will enter the winter. And if fundamental humanistic considerations are discarded, the Army will be allowed to fight properly not just with the enemy’s army, but with its supply routes and “dual-use” infrastructure, progress will be made soon.

But even such a scenario will not radically change the situation, that’s what I’m puzzling over. If the idea is to skim the West as much as possible, to damage the military-technical potential that is being burned on the fields of Novorossiya … this is not a good idea, the expenditure of weapons and equipment can continue not indefinitely, but for a long time.

The 300,000 people arriving will not be able to carry out serious offensive actions within two or three months, the service regulations must first be rewritten, taught to think and act in a new way, a different type of war is being waged than even in Syria. For a blind defence, there are too many mobilised people, for ambitious offensive tasks – not enough, so think about the plans of the General Staff afterwards.

Although. Our Army, after partial mobilisation, wins more than the Ukrainian one. We are better prepared for the protracted phase of the conflict, no one will spurt hundreds of kilometres, the concept of maximum protection of soldiers will remain. We will learn from mistakes, move slowly in certain areas and endure. Looking with curiosity at “Western partners”, after the territories of Novorossiya were accepted into the Russian Federation, the move is theirs. Just how ready to raise the stakes, or is it time to show cards, to talk about the security and borders of NATO.

(illustration from open sources)

Conclusions.

There is the desire to have offensives, of course, flags over the liberated cities. But the 300,000 called up will not be enough for such ambitious tasks. Therefore, when Russia wakes up this morning, it will start plowing, shaking off its slumber, realising a new reality – we are defending our Motherland, and not the distant “separatist Donbass”. The conscripted defenders need not the acceleration of military operations, but the products of the military industry, our attention and respect, all possible help, and combat training.

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The country was not ready for the war, it did not foresee its course, nothing strange. The big powers are always unprepared, but the winner is the one who builds up the military economy faster, equips and trains the battalions better than the enemy. Yesterday’s speech of the Commander-in-Chief got through to the core, everyone received answers to the questions that tormented them.

Citizens of Russia, the liberated territories, fierce enemies of our state. What we will do with Ukraine is also clear. Negotiations without the participation of Kiev, in case of arrogant refusals – the sequential cutting off of new pieces of territory, at each stage demonstrating the inevitability of the defeat of the West by the growth of lands and Russian people. Waiting on a stable front for a change in the current Kiev non-negotiable regime, or a military coup.

Zelensky & associates is completely unviable without the supply of Western friends, money and material resources. How long will this state of affairs continue? The question is rather philosophical, not forever. Not even a year or two, the relentless recession and the depletion of the European economy will not help Kiev, America will be distracted after November. As well as the population of Ukraine, taken hostage. Let’s see who has a longer will, who is determined to win seriously. For some it’s not seen, but the answer is on the surface after yesterday’s appeal of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

Winter will come, soon millions of Ukrainians will have serious problems, there will definitely be interruptions in energy resources and electricity, food and the junta’s fierce punitive pressure. Even the informational “victories” will end, there will be continuous “betrayal”. A tub of icy water on September 30 strongly cooled the hot heads of not so many Ukrainians, but rather shocked Westerners.

For seven months they continuously defeated Putin together with Kiev, filling the heads of those around them with psychological operations … and as a result received 100,000 square kilometres of new lands of Russia. In the configuration “we give you freedom, you give us protection”. New times have come, the ball is sent very deep into the opponent’s half of the field. With the inscription: “You can’t defeat a nuclear superpower by force.” How did Kissinger say: Chicago is not worth Paris? Learn lessons.

I would very much like to know the name of the smart guy who was able to convince the collective West that Putin is bluffing, will never transform the chessboard, will not call opponents satanists, will not include new regions in the Russian state. And now it is clear, he will continue to fight further and will not capitulate. Therefore, it is too early to celebrate, we will work, the country and society have a lot of problems at the front, in the rear, but our affair … as it turned out – is right, is far from hopeless. The enemy has occupied part of the Russian land, you will not have to fight “with white gloves” now.


Historical Thimbles

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