I should stop posting about Ukraine, since I have no expertise and not much ability to judge the credibility of things I read. But I keep reading and want to share some twitter threads about Russian logistics that I found interesting. I had assumed that the Russians would eventually get their logistics problems more or less ironed out, or at least they could “solve” them by throwing enough men and material at the Ukrainians, but it seems like at least in the Kiev area their problems might be less tractable than I believed. As far as I can see, this doesn’t take away Putin’s ability to destroy Ukraine, including its cities, but it might give Putin more of an incentive to look for a negotiated solution. In any event, it’s food for thought.
Click through to read the complete threads. The last tweet captures a lot . . .
Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics
In tactics versus logistics, then there is a big difference between launching an expeditionary force versus hunkering down at home to defend. Of course the home team also has an interest in logistical support, although it is attacking the enemy’s supply lines that constitute the home team’s tactical advantage.
[One of history’s greatest logistics decisive campaign’s.]
…The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was a major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II which took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region between Belgium and Luxembourg towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy the four Allied forces and cause the Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers‘ favor. The Battle of the Bulge remains among the most important battles of the war, as it marked the last major offensive attempted by the Axis Powers on the Western front. After their defeat, Germany would retreat for the remainder of the war…
“…The German assault came to a standstill as the result of a lack of supplies, particularly tank fuel…”
Maybe the guy in command of the convoy is a Ukrainian secret agent. /s
Serious or not, he will be lucky to stay out of prison. The purging of the generals has already begun.
Ukraine is still constrained in weaponry. The US Stingers are good for several miles or 20,000 feet for aircraft. Great for helicopters. They need better missiles ones which can reach out further more than twice as far in altitude. Reach out and touch someone.
Their air force is limited and if we can not get the antique MiGs to them, the missiles will balance the fight. Russians armed the North Vietnamese with advanced SAM missiles which were knocking high altitude B52s out of the air. We should return the favor.
NATO could give them M109s which are self-propelled 155mm Howitzers. They can lob a round 10-13 miles. They are like a lightly armored tank and can move at 40 mph. Worked with them at Lejeune and Bragg. That will mess up the tight formation Russian convoy on the way to Kyiv.
While transportation is an important element of US Army logistics, it really isn’t the core element. What makes US Army logistics so powerful is the way that it integrates supply and maintenance actions within an integrated & coordinated multi-item, multi-echelon (MIME) framework. The mathematics gets pretty hairy (i.e., lagrangians, hessian matrices, etc.) but the results can be equally impressive in terms of weapon system operational availability. And what makes the US Army’s MIME models unique is that they are designed to optimize in a dynamic environment, unlike most commercial MIME models that are designed around a static long run environment.
As to those M109 howitzers, while the M109A6 (called a Paladin) has the advantage of being mobile (shoot-and-scoot) and able to operate independently (hence the nickname Paladin), the logistics support might a challenge for the Ukranian army. A better choice would be the plentiful and retiring 155mm M198 Towed Howitzer M198 Howitzer | Military.com or its lighter and more transportable replacement, the M777 Towed Howitzer M777 Howitzer | Military.com.
Long time and no see.
I worked with the Paladins out of Lejeune 4thBn 10th Marines (no longer in existence). My nephew worked with the towed versions. I was communications (2881-extinct) at the time. Either works.
What made the Corps work was our being minimalists. Thanks for the input.
Russia’s incompetence has been buying time for the Ukrainians time to organize and bring in arms. Eventually, the Russians will figure things out, but my hope is the Ukrainians can stay a step or two ahead. Since the Russians seem to have planned for a blitzkrieg with the Ukrainians quickly folding, they are having to rethink things.
As for the convoy, it was stuck on the road. What was the point of ambushing it? Usually, one ambushes a convoy to stop it. This convoy was already stopped. Actually destroying 40km of military vehicles, let’s say 10m per vehicle or at least 4,000 vehicles, would take a lot of time, risk and ammunition.
P.S. I was quite wrong about Russias intentions. I assumed they were going to grab the eastern part of the country, make a lot of noise, then hold the line. That would have triggered a much milder international response. Apparently, Putin was more ambitious. So much for the man’s political genius.
By destroying vehicles, you block the road. It is the same as putting up roadblocks to slow them down. You don’t kill them. You injure them so the spend more time taking care of casualties. It is not an ambush. it is a confrontation a better equipped country would do. Nobody bunches up like they did. They put distance between themselves.
The Ukrainians are under powered. They need better weaponry so they can sit back and do the former from a distance. They can hit and run.