]World | Politics
Medium Daily Digest, May 14, 2022
Ukraine Is Starting To Win This War
A specific breakdown of how the new systems will win.
The war is slipping out of Putin’s hands, and it’s never been more apparent.
Here’s the problem: Russia relies on siege-style warfare from the Soviet Era.
It has a simple formula. Stand outside enemy range. Bomb them to smithereens. Then send in infantry to clean up.
But now, that plan is backfiring. I’ll explain.
The terms of battle have changed
Javelins and drones still matter in a big way, but we are now in an artillery battle in Eastern Ukraine.
The US has sent anti-artillery radars that trace incoming artillery shells.
Every time Russia fires, they reverse engineer the trajectory of an incoming round and point to a map and say, “Aim here.”
Ukrainians are pairing fantastic intelligence with US howitzer cannons that have a range of 18 miles. Germany also sent 7 PZH 2000s cannons, which are the most powerful tube artillery in the world, with a range of 25 miles.
When going tit-for-tat, they can strike from well outside the range of Russian artillery.
Even further, Russia is in unfriendly territory. Every time they attempt to move, they are subject to ambushes. Citizens in nearby homes are calling intelligence in to Ukraine’s Armed forces.
Additionally, Russia’s equipment repositions much slower than Ukraine's. Russian forces move like a bloated and discoordinated barge.
Even worse, Russia cannot supplement its forces properly with air support.
Ukraine has an obscene amount of anti-aircraft weaponry at its disposal. Every day, more weapons flow across its border.
Ukraine Strikes Back
Howitzers can be quickly reloaded and adjusted.
It fires a single round that is accurate within 30 feet from 12 miles away, and its explosion has a kill radius of 50 meters (kill radius means 50% of people in that radius will be killed).
It can also be quickly repositioned before the enemy can reset and refire.
The US has sent 90 Howitzers alongside 72 transport units to reposition them quickly. Several Ukrainian squads have already flown to the US and been trained on this equipment and are now training other peers while using the cannons.
When artillery arrives in Ukraine, it is ready out of the box.
Russia’s problem(s): the tale of two logistics
What’s incredible is how fast the US delivers weapons systems, heavy artillery, and supplies into Ukraine. It is making Russia’s logistics look like amateur hour.
Russia’s mobile artillery is extremely fuel consuming, and they go through a huge volume of rounds that need to be carted in.
For context, the US also sent 180,000 rounds of artillery (a single round weighs 95 lbs — you can’t just throw 500 rounds in a bag).
Ukraine’s artillery is now hitting Russia’s supply routes with ruthless accuracy from miles outside of their range. This is part of what is stalling Russia’s efforts.
Allied intelligence and satellite imagery are painting a vivid picture of enemy movements in Ukraine and Russia. In many cases, Russian forces don’t know what hit them.
Ukraine is also striking fuel supplies just over the Russian border (though they refrain from directly admitting this).
There has also been a string of mysterious fires in Russia, either because of sabotaging or infiltrating soldiers.
Russians are getting mauled in the east
Ukraine is reclaiming territory, pushing 40 KM deeper into the Kharkiv region in the past week.
Any minor gains Russia claims are simply because Ukraine redirects forces with greater precision, applying pressure in thoughtful and strategic ways.
Russia’s attempts to push towards Odessa have stalled at Mykolaiv. Their desire to create a land bridge from Crimea to Moldova is doomed. Why?
You need good forward artillery spotters (including drones and other intelligence) to advance on defensive positions to then place shots properly and move forward.
This matters because most artillery battles use “shoot and scoot” tactics.
When you fire at the enemy, you can assume the enemy will roughly know where you are and return fire. Agility matters. Ukraine has it. Russia does not.
In an artillery battle, whoever can find and target enemy artillery the fastest, with the most accuracy, tends to be the one who wins.
Additionally, artillery is particularly vulnerable to ambush attacks with NLAWs and Javelins. Like tanks, artillery isn’t designed to fight alone, and Russia has done a piss poor job of protecting their equipment.
The final problem
Infantry combat is intimate and deadly. If your soldiers aren’t motivated and morale is down, you’ll have to use cow prodders to move them forward.
Russian losses are catastrophic. Seven (possibly 10) generals have been killed because they were in forward positions trying to motivate soldiers.
We’ve heard multiple hacked phone calls of soldiers complaining about morale and footage of Russian citizens firebombing recruiting stations to avoid conscription.
Russia’s advantages have turned into its weaknesses. They now face a better version of themselves in the east of Ukraine. Kamikaze drones are diving out of the sky at will. Ukrainian artillery is outperforming their own.
If your men don’t want to fight in infantry combat, and you can’t win in ranged combat, what are you left with? Threatening nuclear strikes.
You don’t threaten nuclear strikes when you are winning a war.
Every day that goes by results in Ukraine getting more equipment, training, intelligence, and funding to fight off Russia. It’s only a matter of time.