300,000 Reinforcements Will Repair Kremlin’s Credibility With the Rank-and-File Military

Abandoned no more

Putin was careful to say he was ordering a “partial mobilization” and Shoigu specified the military was looking for 300,000 men.

However, there is no mention of 300,000, or it being partial, in the actual mobilization decree.

Thus the decree actually establishes the legal groundwork for the authorities to eventually conscript as many as they want.

The figure of 300,000 may not look high next to Russia’s population of 145 million, or next to Russia’s Armed Forces size of 0.9 million, but it is actually enormous.

300,000 represents the upper bound of how many men the Russian military can assimilate in short order.

Russia no longer has skeleton, officer-only divisions that could quickly absorb gargantuan numbers of conscripts.

Pre-war Russia’s military only had about 200,000 slots that were kept empty and that were to be filled in case of a major war through mobilization. For example, during peacetime mortar teams don’t really need the 3rd crewman, artillery guns don’t need the 6th and 7th crewman, and ammo trucks don’t need assistant drivers. But in war, all of these become enormously useful, critical even. (How the SMO dealt with this was often through consolidation, instead of mixed kontraktniki-conscript-mobiki teams called for by doctrine it created fewer kontraktniki-only teams.)

It is for this reason that I thought Russia’s first mobilization wave (if it ever occurred) would be at most 250,000-strong. (200K to fill the empty slots and another 50K to replace prior and future casualties.) Instead RUMOD went with 300,000 right away which implies that they will also be forming some new units (eg adding battalions to brigades).

There is another way in which the 300,000 figure is enormous. Assuming 250K will go into land combat arms that immediately doubles the number of men on whose shoulders the war is sustained. (If the 150K serving conscripts in the land arms are also added that takes the number further to 650K.)

That is important in the sense that available combat power is immediately nearly doubled. And it is consequential in the sense that finally the kontraktniki who have so far been carrying the entire weight of the war will finally get some respite and rotation.

But the importance of mobilization goes even beyond that.

For the pro soldiers in the trench it answers two key questions. One, is Putin actually serious about this war? And two, does he have our backs?

The ideological motivation of Russian pro soldiers to restore the Black Sea to Russia does not need to be questioned. But ideology is only the most minor part of why people fight. Nobody is eager to fight if they feel that they have been abandoned, thrown into a war the authorities no longer care about.

Or if they feel that they have been maneuvered into bearing enormously disproportionate sacrifices to everyone else in the society.

By sending them 300,000 reinforcements Putin proves (finally) that he has the pros’ back. That he will get them what they need to attain a favorable conclusion. That their lives won’t be thrown away for nothing in a crappy little inconclusive war betrayed by the authorities.

And he also proves to them that it is not only their military caste that will be made to sacrifice (and be consumed) for this all-national goal, but that the sacrifice will be spread around the entire society.

After all, it is one thing to be told that because you are professional military that is appropriate for the 250,000 of you to spearhead a war against a state of 35-million. And it is an entirely different thing to be told that the 250K of you must accomplish it all on your own with zero reinforcements ever.

Until now the Russian military actually had a significant deployment refusal problem. Not just contract soldiers, but even officers would refuse to deploy to Ukraine. I entirely understand why, and they were completely right to.

When you sign up to become a soldier you promise to go to war if ordered and lead your men into one. But the authorities also promise that they will only throw you and your men into military undertakings that at least halfway make sense.

Being sent to conquer a nation of 35-million without notice and simultaneously being ordered to shed one-third of your uniformed manpower (serving conscripts), and then not be reinforced for 7 months is the exact opposite of anything that makes sense. Under the circumstances, I am surprised that anyone at all followed orders.

Sending them 300,000 reinforcements will go a long way toward repairing the morale of the professionals, and of solving the deployment refusal problem.

It represents the dilly-dallying Kremlinboomers finally restoring their credibility with the rank-and-file military.

Heck, yesterday all the reinforcements they could hope for were Wagner convicts, and the puny 15,000-strong 3rd Corps. Now the number is 300,000.

That is the number for now. That is how many the military is capable of assimilating in short order. But the legal groundwork is there to mobilize more in the 2nd wave (in the spring?).

However this would mean forming many new units and the biggest obstacle and challenge would be providing them with semi-decent officers and leadership.

(Sending people to war without semi-competent leaders is a waste of human life. Probably you would need to beg the oldtimers cut by Serdyukov to come back, and start numerous junior lieutenant classes right now to have them ready by spring…)

This text ended up being mostly about what the mobilization means for the Russian contract soldiers, their morale, and their faith in the authorities, so I’ll have to write another one about what it could mean for the battlefield.

  1. Blackledge says

    Does anything change on the battlefield when the incompetent leaders at RMOD remain secure in their jobs? Events have exposed Gerasimov, Shoigu, et al as abject failures.

    1. TZVI says

      Of all the people on the day of the SMO announcement back in February, only Shoigu looked absolutely terrified and apprehensive on camera when he voted for it, but you could see his heart was not in it…he knew he was being tasked with an “Aktion” that might not work.

      Fast forward to this day and we have at best a stalemate, currently we have a large call up that should change that for the RF in theory….

      Most important many Ukrainians have shown themselves willing to fight, so for the RF to force a political settlement they would have to utterly defeat them and take much more of the Ukraine to end this war ( I suppose it can be called a WAR now in the RF?).

    2. Noragami says

      I couldn’t agree more. Whether by accident or design, they treated the men under them as worthless cattle. Nobody should see any of this sh-tshow in a positive light.

    3. YakovKedmi says

      (Rodents from Mother Russia are lining up at the border with Finland intent on infesting Finland. Other rodents already ran away and infested Gruzia.)
      The structural problem with the officer core of the Army of Russia:
      This is a footage recorded by somebody and posted on the Ukrainian propaganda youtube:
      If it is genuine, what do we learn from it ? The location is the unfinished highway overpass on the other side of Pisky (it was going to be the final segment of the beltway around Donetsk city, but 2014 came and it was not completed). Even pro-Russia youtube(s) said that the Ukrainians at the overpass held up the progress (of the Expeditionary Force) for 5 weeks.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, I see five soldiers dressed in the green uniform of the conscripted soldiers from Luhansk. Two of them approaches the overpass; they throw two grenades —it seems those two grenades were the only grenades they had !!! From their activity it is very clear they have no idea what to do —five months after they were “conscripted” still no one told them how to do and what to do !!!

      What was the plan before they set out on this mission ? Somebody sent them on a mission with TWO hand-grenades !! You send five guys with AK-47 against guys behind concrete blocks !!! (the Ukrainians seem to have plenty of grenades and ammunition) And you don’t even tell them how to approach the situation !?!

  2. Traveller says

    Initial Russian contigent would have been enough to destroy uki army. Apparently they underestimated level to which Nato would get involved in conflict, including whole formations masked as ‘mercenaries’, advisers and so on.
    This manpower increase, if combined with decisive precision strikes on ukie infrastructure (bridges, tunnels,powerplants, political centers) will finish the job. Apart from nuclear strikes, Nato simply cannot win this one. With nukes, they may get even, although even that is not guaranteed.

  3. YakovKedmi says

    As per picture above:
    Yes, that is what the stupid-dumb animals need, a ceremony by the Moskau branch of church of satan, conducted by the KGB high-priest.

    In Moskva and Petrograd there were protests, eventhough there is not the remotest chance of any of them being called on. Recruitment offices in the hinterlands and in Siberia are doing capacity business. The first 100,000 summones were sent to reservists who participated in wars against misguided groups (Chechnia, Gruzia) —no Moscovite lowered himself to such activity.


    “Comrades! Citizens! Brothers and sisters! Men of our army and navy! I am addressing you, my friends!

    “The enemy is cruel and implacable. He is out to seize our lands, watered with our sweat, to seize our grain and oil secured by our labor. He is out to destroy national culture and the national state existence of the Russians, Ukrainians, White-Russians, Lithuanians, Letts, Esthonians, Uzbeks, Tatars, Moldavians, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaidzhanians and the other free people of the Soviet Union, to convert them into the slaves “

  4. RegretLeft says

    Wait! Slow down. Are you sure about “immediately” “short order” ?? – Do they even have body-armor etc for these guys? I guess veterans are included in this, but are there no training challenges? Are these guys going to be living in tents as winter settles in ? … along with the rest of a demoralized force. Just asking; I don’t know the answers. But I know enough to temper any “short order” confidence that this changes everything. NATO gets a vote too!

  5. peterinanz says

    “…available combat power is immediately nearly doubled….”
    There is something wrong with your approach to this debacle. Can’t put my finger onto it, yet, but it could have something with, how to put it, Balkan troubles in 90’s. Just a hunch.
    You , apparently, lack the fundamentals here and it WILL come back to bite you later on.

    You were correct about the insufficient number of troops (among other problems) in RF Armed Forces. But, that’s less of the problem.
    The real problem with those forces is deep, structural, rot and incompetence.

    If USA, for example, recalled 300 000 of its reserves, put them through PROPER preparation and deployed them properly, it would be a decent army group in SIX months.
    GB, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, for example, couldn’t do it without US help.
    These 300 000 aren’t combat force. They are sacrificial mass.

    For some reason (I guess lack of understanding) you keep focus solely on forcing 300 000 men into military. Not a word about getting society on war footing. Not a word about obsolete, organization, training, doctrine, weapons and equipment.

    Not to be just negative, this is how RF could do it:
    Putin declares the state of war. ALL the country gets into war footing. Not only members of underprivileged masses but all of it.
    Interestingly enough, nobody here mentioned a simple fact that the members of elite do not do national service. Hence, they will not be called in the meat grinder.
    No yachts when line/motorized/mechanized infantry have no optical, let alone night sights. No Moscow/Petersburg lavish parties when troopers have no first class body armor. No villas without encrypted communication on a squad level. Or drones on company level. Each vehicle thermal sights. Etc..etc…
    I could go on but no need: just use the Israeli example from 1973. That is how society reacts to a serous danger.
    Oh, BTW, the “allies”. Beijing WILL deliver all the material needed. And India. And Brazil. If needed they’ll (re)activate/(re)organize their production lines. The same as Australia and NZ, of all places, deliver when asked.

    We know this won’t happen.
    What will happen I wrote in previous comment.

    Putin cabal is buying time by sacrificing the unprivileged. Maybe it will work. I hope it will not. I hope the cleptocracy in Moscow will pay for this crime.
    Time will tell.

  6. Jonathan says

    Marko is too much. Takes himself far too seriously.

    Putin’s strategy should have been obvious to anyone actually paying attention, and it was summarized best by a commenter on the Saker site:

    “If the Russians underestimated, ranked a Ukie resistance as weak, then they would have, should have tripled their force and attack with more strength (against the socalled underestimated Ukies force). Why lessen your troop strength and delay victory. You would do the opposite.

    “If the Russians estimated accurately, then they made the wise decision to alter tactics, not assault directly the big cities, and slowly grind down the Ukie strength, test the NATO will to supply weapons, and calculated what they will need in subsequent phases of a war the Russians knew would be long.

    “The actual fact of the matter is the Russians used the SMO as if it were recon by combat at large scale. They found where Ukie nexus of command and control were, where the heaviest fortifications were, planned the heavy use of artillery to destroy the Ukie military structure, leaving the Ukie force with thousands of stranded, abandoned and confused troops.

    “You don’t need a large force to do recon. You don’t need a huge force to do intensive artillery and missile launches. You need superior weapons, dependable ammo and precise targeting.”

  7. peterinanz says

    Marko, because you’ve been outstanding in your assessments of this war so far, especially compared to the rest of the Internet I’ll chime again. You have your heart in the right place so here is something you can take into account from now on.
    Also, most of people reading this are, apparently, not the usual Putintards . There are, still, some residuals of critical thinking.

    There are several ways to (re)call the reserves in military, for combat.
    For clarity, let’s focus, here, on (motorized) infantry. We can agree that’s the element most in the need in this conflict for Russian side. Let’s go even further: a disembark element. Say, just a simple rifleman.
    The worst possible way to use that reservist is:
    You mobilize a guy who do not want, really, to be there. Then, you send him to some training establishment for a quick and dirty refresher. Say…..two weeks duration including one, only, day live fire exercise as a team. Two at the most. Open sights. Rifle only. Some running, calisthenics. Some marching. Rudimentary combat first aid.
    Then, you pack a bunch of those guys from that establishment and send them to the front . Disembark at some brigade command post. From there they get assigned, level by level, individually, to APC/IFV crews already mauled in the war. Say, our guy and some other guy he’s never seen in his life before the last leg to his platoon, get into crew of 4. Filling up for those two who got killed a week ago.

    Now, let’s just watch.

    1. Panos says

      Not a proffesional military here but i did serve as a conscript and have read a few things. From what i understand this kind of piecemeal approach is not how things work. The units rotate and while at rear areas rebuild both in terms of material and manpower,the newbies absorb what the old hands already know and only then does the unit returns to the sharp,for the cycle to continue. At least this is the by the orthodox approach,or rather was back in ww2. Another method is for the experienced but mauled unit personell to become cadres for other units,the soldiers becoming corporals,the corporals sergeants and so on,or trainers. I doubt the russians are complete stupids to trickle forward to the sharp end the mobilised personell just to fill gaps. Yes,LDNR (and Ukraine too)did mobilise 50somethings and send them forward pronto but there is no such extreme need here.

      1. peterinanz says

        “…I doubt the russians are complete stupids to trickle forward to the sharp end the mobilised personell just to fill gaps….”
        If…if they rotate units back and (re)build them as you say, at least up to a company level, preferably a battalion, ideally a brigade then we’ll see that Russian elites just started caring for their people.
        I doubt that. We’ll see in a month.
        “…it is always underprivileged that go to war…”.
        Pretty much but not what I’m trying to say. My point is giving those undepriviliged what they need.
        An average US infantryman had better weapons and equipment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq then an GRU recce operative in this one. Watching LDNR militia has been painful. Let alone training, leadership, fire support and logistics.

        The regime in Kremlin hopes that by buying time by life and limb of these people will give them some opening to extract themselves from this debacle without losing power and wealth. Maybe it will even work. Will be a shame.
        We’ll see.

    2. Traveller says

      Peterinanz , you are absolutely correct in one thing; it is always underprivileged that go to war – same goes to USA, whole of Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, etc… Rich man’s kids never go to war, it is only for the working class. Poor people fight and die, while elites are enjoying themselves, and in USA case even got obscenely rich in the process. Excellent observation.

      The rest of your observations, especially those from military standpoint. are completely wrong, almost same as those of Marko, who does not understand a thing about war or strategy.

      But nonetheless, kudos on the observation that only poor people are going to war, while elites are enriching themselves. I mean, just look at that drug addict clown in Kiev, zelensky – buying villa after villa around the world, while sending ordinary man (and even woman recently) to certain death. Absolutely disgusting and evil.
      No one in Ukraine will feel sorry when that clown flee to israel or england next year, after he runs out of cannon fodder to send against Russia.

      There should be a law to always conscript elite and their children first, whenever there is a war somewhere, that should surely make wars less frequent.

  8. Abraham Lincoln says

    So pro satanic evil Jewish supremacist Judeo Nazi slave empire dictatorship, are you happy to be promoting a global nuclear war. Do you think you will be rewarded by sitting at the right hand of the anti christ forever?

  9. Agarwal says

    You have the worst commenters lol, the ones on the Russian side and also the ones on the nato side. From recent comments it seems desire for group therapy has shifted to the shibas

    1. TZVI says

      First, I hope you include yourself in the count of “worst commenters.”

      Secondly, there are people here who strive to be objective…taking neither side, such as myself.

      Third, people who do take a side have good reasons to do so, even if I do not agree.

  10. Mrs. Lopsided says

    Putin is like Lincoln easing up about emancipation. Putin lets the situation over-develop and then moves in forward smartly.

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