Russian Way of War: First Have Politicians Shoot You in the Knee

What do Nicholas II, Stalin, Yeltsin, and Putin all have in common

Russia has a rich tradition of placing its military in the worst possible position from which to start fighting a war:

1914 — The Russian army is thrown into a headlong charge into Eastern Prussia to relieve the French at risk from the Schlieffen Plan resulting in the disaster at Tannenberg

1939 — Moscow has the bright idea to try and invade Finland in winter after rushed and insufficient preparation

1941 — Stalin vetoes mobilization allowing the Germans to fall on a half-manned Red Army still in its barracks

1994 — The Russian army is sent blind into the largest urban ambush in history

The campaign in Ukraine fits the pattern perfectly:

2022 — A strategy based on guesses about the resilience of the Ukrainian political state (the assumed lack of such resilience) leads to a plan that dilutes forces and prioritizes going for the political center. The exact opposite of how the Russian military wants to fight: concentrating forces and going for the military center of gravity.

Putin is a true traditionalist indeed.

Why follow your own military manuals when you can do it the Russian way: 1. Start by screwing up everything that can possibly be screwed up. 2. Adapt and overcome. 3. Win ugly.

  1. TZVI says

    Not quite the same ( it never is) as V.P. threw in mostly contract troops, and the decendents ( mostly) of the 1994 disaster in Chechnya are fighting tooth and nail for Russia this time. It’s still a cock up, but not quite as bad as WWI or WWII, yet….it does seem ( and MARKO says so as well) that they will go after the main concentration of forces in the Donbass…

    1. ken says

      One of the strategies of MacArthur (the last of America’s real generals) in the Pacific war that I liked was his decision to bypass the strongholds of Japanese held islands and let them die on the vine. It is interesting to note that many officers of the time disagreed.

      1. TZVI says

        Island Hopping. As far as generals go, he was very good at his job. So long as they lack the ability to harm you ( Isolated, little to no naval resupply and extraction to a different front), that is a good strategy. The difference here is we are on land, and even Russian held areas are quite porous, allowing for occasional attacks.

        Even if Russia eliminates the Ukrainian armies in the Donbass, they still have the west, where NATO will try to equip whole new armies…but that is something they will worry about later.

  2. ken says

    It appears Russia’s main goal is to re-establish the territory of the Donbass republics. Possibly they intend to re-incorporate these areas after the hostilities end.

    They have also defanged Ukraine. It will take years and billions of freshly printed American dollars to re-arm the country.

    It is my hope they take out all those bio-labs before exiting.

    Russia has had its share of wins and losses but after almost two centuries it is still here.

  3. EstibenDelMar says

    1941 — Stalin vetoes mobilization allowing the Germans to fall on a half-manned Red Army still in its barracks

    hahahahaaaaaa. that is how you explain Germany’s pre emptive war?

    (preemptive war is launched in anticipation of immediate aggression by another party)

    1. Boro from Slavija says

      Spare that nazi crap.

      1. EstibenDelMar says

        Please drop the stalinist BS and write down your ideas. Stalin was about to wipe out the whole Europe. Stalin had been developing a vast industrial military complex and had developed the most moder weapons and tactics. They had the best tanks, airplanes, subs, heavy artillery and in numbers that european countries could only dream about. Notice that i’m saying Stalin and not russians because Stalin was never voted to power he rather got it by blood and lead and had every russian doing his bidding or else. Russians were pawns, driven by fear of capital punishment or banishment of themselves and their families.

    2. Ray says

      Germany had 4 milion troops preemptive on Russian border????
      Sell that BS to someone else

      1. EstibenDelMar says

        what do you mean 4 million troops?

    3. ken says

      Yep,,, What many do not realize,,, in 1940/41 the USSR had the largest and most modern army in the world. The Red army was preparing to take on Germany and the rest of Europe. Would have too but German intelligence got wind of their plans and decided to strike first. Operation Barbarossa was very successful because the Russians were set for offensive ops and had few defenses. The Germans plowed right through. Had it not been for one of the worst winters in many years the outcome may have been very different.

      Which goes to show that the best laid plans can go to shit very fast.

      1. EstibenDelMar says

        Sadly most people still buy 75+ yo propaganda and enjoy themselves with it.

      2. EstibenDelMar says

        but it wasnt the winter that stopped Hitler, it was the red army’s huge numbers and germany’s littler forces. Also nothing would had happened if moscow had fallen to german hands. Stalin had a spare city from which he could head the whole army and the soviet union. Kuibyshev was the name of that spare capital.

  4. guest says

    Are you trying to say that 5D grand-chess player Vladimir and the Russian High Command are really as …. as they pretend to be ? That they based their invasion strategy and planning on an ass-umption that it will be like in 2014 ? and the Ukranian Army will walk away with their banker-boxes and office flowers in hand ?

    1. Kolokol says

      If I recall correctly Putin mentioned Stalin’s unpreparedness as a consequence of his desire not to provoke the Nazis. A lot of historians agree many don’t.

  5. Godfree Roberts says

    Russian resilience and apparent fearlessness (compared to us) are much- overlooked assets.

  6. Algo says

    Yeah, kind of a misleading article. Usually Anti-Empire is better than this.

  7. SteveK9 says

    Is it ever different everywhere? Apparently waging war is not so simple. The record of huge blunders by every nations leaders in war, would fill many volumes. Why should Russia be so different? The question is whether the performance is relatively good or bad. It’s only been a month. If they are correcting errors now, that is probably a quick job.

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