Strelkov Thinks Russia Doesn’t Have Enough Troops to Pull Off a Donbass Encirclement
Not enough troops for a deep encirclement, but a shallow one takes them across fortified terrain
Editor’s note: Strelkov is a notorious naysayer but there is no arguing that the man knows war and he argues his case well. (Even when he takes it a little bit too far.)
One of my comrades, who had returned from the front for reorganization, asked me to briefly and clearly (without getting into the jungle of military science) summarize and state my thoughts that I expressed in a conversation with him, concerning the reasons for my “pessimism” regarding the success of the “second stage of SMO (Special Milirary Operation)”.
He thinks it might be useful to someone. I think that no one (from those making decisions) will pay attention, but I promised and, therefore, here it is.
So, let’s briefly assess the operational situation:
1. From our side: after the “successful completion of the first stage of the operation” (which ended in a large-scale RETREAT from the territory of the Kiev, Chernigov and Sumy regions) there is a redeployment and concentration of forces in the Donetsk sector of the front.
Apparently (and according to the statements of the political leadership of the Russian Federation), it is here that it is planned to carry out the “second stage” and solve the problem of completely clearing the territory of the LDNR of enemy groups.
Obviously, the calculation is being made on the creation of two or three strike groups sufficient in numbers, which, with the concentrated support of all aviation forces and most of the artillery, will “grind” the opposing Ukrainian forces (which for some reason are still not estimated highly) and defeat them in one big battle.
2. From the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: the plans of the command of the RF Armed Forces are well known to the enemy, and he — the enemy — does not at all consider the defeat of his grouping inevitable.
On the contrary, the Armed Forces of Ukraine intend to defend themselves on their heavily fortified positions, relying on previously and newly created (the command of the RF Armed Forces provided them with enough time) fortified positions in the alleged directions of the strike of the Russian troops (and they are obvious — it’s enough to look at the map).
We ask ourselves the question: does the superiority of the RF Armed Forces in aviation and heavy weapons guarantee victory over an enemy (to whom our offensive plans are obvious) prepared for defense, with high morale? My answer is NO, not guaranteed.
Why? — I answer:
The “superiority” of the RF Armed Forces in aviation and artillery is very relative. Since the enemy has a well-equipped and numerous air defense, which seriously limits the actions of tactical aviation capable of supporting its troops on the battlefield.
The enemy has an ADVANTAGE in the means of field and artillery reconnaissance (unmanned aerial vehicles of various classes are already almost at the platoon level). And its artillery has good weapons and well-trained personnel.
And against the numerous Russian armored vehicles — the Armed Forces of Ukraine (in defense conditions) are quite capable due to the really huge amount of anti-tank weapons in the hands of the infantry (ATGM).
In conditions where Russian troops will have to storm one urban agglomeration after another, the amount of manpower comes to the fore. But in it, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Armed Forces of the LDNR, alas, do not have a serious advantage.
Suppose, having overcome the first line of defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine south of Izyum and in the Gulyai-Pole area, our troops begin to advance in convergent directions.
Can they quickly unite in the deep rear of the Ukrainian grouping, creating (“according to the classics”) two encirclement rings (external and internal)? With a guarantee that the enemy will not immediately break through them and create their own “cauldrons” for the attackers? (The Germans did this repeatedly in 1942 to our troops).
I express doubt. Why? — I answer: because this requires a LOT of units and formations, designed not only to break through, but also to firmly secure the territory. As well as a large number of supply units.
If the enemy had few forces, the protection of communications could be partially ignored. But the Armed Forces of Ukraine (thanks to mobilizations) already have enough forces — comparable to the number of our troops in the theater.
Moreover, the enemy has the ability to reduce the frontline and transfer freed forces towards endangered directions – RF does not have complete supremacy in the air simply due to a lack of numbers in attack aviation, and tiny numbers of attack UAVs.
At the same time, the enemy can hold the front line near Donetsk with relatively small forces due to the excellent engineering equipment that has been produced for many years, while our genius politicians were ‘chewing Minsk snivel:
In this regard, I assume that the general lack of forces will not allow the Russian command to carry out “deep coverage in the area of the Dnieper (Dnipropetrovsk). — There simply will not be enough forces for this.
Therefore, the offensive will be carried out “along the shortest directions” — from the north — to Slavyansk-Kramatorsk (maximum on Barvenkovo), from the south — on the Ugledar-Kurakhovo line. Both mentioned operational lines will inevitably lead our troops to face the large, highly fortified, and well-prepared defensive garrisons in numerous city agglomerations. In fact, the enemy still retains control over roads between them, which they can use to continue supplying their troops.
Thus, after some time in these areas, the situation will repeat itself, which already exists in the areas of Rubizhnoye-Severodonetsk, Popasnaya, Avdeevka and Marinka, where the Allied forces are moving forward very slowly and with very heavy losses (especially in the infantry). Or they don’t advance at all (Avdeevka).
The enemy is more than happy with such a way to conduct combat operations. Why? – Because the Armed Forces of Ukraine need another 1.5 to 2 (maximum 3) months to prepare large reserves — not in the form of constant reinforcements into existing forces (they are already happening, supporting on a very decent level the numbers of troops directly engaged in combat), but in the form of detachments that can be used in other strategic directions, while Russian forces are ‘bleeding; storming fortified cities in Donbas.
In the worst case scenario, we can repeat the situation similar to one that happened for the Wehrmacht during operation ‘Citadel: While Germans were slowly gnawing through the deeply reinforced defence of Soviet troops, wasting time and their saved reserves, Soviet command concentrated in the north (around Belgorod and Oryol) a large group of own troops not engaged in the battle. When it started a counter-offensive, Germans ‘suddenly found out’ that there was not enough power to simultaneously continue operation ‘Citadel’ and defend from counter-offensive of Soviet troops.
The operation had to be ended and battered troops had to be returned to their original positions. And then, more or less orderly retreat (which did not always happen for Germans) behind the Dnieper.
In this regard, I remind you that the so-called “Ukraine” is finishing the THIRD STAGE OF GENERAL MOBILIZATION. It has a human resource (200-300 thousand people) and a technical capability (a huge flow of various weapons from Europe and the USA) to not only maintain a sufficient number of its troops at the front, but also create new reserves. And to create them “in quantity” (even 100 thousand people — this is about 50 battalion tactical groups, including reinforcements and rear infrastructure — that is, about 10 full-blooded divisions).
Simeon pegov / war gonzo shows the withdrawal of the Russian troops from mariupol.
The city has been liberated and only a security force (I can't say how big) will guard the perimeter of the azovstal.
Those troops are directed to the dombass Frontline
English subs pic.twitter.com/sjzszIdhM6
— Mi-28 NM Night Hunter (@mi28nighthunter) April 21, 2022
And we have what? We are recruiting for various PMCs, recruiting contract soldiers in the enlistment offices and … that’s all. LDPR (in terms of mobilization) has “scraped the bottom of the barrel” — and those “still to be caught”, God forbid, will only replenish already incurred and future losses.
Suppose it is possible (at the expense of PMCs) to create another 10 (even 20, which is unlikely) various kinds of detachments and BTGs. What next? The losses incurred in the Donbass (during the assault on the next “fortresses” they will definitely be VERY HIGH) will also need to be compensated somehow.
In general, HOW will the Russian command be able to “fend off” the concentration of fresh formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, for example, on the borders of the Kursk and Belgorod regions in a month or two? And if they go on the offensive, how will they be repelled? Consolidated police detachments, detachments of “Alco-Cossacks” (all real Cossacks are already at the front) or the regional militia? This regional militia has not yet even been created! No one is speaking about this…
Or did our military “clear in advance” with the enemy that he (the enemy) will act strictly within the framework of the plans of our glorified General Staff? In the “first stage of the SMO” — this somehow did not work out at all. With serious losses for participants. And I don’t think that at the “second stage” it will be somehow different — Ukrainians are definitely not preparing to act as “whipping boys”.
Thus, summing up, I note:
Without carrying out at least a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation — attempting a deep strategic offensive operation in the so-called “Ukraine” is both impossible and extremely dangerous. We need to prepare for a long and difficult war, which will require all the human resources that are now mediocrely squandered for the sake of “a flag over the next city council” (how quickly flags can change — Gostomel and Bucha do not lie).
And yes, I would very much like to be mistaken in my forecasts for the operation that has started (“second stage”). But the pomp with which these hedonists that soiled themselves on many occasions, these lying babblers, and mediocrities, are presenting it — does not inspire additional optimism in me. NO CONCLUSIONS have been drawn from the failures of the first two months — strategically.