These Are All the Russian Gains of the Past 52 Days (Please Bring Magnifying Lens)
Vladimir Putin has taken a bigger bite out of the Russian military than Joe Biden ever could
In late March and early April the Russians withdrew from Kiev outskirts and northern Ukraine and moved their sole focus to Donbass.
Having combined all of their forces into the Donbass effort, how much progress have they made so far, some 52 days after the withdrawal’s completion?
Well here is the Donbass situation on April 3 when the Kiev withdrawal was over:
Here is the situation on April 20th:
And here is the situation at present:
Has there been progress? Yes.
Has there been a lot of progress?
No. The progress is sufficiently small that on the map of entire Ukraine it can not even be seen. We have to zoom into the northern Donetsk region to even be able to see it.
A lot of people are saying this does not matter because the slow progress is the result of Russia opting to advance more slowly to suffer lighter losses and preserve manpower. This is nonsense and the stupidest thing I have heard all month. Since March 15 Russian weekly losses have been somewhat lighter but not radically so. And relative to gains being made they have never been worse.
Yes, early on losses were somewhat worse but in return for those losses Russia was achieving things like advancing 300 kilometers from its western border to the eastern outskirts of Kiev in 10 days. Now, for only slightly lower losses, Russia is achieving feats like capturing a couple of villages per day — if that.
The fact is that nobody has ever found a way to make positional warfare cheap. That includes the Syrian government and the Bosnian Serbs who fought an enemy which only had light weapons. No matter how much artillery you have in the end it still comes down to infantry storming trenches which has never been cheap.
Brutal, eye opening, and I thought worth sharing. While the popular culture continues to make light of the #Russian soldier, here you see him, assaulting entrenched positions. The commander or lead assault soldier is fierce and gallant, before falling.https://t.co/PZUH0skUCU
— Erik Zimerman (@ZimermanErik) May 26, 2022
The Russian military is not advancing slowly because it has discovered some new never-before-seen brilliant way of fighting that devastates the enemy but preserves your own numbers. It is advancing slowly, paying a high cost for every village taken, because it doesn’t have the mass needed to make it a mobile war where you advance at a far lower cost in blood.
The recipe for getting out of the positional quagmire has always been known. Make a breakthrough (at a high price) then pour in reserves to exploit it. But when you don’t have the numbers to generate powerful exploitation forces then you are sentenced to having to endlessly assault prepared positions over and over again.
Alexander Sladkov, the reporter embedded with DPR troops has said multiple times that they are being asked to assault enemy positions at 1:1 troop ratios. In such circumstances it is something of a miracle that the Russians are making any progress at all. Also it is easy to understand that having to assault an enemy at a correlation of forces of just 1:1 drives up your losses since you either don’t have enough men for proper suppression of the enemy, or to make your flanking attacks sufficiently broad.
This wouldn’t be worth talking about but for one tiny little detail — this Russian dearth of manpower that makes the gains they make so much costlier for them is entirely self-inflicted. Or better said Kremlin-inflicted.
The Russian military is composed of 220,000 officers, 420,000 contract soldiers, 270,000 conscript soldiers, and in the case of major war is configured to mobilize another 150-200,000 reservists to fill up its ranks. (Not to form new units, but merely to get existing ones to full strength.)
The first thing Putin did when he threw the military into a major war was to inform them that call up of reserves was off the table and that they could not use any of the 270,000 conscripts they had trained and integrated into their units where they were carrying out vital roles. Who does that? Who starts a major war then cuts his effective military by a third??
This is a crime against the military not seen since Stalin shot tens of thousands of officers just before they would be desperately needed for WW2.
And again, it doesn’t save lives. It costs lives. It also represents fraud against contract soldiers. When you sign a contract you understand that you might be sent to war. But that means just that — A WAR. A major war that will be treated as a major war and in which you will be properly supported by the government that sent you there. That includes support by conscripts and reservists. But what nobody signed on for was to be sent into a “special military operation”. As far as anyone can tell a “special military operation” is exactly like a war, except one in which the Kremlin fucks you. Throws you into a meat grinder against a nation of 40 million that has every intention of mobilizing but limits your own numbers to just officers and contract soldiers.
Honestly, who is the bigger enemy of the Russian soldier? Biden who sent the Ukrainians 100 howitzers, or Putin who made 100,000 conscript soldiers from the units sent to Ukraine non-deployable?
Vladimir “5th Column” Pussy has taken far more Russian rifles off the board than Ukrainians ever could.
And the Russian soldier foolish enough to enter into a contract with the Russian vaxx-max government is left paying the price as he assaults Ukrainian trenches at 1:1 ratios, suffering losses accordingly.
The only saving grace of the “special military operation” is that a state of war not having been declared Russian contract soldiers can refuse deployment and tear up their contracts without great legal repercussions. — However they still overwhelmingly do not do that, because if they refuse to deploy then their platoon buddies who do deploy are that much more screwed.
What is funnier is that the official motto of this special mission travesty is “No one left behind.” Hilarious. Just as the contract soldier is being betrayed, made to bear vastly disproportionate sacrifices, and actively pushed unsupported into a world of shit the government claims it is leaving “no one behind”. Indeed, it isn’t. That would imply passivity where the betrayal here is of a much more active type.
What happened here is that the Russians first tried to develop an advance going south from Izyum (purple arrow), but that stalled and they gave that up for the time being. (Right around when Gerasimov was rumored to have visited the front.)
They shifted focus to creating an even smaller envelopment further east. Even this less ambitious effort was only partially successful. The attempt by the northern pincer (red arrow) to cross the river ended in a disaster.
However, the effort from the south (green arrow) was successful, but only after a very long and expensive fight for the heavily entrenched town of Popasna.
The advance in the south, in particular, is significant despite its brief length of only 20 km because the urban agglomeration of Severodonetsk-Lisichansk is now threatened with supply loss and encirclement, which is something.
So the gains being made are not meaningless. Lives aren’t being thrown away for nothing at all. Something is being gained, and there is (slow, costly) progress. But the point stands that everything that is being accomplished is being accomplished in the most difficult and costly way possible — by first handicapping the Russian military and ensuring it does not have the numbers advantage for mobile war.
— — GEROMAN — 👀 – (@GeromanAT) May 25, 2022
Clip from the assault on Severodonetsk pic.twitter.com/xdvbfvWwxu
— Pro-Russian Guy 5% (Z) 🇷🇺 (@thrussophile2) May 23, 2022
*The closest to making positional warfare casualties lopsided came the Americans in the Pacific but they were assaulting isolated, unsupported island garrisons that they could approach with any superiority in numbers that they chose for themselves.