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Thread: Great Power contentions

  1. #661
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    As I explained, and was well-known since early in the war, Scholz has now made it explicit that he will not consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 to Ukraine unless the US contributes at least a token quantity, even single digits, of Abrams.

    Either way, the penny packet bullshit continues.
    Yup, Scholz has shown himself as completely unfit to try and lead Germany in this crisis. I'll give him credit for getting Germany off Russian gas so quickly but the Zeitwende he announced in February has not come about.

    Hope the new German Defense Minister can reform the Bundeswehr and its ties with industry some.
    Also hope the US is willing to send a company of Abrams M1A2s just to force the Germans hands. The Ukrainians have show capable of handling multiple different vehicles and getting them some sustainment report. As for the fuel guzzling, the T80s they field also have gas-turbine engines so it shouldn't be unknown to them what to do with the Abrams. I've had to watch Abrams destroyed by poor use in the hands of Iraqis and Saudis, would much rather see them face the foe they were designed against by a country that has shown a knack for fighting.

    Both Turkish L2s and Iraqi T-72s (and Saudi export Abrams) suffered as much from obsolescence of their technical characteristics as user error, and the lesson coming through this war is once again 'Only 21st-c. tanks are worth anything if you actually plan to fight a serious war.'
    At the very least though, western tanks due have higher rates of crew survivability, something extremely valuable in order to first get crews to expose themselves to danger and secondly to retain that cadre of experienced tankers.
    The Abrams are certainly not obsolete by any means but the Sep4 finally upgrades the FLIRs again, though the system is due for replacement primarily because it just isn't designed for all the networked warfare/data sharing that future systems can field.
    I won't speak to the armor but it seems to have done well enough that the US just hasn't even considered investment in Reactive Armor as a supplement yet. The frontal arc of the Abrams M1A2s and Challenger 2s should be top notch, the Leo2s are probably damn good too though they don't use DU materials. All MBTs though will be vulnerable to the sides and top.

    Was glad to see the Swedes sending over CV-90/4s and more artillery as well as the Danes, even the French are considering sending over Leclercs. Think Western arms industry are seeing that future sales of platforms and keeping their factories open for present day spare parts may depend on their performance in the only true conventional war since Desert Storm. The CV-90s are impressive IFVs, always thought the US should have used those for the basis of a Bradley replacement instead of opting for the Puma and then going for this new optionally manned boondoggle.
    Would like to see how Leclercs hold up in combat, the French have always had a different approach to armor that hasn't had a chance to show itself since WW2 as the AMX30s in Desert Storm were obsolete even then.

    There is one major assumption here: Taiwan must resist and not capitulate. If Taiwan surrenders
    before U.S. forces can be brought to bear, the rest is futile.

    This defense comes at a high cost. The United States and Japan lose dozens of ships, hundreds of
    aircraft, and thousands of servicemembers. Such losses would damage the U.S. global position
    for many years. While Taiwan?s military is unbroken, it is severely degraded and left to defend a
    damaged economy on an island without electricity and basic services. China also suffers heavily. Its
    navy is in shambles, the core of its amphibious forces is broken, and tens of thousands of soldiers
    are prisoners of war.
    Well, the PRC has certainly demonstrated to Taiwan's people that promises will not be kept as seen in Hong Kong so hopefully if it comes to blows the Taiwanese have the will to resist.

    Haven't read the report yet but will do so. I still can't see a China that depends on maritime trade for food and fuel starting a war over Taiwan until they could garruntee to keep the US Navy beyond the Malacca Straits and and Guam.

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    Four stage strategy from Yes, Minister:
    Stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
    Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
    Stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
    Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

  2. #662
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Im hoping that the western allies are starting to understand that since Russia is gearing up for a long war, the best thing for them to do is to not give Ukraine just enough to sustain themselves, but enough to actually end this. Which requires more advanced stuff. Like I see no reason why we shouldnt be giving them ATACMS now.
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  3. #663

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Lee
    Tanks and APCs/IFVs will be critical for Kyiv to retake the rest of its territory, but they may not be enough. Kyiv needs to have superior combined arms capability to breakthrough prepared defensive positions. Hopefully, this change in thinking will extend to other capabilities.
    I mean, there were people pointing this out many months ago, but the wrong lessons were taken from the September Offensives and talk drifted to the margins. I've specified since October that the reasonable approach is to refrain from sending up equipment in penny packets with half-trained crews and instead train up two NATO-equipped divisions from scratch, on NATO soil, preferably one mech (Leo2) and one tank (Abrams). Now Zaluzhny says he needs 300 tanks and 600 AFV or whatever; assuming the divisions are organized around 3 brigades or equivalent as maneuver elements, that tally is in the vicinity of two divisions' TOE.

    This is exactly the shock force structure that could be productively assigned to Zaporizhzhia as their exclusive area of responsibility, and tasked to the offensive. Legacy ZSU formations would hold the flanks.

    The US, in recognition of the need to build capacity, has promised to train a whole 500 Ukrainians in Germany in combined arms, which you may notice is not a division. The British have promised to train another 20K Ukrainians in at least basic infantry MOS throughout 2023, so they plus advanced US forces could easily manage the process of standing up a divisional formation and its replacement reserve (NB. the US Army is apparently in the initial stages of reverting from brigades back to "penetration" divisions, and so is the VSRF; brigades aren't as bad as battalions for elementary operational-scale units, but they're still evidently inadequate for sustained large-scale combat). In principle, European NATO could plausibly train 100K+ in various MOS, probably 80K as a minimum when accounting the UK, US bases, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Poland alone. The Baltics and Nordics could handle the rest, leaving the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia as odds and ends (I don't know how willing or capable other countries would be wrt training missions).

    Another division should be trained in the US itself.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    100K individuals for a training mission in the US alone, from say May through December 2022, wouldn't amount to as much of a hurdle as one may imagine. 25K for a large divisional formation plus replacement reserve; 10K for separately-assigned specialists in SAM, artillery, radar, and other systems and their maintenance and repair crew (cf. 100 Ukrainians are heading to the US for training on the operation of a Patriot battery); 5K as the core for a future rebuilt Ukrainian air force once the extant one runs out of frames; several thousand officers up to colonel rank for training or retraining to NATO standards; 10K for training in logistical, administration, and assorted other specialties... Less than half the nominal figure would be training for individual replacement into existing frontline units. European NATO could have trained and equipped another full division. Non-training forces in the US active branches and National Guard would have to participate in order to maintain regular training resources for regular American recruits, but I don't see how it isn't mathematically manageable. The Ukrainian recruits would have to be sorted in such a way as to ensure minimal English-language proficiency to begin with among training cadres (heavily limiting the pool of recruits), but I figure half of Ukrainians age 20-40 have or could quickly reach minimal proficiency, and women volunteers could be leveraged as well. It's not like all of NATO's soldiers are preoccupied with something else. And as I said, the PLA could only dream of attaining this kind of hands-on institutional experience of mass civilian mobilization. As a fringe benefit, the program would bind Ukraine to the Anglosphere culturally and politically in the long-term.


    This process should have begun last spring, but it's never too late I suppose.

    On the other hand, Estonia and Denmark are ostensibly willing to transfer ALL their artillery assets to Ukraine, which may prefigure the kinds of thoroughgoing commitments that are needed.

    Now if the US can squeeze South Korea's stockpiles to forward a few hundred thousand 155mm shells to Ukraine, and makes medium-term arrangements with Korean and Australian producers, then from 2024 onward we can ensure at least a million 155mm shells to Ukraine per year - probably 1.5 million - just with new production and sustainable stockpile drawdowns. As long as NATO is comfortable being short of their pre-war stockage as late as a decade from now. I don't believe there are as many DPICM shells in physical existence left as some believe however.



    If you need it, more information on German escalation logic, which has been applied since the beginning and is generally in alignment with the German public's attitudes.




    I chanced this Youtube rec even though I haven't played Combat Mission in over a decade, and it is the most insightful and perspicacious overview of Cold War Soviet doctrine I've ever seen in any form. It's also generally instructive in a number of key concepts in battle, such as tactical initiative, positional battle, the value of mass, mobile defense, and more.

    Last edited by Montmorency; 01-22-2023 at 22:57.
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  4. #664

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    What was the US DoD's 155mm shell production target for 2025, 500K total? As cited in December or November I think. Now they're announcing a target of 90K/month for 2025, a sextupling of 2022 or 2021 production.

    Given what we've seen of Russian production surges in tanks and missiles, and recent estimates of new production of 3 million tube arty shells in 2023 (or already in 2022? I can't keep track, but pre-war I saw estimates of a surge capacity of 1 million annual), and the ability of Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland to spin up or even restart production of Soviet caliber munitions on short notice, and help Ukraine to establish its own production on their territory by the end of 2022,

    I think we should take it as a rule that war industries in any given country have a lot more spare capacity than they let on. And this isn't even total war! Although now my former predictions, going back to last summer, that materiel exhaustion would force both sides to largely pause throughout 2024, may be out of step with the times.

    US and NATO could easily train up those two divisions I go on about and donate a single lot of one million 155mm shells from stockpile and accumulating production. Ukraine's consumption of 100+K 155mm/month over 8 months or so has been something like the minimum needed to hold their ground, and has likely kept many of their 155mm systems idle for lack of ammo, while also encouraging the overburdening of advanced systems such as the PzH2000. A proper offensive needs to be well-resourced for concentrated and sustained firepower.

    Hopefully Zelensky finally acts on that corruption this year too.

    pushing conventional ammunition production to levels not seen since the Korean War
    I'm pretty sure 90K/month would be typical of US production during the Cold War, maybe even low.
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  5. #665
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    What was the US DoD's 155mm shell production target for 2025, 500K total? As cited in December or November I think. Now they're announcing a target of 90K/month for 2025, a sextupling of 2022 or 2021 production.
    I don't recall the original number but it is an impressive improvement. I imagine that the defense contractors see it vital to up their own capabilities and fast before those contracts for shells go to a combination of overseas firms. Hopefully, the US sees the importance of at least mothballing the machinery and tooling to ramp up production for all our vital wartime needs for the future. Why do we have to re-learn the shell crisis in every war?

    I think we should take it as a rule that war industries in any given country have a lot more spare capacity than they let on. And this isn't even total war! Although now my former predictions, going back to last summer, that materiel exhaustion would force both sides to largely pause throughout 2024, may be out of step with the times
    I imagine that all depends on if they've kept the capabilities to make stuff at least in warehouses and so on. Sorta like the US could never make the Saturn V rockets anymore as the tooling and individual expertise of the engineers faded together with poor document management.
    These companies being private businesses I could see a lot just getting rid of tooling and machinery once they don't see prospective orders on the horizon. I look at also things like the F-22 for which the tooling was deliberately destroyed so that those manufacturing secrets can't leak out when placed in storage which is undoubtedly less protected than current production tooling.

    US and NATO could easily train up those two divisions I go on about and donate a single lot of one million 155mm shells from stockpile and accumulating production. Ukraine's consumption of 100+K 155mm/month over 8 months or so has been something like the minimum needed to hold their ground, and has likely kept many of their 155mm systems idle for lack of ammo, while also encouraging the overburdening of advanced systems such as the PzH2000. A proper offensive needs to be well-resourced for concentrated and sustained firepower.
    I don't think we'll see division sized training during this fight, something that the US and NATO just doesn't have the capacity for when it's for a country in which English isn't the primary or secondary language. Also, good trainers are hard to come by, especially ones that can bridge the cultural and language barriers to reach the students. As we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan the idea of just assigning people to be advisors and trainers without a special selection process leads to forged reports, poor training, and an unprepared military.
    For all those artillery systems, I'm actually curious also as to the reset capabilities, barrels have lifespan which this current fight is exceeding monthly. A lot of these artillery systems need to be taken out of the fight and have their barrels rebored or replaced.

    A proper offensive will need a heck of a lot or resources. In the short term though, I hope that we keep seeing a ramp of ADA support to Ukraine as to go on the defense those resources first need to be protected. The Russian strikes on infrastructure have moved a lot of Ukrainian ADA assets to protect their cities making those frontline troops more vulnerable.

    Hopefully Zelensky finally acts on that corruption this year too.
    I hope so too, can only imagine the strains he has to deal with. After a year of war and with the prospect of regaining the Feb23 borders less likely much less dreams of the whole of Donbass and Crimea he's undoubtedly got no shortage of people that would be game for a negotiated settlement. Whatever Russia's starting '23 offensive ends up being will need to be decisively defeated and followed with a counterattack that regains some significant ground somewhere for Zelensky to keep the factions within his government on side as well as keep international support on side.
    I say so because even in 1940, the reason the US never undertook production of Spitfires or any British systems was in part because large parts of the US expected Britain to be defeated and would rather have production go into new systems like the British paid for development the P-51 Mustang.

    Russia still looks unable to win outright but a frozen conflict or ceasefire such as the Korean War scenario is essentially a Russian victory as they keep what they have so far.

    Looking forward to seeing how Challenger 2s, Abrams, and Leo2s perform in a conventional war without air dominance in place. Was pleased to see the Germans offer up the Leo 2A6 versions which have the improved armor and the longer caliber gun. Wondering what version Abrams will go overseas, I imagine M1A1s without the DU armor which is still not allowed for export, which would make them excellent systems overall but not as good as the latest Leo2s and Challenger 2s. The Leclercs being on the table is still very interesting as I mentioned earlier. The war-nerd in me wants to see what lessons are learned from this war in armor design. Will be interesting to see after this war what Ukraine does for tank production as they'll have access to the best of Western systems to develop something other than a T-64/T-80 based hull and turret.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
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    Four stage strategy from Yes, Minister:
    Stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
    Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
    Stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
    Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

  6. #666

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    I don't recall the original number but it is an impressive improvement. I imagine that the defense contractors see it vital to up their own capabilities and fast before those contracts for shells go to a combination of overseas firms. Hopefully, the US sees the importance of at least mothballing the machinery and tooling to ramp up production for all our vital wartime needs for the future. Why do we have to re-learn the shell crisis in every war?
    Interesting (mark that date)......
    https://www.newscientist.com/article...ranium-rounds/

    I imagine that all depends on if they've kept the capabilities to make stuff at least in warehouses and so on. Sorta like the US could never make the Saturn V rockets anymore as the tooling and individual expertise of the engineers faded together with poor document management.
    We've already observed the Russians producing or restoring tanks, missiles, and munitions at what is very likely a faster rate than the highest pre-war estimates I had found for their production. So we should take this as a real thing, supporting the general concept.

    These companies being private businesses I could see a lot just getting rid of tooling and machinery once they don't see prospective orders on the horizon. I look at also things like the F-22 for which the tooling was deliberately destroyed so that those manufacturing secrets can't leak out when placed in storage which is undoubtedly less protected than current production tooling.
    AFAIK the US government owns most arms industry plants and leases them to the private firms, so maybe... At any rate, we wouldn't be hearing estimates of 1+ million 155mm shells in 2025, which is more than double the estimated target from last fall, if there weren't some basis to it. This latest estimate is not only more than double the recent targeted tripling on 2022 production, it is in excess of last December's NDAA authorization for multi-year contracting in 155mm shell purchasing. I haven't recalled US firms or the US government bluffing on production like that, if it were a bluff.

    I don't think we'll see division sized training during this fight, something that the US and NATO just doesn't have the capacity for when it's for a country in which English isn't the primary or secondary language. Also, good trainers are hard to come by, especially ones that can bridge the cultural and language barriers to reach the students. As we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan the idea of just assigning people to be advisors and trainers without a special selection process leads to forged reports, poor training, and an unprepared military.
    Would the US military really have no one beyond the training specialists to teach this stuff? Is mass mobilization another area where we have no protocols or capabilities to activate? I would ask who the British have been tasking with their training mission; granting that they only train Ukrainians as individuals and maybe very small units, and only in 3-month waves or whatever it was, but they've definitely trained more Ukrainians last year (20K at least) than they do British recruits in any given year. That seems like a relevant indicator.

    Note that the aim isn't to match the US training cycle and its particulars 100%, but to instruct in and build the required proficiencies at scale, as every country did in WW2. Right now, the US is training what I understand to be a model combined-arms battalion - 500 soldiers - in Germany for up to 2 months. It's just hard for me to believe that with some organization the US and European NATO combined couldn't scale this up to a divisional formation. Perhaps our standing units could even elect/volunteer the best teachers among enlisted and officer ranks?

    The recently-announced 100+ initial Leopards, btw, are a fine basis for a Euro mechanized division. The UK has promised to train another 20K Ukrainians this year. Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Poland, I see now reason why all could not handle at least 10K each, the Nordics another 10K... Seems like with calculated foresight we could have divvied up responsibilities among NATO and paired the Leopard pledge with a British-German divisional training program. Or still could as long as we initiate the admittedly long and involved process. At the very very least, if we legitimately cannot stand up divisions of any quality from scratch, why not brigades? Isn't it self-evidently superior to train an armored formation with accompanying mounted infantry elements for 6+ months rather than to train individual crews for arbitrary distribution for 1-2 months? It's not the spring of 2022 anymore.

    I don't think language is that big an issue with the size of the Ukrainian volunteer pool. I doubt good statistics exist, but from what relevant tidbits I've found half of Ukrainians aged 20-40 should have the minimum English proficiency required to start basic training - and they can learn along the way, they do have 6+ months. Technical specialties and officers would need a higher starting level of English, but overall it's one of the more surmountable barriers.

    For all those artillery systems, I'm actually curious also as to the reset capabilities, barrels have lifespan which this current fight is exceeding monthly. A lot of these artillery systems need to be taken out of the fight and have their barrels rebored or replaced.
    The most recent figures I saw are 66% availability among 155mm systems at any given time. But this is exacerbated, as I was saying, by overreliance on certain platforms such as the PzH2000, which does seem to be less operationally reliable than advertised, but even so routinely gets pushed to a high tempo for any cannon with daily fire missions over 100 shells. Even with the humble M777, it seems to be common to park single guns or batteries near a hot zone and keep them firing steadily for days, something that has probably contributed to the relatively-poor survivability of M777s even aside from wear and tear. Fully-trained crews, more stockpiled/dependably-allocated ammo, and a larger pool of systems would help spread the burden and afford more fire support to a broad front.

    A proper offensive will need a heck of a lot or resources. In the short term though, I hope that we keep seeing a ramp of ADA support to Ukraine as to go on the defense those resources first need to be protected. The Russian strikes on infrastructure have moved a lot of Ukrainian ADA assets to protect their cities making those frontline troops more vulnerable.
    The large number of munitions is also a buffer against interdiction and attrition from enemy action, which has to be priced in. We hear a lot about HIMARS strikes on Russian depots, but the Ukrainians have lost depots too - just at a seemingly much lower rate.

    I hope so too, can only imagine the strains he has to deal with.
    Just one example of Zelensky's limitations, whether deliberate or hapless - of course these were much commented on in the year prior to the invasion - were his efforts from early in his term to protect the very crooked, but well-connected, Yanukovych judge Pavlo Vokv, chief judge of the Kyiv District Administrative Court. The US State Department actually went so far as to sanction Vovk last month. But if the alliance can lean on Ukrainian elites adequately, Zelensky's personal probity could be beside the point.
    @Gilrandir

    Russia still looks unable to win outright but a frozen conflict or ceasefire such as the Korean War scenario is essentially a Russian victory as they keep what they have so far.
    I mean, I notice stuff. I noticed all of Ukraine's flaws on the offensive in Kharkiv in last May, east of the Oskil River in the fall, in Kherson in the fall... I noticed their struggles repelling small-scale infantry wave attacks in Donetsk even while advancing elsewhere. I've noted how these tie into repeated complaints about the level of training, discipline, organization, and command across UFOR. I[ve discussed these matters in more detail elsewhere, but by the end of last spring it was clear to me that Ukraine had little hope of recapturing pre-2022 territory without dramatic escalation of aid (more than we've seen yet). But even I have ended up overestimating the Ukrainians and underestimating the Russians repeatedly. Pro-Ukraine cheerleading only serves to contaminate the information space and undoubtedly clouds decision-making even among many NATO governments.

    I imagine M1A1s without the DU armor which is still not allowed for export,
    I had heard that our designated major allies are categorically extended an offer to import DU Abrams as well as DU projectiles, but none of them have taken up the offer because of the environmental complications of DU.
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  7. #667
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Would the US military really have no one beyond the training specialists to teach this stuff? Is mass mobilization another area where we have no protocols or capabilities to activate? I would ask who the British have been tasking with their training mission; granting that they only train Ukrainians as individuals and maybe very small units, and only in 3-month waves or whatever it was, but they've definitely trained more Ukrainians last year (20K at least) than they do British recruits in any given year. That seems like a relevant indicator.

    Note that the aim isn't to match the US training cycle and its particulars 100%, but to instruct in and build the required proficiencies at scale, as every country did in WW2. Right now, the US is training what I understand to be a model combined-arms battalion - 500 soldiers - in Germany for up to 2 months. It's just hard for me to believe that with some organization the US and European NATO combined couldn't scale this up to a divisional formation. Perhaps our standing units could even elect/volunteer the best teachers among enlisted and officer ranks?
    Mass mobilization hasn't been practiced in earnest in a long time in the US (WW2/Korea). The draft went out over forty years ago, the GWOT wars were all with volunteers or mobilized reserve formations.

    Our training is very specialized, to be a drill instructor has high prerequisites. School house instruction in the various job skills for officers, a lot of the classes are from retired officers (contractors) with maybe a third being uniformed personnel. Also, our promotion system in the military looks for operational experience, people fear going to the training realm as they may fall behind their peers that stay on the line.

    Up to BDE level, the US would be very good at teaching. Divisional though, that's a lost art as we undid our whole divisional structure post-Iraq invasion. Divisions become just admin HQs, don't know when we last practiced maneuvering divisions against divisions in Corps level exercises but probably not since the Iraq invasion itself. The US practices Division war and greater really through staff simulations which are damn good for a lot of friction of war but will never be as good as large-scale practices such as the Louisiana maneuvers in 1940.

    The scale up potential is there but part of the problem with the bureaucratic nature of the US military is there exists no unit setup for that training function. There are SFABs for training up smaller sized units (BNs for example) but for larger training they'd either have to take a wartime MTOE unit and task it to train another unit instead of focusing on itself (like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan). Best option would be for the Army to create a new TDA unit (Congress would have to approve) setup for Corps and Division training of foreign units/allies. With a war that will go on at months/maybe years, relying on hodge podge training units like in GWOT will only hurt our own readiness while not providing the greatest training to our supported ally. Also, I'm sure it'd be best to have a special unit with vetted personnel as there are plenty of folks in the US military that believe the far-right media and don't want the US to support Ukraine if not out-right okay with Putin's actions.

    I had heard that our designated major allies are categorically extended an offer to import DU Abrams as well as DU projectiles, but none of them have taken up the offer because of the environmental complications of DU.
    The DU armor has no environmental complications, its the ammunition that can have problems, and that's more so from the DU micro dust created when it's piercing armor and then any subsequent explosions from the penetrated tank.
    The armor itself though would only be an environmental risk if penetrated or if someone wanted to dispose of and just left sitting somewhere at which point the steel/composite casing would eventually expose the DU over decades of rusting.

    But even I have ended up overestimating the Ukrainians and underestimating the Russians repeatedly. Pro-Ukraine cheerleading only serves to contaminate the information space and undoubtedly clouds decision-making even among many NATO governments.
    I feel you 100% on this, though it is difficult to contain enthusiasm during ongoing victories. I think the last year has been eye opening for what public perception must have been like during WW2 in the US and elsewhere. The media talks about expecting Germany to collapse right after Paris fell and the eye opener of the Ardennes offensive. Same in Germany, I can only imagine the heights of their arrogance after the fall of France, having defeated the enemy they could not beat in four years during the last war, instead they did it in a matter of weeks, they no-doubt felt sure of success against the enemy they did beat in the last war.

    The only real upside to this being a drawn-out war though is it really does away with the peace-niks. Peace at any cost really isn't worth it, there are things worth fighting for and in order to fight for those things one must first be capable of a fight. No need for Europe to return to a fully armed camp like the Cold War or the 1910s, but no need for naivete of the 1990s and 2000s either. Should be eye-opening for US foreign policy too, don't waste our good will on what may be lost causes (Iraq and Afghanistan) and save armed intervention for when the chips really are down (WW3) or to preserve the current world order (Kuwait in 1990, Ukraine now, or Taiwan in the future).

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
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    Four stage strategy from Yes, Minister:
    Stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
    Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
    Stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
    Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

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  8. #668

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Alright, I'll acknowledge that recreating divisional - at the formation level - training capabilities would be much harder than training an equivalent force in brigades. But then, do you have any comment on the US (and Russia) reportedly planning to return to divisional structure and move away from brigades as core operational units? Seems like Ukraine would also be an excellent application and spur of that doctrinal shift in real time. We need to exercise our bureaucratic flexibility anyway.
    https://www.defenseone.com/policy/20...choice/378234/

    The Army’s brigade combat teams may have been the signature units of recent wars, but service leaders believe future conflicts will be dominated by divisions and even corps, officials said Monday.
    [...]
    The secretary said this focus on larger formations would be part of the Army’s upcoming doctrine on multi-domain operations, Wormuth said.

    “To realize this vision and build the Army of 2030, we are transforming our force structure and evolving how we fight. We must do this to prepare for the challenge of large-scale combat operations, strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, and to be ready if deterrence fails,” she said.

    Rainey pushed back on any would-be critics who say the Army is “going backwards” by going to a division. “And that is absolutely not the case. First of all, everything we're doing is threat-informed.”

    The brigades will also have to get smaller in order to survive and move, he said—but did not say how much smaller or what kind of weapons and gear would have to be shed.
    Relevant:

    Poland is able to train [UA] brigade and equip it with T-72 tanks and IFVs.
    “We will be able to both equip and train [UA] soldiers by the end of March at the brigade level” - Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak
    For realz, how is it all of NATO combined* couldn't have proceeded from last spring to establish OSUT for many UA brigades, or even those reinvented divisions, for deployment through Winter/Spring 2023?

    *Not counting Turkey, Hungary or any of the Balkans

    The phrase "where there's a will there's a way" is only cheap here because it's fitting.

    A few more details on my thinking. We're all aware that unit training times have varied considerably across wars, stages of wars, branches, specializations, and countries. Six months is a bit of an arbitrary figure, but there are a few things that go into it:

    1. IIRC that US Army infantry in WW2 were standardized to at least 26 weeks of basic and advanced training.
    2. A 6-month one-station training mission would allow many of the inevitable kinks in the process to be caught and addressed in real time.
    3. 6 months is a solid and predictable block of time for bureaucracy to organize everything that needs to happen on both sides of the Atlantic (accounting for pre-planning), and for Ukraine's GenStab to plan their operations according to a schedule.
    4. The 6 months should be followed by at least a few weeks of capstone 'courses' taught by Ukrainian veterans (some of whom may have already been integrated into the unit) to synthesize US or NATO training with Ukrainian doctrine and real-world experience. This would happen to occur as the unit transitions toward deployment to Ukraine (though not necessarily direct deployment into combat), acting as a bridge between environments.
    5. The replacement reserve trained alongside the core unit(s) would be calculated at a size sufficient to sustain a large-scale offensive for, say, one month. The NATO parties involved in the establishment of these units would subsequently have all the needed infrastructure in place to act as mid-term replacement training centers.


    NATO-tank pledges so far:

    Last edited by Montmorency; 01-26-2023 at 05:32.
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  9. #669
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    the flood of L2's begins. war attrition stocks.
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  10. #670
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Alright, I'll acknowledge that recreating divisional - at the formation level - training capabilities would be much harder than training an equivalent force in brigades. But then, do you have any comment on the US (and Russia) reportedly planning to return to divisional structure and move away from brigades as core operational units? Seems like Ukraine would also be an excellent application and spur of that doctrinal shift in real time. We need to exercise our bureaucratic flexibility anyway.
    The US has partially re-established divisional structures again, part if will be putting things like artillery, cavalry squadrons, engineer battalions under the division HQ again instead of divested to the BDEs. Brigades will be smaller again but will rely on Divisions for those supporting arms. It's a slow process though because you have rebase units and we still will only have a few divisions with multiple Brigades in a close area for training together.
    I agree we need to exercise bureaucratic flexibility. A higher level training structure looking at operational and strategic levels of war would be very useful for partnering with our allies for future but would need this administration to advocate such a structure and then congress to approve its organization. As it is we'll continue with ad hoc training. The UK being a smaller country and military is more flexible in this regard, especially as what affects general European security affects the UK directly, a harder sell for our American isolationists.

    For realz, how is it all of NATO combined* couldn't have proceeded from last spring to establish OSUT for many UA brigades, or even those reinvented divisions, for deployment through Winter/Spring 2023?
    Think a lot of people with their heads in the sand. I'm glad it's Biden in charge and not Trump but Biden is certainly behind the curve in leadership for a lot of this too. But that's been a problem for a long time with the US, getting people in charge with a long view that also aren't shackled by scandals and domestic politics is rare outside of a few branches of government.
    This is why I was so appalled at the limp and ineffective response of Obama and Merkel to the 2014 invasion. That should have been a cuban-missile crisis moment. In hindsight, the fact that the Russians used 'little green men' instead of outright uniformed Soldiers shows they were almost expecting intervention and wanted some deniability for a way to back down without losing face leading to a negotiation for probably Crimea at the least.
    Instead, Putin got a fiat-accompli and it only galvanized his will. Glad the US and NATO were actually on the ball for supporting Zelensky once it was clear that Ukraine wouldn't fold.

    the flood of L2's begins. war attrition stocks.
    Will be interesting to their impact when they get on the battlefield in the next few months. One or two armor brigades with modern MBTs and IFVs and good artillery and engineer support could end the stalemate if employed correctly, especially as most of what their facing are modernized T72s and T80s, the few T90s are mostly A versions and not the latest M versions, of which even the latest production ones on the front seem to have had some shortcuts taken in lower quality reactive armor applied and probably shortcuts in the complex systems within too.

    Hope Krauss-Maffei increase production capability to some sort of wartime footing. New hulls and lots of spare parts are going to be in great demand in a few weeks/months and likely to remain in demand for years in a general rearmament and restocking of Europe following this war.
    Last edited by spmetla; 01-26-2023 at 23:12.

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  11. #671

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    If you want K2s to overtake L2s, pray for the latter to get creamed in Ukraine. Or I guess for the German government to shit the bed in its foreign relations and relationship with its arms industry.
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  12. #672
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    If you want K2s to overtake L2s, pray for the latter to get creamed in Ukraine. Or I guess for the German government to shit the bed in its foreign relations and relationship with its arms industry.
    they don't have to get creamed, they just have to be employed in the purpose of war. thousands of tanks are already burned out hulks in the last year alone. everything supplied up until now and in the coming year is war attrition stocks.

    and germany has already shit the bed. the military is a tool of foreign policy - kellog-briand be damned - and every supplier that has tussled with germany over re-export licences will be thinking twice next time. all the way back to the ancient GDR towed artillary that germany prevented estonia gifting to ukraine in April 2022.
    Last edited by Furunculus; Yesterday at 09:37.
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  13. #673
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    and germany has already shit the bed. the military is a tool of foreign policy - kellog-briand be damned - and every supplier that has tussled with germany over re-export licences will be thinking twice next time. all the way back to the ancient GDR towed artillary that germany prevented estonia gifting to ukraine in April 2022.
    Absolutely, but now that the status quo has changed it won't be as difficult for future governments to supply arms to warzones, same with the swiss finally allowing export of that Gepard ammo. Not need to try and be 'brave' if a precedent has been set.

    Now if only my Austrian cousins could decide that they need to amend their constitutional neutrality as Russia's actions should show a need to take sides and allow better integration into EU defense planning and better integration into NATO short of actually joining.
    Now would be a good time to be donating Uhlan and Pandur IFVs APCs as well though that's about all to be spared in the tiny Austrian inventory.

    If you want K2s to overtake L2s, pray for the latter to get creamed in Ukraine. Or I guess for the German government to shit the bed in its foreign relations and relationship with its arms industry.
    I don't the K2s will overtake L2s simply because the Germans though not a military heavyweight quantity-wise still build excellent equipment. The K2 is just slightly more modern than the Leo2s as it's designed with modern networked warfare systems and active/passive protection systems already in mind. The recent KF51 "Panther" testbed vehicle will likely serve as a baseline for the future Franco-German tank project, with those two nations building a fleet which combined will at least be low thousands we can expect many other European countries to hop on board with those or more used Leos.
    I think the Leo2A5s and A6s will do very well though, very capable with very good frontal arc protection. Of primary importance though are the optics are some of the best in the world, should allow for true hunter-killer capability.

    The K2s will probably have a good market in Eastern Europe once Poland sets up shop as there are a lot of countries that want tanks that are independent of Germany, the US, and Russia for various reasons. French and British ones are usually too expensive so if Poland is able to license export with Korea then the K2 will do well.

    The talk of MBTs while important though, I think the CV90s and Bradleys will actually be of more significant impact, especially if the US sends significant quantity of Bradleys in the next few months, getting infantry through the dangerous open ground to assault the enemy infantry is what Ukraine has lacked. MBTs can provide the direct fire support necessary to get the IFVs up there but no MBT in the world will clear a trench line or enter and clear a building.

    Which the Ukrainians were allowed to put in an order the Lynx IFV and more CV-90s and start getting those off the production line. If industry knows that they have an order for 500 of vehicle X they can actually ramp up production, this drip drip drip of donations without the donating country then placing a new order for rearming themselves doesn't allow industry to predict future orders and adjust their manufacturing capacity accordingly.

    On a side note, I hope the US does the minimum of at least painting the donated vehicle OD Green, seeing those desert tan medical APCs evacuating casualties was frustrating as it showed how little planning went in on the US side for how to go about donations.

    Now if only we can fast-track some F-16s for Ukraine and get them to place an order for a large number of Gripens (I think the ideal fighter/attack aircraft for them).
    Last edited by spmetla; Yesterday at 22:46.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln


    Four stage strategy from Yes, Minister:
    Stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
    Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
    Stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
    Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

  14. #674

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    Think a lot of people with their heads in the sand. I'm glad it's Biden in charge and not Trump but Biden is certainly behind the curve in leadership for a lot of this too. But that's been a problem for a long time with the US, getting people in charge with a long view that also aren't shackled by scandals and domestic politics is rare outside of a few branches of government.
    Ukrainian colonel Kostiantyn Mashovets:

    I don’t think that before the end of March the Ukrainian tank brigade on Leopard-2 will pass a full-fledged combat coordination and reach the minimum combat capabilities

    . Moreover, we need at least three such brigades. [Ed. Huh, sounds like a division]
    I wouldn't blame Biden too much here, as to my knowledge he has never been a 'military buff' (not that I am); the closest he came was being a military father and being specialized somewhat in foreign policy as a Senator and VP. I doubt war doctrine or the micromanagement of US military capabilities were ever remotely on his agenda. I'm not trying to aggrandize myself, but let's say the "cleaned up" version of my disconnected thoughts on advanced US assistance to Ukraine are ideas I have very rarely seen touched upon in the commentary of even generals. It demands a level of creativity, commitment, and initiative that probably isn't abundant among military tops - moreover, buffeted as they are by orthogonal currents of national (geopolitical) conservatism and optimism bias about Russian or Ukrainian progress. There were not a few arguing in 2022 that the most advantageous course of events for the US is for Russia to be trapped in a years-long quagmire that drains its military and economic potential, a viewpoint hardly conducive to decisive Ukrainian reconquista.

    Now if only my Austrian cousins could decide that they need to amend their constitutional neutrality as Russia's actions should show a need to take sides and allow better integration into EU defense planning and better integration into NATO short of actually joining.
    I'm badly misremembering the joke, but hasn't the Austrian military/government commonly been referred to as 'the fifth directorate of the FSB' for many years?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austri...n_intelligence

    Now if only we can fast-track some F-16s for Ukraine and get them to place an order for a large number of Gripens (I think the ideal fighter/attack aircraft for them).
    Congress authorized training for F-15 and F-16 platforms back in July, which I assume has been taken up already. Ukraine's government suggests more details will be forthcoming soon.

    I saw someone suggest F-5s for Ukraine, and my reaction to that is that a platform whose most advanced hypothetical upgrade branch (not existing units) could put it on a level with Ukraine's obsolescent Mig-29s is just a deathtrap for invaluable Ukrainian pilots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    they don't have to get creamed, they just have to be employed in the purpose of war. thousands of tanks are already burned out hulks in the last year alone. everything supplied up until now and in the coming year is war attrition stocks.

    and germany has already shit the bed. the military is a tool of foreign policy - kellog-briand be damned - and every supplier that has tussled with germany over re-export licences will be thinking twice next time. all the way back to the ancient GDR towed artillary that germany prevented estonia gifting to ukraine in April 2022.
    If L2s are perceived to "perform well" then it's a boon to their reputation. So you wouldn't like this to come about. If they only come off a bit better than Ukraine's T-64BVs, then their long-standing shine wears off to some extent. Or if they perform well but still get knocked out by the dozens or more, then platforms who haven't been similarly tested have an opening for brand salesmanship to naive politicians.

    There have always been export shenanigans - the cousin war to this one, Iran-Iraq, was a nightmare of them - and as long as Germany's industry is willing and permitted to produce, I would wait and see to confirm that there are any practical ramifications at all to Germany's blundering so far. Germany has very few L2 customers outside the broad Europe-zone, and the European customers tend to have strong incentives to continue with L2.

    Now, if something drastic were to occur beyond the current record, to be vague, maybe. But in the end, Germany has passed the final test put before it, so there are now barriers to the future sensitization of the issue; where and when else are we left to expect Germany to aggravate its partners on Ukraine policy? Is Germany going to deny the use of Turkish Leopards in Syria suddenly? Before that next level approaches, this all reminds me of the idea that the international community was going to sideline the US because of the Iraq War, or because of how devastating the Trump administration was from the start - it's always more complicated than that.

    Separately, we could also imagine a bunch of countries dumping their entire L2 stock (i.e. their entire armored branch) during the war and leaving an opening for a fresh start, but that's a see-it-to-believe-it scenario.
    Last edited by Montmorency; Today at 00:24.
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