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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by AU3kGT, Jun 21, 2015.
EUCOM complaining about dumping fuel on a Reaper is environmentally unsound is hilarious considering that every aircraft ever has to dump fuel if it RTBs early because you can’t land with a full tank; the aircraft is too heavy.
No one is getting in a shooting war over a drone that’s designed to be expendable. We didn’t do it with Iran when they shot down the Navy’s RQ-4, we’re not going to do it over an MQ-9.
Read like they were trying to do that and use their jets exhaust to set the drone on fire
The Su-27 is an aesthetically beautiful plane
or blind its sensors.
If I were to guess, there's probably another one up there in the same spot right now. If they down that one in international waters, there will be a more robust response from the US.
The video of this has got to be amazing. I’m hoping someone releases it; I not it says “US-Built” but a bunch of people fly them now.
Russian Air Force paint jobs are top tier as well. The mottled blue is gorgeous.
This one isn't bad either
Maybe another drone or something could accidentally drop something when the Russians arrive
Love this burn
I was wondering if we would play that card if the Russians portrayed it as an accident.
I have to assume we don’t really want to respond to this. The fact it was a UAV was to prevent this mission set from exposing a human pilot to these risks. We used a UAV for this in case something were to happen.
Su-27’s are obviously Decepticons. Let’s be real here.
I don’t think I’m going to read 100 years of Russian atrocities, but I did enjoy this reply:
Pretty interesting new Washington Post Article below. It gives a pretty bleak view on the current reality, short, and medium term outlooks for the war for the Ukrainians. Basically saying:
All of their good troops from pre-war are all dead and the troops currently fighting are all basically untrained draftees.
The scale of western trainings is too slow.
Massive ammunition and equipment shortages.
Ukraine holding the western trained troops and equipment in reserve for the spring offensive.
Far too little men and material to have any real expectations for good results with the spring offensive.
I think reality sits somewhere between this (overly negative) article and the (overly positives) official lines.
My expectation and hope for the spring offensive is to have some major movement in the south. If Ukraine gets stalled out there I'll take it as an indicator that Ukraine will not be able to dislodge Russia fully at any point.
Article in the spoilers
Ukraine short of skilled troops and munitions as losses, pessimism grow
By Isabelle Khurshudyan
March 13, 2023 at 5:33 p.m. EDT
Soldiers train at a firing range at an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine on March 4. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
DNIPROPETROVSK REGION, Ukraine — The quality of Ukraine’s military force, once considered a substantial advantage over Russia, has been degraded by a year of casualties that have taken many of the most experienced fighters off the battlefield, leading some Ukrainian officials to question Kyiv’s readiness to mount a much-anticipated spring offensive.
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U.S. and European officials have estimated that as many as 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the start of Russia’s invasion early last year, compared with about 200,000 on the Russian side, which has a much larger military and roughly triple the population from which to draw conscripts. Ukraine keeps its running casualty numbers secret, even from its staunchest Western supporters.
Statistics aside, an influx of inexperienced draftees, brought in to plug the losses, has changed the profile of the Ukrainian force, which is also suffering from basic shortages of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs, according to military personnel in the field.
“The most valuable thing in war is combat experience,” said a battalion commander in the 46th Air Assault Brigade, who is being identified only by his call sign, Kupol, in keeping with Ukrainian military protocol. “A soldier who has survived six months of combat and a soldier who came from a firing range are two different soldiers. It’s heaven and earth.”
“And there are only a few soldiers with combat experience,” Kupol added. “Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded.”
Such grim assessments have spread a palpable, if mostly unspoken, pessimism from the front lines to the corridors of power in Kyiv, the capital. An inability by Ukraine to execute a much-hyped counteroffensive would fuel new criticism that the United States and its European allies waited too long, until the force had already deteriorated, to deepen training programs and provide armored fighting vehicles, including Bradleys and Leopard battle tanks.
The situation on the battlefield now may not reflect a full picture of Ukraine’s forces, because Kyiv is training troops for the coming counteroffensive separately and deliberately holding them back from current fighting, including the defense of Bakhmut, a U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
Ukraine holds the line in brutal battle for Bakhmut
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Mar. 6 that he intends to hold the line in Bakhmut, as the brutal battle for the eastern city continues. (Video: Reuters)
Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said the state of the Ukrainian force does not diminish his optimism about a coming counteroffensive. “I don’t think we’ve exhausted our potential,” Yermak said. “I think that in any war, there comes a time when you have to prepare new personnel, which is what is happening right now.”
And the situation for Russia may be worse. During a NATO meeting last month, U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace said that 97 percent of Russia’s army was already deployed in Ukraine and that Moscow was suffering “First World War levels of attrition.”
Kupol said he was speaking out in hopes of securing better training for Ukrainian forces from Washington and that he hopes Ukrainian troops being held back for a coming counteroffensive will have more success than the inexperienced soldiers now manning the front under his command.
“There’s always belief in a miracle,” he said. “Either it will be a massacre and corpses or it’s going to be a professional counteroffensive. There are two options. There will be a counteroffensive either way.”
A battalion commander in the 46th Air Assault Brigade, who goes by the call sign Kupol, in an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine on March 4. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
How much increased Western military aid and training will tip the balance in such a spring offensive remains uncertain, given the scars of attrition that are beginning to show.
One senior Ukrainian government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, called the number of tanks promised by the West a “symbolic” amount. Others privately voiced pessimism that promised supplies would even reach the battlefield in time.
“If you have more resources, you more actively attack,” the senior official said. “If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs.”
“We don’t have the people or weapons,” the senior official added. “And you know the ratio: When you’re on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can’t afford to lose that many people.”
Defending Ukraine’s ‘highway of life’ — the last road out of Bakhmut
Such analysis is far less optimistic than the public statements by Ukraine’s political and military leadership.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described 2023 as “the year of victory” for Ukraine. His military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, touted the possibility of Ukrainians vacationing this summer in Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed illegally from Ukraine nine years ago.
“Our president inspires us to win,” Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s ground forces commander, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Generally, we all think the same, and we understand that for us it is of course necessary to win by the end of the year. And it is real. It is real if we are given all the help which we have been promised by our partners.”
On the front lines, however, the mood is dark.
Kupol, who consented to having his photograph taken and said he understood he could face personal blowback for giving a frank assessment, described going to battle with newly drafted soldiers who had never thrown a grenade, who readily abandoned their positions under fire and who lacked confidence in handling firearms.
Soldiers train at a firing range in an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine on March 4. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
His unit withdrew from Soledar in eastern Ukraine in the winter after being surrounded by Russian forces who later captured the city. Kupol recalled how hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers in units fighting alongside his battalion simply abandoned their positions, even as fighters for Russia’s Wagner mercenary group pressed ahead.
After a year of war, Kupol, a lieutenant colonel, said his battalion is unrecognizable. Of about 500 soldiers, roughly 100 were killed in action and another 400 wounded, leading to complete turnover. Kupol said he was the sole military professional in the battalion, and he described the struggle of leading a unit composed entirely of inexperienced troops.
“I get 100 new soldiers,” Kupol said. “They don’t give me any time to prepare them. They say, ‘Take them into the battle.’ They just drop everything and run. That’s it. Do you understand why? Because the soldier doesn’t shoot. I ask him why, and he says, ‘I’m afraid of the sound of the shot.’ And for some reason, he has never thrown a grenade. … We need NATO instructors in all our training centers, and our instructors need to be sent over there into the trenches. Because they failed in their task.”
He described severe ammunition shortages, including a lack of simple mortar bombs and grenades for U.S.-made MK 19s.
Traumatic stress, an invisible wound, hobbles Ukrainian soldiers
Ukraine has also faced an acute shortage of artillery shells, which Washington and its allies have scrambled to address, with discussions about how to shore up Ukrainian stocks dominating daily meetings on the war at the White House National Security Council. Washington’s efforts have kept Ukraine fighting, but use rates are very high, and scarcity persists.
“You’re on the front line,” Kupol said. “They’re coming toward you, and there’s nothing to shoot with.”
Kupol said Kyiv needed to focus on better preparing new troops in a systematic way. “It’s like all we do is give interviews and tell people that we’ve already won, just a little bit further away, two weeks, and we’ll win,” he said.
Dmytro, a Ukrainian soldier whom The Post is identifying only by first name for security reasons, described many of the same conditions. Some of the less-experienced troops serving at his position with the 36th Marine Brigade in the Donetsk region “are afraid to leave the trenches,” he said. Shelling is so intense at times, he said, that one soldier will have a panic attack, then “others catch it.”
The first time he saw fellow soldiers very shaken, Dmytro said, he tried to talk them through the reality of the risks. The next time, he said, they “just ran from the position.”
“I don’t blame them,” he said. “They were so confused.”
The challenges stem from steep losses. Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander in chief, said in August that nearly 9,000 of his soldiers had died. In December, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, said the number was up to 13,000. But Western officials have given higher estimates and, in any case, the Ukrainian figures excluded the far larger number of wounded who are no longer able to fight.
A German official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid, said that Berlin estimates Ukrainian casualties, including dead and wounded, are as high as 120,000. “They don’t share the information with us because they don’t trust us,” the official said.
Meanwhile, a Russian offensive has been building since early January, according to Syrsky. Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, told The Post last month that Russia had more than 325,000 soldiers in Ukraine, and another 150,000 mobilized troops could soon join the fight. Ukrainian soldiers report being outnumbered and having less ammunition.
A year in the trenches has hardened Ukraine’s president
The stakes for Ukraine in the coming months are particularly high, as Western countries aiding Kyiv look to see whether Ukrainian forces can once again seize the initiative and reclaim more territory from Russian control.
Russia is also facing ammunition, manpower and motivation problems — and has notched only incremental gains in recent months despite the strained state of Ukraine’s force. As bad as Ukraine’s losses are, Russia’s are worse, the U.S. official said.
“The question is whether Ukraine’s relative advantage is sufficient to attain their objectives, and whether those advantages can be sustained,” said Michael Kofman, a military analyst at Virginia-based CNA. “That depends not just on them, but also on the West.”
Bullet casings on the ground at a firing range in eastern Ukraine. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
Despite reports of untrained mobilized Russian fighters being thrown into battle, Syrsky said those now arriving are well-prepared. “We have to live and fight in these realities,” he said. “Of course, it’s problematic for us. … It forces us to be more precise in our firing, more detailed in our reconnaissance, more careful in choosing our positions and more detailed in organizing the interaction between the units. There is no other way.”
Russia’s recent gains — notably around Bakhmut — have not significantly tilted the battlefield, and U.S. military officials have said that even if Russia seizes Bakhmut, it would be of little strategic importance. But given the heavy casualties Ukraine is suffering there, officials in Washington have questioned Kyiv’s refusal to retreat. The United States has been advising Ukraine to retreat from the city since at least January, the U.S. official said.
A Ukrainian official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the battle for Bakhmut was depleting Russian forces there — mainly Wagner fighters who have been Moscow’s most effective of late — and that Ukrainian units defending the city were not slated to be deployed in upcoming offensive operations anyway.
Ukraine has lost many of its junior officers who received U.S. training over the past nine years, eroding a corps of leaders who helped distinguish the Ukrainians from their Russian enemies at the start of the invasion, the Ukrainian official said. Now, the official said, those forces must be replaced. “A lot of them are killed,” the official said.
At the start of the invasion, Ukrainians rushed to volunteer for military duty, but now men across the country who did not sign up have begun to fear being handed draft slips on the street. Ukraine’s internal security service recently shut down Telegram accounts that were helping Ukrainians avoid locations where authorities were distributing summonses.
Military jackets hang on a wall in a village house temporarily used by Ukrainian forces as a base in eastern Ukraine. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
Initially, the United States focused its training on new weapons systems Washington had decided to provide Kyiv, such as M777 artillery pieces and HIMARS rocket launchers. In January, after nearly a year of all-out war, the United States began training Ukrainian forces in combined-arms warfare. Just one battalion, of about 650 people, has completed the training in Germany so far.
Additional Ukrainian battalions will complete the training by the end of March, and the program will adjust as Ukraine’s needs evolve, said Lt. Col. Garron Garn, a Pentagon spokesman.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “remains laser-focused on ensuring that Ukraine is receiving the training it needs for the current fight,” Garn said. The United States is “working around-the-clock” to fulfill Ukraine’s security needs, in addition to investing billions of dollars to produce and procure artillery ammunition, he said.
“The bottom line is that we are getting the Ukrainians what they need, when they need it,” Garn said. “And as President Biden and Secretary Austin have emphasized repeatedly, we will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Even with new equipment and training, U.S. military officials consider Ukraine’s force insufficient to attack all along the giant front, where Russia has erected substantive defenses, so troops are being trained to probe for weak points that allow them to break through with tanks and armored vehicles.
Russia advances in Bakhmut by sending waves of mercenaries to certain death
Britain is also training Ukrainian recruits, including about 10,000 last year, with another 20,000 expected this year. The European Union has said it will train 30,000 Ukrainians in 2023.
Ukraine has been holding back soldiers for a spring offensive and training them as part of newly assembled assault brigades. Kyiv is also organizing battalions around the new fighting vehicles and tanks that Western nations are providing.
Syrsky said he is focused on holding the line against Russian attacks while his deputies prepare soldiers for the next offensive.
“We need to buy time to prepare reserves,” Syrsky said, referring to the Ukrainian soldiers training abroad with Western weapons. “We know that we have to withstand this attack to prepare the reserves that will take part in future actions properly. … Some people defend, others prepare.”
U.S. officials said they expect Ukraine’s offensive to start in late April or early May, and they are acutely aware of the urgency of supplying Kyiv because a drawn-out war could favor Russia, which has more people, money and weapons manufacturing.
Asked at a recent congressional hearing how much more U.S. aid might be required, Pentagon policy chief Colin Kahl told House lawmakers that he did not know. “We don’t know the course or trajectory of the conflict,” Kahl said. “It could end six months from now, it could end two years from now, three years from now.”
Sonne and DeYoung reported from Washington. Souad Mekhennet in Munich, David L. Stern in Kyiv and Siobhán O’Grady in Kharkiv, Ukraine, contributed to this report.
Author is a fluent Russian Speaker
should have highlighted the Caps reporter part too
Not saying there isn't slant in the article, there is clearly, but reality likely is not as bad as the article paints it to be but also not as good as the official lines claim. She lives in Kyiv today and is co-author along with these people:
South Carolina graduate the most damning thing on the resume
I was going to , but didn't want to seem like a conspiracy theorist. I belive what she's saying is partially true. LIke mentioned above, the truth is in the middle. But she's pretending to be some Ukrainian author when she's clearly owned by Russia.
Hot take: these articles are really trying to drum up support for UKR. And that's OK.
Any guesses what this means? US has F22's in the air now?
Eh, an article by a Russian apologist painting the war as unwinnable is more than likely trying to do the opposite.
no I don’t think so, the reality on the ground is really bleak for the standing Ukr army especially in the contact areas like Vuledar and Bakmut. They are getting f’d up, ignore the Twitter generals, the losses are extremely high
Russia is hammering them with artillery and rockets
I think at this point, the MAGA bots are doing that work. There was an interesting tweet this morning from someone saying that a lot of MAGA posters on Twitter know WAY more local info on Donbass that anyone in the US. Makes you think...
Unfortunately, probably a pretty realistic assessment of the situation. Shitty training or not, what the Ukrainians need above all else is dramatically more long range capabilities, artillery / shells, and armor. I don't know where they're going to get all that stuff.
Look at tanks, for instance. Most of the NATO allies have been on a peacetime footing for 30 years. Outside of the US, no one has been producing or even using volumes of tanks. The US is unwilling to give them modern, domestic M1 Abrams because the armor is uranium core. Export versions will take many months to produce in the volume needed in this war. Are there 60 year old M60s sitting in strategic storage in the middle of the desert somewhere? Maybe, but they'd need months and tens of millions of dollars to get running again, there's no replacement parts (and no factories to produce them), they'd have worn, brittle gun barrels, and any modern anti-tank missile would turn them into instant coffins for the Ukrainians taking them into battle.
Why is the uranium core so important?
British and French have similar issues with their most modern tanks, a lot of classified items on them
There's another, more cynical view here, strictly my own, armchair general tier opinion:
First, those things start showing up in battle, the Russians start to figure out what best defeats them. Second, if our most modern tanks with the top secret (*I'm sure the Chinese and Russians already have blueprints on how it's made from decades of espionage) armor start getting blown up left and fucking right on the modern battlefield, it hurts our own army's morale.
As much as I want to help the Ukrainians, I am very frustrated about the EU/USA defense issues. I think the Poles are there, too, and have been for a long time, regardless of how you feel about PiS. Germany isn't an honest actor, let's not talk about the Swiss, etc. We are doing their work for them, all because we want to have bases there. It's not an easy thing to make work, but the Germans have exchanged militant nationalism for cowardice. They know we will keep writing checks for defense so they can strengthen their economy.
I'm glad we at least exerted some pressure with the L2/Abrams thing, but even that was weak. Also, this is not a MAGA take, because it's pretty clear we'd have Ukraine as a Russian state if Trump was handling things. I'm just not in favor of enabling allies with our money (often while looking the other way about manifest issues with our "chosen ones"), then having a political situation flip and we are left holding our schlongs (see: Latin America).
I know what you're saying, but that's basically the take of all the think tank guys prior to this war. They've all been disproven, but haven't apologized. That sort of conservatism keeps the money flowing in to them...
I think Latin America is a bad analogy because we're VERY much the Russia in that scenario. Overthrowing governments that are anti-American business interests (oh sorry, I mean socialist) propping up corrupt regimes, and then surprise-Pikachu-facing when there's a revolution every twenty years or so. And that's before you even get into Iran-Contra or the fun DEA/FBI/CIA games with cocaine in Colombia.
This looks like it's from a videogame.
You're right, bad analogy. But if a fascist government comes to power in Germany, what happens? I have no idea.
I mean, we worked with fascist governments in Taiwan and South Korea for decades without many problems. Been working with one in the UK for a while now with minimal hiccups. Everyone has to deal with ours every 4-8 years, we all get through it.
In terms of us having forward forces in Europe and elsewhere because we have to "do Europe's job for them", I don't think we need to pretend we're not getting nothing out of the arrangement. It makes it a lot easier to go do empire stuff in Africa and the Middle East when you can stop off in Germany, and it's a lot easier to keep the UK and EU as de facto American vassal states and call them up to influence policy when the call is coming from inside the house. We've also closed down and consolidated a LOT of bases in Europe since the 90s.
These videos break me
Spain has historically been facist friendly
Look at Spain in Catalonia
What if I told you that Artoo supports the major Catalonian football club?
Artoo looks like he has been skipping leg day again.
I GET MY BURGERS NO PICKLES!!!!!!!
warm pickles in burgers are fucking digusting.
pickles belong on sandwiches, where it can remain cold.