Well, I know this is a writers blog. But what the hell, I’ve got a platform here, and the beauty of obscurity, is that I can say anything I want at any time I want. Most of us trudge through life in silence, or we ‘tweet’ or post ‘memes.’ But I’m a writer, I like to write. I like to develop complex thoughts and ideas. In this world of flash and brevity, I like to go a little longer.
Anyway, back to the war. The Ukraine/Russia War. March 17, officially three weeks in. When it started, everyone thought it would be a rout. Two weeks or less. Russian tanks would be in Kyiv in days. Funny how it didn’t turn out like that.
It’s still Russia’s to lose. They’re probably going to conquer Ukraine, but it’s not looking nearly as certain as it once did, and it’s definitely not going to be as easy as anyone thought.
I’m going to offer a few meditations and thoughts as to how things are going.
Stalin is alleged to have said “Quantity has a quality all its own.”
I don’t know if he actually said that. Stalin was at heart, a cheap thug and something of a buffoon. So maybe he said it. Maybe someone else did, and it just got attributed to him.
So it may be that sheer overwhelming numbers are going to win out. Putin has gone in big. Just to repeat – the Russian armed forces are about 750,000 strong. It’s supposed to be just over a million, but there’s evidence that they don’t have a full head count. Of that 750,000, a lot are engaged in aeronautics and space, a lot are in the navy, a lot are in the border patrol, and some are in the National Guard.
The actual effective Russian army, ground forces, including air support and Special Forces, are around 325,000 give or take. Of that, it looks like the invasion, counting both the forces in Ukraine, and the folk just outsides supporting in Russia and Belarus are about 210,000. I’m ballparking obviously. But that means that about 65% of Russia’s entire ground army has been committed. That’s a huge effort, that’s about the maximum you can get away with – the rest is infrastructure, manning bases, readiness, basically all going on skeleton crews.
Now, some interesting things coming out of this. Almost from the beginning, we’ve been hearing stories about Russians running out of gas, short on food, uncoordinated actions, etc. I tended to dismiss a lot of that for three reasons. First, its not propaganda, but they’re the bad guys, so the media is interested in making them look bad, there’s bias there; Second, there may be a lot of ignorance of tactics and operations and stuff that might make no sense or look like weakness to a layman is actually seasoned soldiers methodically making their preparations; Third, sure its real, or some of it is, but in an operation this gigantic, taking up so much of the army, even with extraordinary preparedness, hiccups and screw ups are going to be an inevitable drumbeat.
I wasn’t sure it was real. Probably wasn’t. If it was an illusion, or simple teething, that would prove out over a couple of weeks.
But it’s persisted.