Know your Ukrainian weapons

If you would have asked me (a fool) a year ago, I would have said NATO is a relic, and most military equipment from tanks to fighter jets are basically worthless and never going to be relevant again in an age of terrorism, cyberattacks and climate refugees. The US is the only superpower building that crap, right? Now tanks are rolling over international borders in Europe and NATO is a stopgap to an invasion of central Europe. What a weird time.


I’ve often wondered about DCS World for similar reasons, even before the current crisis - it’s a product of a Russian company, and it’s not hard to imagine it having some propaganda purpose under the surface. I’ve even wondered about its potential as a vector for state-produced malware, but I expect that would have been discovered long ago.


Germany has yesterday decidet to deliver anti-tank weapons (probably the Panzerfaust 3) and Anti-air weapons to Ukraine. Also we´re gonna beef up our own millitary with a boost of 100 Billion Euro this year, and a increase of military spending in the forseeable future. The Luftwaffe is probably going to buy the F-35 as replacement for the aging Tornado fighterbombers, also to keep its nuclear strike capacity.


I presume that the T-72 still costs around USD$500k; however, it now costs a bajillion Roubles.

Meanwhile in the 1980’s Comedy Club, “What’s the most fearsome anti-tank weapon? The Mother NLAW.”


Well it’s a little more complicated. What percentage of NLAWs miss or missfire? How many strike less expensive targets? How many of the targets hit get repaired? Most importantly, how many get carried around and never launched either because they were never in the right place at the right time or because the people carrying them into combat got killed before they could launch them? How many are used in training people to use them? Almost certainly still worth it, but still more expensive per tank destroyed.

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If enemy troops get close enough to play these sorts of games, than tank has failed. The weapons are intended to kill any threats 100s or even 1000 meters away.

And the fact that a ton of building to hide in mean that the enemy can get real close is why tanks are very vulnerable in urban combat. The best role for tanks in urban combat is to provide fire along long streets to keep the enemy from escaping while your own infantry slowly goes house to house.

edited to add. They are also useful for breaching. Which is to say making a hole in a building for your infantry to enter, which is usually better than using the front door where the enemy within is expecting you.


As you and others have pointed out, Tanks are next to useless in urban combat. Their key strengths are mobility and fields of fire, and operating in streets takes away their strengths and amplifies their weaknesses.

The tank’s role in urban environments is to prevent escape of fleeing soldiers, provide covering fire as needed for infantry entering the area, and to deny reinforcements from entering the area.


The Javelins are so highly regarded by the Ukrainians in defense of their country against tanks and other big scary metal monsters, that they are sainted.


I’m guessing that the big limiting factor on using javelins is the number of Ukrainians trained to use them. They are not simple pieces of equipment. You can’t just hand one and an armband to a kid like the Germans did with panzerfausts near the end of WWII.

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Farmers with tractors can also work:


It’s likely also the cost. Just the missile on a Javelin is $175k. The launcher/sight unit is reusable, but it’s not the sort of thing the US or other NATO nations have thousands of in reserve either.

You compare that to the Carl Gustaf which is not guided, point and shoot. But also reusable and the tube is $20k, ammo runs between $500 and $3k. . A a guided disposable rocket like the NLAW is ~$40k. And the basic AT4 that tends to be the thing they stick in the back of every Humvee is a apparently just $1500.

It’s the cheaper simpler stuff that countries have thousands of on hand.


Super armchair, not following closely, but sounds like Putin’s goal may have been other than the total annexation of Ukraine. That makes me wonder if indeed the Russians are being “held off” or if they are deliberately “holding off” in hopes of dialogue.

I would maybe follow a little more closely.

Russia launched it’s invasion during a “dialogue” in the UN, and apparently in the recent peace talks simply insisted Ukraine give in on all of their stated goals for the invasion. They’re currently starting to pull diplomats from other countries. Apparently starting with Canada.

So whatever the hell is going on they’re not holding out for “dialogue” or diplomatic solutions.

There’s certainly something weird going on, and a lot of people are viewing it as a holding back situation. Even with 2/3rds of their amassed forces in Ukraine, apparently very few of them are actually attacking any given area.

US Intelligence, the Ukrainians and various experts and analysts keep saying the other shoe is going to drop. That the Russians are taking it seriously now, the “big” attack is coming, or the good equipment or whatever. But it hasn’t happened.

Maybe they are holding back, but because of that opposition back in Russia. Maybe they really are this much of a shit show.

But whatever the delay. The French just landed thousands of anti-tank weapons, and Ukrainian pilots are picking up fighter jets from Poland as we speak. So it’s just the gap in equipment and capabilities closing at this point.

Putin and other Russian officials have pretty plainly said that they’re looking for regime change in Ukraine. The attack was from minute one targeted at Kyev, and has mainly been coming over the border from Belarus. They started bombing Lviv on the border with Poland, the most likely place for the Ukrainian government to withdraw to if Kyev falls, on the first night. And most of the fighting has been kept away from the areas Russia has claimed in Crimea and the Donbas.

They’re not consolidating control of the places they already influence or control. They ran right at the capital. It’s been reported, fairly credibly if not confirmed, that they’ve put bounties on Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials.

So that’s sort of a concept that’s not too tenable right now.

Based on the reports out of the peace talks yesterday, and Russian statements and actions afterward. It doesn’t seem like they’d even accept that as some sort of fallback or out.


“If Croesus goes to war against the Persians, he shall destroy a mighty empire.”


I think that’s right. As far as I know, they are only being used by Ukranian regulars, that have had proper training. The army is of decent size, so hopefully no Javelins are going begging.


I wish I had been following the UN talks more closely. The Ukrainian representative has been amazing. I don’t remember seeing it here, so here’s his address the night that Putin started the attacks. (note: as the proceedings went, Ukraine was only allowed to address the UN Security Council after the invasion was announced and had begun)


Season 9 Lol GIF by The Office


We’re sending them shitloads of Stingers and Javelins because we expected a conventional war to end quickly and a guerilla war.


I wasn’t following them much, expecting there to be you know. More warning.

A friend who happened to be watching found out about the invasion from the security council meeting as it went down and texted me “Oh fuck WWIII just started”.


I know that feeling. I was talking with a friend on the phone as 9/11 unfolded and I think I’ll never forget saying, “Shit, we’re going to war. They just hit the Pentagon.”

I hope your friend is less right than I was.