The Russian military's logistical problems explained

Originally published at: The Russian military's logistical problems explained | Boing Boing


You would think the Russian would have learned about the importance of logistics during WWII.


And after Chechnya and Syria, no one should doubt that he would if he can.


As Helmuth von Moltke said “no plan survives contact with the enemy” or in the words of the classic scholar Mike Tyson “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”

All these years of Russian trolls scouring the net for places to brag about the mighty Russian army, the scary new high tech weapons, the capabilities to go hand in hand against NATO, and comes the day and they launch an assault that looks like a run down circus convoy and gets bog down in the muddy roads of Ukraine barely 30 Km away from their own border

If I was a NATO commander I would be breathing a sigh of relief, notwithstanding nuclear weapons, Russia has shown the world they do not have the capability to engage in conflict against any modern army.

They can bomb civilian targets to the ground as previously shown in Chechenia and Syria, but they don’t seem very capable of projecting force


Logistics and Operations is a nasty task in the best of situations. Put a War into the mix and you are damn near impossible to get much done.

I thought Putin was a savvy genius?


I haven’t watched the linked video yet, but apparently they are heavily reliant on railroads for resupply operations which seems… really, really stupid. Bridges can be temporarily rebuilt or bypassed, rivers can be forded or pontoon bridges established and roads can be made operable even after some destruction, but a rail line? There are so many ways to sabotage them and they have to be nearly perfect to avoid catastrophic accidents. One thing that’s clear is that his hubris has come with certain assumptions that Russia would be conducting warfare from their living rooms. Now I’m sure that Kyiv seems like a million miles away.

Also: This is a major reason that southern saboteurs were able to help the north cut off Atlanta and the southern Atlantic coast during the civil war. A small platoon can erase entire supply lines with equipment they carry on their backs.

This isn’t actually the action that I was thinking of (can’t think of the dudes name atm), but illustrates my point.


But it does do a good job of producing large numbers of refugees, turning them into a political weapon.


yes, it does, but it can backfire

Now he will have to tell his fellow citizens that he created an humanitarian crisis with fellow Slav “brothers” running for they lives.
Not sure how it will line up with the idea of “great Russia” or the excuse of “corrupt nazi Ukrainian government oppressing the population”

The big question is what is the endgame, what are the final objectives that justify the “continuation of politics by other means”

Apparently they have given 4 conditions to the Ukraine just now. Give Crimea to Russia, recognise Donbas, Lugansk and Donetsk as “independent”, changes to the Ukrainian constitution to become “neutral” and de-militarisation

And two boiled eggs, apparently…


They’ll want toast with that. It’s a game of soldiers.


It’s not, really. Railroads have massive logistics throughput, and Russia has entire brigades of troops whose job is to repair, (re)build, and guard railroads. That, of course, doesn’t mean relying on railroads doesn’t come with its downsides, but it’s not an a priori unreasonable choice to make.


I’m really hoping that these are their strategic “giveaway” demands and they are willing to leave after taking Donbas and a route to Crimea. Based on his conversations with Macron, it doesn’t seem so, though.


He’s also got entire brigades devoted to air superiority, but has thus far failed to establish that as well. Rail lines are really reliable on turf you control, but lots of armies have realized that the control part is the most difficult when the local population isn’t on your side.


Wendover Productions LOVES this sort of logistics stuff. Usually it is about the airline industry.


The problem is that nobody will trust Putin ever again, we are talking about an individual that has broken a ceasefire two days in a row to kill fleeing civilians

Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons in exchange for being recognised as an independent country and have their territorial integrity respected and here we are

The fact is Putin has messed up the war and failed to achieve his deluded objectives. But no sane government will make the mistake to sign an agreement with him. This will have to go to the wire


I fear you’re right. Even if his actual objectives before were Donbas and Novorossiya, I don’t think his ego will be satisfied until the entire nation is laid waste now that he’s taken a punch to the nose. He’s just as needy and pathetic as trump.


Mmmm egg banjo


I’ve been reading all sorts of analysis pointing out the total failure of logistics in in the invasion, coupled with people noticing how ill-maintained the equipment is (leading to break-downs that can’t be repaired because of the lack of support). It seems pretty clear Putin (or anyone else) didn’t plan this out, has no end game, no clear goals, and Putin has pushed Russia into a corner from which he won’t allow it to escape, which will just make Putin more desperate.

There’s some text floating around purporting to be from an FSB analyst (people who know what they’re talking about seem to be inclined to view it as real) that goes into the lack of planning and how screwed Russia (and Ukraine) are by all this, which is interesting but grim reading:

Seems like there was no plan at any point in this case, though. Reportedly Putin’s decision took everyone in his own government by surprise, so there was no advanced planning.

Aka Republicans? (I mean, look at the number of Republican politicians and Fox “News” personalities rhapsodizing about the butch, manly masculinity of the Russian army - as opposed to the weak, effeminate, “woke” US army - over the last couple of years. Truly bizarre - and fascist.)

What’s going on now is so uncharacteristic of Putin that it’s adding to the evidence that something is seriously wrong with him. The fuck-ups seem to go far beyond a lack of logistical support, which is damning by itself.

What I’m reading suggests there is no endgame - at least nothing that bears any relationship with reality.


I have no idea how this impacts modern warfare. But in the Civil war a major turning point in the west was Grant realizing he could successfully operate in the enemy rear living off their supplies. This led to the fall of Vicksburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea.


Well, Putin’s always been good at ruthlessly pursuing short-term goals, but bad at anticipating and dealing with long-term consequences. But you’re right, this is way beyond his usual. I’m starting to buy into the idea that he’s ill, and that he’s lost his touch with reality, feels his mortality acutely and is acting rashly because he fears he doesn’t have much time to wait or move more slowly, or both.