23 thoughts on “The Battle For Kherson”

  1. Rand,
    Your clown Lawrence wrote on March 6
    “There have been a variety of estimates about how long the Russian army can keep this up, especially if Kyiv and Kharkiv continue to resist. Without a major resupply effort it has been put at no more than 3 weeks. The Russians have not planned for a long war nor made provisions to sustain it over time.”


    1. Looks to me like he was right. The major supply effort happened (and looks like it’ll need to happen repeatedly). And we’ve seen plenty of evidence that the Russians weren’t planning to still be fighting now.

  2. March 6th… hrmmm. Now what happened about 3 weeks after that? That would be Russia’s precipitous grand skedaddle from Kyev, brought about in large part by logistics and supply issues.

    Russia’s supply and logistics problems (caused in part by their failure to set up the logistics needed for anything other than a very quick war) became critical around March 22nd, with units running out of fuel, ammo, and food.

    In other words, the Russians indeed could not keep it up (in part due to their abysmal lack of logistics planning and prep), hence why they retreated from Kyev and that entire region, all the way back to the border – a retreat Russia admitted to on March 29th.

  3. “Russia has committed nearly 85% of its military to the war in Ukraine, which means that its armed forces will be progressively unable to fulfil its other tasks protecting their borders and supporting Russian foreign policy goals around the world.”

    China has entered the chat.

    1. I’ve been thinking about that one for a while, Wodun.

      Russia has long viewed China (which would very much like Russia’s far east) as a long-term strategic threat. Russia also remembers their comradly alliance with Hitler, right up until Hitler invaded them, so they are rather well aware of how fast alliances can change.

      Russia drew its initial Ukraine invasion force mainly from its eastern military district, then later stripped its central district, and finally began stripping its western district (where its best units were). Right now, were it not for Russia’s nuclear arsenal (which is massively superior to China’s) China could invade without much meaningful opposition.

      However… a few things come to mind. The wheeled vehicles from Russia’s eastern district experienced a massive tire failure rate, and they were using tires supplied by China. Russian military comms were in chaos, and that was also a case of using Chinese gear. This seems to me to go well beyond the usual high failure rate of anything made in China, so it makes me wonder if the Chinese were busily sabotaging the Russian military, especially the eastern district.

      It also makes me wonder where Russia went shopping for the electronics needed to modernize its nuclear arsenal a few years back. Could they have been dumb enough to get that gear from China? I’d have thought not… until seeing some of the other stupid choices they’ve made.

      If Russia’s nuclear arsenal has been sabotaged, China would be happy to suffer a few nuclear hits (because no sabotage is likely to be able to affect 100% of the arsenal) as the price of taking all of Russia east of the Urals – and they might not stop there.

      Just some crazy speculation on my part. 🙂

      1. Russian missiles are so old that I doubt they include any Chinese electronics. Even some of their cruise missiles seem to use discrete components and 1970’s technology.

      2. China is sneaky. They are doing a number on us with fentanyl, subverting our generals, and spying on our military installations and training sessions. They look at warfare as more than just pew pew.

        1. Sure, I see some evidence of this sneakiness, but I also see evidence of hapless opportunism – that they just happen to be in a position through no fault of their own to take advantage of other countries’ foibles.

          1. Sure, they are just bumbling idiots and things just happen that they had no role in the outcome, logical.

          2. Well yes, Wodun. I figure they have competent parts of the government, but those are beholden to their leadership which isn’t notably competent.

            That we’re speculating on an invasion of Taiwan rather than a slick cultural takeover shows that we too agree with that premise.

        2. The Soviets were sneaky too. And the East Germans had the best and most extensive internal security apparat in the Warsaw Pact. In the end, none of that mattered a whit. And the end of the PRC is approaching even faster than the end of Russia.

          1. Anent the PRC, it’s mainly Peter Zeihan’s analysis. I was familiar with some of the PRC’s demographic and economic problems before coming across his stuff, but he has shown those problems to be far worse than even I had thought. He also has a lot of astute observations about Chinese history and geography that bear on the future – or lack of same – of the PRC as well as its absurd trade-related vulnerabilities. Give him a look.

            I would characterize the “PRC will die shortly” thesis as the opposite of “fatalism.” Fatalism would be more like, “the PRC is going to last forever and will soon overtake and conquer us and make us wear bib overalls and grow soybeans for them forever.”

        3. I’ll point out that both of you are dismissive and complacent and that those are the attitudes that prevent action being taken to solve problems big or small. Those attitudes have infected our government and why China has been so successful spying on our government, military, companies, and populace.

          Where do we get our pharmaceuticals? REEs? PPE? Microcips? It is a long list. What is the damage done to us by fentanyl? Think that is just a problem with California poliitcs?

          They will fail one day doesn’t address any of the problems right now and they just got lucky isn’t a solution either.

          You are both smart people. You can do better.

  4. Mr. Freedman’s thoughts are much like my own. Kherson is the obvious tab sticking out on the Spam can where the Ukrainians need to put the key and start winding.

    Ukraine’s HIMARS guners have thoughtfully inflicted enough damage on several key bridges to preclude easy resupply from Crimea via truck or the bringing up of heavy weapons, but not enough to preclude footborne retreat. If the Russians can be induced to start running back to Crimea, the door can be slammed on them pretty easily and the whole matter of re-taking and pacifying Crimea left until the rest of the Russian southern salient can be rolled up and the Donbass beyond that.

    1. There is also the outside possibility the Ukrainians are setting up a head fake. Ukraine doesn’t yet have too many HIMARS or MLRS systems. But it obviously detailed one or two of them to do some damage in the area of Kherson.

      And, if one is to judge by the number of Russian ammo dumps in the Donbass that went shy-high a couple of weeks back – and the notable paucity of Russian artillery shell explosions captured by NASA earth observation sats since – the Ukrainians seem to have sneaked most of the HIMARS and MLRS units they had far enough east to make those shots into the Donbass.

      Perhaps the idea is to try getting the Russkies to move some troops and equipment from the Donbass toward Kherson and then, when enough such has been lured into the southern salient, use those HIMARS/MLRSes that are already eastward to launch a drive straight toward Mariupol, liberate that first, then attack the remaining Russian southern salient from both ends, forcing a split of forces.

      If this was done – and worked – it would give the Ukes both of their recently lost ports back, still bottle the Russians in Crimea and allow the remainder of the Donbass and all of Crimea to be dealt with in which ever order seems best at comparative leisure.

  5. Dick,
    Lets see how your predictions wear in a month. I’ve read Russian military cargo moves by rail, and the railroad bridge wasn’t damaged, only the vehicle roadway.

    1. The morning after the second attack on the road bridge, I read that the railroad bridge was hit twice and sustained damage. But I haven’t sought or seen confirmation of that.

  6. I’d like to see what middle manager military folk think of this. So much of the analysis comes from history nerds and academics. It is all one giant nerd fight that is missing practical expertise. It is interesting but lacking, and the back and forth of opinions is tiresome because people are more interested in arguing and picking fights as a form of entertainment than in the topic in question.

    Whatever the topic, I try and seek out the best information possible and it is really hard to find good information about this war. Dipping into the comments sections is pointless because even the “smart” people have been reduced to hur dur dur level of communication.

    This is a general observation about many different venues and comments, so no one here think I am referring to you specifically. Don’t get bent. And I am a participant in the back and forth as well.

    1. and it is really hard to find good information about this war.
      As I’m sure you will agree, that is by design, on both sides and not by accident. I think the British Military Intelligence service is doing about the best it can on observation and appears on the face of it as somewhat reliable, as far as observation goes. Analysis gets into motives and motivation, which is always tricky.

      1. Thanks, I will check them out.

        Other than the threat to us, I don’t care that much about this war. It isn’t good entertainment for me. The amount of work I have to do to seek out information is a real chore and the sources I look at come from all over but are individually incomplete and/or biased. I don’t read consonants and that means anything from Russia is written for a Western audience and the same is true for the other side.

        I’ve been avoiding vetbro podcasts lately because while they are incredibly interesting, they are always four hours long and if they do talk about Ukraine, it will be a couple minutes buried someplace in the four hours. The perspective of people who spent the last twenty years fighting wars is missing from the larger discussion. But, maybe I just haven’t stumbled across something that already exists.

    2. The best information I’ve seen about just what the Russians are trying to accomplish by attacking Ukraine is from Peter Zeihan, a generally quite astute analyst of geopolitics – especially the dire condition of the PRC. He doesn’t think the Ukrainians can win in the long run, but then he also thinks the Russians have 10,000 tanks in reserve and that NATO can’t continue to supply Ukraine long enough to force the Russians to quit. He’s definitely wrong about the first of those propositions and that feeds forward to make him wrong about the second of these as well. But he’s quite a good source and he shows his work. Nobody’s perfect.

Comments are closed.