Today concluding my review/analysis of this piece by Colonel Viktor Baranets. Where we left off, we are starting Phase #2 of this project plan.
Baranets: It is very likely that Ukraine will send reinforcements to those [soldiers] blocked inside the [Donbass] cauldron. There will be an attempt to counterattack. But such a counter-offensive will be difficult to perform out in the open steppes of the Donbass, given Russia’s command over the air.
[yalensis comment: In this regard, I had seen some prognoses that Ukraine was holding reserves for this counterattack in their own kettle up in the Lisichansk triangle. However, events have overtaken that prognosis: In the past couple of days I read that Ukrainian units pulled out of the Lisichansk triangle, withdrawing to the South and ceding that area to the Russians. Even the Ukrainian army admitted this, so it must be true.]
[yalensis: And a further sidebar to that sidebar, it is said that the Ukrainian High Command has become slightly more professional military and less just professional liars, with the appointment of career military officer, Valery Zaluzhny to the post of Commander-in-Chief for the duration of this war. Gossipy sources close to the Court Jester say this appointment entailed a change in the balance of power: Movie star and amateur psychologist Lusya Arestovich had fancied himself in that role — at one point Zelensky even promoted his fellow stand-up comedian to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel! The ego-driven narcissist Lusya even came to regard himself as a huge military genius and started demanding a second promotion: to Full Colonel. He was allegedly the guy who planned the Belgorod helicopter attack in Russia, admittedly not too shabby a trick for a rank amateur. In any case, the Zaluzhny appointment was a blow to Lusya’s ego, not to mention pushing the Candy-Girl further away from the corridors of power. Anyhow, what I am trying to say, or speculate, in a long-winded manner, is that Zaluzhny’s engrained professionalism might have something to do with Ukrainian MOD actually telling the truth about their withdrawal from Lisichansk. Unless! maybe that was just a bluff…]
Baranets: It is expected that our grouping will attempt to break the Donets cauldron up into two parts, in order to boil each part separately, in its own kettle.
Now to the question, what tricks does Kiev have up its sleeve? Firstly, they are hoping to really grind up the Russian and Donbass forces as these latter advance upon a highly fortified ground. Here it is easier to be the defender, dug into the earth and shielded by a 2-3 meter layer of fortified concrete, than it is to be the attacker trying to take that pillbox. Normally the losses of a well dug-in defending force are less than those of the attacking force, by a ration of 1/3.
On the Donetsk arc the Ukrainian command has placed the best and most capable units (augmented by the Nationalists), who have had 8 years to know the territory, and who are well equipped with every type of weapon. In anti-tank complexes alone, of American and English manufacture, the Ukrainian forces have almost 3,000 of these.
They have also accumulated a huge supply of ammunition. They have so much ammo that they can even waste it, allowing themselves to generously blast away at Donetsk and the surrounding towns, something like 120 shells per day! And they have no deficit of that at all.
Plus, the Kiev regime has no compunction hiding its soldiers behind peaceful civilians, in the mining towns of the Donbass. Many of their defensive positions are placed right up against civilian houses, schools, hospitals, in the calculation that Russian aviation and artillery will feel shy to fire on these buildings.
Do Moscow And Donetsk Have Any Aces In the Sleeve?
Baranets: The psychological factor is that the DPR/LPR soldiers are going to be liberating their own land, and this means a lot for their military morale. The local population are largely disloyal to Kiev. The people here regard the Ukrainian soldiers as occupiers and Nazis. Whereas they regard the Russian and DPR soldiers as their liberators.
Moscow is counting on the fact that, having encircled the Ukrainian group in Donbass, it will be able to cut it off from re-supply. Leaving it to ration whatever it has in the way of ammunition, fuel, and products. Eventually [the hope is] they will get hungry and just give up, without even needing to storm them and endure huge losses.
How Long Will This Battle Last?
Baranets: It won’t be a short one, most certainly. The enemy is well equipped and well entrenched. He will most likely be assisted by “instructors” from London and Washington. They don’t even bother to hide the fact that the Ukrainian General Staff receive intelligence from them 24/7.
In a way, the Battle for the Donbass will be a competition between Russian and American strategists.
Reporter’s question: But do you think the U.S. (or NATO as a whole) will intervene directly into this war? And I don’t mean just with advisors, mercenaries, and weapons; but with their own, actual troops?
Baranets: America and NATO insist that won’t happen. Well, that’s for now, at least. I mean, we all know that the destruction of the strongest Ukrainian grouping will be a huge defeat for Kiev’s allies as well. Will they be willing to swallow that very bitter pill?
There is a good probability that Washington will attempt to save the Ukraine from a full-blown defeat. So, will start up again with ever-new sanctions, will come up with more provocations, such as Bucha.
I don’t envy the Ukraine. There is a good chance that only one of two Ukrainian soldiers will ever return home. This tragedy could have been avoided. But for that, the Ukrainian politicians and generals would have had to understand, that they are pushing their army to pointless ruin.
It seems to me that supply interdiction is the key to the longer game. Honestly, I think the Russians should incinerate Rzeszow airport (or wherever supplies are inbound) just as a reminder that NATOids are mortal, too. I think it would be interesting to see the effect.
Can they do that?
Sure they can, so long as they don’t mind the consequences. It’s kind of a “Do you feel lucky?” thing – it’s pretty clear the collective west is all in on fighting to the last Ukrainian. What happens when Poles, Germans or the US start taking casualties? Do they engage (mushroom clouds all around) or back down? At some point we’ll find out, because the US doesn’t care about Ukrainian casualties, and when push comes to shove may prefer allowing the Poles to become ash rather than their own tender flesh. Sooner or later, I suspect we’ll find out.
I actually doubt whether all those fortifications are going to matter much. Russia is currently using a prodigious amount of precision weapons , including Iskanders, against them, at least the ones south of Izium.
If I were the Field Marshal, then I would train an army of Field Mice and let them loose in the trenches. They run squeaking through the trenches, and the Ukrainian soldiers be “Eek! Mice!” and run away. ’cause everyone be afraid of mice…. No?
Gold star for creativity. Alas, the practicality may be somewhat less.
Would you believe, an army of trained tarantulas?
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