|Marie beschloß, Fritzen zu Rate zu ziehen, und erzählte ihm abends, als sie, da die Eltern ausgegangen, einsam in der Wohnstube am Glasschrank saßen, alles, was ihr mit dem Nußknacker und dem Mausekönig widerfahren, und worauf es nun ankomme, den Nußknacker zu retten. Über nichts wurde Fritz nachdenklicher, als darüber, daß sich, nach Mariens Bericht, seine Husaren in der Schlacht so schlecht genommen haben sollten. Er frug noch einmal sehr ernst, ob es sich wirklich so verhalte, und nachdem es Marie auf ihr Wort versichert, so ging Fritz schnell nach dem Glasschrank, hielt seinen Husaren eine pathetische Rede, und schnitt dann, zur Strafe ihrer Selbstsucht und Feigheit, einem nach dem andern das Feldzeichen von der Mütze, und untersagte ihnen auch, binnen einem Jahr den Gardehusarenmarsch zu blasen. Nachdem er sein Strafamt vollendet, wandte er sich wieder zu Marien, sprechend: »Was den Säbel betrifft, so kann ich dem Nußknacker helfen, da ich einen alten Obristen von den Kürassiers gestern mit Pension in Ruhestand versetzt habe, der folglich seinen schönen scharfen Säbel nicht mehr braucht.« Besagter Obrister verzehrte die ihm von Fritzen angewiesene Pension in der hintersten Ecke des dritten Faches. Dort wurde er hervorgeholt, ihm der in der Tat schmucke silberne Säbel abgenommen, und dem Nußknacker umgehängt.||Maria at last resolved to ask advice of [her brother Fritz]; and in the evening, when their parents had gone out, and they sat alone together in the chamber by the glass case, she told him all that had happened to Nutcracker and Mouse-King, and then begged him to furnish the little fellow with a sword. Upon no part of this narration did Fritz reflect so long and so earnestly as upon the poor account which she gave him of the bravery of his hussars. He asked once more very seriously, if it were so. Maria assured him of it upon her word, when Fritz ran quickly to the glass case, addressed his hussars in a very moving speech, and then, as a punishment for their cowardice, cut their military badges from their caps, and forbade them for a year to play the Hussar’s Grand March. After this, he turned again to Maria, and said: “As to a sword, I can easily supply the little fellow with one. I yesterday permitted an old colonel of the cuirassiers to retire upon a pension, and consequently he has no farther use for his fine sharp sabre.” The aforesaid colonel was living on the pension which Fred had allowed him, in the farthest corner of the third shelf. He was brought out, his fine silver sabre taken from him, and buckled about Nutcracker.|
We see that Fritz, upon being told the amazing story of midnight battles between mice and toy soldiers — immediately, instead of asking his little sister, “What have you been smoking?” his nine-year-old brain goes to the important issue: the shameful cowardice of his toy hussars. He should have asked a better question, though: How were the mice able to capture Harlequin’s cannons? Because in this war, artillery is everything.
Continuing with our own war game, here assisted by our two Russian Colonels, each coming out of retirement from his shelf, and each having promoted himself to General! Like two little boys playing at toy soldiers, Colonel Baranets strategizes for Ukraine; Timoshenko for Russia. The play on the table: Given the current configuration of forces, what is the best move for the Ukraine:
Scenario #1: Attack Kherson
Baranets: The best plan is to advance on Kherson. And here we have many different reasons…
First all: By doing this, we will push the Russian troops back farther from Nikolaev. From whence [as we know] opens the road to Odessa and Transnistria.
Secondly: The capture of Kherson will give us a new line of offense: along the Dnepr River. After which it is highly unlikely that the enemy will be able to cross this vast river.
Thirdly: Around Kherson, it’s all just steppe country. Flat as a table. We will be able to storm through the countryside in tanks and push the Moskali into the River.
Timoshenko: Judging by all the signs, [your Ukrainians] have already started their preparation for the counter-offensive. Several times they attempted to attack our troops, first having fortified their position on the Right Bank of the Dnepr River. It seemed like they were trying to feel out weak places in our defense. But they were not successful, they kept falling into fire pockets. All the attacks were pushed back.
However, our counter-intel informs us that Ukraine is [indeed] building a huge grouping of forces, thus planning to strike a major blow. They would have to vastly outnumber the Russians. Before they launch the attack on the Russian units positioned around Kherson, they will unleash a torrent of fire.
For this purpose they will use American M-777 Howitzers and HIMARS guided rocket systems. Their fighters jets and bomber planes are also getting ready. Air-Defense systems are being brought into the area. And for their main surprise — it’s possible they will land paratroopers from helicopters, down into our rear.
We know all of this, we know what they are preparing. Which means, we are ready for them.
Baranets: If we don’t succeed in taking Kherson on the fly, then we have a backup scenario. We call it “leapfrogging”. Storm groups will proceed [forward] and occupy the Right Bank of the Dnepr one piece at a time. [yalensis: This is a well-known Ukrainian tactic, and worked quite well for them in the past. Leapfrogging from town to town, one unit forward, then another skipping over it to the next position, etc. is the way the Ukrainian army took back all but a sliver of Donetsk Oblast in the years 2015-2022.]
As we are doing this, we will need to cut off the Russians from their supply lines and reinforcements. For this purpose we have already used our HIMARS to shoot up the Antonovsky Bridge over the Dnepr. We also tried to destroy the Kakhovskaya Hydroelectric Dam and Bridge, and the bridge over the Ingulets. [yalensis: Those three bridges are the only way for Russian army to bring reinforcements and supplies from Left to Right bank in Kherson.]
Timoshenko: How many forces do [you Ukrainians] have in the Kherson area?
Even assuming you have the 200,000 bayonets that Kiev propaganda boasts of. (In reality, that’s an overestimate, the actual number if half that.) That many troops can’t even be squeezed into the region where the main attack is expected.
Also, what portion of these troops actually has experienced a successful counter-offensive? Not one of them! Currently the Ukrainian armed forces have experience only of falling into “fire pockets”, whither they seem to like to crawl, with lemming-like persistence.
And how many truly cadre units, those who have been forged in fire? Hardly more than a third, the rest are conscripts.
Yes, it is true that the Ukrainian forces have received long-range Howitzers and HIMARS from NATO. But just how many? A few dozen. This is clearly not enough. Poland contributed 200 tanks from the Soviet era. But out in the steppe, these tanks are just beautiful targets for cannons and aviation.
Oh, and by the way, that bridge you damaged, we already built two pontoon bridges to replace it.
Baranets: In that case, we shall employ the patented Ukrainian military cunning. We will launch American HIMARS in full packages — all the rockets at once. When 10 rockets are all flying at the same time, even Russian anti-air, with its vaunted S-300 and Panzirs, can’t cope…
Timoshenko: Yes, but we know all about your Ukrainian cunning. All we have to do is strengthen our air defenses with a division of Buk-M3’s. They can intercept 36 targets all at once. Plus, throw in a regiment of army aviation.
The other thing we can do is place a part of our artillery on the other bank of the Dnepr [yalensis: in other words, on the Right Bank], in order to create, at the approaches to Kherson, a broad stripe of land, where the enemy will be met by a wall of fire. Even if he is able to penetrate through this fire, it will be with such losses, that he won’t even be thiking about taking any cities any more. He will just high-tail it.
And then we will pursue him all the way to Nikolaev.
Next: Scenario #2 is for the Ukrainians to attack in the Berdyansk direction.
[to be continued]