Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment — 17 March 2022
More from the ETO today:
· The ISW assessrep for 17 March 2022.
o Russian forces are having to commit more forces to guard their meager supply lines around Kharkiv and Kyiv which reduces their offensive operational tempo. In layman’s terms, the Ukrainian defense is sneaking behind Russia combat units and ambushing the already limited Russian logistics units which is having the impact of grinding the Russian combat units to a halt due to lack of supplies.
o Compounding the logistics problem is the continued pace of casualties suffered by Russian combat units. There is continuing evidence indicating a severe morale problem in the Russian Army. (also sent by John K.)
o While Russian losses mount, Ukrainians are growing their numbers.
· The exchange rate of the Russian ruble to USD is currently 108 rubles to 1 USD. No significant change from yesterday.
· Bellingcat just published an OSINT map based on social media post geolocation data. This thing is wicked awesome.
· No further information on the suspected explosions in Belarus.
· There is a great deal of talk surrounding future investment priorities, and at some point the value of a tank will come up as the Ukrainian continue to brutalize Russian armor (email text from a sidebar included below the OSINT snapshot of the day). Bottom line is that land warfare is a game of “rock, paper, shotgun”. Tanks have vulnerabilities, but when employed properly they are a game changer to a “fair” fight. The point of the email expert below is that the Russians are not trained or organized to properly employ their tanks and they are ignoring the first of “Five Principles of Patrolling”: security. They also ignored this thing called “terrain” and “weather” which, despite the unbelievable technological advances over 100 years of mechanized warfare, is still as influential today in ground combat as it was to Caesar’s legions.
· Related to the above point and as John K. previously noted with UAVs, where the Russians have utterly failed at combined arms integration and operational logistics, the Ukrainians have excelled at using drones as forward observers. Note: before any mention of the “changing character of war”, US and CS army units both employed hot air balloons as scouts during the Civil War and hot air balloons and byplanes were used as spotters for artillery in the Western Front in WWI. This is not new. It is a continuation of something that works quite well.
· Some watch dogs and analysts are beginning to think that Russia is now in a fight they can’t win conventionally. It explains the rash of firings and house arrests, growing potential for false flag terrorist attacks on against the Russia populace, the increasing desperation of feeding poorly equipped troops into a meat grinder, and Russian desperation at the negotiating table. How Putin will react to this remains unclear. Many seem to believe that if Russia slimes or uses nukes against Ukraine that somehow it would trigger a US/NATO response. Given the US history with the last “redline” regarding chemical weapon use in Syria, I wouldn’t be so sure. It is difficult to say if use of nukes would prompt a US/NATO response or if it would cement the non-interventionist mindset. This is a contentious fissure in NATO and it would not be surprising if Putin puts the alliance to the test in this manner while also trying to salvage his blunders in the Ukrainian Ulcer.
· What is clear is that Russia is out of the running for world superpower status and Putin has pushed us to a bipolar world between China and the US.
· No new map today from @JominW. This is likely due to the stagnation of Russian positions in Ukraine. There are clearly things happening, such as Russian troops shooting up breadlines and bombing shelters packed with civilians, but as we’ve noted a few times in today’s report, the Russians are basically stuck.
That is all for today. Happy Friday,
Eric (Token Army Guy)