Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment — 2 Mar 22
Good morning all,
Switching up the format today from additional comments on an ISW report.
· The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) daily assessrep for 2 March 2022 can be found here.
· (Figure 1): A televised Russian Defence Ministerial brief depicts Ukraine being divided into four sectors. Although it could be propaganda, it largely mirrors how Russians are conducting their movements. Of interest, the circled part of the picture appears to show NATO units that they are tracking. One of my former units, the 1st Cavalry Division is among the units highlighted; there is a brigade of 1CD currently sitting in Germany. The picture is a little too grainy to make out much more detail than that however.
· Figure 2 gives an overview of the Ukraine theater of operation. Long story short: Ukrainians are putting up a valiant fight, but the RA is probably a week or two from meeting most of their operational objectives.
· (Figure 3) Still slow going on the Kyiv encirclement from the 35th Combined Arms Army (CAA). They’ve made some gains over the last 24 hours, but this could be an indication that they still have not completed their ad hoc reorganization. Some reports indicate a near shake up of normal command relationships, but it appears that over the last 48 hours, the 35th CAA now has about a division’s worth of combat power at its disposal (that’s approximately 12,000 soldiers and roughly 300 combat vehicles). Russian badguys (saboteurs) are still running around Kyiv looking for national leadership and conducting reconnaissance.
· (Figure 4) Russians are still bombarding Kharkiv with artillery while maneuver units are now bypassing pockets of resistance to drive west towards Kyiv. The Dnieper is the likely border of the zone of control for this Northeastern front.
· (Figure 5) Slow Russian gains near Donestk and Luhansk. Despite some local counter attacks, Ukrainian forces are now giving up ground; their forces in the East are at greatest risk for being encircled and decimated.
· (Figure 6) Russians claim to have seized Kershon yesterday. Some press reports indicate that the city’s leadership are now discussing terms with the Russians to prevent further bloodshed of civilians. Kershon is the last roadblock to Russian forces pushing towards Odessa.
· At the Alamo In Lviv, preparations are underway to fortify the city. CNN showed footage of metalworks shops constructing “hedge hogs” (metal anti-vehicle barriers) and breweries stockpiling Molotov cocktails made from bottles bearing the label of the local favorite, “Путін Придурка”.
· In addition to their logistics woes, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the Russian Army has been communicating largely by open-channel unencrypted comms! One possible explanation for this is that, similar to the logistic preparation, communications repeaters were not brought forward because they figured this would be a quick operation. As such, RA units quickly outranged their own secure comms. It would also explain why the RA hasn’t employed its jamming capabilities. They probably wouldn’t make this mistake in the event of a direct conflict with NATO. Interestingly enough, both Jaesh Al-Mahdi in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan also communicated on unsecure comms.
· As noted yesterday in one of John’s roll-ups, the Russians have finally admitted to some casualties. Russian reports are about 600 KIA whereas Ukraine says they’ve killed 5800 Russians. The ground truth is probably in the neighborhood of 2500–3500. In otherwords, the Russians have likely taken the same amount of KIA in a week that the US lost in Afghanistan over two decades.
· Where is the Russian Air Force? Other than buzzing Swedish airspace and further justifying Swedish/Finnish interest in NATO membership, the Russian air force has as yet to establish air superiority over Ukraine. My completely uniformed guess is that this stems from the same assumptions that lead to shortcutting logistics and comms. The Russian air force probably needs to rebase many of its assets to produce the volume of sorties required to start owning the skies.
· Last week, an armored brigade from Fort Stewart deployed to Germany. Rather than loading their equipment in port and shipping it to Europe, they fell in on APS-2 stocks. This is the first time those stocks have been employed in Europe. The last time APS stocks were used was in Kuwait in preparation for OIF. This significant because we just deployed an armored brigade across the Atlantic in under a week.