129 Comments
Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Thank you.

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Theory 3, Modification: This is all the preliminary media teasing to get all the speculation and everyone's favorite public figure out in the open. Then a reorganization essentially promotes Zaluzhnyi and puts him in charge of the stuff he's been talking about in public articles - unifying the war effort from top to bottom in a new way.

But then again, that's just how I'd approach matters. Ukraine has two different armies:

- Small one that can mount effective offensive operations, attracts volunteers, and is run by younger leaders who get how to use drones to minimize casualties.

- The mobilized army, which is responsible for holding most of the front with Soviet gear and too often officers with a Soviet mentality.

The length of the front and difficulty sustaining operations with the pittance of support offered by Ukraine's partners means limited attacks in areas that can be isolated. These two armies are going to have different mentalities and capabilities, much like German (and Romanian, Hungarian, et al) infantry divisions and their armored battle groups playing fire brigade did in 1943/1944.

To run the war and maintain two different logistics and training streams probably means new organization at the war staff level. Zaluzhnyi essentially needs to run a combo of the US Training and Doctrine Command and the services' War Colleges. Directly connect industry to units in the field and bypass the established bureaucracy.

Or the media could be totally right like always and this comes down to pure ego.

But fantastic analysis overall. Excellent takedown of the "great man" bias in military history. And hey, some of us do remember Nehring, and not just from Hearts of Iron. Though I've a soft spot for Balck and Mellenthin, myself. Even wrote them into my fiction. The German staff and field officer dynamic duo exemplified.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Great read, thanks Tom.

People tend to forget history or never even read about it. For example everybody knows about the Prussian military might. However, few know that the first encounter with Napoleon was a disaster and lots of Prussian generals ended being shot for that. It took a while until people like Blücher got to the top.

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(Banned)Feb 7

While I agree that the south stinks like betrayal, I disagree the north defense of the invasion was. It was the tactical approach to let the Russians in, attack the supply lines further back and then destroy the overstretched BTGs with minimum support or self defense capabilities in the front.

There is a reason Russia scrapped the whole BTG concept afterwards.

I don't know if you follow Col. Reisner, but just a few days ago a lecture from back in November at the Bundeswehr academy in Munich was released on youtube. Worth a watch since he adresses military instead of the public in this one.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Absolutely brilliant contribution to the "debate of the day". Your commentary is something that I value as much or more than almost any other. Thanks.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

cheers Tom, very insightful

it was very tiresome reading both 'Zelensky hates Zaluzhny' and 'it's all just ruSSian propaganda' takes these couple of weeks

re Kyiv offensive, i can offer some insight as a Belarusian - the thing is Ukrainians (both gov and people) are very naive about lukashenko regime - to the point they got offended when Belarus MoD didn't keep its promise not to allow ruSSians into Ukraine - and that after repeated failures of Minsk "agreements", the fascist suppression of civil liberties in Belarus, and years of ruSSian military build-up on its territory

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Very good explanation what's a real job of Commander-in-Chief and I agree there's a space to improvements in organization from what I've read in public sources. E.g. last summer some units complained about lack of training in UXO by the western instructors. But hey, who knows better UXO at Ukraine front lines than ZSU soldiers?

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"and then Churchill fired Auchinleck… before ‘finding’ Montgomery, who, in the end, did nothing the way Auchinleck wouldn’t do it, anyway"

Initially it was "Strafer" Gott who was appointed to replace Auchinleck - but he was killed in a plane crash. Churchill opposed the appointment of Montgomery, but was finally "persuaded" by Alanbrooke.

And Montgomery did do things rather differently from his predecessors.

Most notably, he made it very clear that "orders are orders, not a starting point for discussion" - fixing one of the long-standing problems with command within 8th Army.

He also dramatically increased the amount and intensity of training (something he was always hot on - his division trained and rehearsed withdrawal in the face of the enemy (the most difficult of military manoeuvres) during the "phoney war" period of 1940. As a result, they were able to mount a successful rearguard action enabling the Dunkirk evacuations.

His other significant change was communicating plans for battle, and their individual parts in it, to relatively junior officers, not just to generals and staff officers.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

My Russian contacts are telling me (as fact) that Zaluzhny has already been sacked and is on his way to be Ukraine's ambassador to the UK. Their BS is astounding.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Thank you so very much. It explains lots of things to me.

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Biden, Sullivan and Co wanted to manipulate this war but failed completely mostly because they underestimated Putler's regime and partly because they did not take into consideration Trump's popularity and the duplicity of the American politicians. All the mess with the dismissal of Zaluzhny is a mere consequence of the lack of ammunition and other military equipment that had to be supplied in time and in adequate quantity. We in Ukraine are simply tired of the Western cowardice and shortsightedness. As to Zelensky he is more like the personage of "The comedians" by Graham Green than Churchill or Truman.

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Feb 7Liked by Sarcastosaurus

"The graveyards are full of indispensable men” - Charles De Gaulle

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Do you know how many civilians died in Israel conflict and how many in Ukraine war?

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Thanks Tom!

I think that truth about the South will not come in real time during the war … Do you have a historical precedent - of a political leader who has successfully established the reasons for an early failure and made them public ? maybe years after the war as a leading history theory, we will learn more. It was a failure of Zelenskyy to prepare better for the war but who could have done better? Would Porpshenko have been able to secure hundreds more of tanks, millions of artillery shells, etc before the war? Was the Ukrainian society ready for such an effort? I think the answers are “no” and that is why they elected Ze and he actually managed to grow into the job. No, Elena - he is not Chrchill or Truman (which were no saints nor geniuses) but he is a leader at war who managed to grow into the job.

Tom, another very important observation about the current state of the war - hey, things are not at all as bad as in August 2022! Yes, Avdiivka is on the brink of being lost but … who still remembers how quickly the Russian took Kremina and advanced all the way to Lyman? Now the event can’t make it to Terny. How TOS-1 was unstoppable weapon similar to today’s KABs? In a matter of two-three months - Popasna, Rubizhne and Severidonetsk were gone. Now it takes same time to take Avdiivka.

Now ZSU is inflicting much more damage to the Russians, it keeps Southern Kherson and Crimea under threat, and actually it finally has started damaging the Russian war infrastructure/machine within - albeit at a very slow pace.

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Feb 8·edited Feb 8Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Thank you for this great write up, one of my favourites so far, as you touch a lot of important angles. So much gold in here that I have heard other experts echo as well. I think it was Ben Hodges who recently said if the army commander loses the confidence of the Commander in Chief(Zelensky), then he should resign since no one is irreplaceable. I like Zaluzhnyi and enjoyed his recent write ups, they show he appreciates the rapidly evolving nature of technology, but he's not the only smart person in Ukraine nor the only capable one nor the one with the best ideas.

As I was reading your write up I had questions that you later brought up, like for example how did the Russians get past to Kherson and take the whole of Zaporizhzhia yet this was obviously the most at risk location?(Was it Zelensky who forced Zaluzhnyi to move the troops?)

As well for me, the question has always been why they didnt attack through Zaporizhzhia to cut the land bridge instead of trying to retake Kherson city in late 2022? I understand as you stated Zaluzhnyi wanted to attack through Zaporizhzhia after the successful counter offensive but was not granted permission, this is also a bad sign. Those responsible should reflect on this as in hindsight it sounds like Zaluzhnyi's idea would have made a lot of sense.

Another thing is I have heard some analysts such as Michael Kofman, who I respect, talk negatively about when Ukraine tried to hold Bakhmut, because purportedly Zelensky wanted to attack there while Zaluzhnyi wanted to attack somewhere else(Which is one of the things that brought contention between Zaluzhnyi and Zelensky!). But the Bakhmut battle was partly what led to Prighozin's Wagner mutiny so it wasnt entirely useless. I hope you could touch on this incident.

So I am trying to reconcile the fact that Zaluzhnyi is not irreplaceable with the possibility Zelensky may have been behind some of the mistakes during the course of the war. Whatever it is, empirical data shows changing military commanders has more benefit than not changing them. But how does this data stand up if possibly, a political head is interfering with the work of a decent Army commander?

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