The Achilles’ heel of Russia: logistical problems

American intelligence services discovered Putin’s evil plan to destroy Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine actually started. It is also worth noting that the British intelligence services were very active in providing Kyiv with critical intelligence data as well as warnings about possible Russian plans such as the installation of a puppet regime in Kyiv. The United States assumed that if Russia attacked Kyiv, the city would be taken in 96 hours. The intelligence services demonstrated how effective they were in uncovering information about Putin’s barbaric plan, but some of the key assumptions proved to be “incorrect”. The Ukrainian army, political elite, and ordinary citizens demonstrated to the rest of the world their valiant fight against Russian invaders, causing Russia to suffer massive casualties. Experts have already stated that Putin will not win this war; because the Russian army has seemed unprepared and faces numerous challenges, among severe challenge, logistical issues appear to be the Achilles’ heel. Logistical issues are critical during military operations, particularly large-scale wars, in the famous words of General John J. Pershing “Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars”.

Due to logistical difficulties, the Russian armies advanced only 120 miles before slowing or stopping their progress. Russian problems are more visible in some areas, such as Kharkiv. Since day one, Russian armies have failed to take the city, which is home to large Russian-speaking minorities. It should be noted that Kharkiv was expected to be taken on the first night of the invasion, but Ukrainian forces’ strong resistance and Russia’s difficulties in properly supplying the army turned the Russian invasion of Kharkiv into a failed mission.

In a broad sense, maintaining a modern army provided with fossil fuel and military needs is a serious hurdle for any army; it is even more complicated, when the conflict party is aiming for such a deep offensive operation. Despite the fact that Russia is one of the world’s leading military powers, it appears to be no exception. Russia miscalculated Ukraine, Ukraine has a strong and well-prepared army and most importantly, it is a massive country in terms of land area (603,628 km2) and population (with 44 million people). This already causes a severe logistical difficulty.

Even after the first days of the Russian barbaric invasion, it was revealed that Russian tanks were actually running out of fuel and forcing their soldiers to abandon them. Such events occurred not only in one location, but in every major battlefield all across country. Furthermore, the Russian soldiers actually started to loot Ukrainian stores in order to obtain food, presumably due to a lack of their own. Russian soldiers even dared to ask ordinary citizens for supplies and directions in some places. Such events, even at the outbreak of war, exemplify the difficulties of Russian logistics. To put it bluntly, the Russian military forces showed up poorly organized and disengaged.

On the contrary, Ukrainians were extremely cunning, targeting a large number of fuel trucks rather than armored vehicles tanks. The logic is that destroying a fuel truck, which is less armored and easier to damage even with Molotov Cocktails, simply stops the tanks. It should be acknowledged that Ukrainian forces bombed bridges at the appropriate time to obstruct Russian military advances. Furthermore, the Ukrainian army destructed all links between the Russian and Ukrainian rail network systems in order to prevent the invading forces from using these routes to obtain supplies on time.

The Russian forces had to deal with navigation issues as well. The Ukrainian army demolished road signs from across country, even with the assistance of ordinary citizens in villages, towns, and cities. Russian soldiers, who typically use paper maps, began to fail while trying to navigate the vast country.

In addition, the Russian military revealed some communication difficulties, with Russian soldiers relying on unsecured radio communication systems and hackers (particularly “Anonymous, a group of hackers who declared war on Russia) easily blocking and concealing enemy radio frequencies. Despite this, numerous hacker attacks on Kremlin platforms have also occurred.

The practical hurdles of the Russian military forces are not surprising; logistics has always been a problem for Moscow, even during the Soviet era. One of the main reasons for the USSR’s failure to achieve tangible results during a 10-year war in Afghanistan was poor logistics performance. As it appears, the Russian army still retains some of the characteristics associated with the Soviet era. For example, the Russian army continues to rely heavily on its railway systems to transport military equipment to conflict zones. During the war, Russia effectively used its own and Belarus’ railway lines to transport military vehicles close to the Ukrainian borders. However, Russia’s imperialist goal is to penetrate deeper into Ukrainian territory, and trucks are required to do so. It may sound absurd, but Russia does not have enough trucks for such a large-scale operation. According to retired US Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vershinin, Russia’s forces under their current configuration are simple incapable of properly supporting a fight with more than 145 killometers from supply clumps (mainly rail yards). This is the exact territory that Russia currently controls.

To summarize, Russia’s political and military elite underestimated the power of Ukraine’s army and citizens. The Ukrainian army is well-equipped, and the Ukrainian people are hostile to invaders; instead of flowers, they greet Russians with Molotov Cocktails. Russians expected Ukraine to simply capitulate, to surrender, and for Russian forces to easily reach Kyiv and install a puppet regime of Moscow. The Russian army is demoralized, and they have serious logistical problems; some experts even claim that during such a large-scale military operation, Russian forces could operate self-sufficiently without additional logistics support for about 3 or 5 days; however, when the conflict did not end quickly enough, the Russian army began to suffer while trying to regroup and resupply. For these reasons, Russians, rather than concentrating on proper military strategy, are now focusing on bombing residential areas and killing innocent people; this brutality is also a clear sign of their weakness.

Lasha Gamjashvili

Voras Online
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Autorius: Voras Online