The Russian Collapse in Kharkov
The Russian Collapse In the North
The Kiev regime has so far launched 2 major counter offensives in recent weeks, utilizing Western arms supplies and troops fresh from abbreviated military basic training courses in the UK.
The first counter-attack in the South towards Kherson, across open flat steppe where Russian and Donbass forces had prepared defenses and massed artillery and rocket systems, was quickly ground to a halt with minimal gains and catastrophic casualties for Kiev.
The second counter-attack in the North in the Kharkov region towards the logistically important Izyum, in more favorable hilly and forested terrain, has resulted in a major Russian collapse and retreat with the Kiev regime recovering large swathes of territory.
The Kiev regime appears to have hit on a new successful stratagem that has been openly planned out and war gamed by the Pentagon, focusing on taking advantages of the Russian intervention forces’ weakness and the Kiev regime forces principle advantage in this conflict – namely manpower.
From the beginning, the Russian government & Ministry of Defense have limited the size of the Russian military intervention, which they refer to as a “special military operation” to around 150,000 troops, buttressed with 40-50 thousand East Ukrainian militia from the Donbass. With a total some 1 million active duty troops and 2 million reserves, that is only a fraction of Russia’s military strength. However the Russian intervention force with its Batallion Tactical Groups (or BTGs) is “fires” heavy with artillery, rocket systems, tanks, electronic warfare, and aviation.
The most likely rational for the Kremlin limiting the intervention size thus far is maintaining broad public support and seeking to avoid provoking direct NATO military involvement.
The Kiev regime on the other hand, has a comparatively much larger defense force in terms of manpower with some 250,000 active duty military with up to another another 900,000 reserves, volunteers and forced conscripts that have been mobilized into service. However their military has already suffered huge attrition of gear from artillery and rocket systems to tanks to aviation and is now reliant on a trickle of mismatched NATO equipment, with which they have little training and no logistical ability to maintain or repair. So they are “fires” deficient.
The new Kiev/Washington war strategy appears to be attacking static Russian territorial holdings in Ukraine (rather than its main military force grinding away fortifications in the Donbass) in multiple axes across broad fronts in rapid succession or simultaneously with large numbers of mobile manpower utilizing maneuver warfare, initially avoiding and moving past pockets of stiff urban resistance.
The goal being to overrun and strategically envelop undermanned Russian and local militia garrisons and exhaust Russian firepower and aviation trying to put out fires everywhere at once.
It is a strategy that requires sustaining horrific troop casualties from Russian fires and aviation in the process, but the Kiev regime is obviously willing to expend cannon fodder into the meat grinder in this fashion and their totalitarian control of information, media and politics means there is no domestic opposition to this.
While failing against prepared defenses and massed fires in the South, it has succeeded dramatically in the North in a lighting “thunder run” of Kiev regime forces very reminiscent of the Russian strategy in the first weeks of the conflict.
Despite what should have been adequate forewarning, Russian garrisons in towns in Kharkov were light and unprepared with reserves too distant to stop the quickly advancing Ukrainian Diversion Reconnaissance Groups followed by mechanized infantry.
Aside from some limited holding actions to facilitate evacuations, Russian troops quickly retreated and withdrew from most of the Kharkov region, albeit it in good order. to avoid being enveloped and cutoff. It saved valuable manpower, but cost territory, trust of the east Ukrainian population, and a huge propaganda victory. The Kiev regime didn’t defeat Russian forces in pitched battles on the battlefield, they won by simply out-maneuvering them.
With the strategic Izyum taken back by Kiev, the Russian effort to liberate Donetsk will be much harder and may be set back by months.
And there are signs of Kiev regime massing forces for another counteroffensive in the south east from Ugledar towards Mariupol, and maybe more.
In order to recover from this loss and counter this strategy, the Russian government should conduct at least a partial mobilization of its plentiful reserves and substantially increase the size of its intervention force to allow for larger garrisons and reserves in occupied Ukrainian territory. This has after all become a war not just against the West-backed Kiev regime but de facto a war against all of NATO. The Kremlin needs to start treating this like the total war it has become.
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