Blyatskrieg

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
Post Reply
User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:39 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:06 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:56 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm
Might as well get them trained on Tanks, Planes , the lot... they should have started this 6 months ago...
Wall Street Journal is talking about possibility of transferring a "Significant" number of Abrams.
Whilst that's potentially good news... doubling the number of leopards instead would be better... for all the reasons you've already outlined. Surely Germany must see that Leopards are better for Ukraine than Abrams?

What I would like to see is Germany supplying the Tanks and the US supplying the aircraft + ATACMS.
I'd like that too. The problem is that in terms of the impact on the defence needs and commitments of donor countries, it makes sense for everyone to give a bit. In terms of what Ukraine needs, it makes sense to receive one sort of equipment in quantity, unfortunately, for anyone other than the USA to do that would mean really depleting their own stocks at a time when Eastern European countries - and those with NATO eastern flank deployments to protect them - do need some of their own stock. In the absence of a system to loan equipment to backfill and leave the donor countries with the logistical mess rather than the Ukrainians, which would sadly be very politically challenging, Ukraine's going to be getting an awkward mixture.

However, an awkward mixture isn't always as awkward as people assume. Equipping two brigades with different types of tank - especially when both types have compatible ammunition anyway - is not an overwhelming burden.

Likewise I'm sure they'd cope with a mixture of Typhoons and F-16s - and the logistics would be far easier than trying to maintain old Soviet stuff where the main supplier of parts is...Russia. The UK isn't ruling out longer range weapons to potentially hit launch sites which realistically means Storm Shadow. Might be easier to send western aircraft than to integrate western weapons onto old Warsaw Pact aircraft, though hard to say. Ukrainian Mi-8s spend plenty of time conducting rocket attacks, fitting them with Brimstone would make them a lot more useful. Alternatively, the Americans could send their "Rapid Dragon" deployment system, which is a crate that gets chucked out of the back of a transport aircraft and deploys a bunch of JASSMs - roughly comparable to Storm Shadow - and you could fit so many of the things into an An-124. Sadly, if they aren't willing to send so much as MGM-140 ATACMS, they aren't going to send Rapid Dragon/JASSM

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:20 pm

I can't work out how to navigate a paywall/ads/cookie policy in German right now as I'm struggling with pretty bad health today and my German is abysmal, but the headline "Deutschland schickt Leopard-Panzer in die Ukraine" in Der Spiegel is rather promising

User avatar
bolo
Catbabel
Posts: 915
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:17 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by bolo » Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:26 pm

Politico is reporting that the US will send 30-50 Abrams as part of a deal in which Germany will send Leopards (and approve others sending Leopards) to be announced officially by Germany tomorrow.

Beaker
Sindis Poop
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Beaker » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:46 pm

BBC reporting Germany will send Leopards now

User avatar
TopBadger
Snowbonk
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 pm
Location: Halfway up

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by TopBadger » Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:19 am

Yep - German announcement made, and Russia downplaying it as expected.

Hopefully lessons are learned from this and countries step up to provide more, faster, without being backed into a corner by Russian rhetoric.
You can't polish a turd...
unless its Lion or Osterich poo... http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbus ... -turd.html

User avatar
jimbob
Light of Blast
Posts: 4538
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by jimbob » Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:25 am

TopBadger wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:19 am
Yep - German announcement made, and Russia downplaying it as expected.

Hopefully lessons are learned from this and countries step up to provide more, faster, without being backed into a corner by Russian rhetoric.
Least surprising development of the week.

I originally posted this in May. The whole video is worth watching

A lecture in Finnish with English subtitles by a retired Finnish intelligence colonel on why and how Russia does things differently to the West. With a lot of focus on so-called "strategic culture"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF9KretXqJw&t=1600s
Lenin once said 'try it with a bayonet, if it's soft, push, if it's hard, leave'
Seems entirely accurate for discussing how Russia has reacted to ramping up support for Ukraine and indeed the other provocations by Russia.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am

Long ramble about tanks, military aid, and the next few months.

Abrams are to be provided under Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative rather than Presidental Drawdown Authority Thread discusses some of the implications. Main upshot is they won't be there any time soon - probably done to preserve allocated Presidential Drawdown Authority for other uses.

There's pros and cons. Pros are that long term commitments are important, and people should stop thinking only about the short term. Also, these will be good condition, and likely very modern, and will come with training and appropriate support vehicles.

Cons are that it will take much longer to get them delivered. The other con is that the Americans are a f.cking terrible ally sometimes, and will remove the heavy armour modules from the tanks. This is a morally indefensibly move, and it's not like they are any great secret anyway - they are perforated armour made of depleted Uranium. Challenger 2s have similar modules, but in tungsten, and there's no suggestion that the UK's going to rip them out before delivering them. They aren't even an American developed concept - Chobham armour is a British development. The basic Chobham armour uses ceramics and a series of material transitions to defeat the metal penetrator jets from High Explosive Anti Tank warheads by disruption, as the brittle fractures of penetrated ceramic tiles leave jagged edges that put asymmetrical forces onto the jet and cause it to lose coherence. They are rather less effective against Kinetic Energy Penetrators, which is why the heavy metal modules are needed. These use the perforated armour concept, as by having some areas where there is extremely high resistance and some where there's very little resistance, the front end of the kinetic energy penetrator is deflected. Penetration is a factor of velocity and sectional density, which is why kinetic energy penetrators (image below) are very long and thin and made of exceptionally dense metal. If at even a slight angle, though, the effective sectional density radically drops. With the heavy metal modules, the Chobham armour on the front of an M1A2 Abrams or a Challenger 2 is designed to survive a hit from a Russian 125mm APFDS kinetic energy penetrator. Without it, it isn't. The reason western tanks have Chobham armour and Russian ones don't isn't because of any particular secret in its construction, it is because it is very difficult to actually make the stuff, and requires fairly advanced industrial technology, as to work optimally the ceramic tiles need to be under pressure from all directions, which makes assembling the modules a complicated process.

Image

So the Leopard saga is an example of why perhaps its not best to buy German defence equipment. This is an example of why not to buy American.


So in the shorter term, Leopards and Challenger 2s are available. That still gives enough heavy armour to form a tank brigade or a couple of mechanised brigades, or to give heavy companies/battalions to several brigades otherwise equipped with former Soviet equipment. The question is how to use them most effectively. Training an entirely new force is likely to take too long to get them effective. Training is more important than the tank, up to a point, in effectiveness. On the other hand, Ukraine have a number of veteran brigades currently rebuilding their combat strength and not on the front line. Supplementing those crews with some newer recruits would be sensible, especially for the loaders, which Ukrainian forces currently don't have anyway. Of the tanks that might get sent to Ukraine, only Leclercs have three crew and an autoloader, the rest have four crew, one of whom loads the gun. All Warsaw Pact tanks from the T-64 onwards have three crew and an autoloader. The manual loader can be an advantage, though. It allows safer ammunition storage, but it also allows a faster maximum rate of fire than a T-72 or T-90, which can be decisive. The T-64 and T-80 have faster autoloaders, but no faster than a reasonably skilled loader working hard, at least for the first few shots, and those are the ones that matter. In the First Tank Brigades heroic defense of Chernihiv, the faster followup shots possible with the T-64 were, along with better training and determination, cited as a factor in their defeat of the 41st Combined Arms Army with its T-72s. There's other advantages of western tanks that aren't talked about much by people too fixated on armour and guns; better gun depression (9 and 10 degrees for Challenger 2 and Leopard 2 respectively vs 4 degrees for a T-72), and also much better reverse speeds - over 30 kph vs just 4 for the T-72. The former is significant in defensive engagements, as being able to lower the gun further makes it easier to fight from a dug in position, or to improvise a hull down defensive position where the tank can fire at the enemy, but enemy fire cannot get at the tank's hull. The latter is significant because if a tank has to retreat under fire, it should do so in reverse so the thick forward armour is facing the threat. With just 4kph of reverse speed, a T-72 has to turn to retreat, exposing the thin rear armour.

It probably makes the most sense to assign the western tanks to some of the best units, like the aforementioned First Tank Brigade, even though it will in the short term see them out of action with training. Once that bump's overcome, though, they will get the best return and give a bigger payoff for the logistical challenge. They'll probably see action fairly concentrated too, and we saw a lot of new western kit concentrated for september's very successful Kharkiv offensive. The concern is that all the western equipment going to one place rather telegraphs Ukrainian intentions, but then they managed to conceal the Kharkiv offensive force until it struck - it's a lot easier of course when the trees are in leaf. The former Warsaw Pact kit will get harder to maintain over time, and Ukraine's own tank production is almost certainly dead, as the factory in Kharkiv was hit, and the castings apparently came from Azovstal. There's still quite a lot of life in most of it, though, and it won't be wasted. I'd expect to see kit displaced from the units that get western equipment - APCs and IFVs and support vehicles as well as tanks - to go to the northern border, where it can guard against an unlikely attack through Belarus while new crews get up to speed.

There's quite a bit of talk about a potential Russian offensive soon. I think one is likely. I think claims that they'll attack through western Belarus and aim for Lviv with hundreds of thousands of new conscripts are b.llsh.t, but some new offensive is likely, most likely in the Donbas or the south, as an attack through Belarus would have to contend with the Pripet marshes and extensive Ukrainian defensive works and minefields, and if they went further west their flank would be open to Poland, and a political miscalculation - remember such an attack would be seen as a massive escalation - could bring in the well-equipped Polish army. A more modest mobilisation is certainly possible, the thing to bear in mind is that a smaller mobilisation won't bring in a decisive number of bodies, and the larger a mobilisation is the more people will flee Russia, the more workers won't be at work, and the faster the already teetering Russian economy will fail. Conscription and mobilisation also do not generate soldiers, they generate bodies that need to be turned into soldiers, a process for which Russia relies on existing troops to act as instructors, with training largely done in unit. That would be rather hampered by the very severe casualties Russia has taken to date.

Ukraine are also likely to want to plan an offensive, but for several reasons it makes sense to wait until the Russians have had their go, so to speak. Keeping the best units in reserve to counter-attack reduces the odds of a significant Russian success, and so long as Ukraine can deny the Russians the chance to breakout and manoeuvre, as they have since late spring, the Russians will likely suffer significantly more casualties and loss of materiel than the Ukrainians, which would make a subsequent Ukrainian offensive easier. This is particularly the case as Russian tactics continue to devolve and rely more and more on large, poorly supported infantry formations. This excellent thread discusses their tactical changes in detail from the start of the war to the present. I thoroughly recommend reading it, and include its initial graphic below.

Image

ETA: the tactical change image was actually two images, so adding the second one as well

Image

Formerly AvP
Buzzberry
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2022 6:42 pm

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Formerly AvP » Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:35 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am
Long ramble about tanks, military aid, and the next few months.

[url=https://twitter.com/John_A_Ridge/status ... X6tvQsAAAA]
most interesting, thank you for the link and for your own comments.
Edit to cut down repetition
Was Allo V Psycho, but when my laptop died, I lost all the info on it...

User avatar
Woodchopper
Light of Blast
Posts: 6125
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:21 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am
Long ramble about tanks, military aid, and the next few months.

Abrams are to be provided under Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative rather than Presidental Drawdown Authority Thread discusses some of the implications. Main upshot is they won't be there any time soon - probably done to preserve allocated Presidential Drawdown Authority for other uses.

There's pros and cons. Pros are that long term commitments are important, and people should stop thinking only about the short term. Also, these will be good condition, and likely very modern, and will come with training and appropriate support vehicles.

Cons are that it will take much longer to get them delivered.
I get the impression that the supply of Abrams is a political move aimed at getting over German opposition to supplying Leopards. The latter is a much better prospect for Ukraine given the pre-existing infrastructure for production, supply, repair and training that already exists close to Ukraine.* If so then they aren't too worried about the Abrams tanks making a rapid difference on the battlefield. As we've discussed, Abrams' would be superior in a tank versus tank battel. But most of the fighting so far has involved a mixture of tanks, other armoured vehicles, infantry and artillery, and Abrams are vulnerable to mines, infantry anti-tank weapons and artillery (especially if they are held up by the former). IMHO the US probably isn't delaying the supply of equipment that in itself would have a decisive effect (in the same way that GMLRS and long range guided artillery did).
EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am
The other con is that the Americans are a f.cking terrible ally sometimes, and will remove the heavy armour modules from the tanks. This is a morally indefensibly move, and it's not like they are any great secret anyway - they are perforated armour made of depleted Uranium. Challenger 2s have similar modules, but in tungsten, and there's no suggestion that the UK's going to rip them out before delivering them. They aren't even an American developed concept - Chobham armour is a British development. The basic Chobham armour uses ceramics and a series of material transitions to defeat the metal penetrator jets from High Explosive Anti Tank warheads by disruption, as the brittle fractures of penetrated ceramic tiles leave jagged edges that put asymmetrical forces onto the jet and cause it to lose coherence. They are rather less effective against Kinetic Energy Penetrators, which is why the heavy metal modules are needed. These use the perforated armour concept, as by having some areas where there is extremely high resistance and some where there's very little resistance, the front end of the kinetic energy penetrator is deflected. Penetration is a factor of velocity and sectional density, which is why kinetic energy penetrators (image below) are very long and thin and made of exceptionally dense metal. If at even a slight angle, though, the effective sectional density radically drops. With the heavy metal modules, the Chobham armour on the front of an M1A2 Abrams or a Challenger 2 is designed to survive a hit from a Russian 125mm APFDS kinetic energy penetrator. Without it, it isn't. The reason western tanks have Chobham armour and Russian ones don't isn't because of any particular secret in its construction, it is because it is very difficult to actually make the stuff, and requires fairly advanced industrial technology, as to work optimally the ceramic tiles need to be under pressure from all directions, which makes assembling the modules a complicated process.

[Snip]

So the Leopard saga is an example of why perhaps its not best to buy German defence equipment. This is an example of why not to buy American.
All suppliers are unreliable and have their own interests which differ from the importer. That's why states spend huge amounts of money to set up their own industries or diversify sources of supply rather than just buy everything from the cheapest supplier.

As for the DU armour, I haven't looked into it but I assume that the US concern isn't just that Russia (or any other state friendly to Russia) could copy it. The US may well also be worried that if large numbers of tanks equipped with DU armour were to be captured then Russia or others would be in a better position to develop weapons that could defeat it. Its one thing to know how it works in theory, and another to be able take it apart or have Abrams tanks that can be used as targets for testing.

*Yes, Poland has bought Abrams but they're not yet delivered.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Jan 26, 2023 10:58 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:21 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am
Long ramble about tanks, military aid, and the next few months.

Abrams are to be provided under Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative rather than Presidental Drawdown Authority Thread discusses some of the implications. Main upshot is they won't be there any time soon - probably done to preserve allocated Presidential Drawdown Authority for other uses.

There's pros and cons. Pros are that long term commitments are important, and people should stop thinking only about the short term. Also, these will be good condition, and likely very modern, and will come with training and appropriate support vehicles.

Cons are that it will take much longer to get them delivered.
I get the impression that the supply of Abrams is a political move aimed at getting over German opposition to supplying Leopards. The latter is a much better prospect for Ukraine given the pre-existing infrastructure for production, supply, repair and training that already exists close to Ukraine.* If so then they aren't too worried about the Abrams tanks making a rapid difference on the battlefield. As we've discussed, Abrams' would be superior in a tank versus tank battel. But most of the fighting so far has involved a mixture of tanks, other armoured vehicles, infantry and artillery, and Abrams are vulnerable to mines, infantry anti-tank weapons and artillery (especially if they are held up by the former). IMHO the US probably isn't delaying the supply of equipment that in itself would have a decisive effect (in the same way that GMLRS and long range guided artillery did).
I broadly agree. In general, tank effectiveness is about how well they are used, but western tanks have some advantages that make it easier to use them well - better optics and communications, better gun depression to allow more effective use of cover and radically greater reverse speed that makes them more agile on the battlefield and able to keep the frontal armour pointing at the greatest threat more of the time. The other advantage is better spare parts availability than old Soviet era designs, and an increase in the number of tanks regardless of type is helpful. However, these are incremental advantages, and will not radically change the shape of the war in the way that GMLRS did. Few things ever do, though - most pieces of equipment will nudge the balance of power, not shove it hard. "Game Changers" are pretty rare, which is why it was so remarkable how much effect HIMARS had. If the west is looking for another radical shift, it needs to send longer range precision strike capacity, to shut down Russian depots and repair points in places like Luhans'k, deny Russia the use of helifields/airfields in places like Berdyansk and Dzhankoi and further hit their logistics - notably the Kerch Straits Bridge. Potentially, it would even be possible to sink the Black Sea Fleet at its anchorages.

There are a number of weapons the west has that can do this. The American AGM-140 ATACMS is the most discussed, and though the Americans have very stupidly painted themselves into a corner on that one, Russia is still in a position to do utterly f.ck all in response to its provision. Storm Shadow missiles are apparently not ruled out, and they would be superb in the role. Another option is the Small Diameter Bomb. The ground launched variety would be perfect, but if that can't be provided in time, the bombs themselves should be provided - Ukraine could potentially mount them on carrier rockets themselves, or could try combining them with large drones like the Tu-141. Another option, which wouldn't bear fruit immediately but would possibly be less "escalatory" for those in the west who are still stuck in the habit of self-deterring would be to quietly try and get Ukraine's own ballistic missile Hrim-2 or the antishipping (and potentially anti-anything) cruise missile Neptune into production again.

We can tell Russian logistics are vulnerable as they have launched a series of attacks in the area just west of Donetsk in an attempt to secure a railway route from the occupied Donbas to occupied southern Ukraine. Currently, the only line runs far to close to the frontline to be usable. The latest of these attacks is ongoing, and is targetting Vuhledar. This is a consequence of damage to the Kerch bridge, as is the use of supply ships. If that bridge could be taken down for good, and the supply ships stopped, it could cause the collapse of Russian positions in southern Ukraine, and potentially even in the long run Crimea.

It's also worth noting that on their own, western planes like the F-16 won't be a "Game Changer" either (most things aren't) due to the extensive and effective layered air defenses in use. However, if sufficient care is taken to avoid friendly fire, they could operate as part of anti-cruise missile defences, and could carry the kind of long range precision munitions that would be a game changer.

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:43 am
The other con is that the Americans are a f.cking terrible ally sometimes, and will remove the heavy armour modules from the tanks. This is a morally indefensibly move, and it's not like they are any great secret anyway - they are perforated armour made of depleted Uranium. Challenger 2s have similar modules, but in tungsten, and there's no suggestion that the UK's going to rip them out before delivering them. They aren't even an American developed concept - Chobham armour is a British development. The basic Chobham armour uses ceramics and a series of material transitions to defeat the metal penetrator jets from High Explosive Anti Tank warheads by disruption, as the brittle fractures of penetrated ceramic tiles leave jagged edges that put asymmetrical forces onto the jet and cause it to lose coherence. They are rather less effective against Kinetic Energy Penetrators, which is why the heavy metal modules are needed. These use the perforated armour concept, as by having some areas where there is extremely high resistance and some where there's very little resistance, the front end of the kinetic energy penetrator is deflected. Penetration is a factor of velocity and sectional density, which is why kinetic energy penetrators (image below) are very long and thin and made of exceptionally dense metal. If at even a slight angle, though, the effective sectional density radically drops. With the heavy metal modules, the Chobham armour on the front of an M1A2 Abrams or a Challenger 2 is designed to survive a hit from a Russian 125mm APFDS kinetic energy penetrator. Without it, it isn't. The reason western tanks have Chobham armour and Russian ones don't isn't because of any particular secret in its construction, it is because it is very difficult to actually make the stuff, and requires fairly advanced industrial technology, as to work optimally the ceramic tiles need to be under pressure from all directions, which makes assembling the modules a complicated process.

[Snip]

So the Leopard saga is an example of why perhaps its not best to buy German defence equipment. This is an example of why not to buy American.
All suppliers are unreliable and have their own interests which differ from the importer. That's why states spend huge amounts of money to set up their own industries or diversify sources of supply rather than just buy everything from the cheapest supplier.

As for the DU armour, I haven't looked into it but I assume that the US concern isn't just that Russia (or any other state friendly to Russia) could copy it. The US may well also be worried that if large numbers of tanks equipped with DU armour were to be captured then Russia or others would be in a better position to develop weapons that could defeat it. Its one thing to know how it works in theory, and another to be able take it apart or have Abrams tanks that can be used as targets for testing.
I'm sure those are their concerns, but it doesn't justify removing an essential piece of their armour before providing them. America is in the habit of treating every other country as second class in issues of military procurement, and countries should bear it in mind in the same way they should bear German reluctance with export licenses in mind when procuring materiel.

Imrael
Fuzzable
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:59 am

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Imrael » Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:04 pm

A bit tangential, but casual wiki-ing suggests that Poland are acquiring around 1500 new MBT's - 1000 South Korean K2 and 500 Abrams. K2 deliveries are said to have started.

ThIs might at the extreme end mean they could pass on their entire fleet of 500+ Leopard 2 variants during this year. Would be a push, but seems like their effort alone could dwarf the UK, US, German contributions in MBT's. (Even if the combined K2 and Abrams deliveries dont allow this, half their fleet would be substantial).

(Also puts the UK's intention to have 140-odd Challenger 3's in perspective a bit, although I imagine Polands likely defence scenarios are more tank-oriented)

Even more tangentialy, the K2 program is at least partly a response to the sort of US export limitations EACLucifer was talking about.

Ed: Typo

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Jan 26, 2023 4:11 pm

Imrael wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:04 pm
A bit tangential, but casual wiki-ing suggests that Poland are acquiring around 1500 new MBT's - 1000 South Korean K2 and 500 Abrams. K2 deliveries are said to have started.

ThIs might at the extreme end mean they could pass on their entire fleet of 500+ Leopard 2 variants during this year. Would be a push, but seems like their effort alone could dwarf the UK, US, German contributions in MBT's. (Even if the combined K2 and Abrams deliveries dont allow this, half their fleet would be substantial).

(Also puts the UK's intention to have 140-odd Challenger 3's in perspective a bit, although I imagine Polands likely defence scenarios are more tank-oriented)

Even more tangentialy, the K2 program is at least partly a response to the sort of US export limitations EACLucifer was talking about.

Ed: Typo
Could take quite a while to get enough production going, I suspect.

There's a lot of people right now saying that just Leopards should be provided and more Leopards should be wangled one way or another. Unfortunately, one of the ways Krauss-Maffei cornered the market for tanks in Europe was by offering custom variants. An awful lot of the different Leopard variants have variant-specific parts, including notably the torsion bars (this is why people seriously interested in modular/customisable armoured vehicle design should be using hydro-pneumatic suspension, which can be adjusted to differing weights/weight distributions far more easily than torsion bars along with the better ride it gives). Assuming the Americans are unwilling to transfer the several hundred withdrawn Marine Corps M1A1s, then there's going to be a mix of tank types. The various Leopard types do have quite a few things in common, especially in the drive train, and Spain should be able to transfer fifty or so A4 variants in the next few months, by the look of things.

In terms of spare tanks within Europe, the other option would be the French Leclerc. It's a bit lighter than Leopards, Abrams and especially Challenger 2s, but still very capable. France built about two hundred more than they have in service, not including those exported, and I gather they are in storage. Enough Leclercs to outfit an entire brigade could be potentially taken from stored stock without impacting French plans too much, though it would be a very large donation for a single country to make - ideally we'd have cooperation between countries to spread the cost and ensure the right equipment gets sent, rather than what each country is willing to part with on a piecemeal basis.

Regarding logistics, there's still a bit of a tendency to think this is the Second World War, but modern computing and communications does make it a lot easier to get the right equipment to the right units. That said, it would make most sense for each tank to be supported by at least one western country in terms of spares and ammunition, and for major repair work to be carried out by western technicians in Poland. Rheinmetall are talking about having enough production capacity for ammunition, and the ammunition they are talking about would be suitable for Leopard 2s, Abrams and Leclercs, while Challenger 2s and Leopard 1s need different ammunition, though Leopard 1s use the same ammunition as the M-55S tanks already in Ukrainian service.

The more knowledgable Russian commentators are deeply worried about the effect of western tanks and IFVs - IFVs are even more important than tanks, as the upgrade from an MRAP or Humvee to a Stryker, Bradley, Marder or CV90 is bigger than the upgrade from a T-72 to any of the tanks on offer.

This thread discusses some of those Russian worries, and notes that they don't have much in the way of effective anti-tank rounds and missiles. That's something I've noted on both sides - use of HEAT or frequently HE-Frag instead of the more effective APFSDS rounds even against main battle tanks. There really isn't any excuse for western countries not getting some form of 125mm APFSDS or HEAT round into production after almost a year of open, full scale warfare. As for Russian anti-tank missiles, the Kornet is talked up by a lot of people but, like a lot of the higher tech post-soviet Russian weapons, it seems to be in short supply, and Russia lack single-person portable and top-attack ATGMS.

User avatar
TopBadger
Snowbonk
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 pm
Location: Halfway up

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by TopBadger » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:03 pm

Imrael wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:04 pm
(Also puts the UK's intention to have 140-odd Challenger 3's in perspective a bit, although I imagine Polands likely defence scenarios are more tank-oriented)
Quite... being an Island is helpful for defense... 140 tanks should be enough to block the channel tunnel.
You can't polish a turd...
unless its Lion or Osterich poo... http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbus ... -turd.html

User avatar
dyqik
Light of Blast
Posts: 6465
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:19 pm
Location: Masshole
Contact:

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by dyqik » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:17 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:03 pm
Imrael wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:04 pm
(Also puts the UK's intention to have 140-odd Challenger 3's in perspective a bit, although I imagine Polands likely defence scenarios are more tank-oriented)
Quite... being an Island is helpful for defense... 140 tanks should be enough to block the channel tunnel.
And much of the South Coast still has tank traps and bunkers along it.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:44 pm

Russia have stepped up their attacks along the southeast part of the frontline, west of Donetsk. There is an ongoing attack on Vuhledar that, so far, doesn't seem to have got far. This was combined with information operations to try and falsely claim success, presumably in a hope to generate panic.

A few days ago, there was also an attack near Vodyane. As far as I can tell, it failed miserably. It appears to have started with the laying of a bridge, but there was a delay before the assaulting force actually tried to cross it. During this time, the bridge was destroyed, the assaulting force reached the river, stopped, and immediately came under fire from a well positioned anti-tank gun on their flank, which knocked out the rear vehicle of the three right up against the river, before drones dropping grenades picked off some of the other vehicles and infantry. ]

This isn't the big offensive everyones talking about, but it might be preparations for it. It could be Russia is trying to force Ukraine to commit reserves in advance of their planned offensive, so as to reduce Ukraine's ability to respond.

A quick warning; both the attack on Vuhledar and the capture of Soledar saw fairly extensive informational warfare, including lots of false claims, including from accounts pretending to be Ukrainian, with both premature claims of success and false claims of huge numbers of trapped Ukrainians. If/When the big offensive comes, expect more of the same. DO NOT trust Russian claims to be remotely true, there won't just be exaggerations but also fairly carefully chosen falsehoods designed to induce panic. BE CAREFUL which sources you trust, and be aware that some OSINT accounts are far too gullible about Russian claims and, when there isn't much information, in order to report something to keep engagement up report Russian rumours. While these can be of some value as Russian OPSEC is radically less good than Ukrainian OPSEC, it leaves them easily manipulated. So be careful, and stick to trustworthy sources. DefMon3 and AndrewPerpetua both seem to be fairly solid at avoiding that sort of thing.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:45 pm

dyqik wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:17 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:03 pm
Imrael wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:04 pm
(Also puts the UK's intention to have 140-odd Challenger 3's in perspective a bit, although I imagine Polands likely defence scenarios are more tank-oriented)
Quite... being an Island is helpful for defense... 140 tanks should be enough to block the channel tunnel.
And much of the South Coast still has tank traps and bunkers along it.
We do have NATO commitments, though. Estonia were more able to donate all their 155mm FH70 gun-howitzers because there's British troops in Estonia as part of NATO eastern flank commitments. We don't need as many tanks as Poland, though, and our budget is far more divided across Air, Sea and Land, whereas they are able to focus much more on land warfare.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:19 pm

DefMon3's latest daily update has this very useful map, showing the railway situation in southern Ukraine, and explaining why the Russians are attacking Vuhledar and why they also tried attacking Marinka. The front lines are in red, the railways in green and black, and a 15km from the front lines range indicator is in magenta.

At the other end of things, there are two railway lines leading out of Crimea. One goes across the Isthmus of Perekop and heads to Kherson across the Antonivsky Railway Bridge - or it did until the Russians blew the bridge. It doesn't otherwise connect to anything. The other crosses a bridge at Chongar, 120km from Ukrainian positions. This is why supplying the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb would be so useful. Just a small handful of them, a single pod, even, could cripple Russian logistics in this area. Unlike the M31 rockets used against the Antonivsky Bridge, it has a penetrating warhead that would devastate structures like bridges and bunkers. It was deeply frustrating seeing how long it took to knock out the Antonivsky Bridge, and especially seeing American officials making stupid comments to the press about Ukraine using too many missiles when they hadn't supplied anything suitable for anti-structure work. Further south, the Kerch Bridge is being repaired, because the weapons to prevent those repairs are sitting in American arsenals because they are self-deterring themselves from sending 1980s SRBMs over utterly unrealistic fears.

Image

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Fri Jan 27, 2023 4:48 pm

I don't know if Bakhmut can be viably held much longer. The supply routes are increasingly under threat. In a similar situation, Ukraine withdrew from Lysychansk. Losing Bakhmut would be a psychological blow, but it is not strategically that important. The key for Ukraine is to deny Russia breakout and Manoeuvre. If they can keep that up, giving some ground is tolerable. To achieve their advances against the supply roads around Soledar and Klischivka, Russia has taken extremely severe casualties.

I previously alluded to a failed Russian attack in the vicinity of Vodyane. That cost them at least seven armoured fighting vehicles and a number of troops.. Though on a smaller scale than Bilohorivka, their river crossing attempts remain dismal.

South of Vuhledar, the Russians are trying hard, committing some of their best troops (naval infantry) and reinforcing after their initial failures. As of writing, the Russians are clearly suffering severe casualties and have lost some IFVs and tanks, and there is no evidence at this point of a significant Russian advance.



In terms of military aid, the fact that the Ukrainians will be receiving the M1A2 variant of the Abrams means we can ignore the (exaggerated) claims about its fuel usage. The M1A2 has a more advanced engine control unit than earlier models, and an auxilliary generator, meaning its fuel consumption (most liquid hydrocarbons will suffice, JP-8 or diesel are the normal choices) is about the same as other tanks.

Challengers, at least some of the Leopard 2s, Bradleys and Marders are all scheduled to arrive before the end of March. That is a fast but realistic timescale. Giving Ukraine's experienced tankers better tanks will give them an edge, and their old equipment will allow more tank formations to be trained.

As for aircraft, countries are increasingly saying they are open to the idea of supplying them. There's been talk of F-16s and one that's not been discussed much before, which is the possibility of the French supplying Mirages. They've just retired one variant as of last year, and have another in service that is due to be replaced by more Rafales in the future. Mirages are effective modern fighter/strike aircraft, and can carry short and medium range air to air missiles, laser guided missiles (most likely would need a designator on the ground to keep the aircraft back out of harms way) and for some variants missiles like SCALP-EG (the same missile is known as Storm Shadow in RAF service) and Apache (a long range anti-runway missile that would probably be pretty good on bridges, too).

Runways are a concern still. Apparently Ukraine is working on adding new runway infrastructure. Protecting it will be the challenge, as it is still very difficult to intercept ballistic missiles like the Iskander or the examples procured from Iran. However, the French/Italian supplied SAMP-T and the American made and variously supplied Patriot should help with that issue. An alternative would be to supply planes that can operate from sections of motorway, something the Ukrainian airforce is trained to do. This would include the A-10, and also the Swedish made Gripen, an aircraft that Ukraine has expressed an interest in already. The absolute best aircraft for Ukraine right now would be the F-35B, but I don't think there's much chance of them getting transferred.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Fri Jan 27, 2023 10:23 pm


User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Jan 28, 2023 9:09 pm

Lot more visual evidence coming out of the area around Vuhledar. Russians haven't advanced very much from where they started, in some areas they may have advanced and then been pushed back. They've lost multiple AFVs and a lot of soldiers. Fighting continues.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Jan 31, 2023 10:39 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Sat Jan 28, 2023 9:09 pm
Lot more visual evidence coming out of the area around Vuhledar. Russians haven't advanced very much from where they started, in some areas they may have advanced and then been pushed back. They've lost multiple AFVs and a lot of soldiers. Fighting continues.
Russians appear to have taken really quite serious casualties in Vuhledar, and still haven't made any real progress.

The US is now apparently talking about the next package of aid including longer range missiles - this is an absolute no brainer, there are many areas they will be very useful, including, depending on the precise missiles in question, hitting the bridges at Chongar and the Kerch Strait, hitting traction transformers on the railway from Crimea to Zaporizhzhia oblast, air and helicopter facilities in places like Dzhankoi and Berdyansk, ammunition ships unloading on the south coast, and command and logistics centres in places like Luhansk and Henichesk. These give a much quicker return than aircraft, and it would be absurd to provide aircraft and not long range munitions, not least because one of the main things aircraft could usefully do without risking Russia's comprehensive air defences is launch standoff munitions.

That said, people should remember that we are now at the point where there really aren't any systems that wouldn't have been ready and in service if they had been provided either when Ukraine asked for them or when it was clear Russia would be beaten back from much of Ukraine.

User avatar
TopBadger
Snowbonk
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 pm
Location: Halfway up

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by TopBadger » Wed Feb 01, 2023 11:43 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Tue Jan 31, 2023 10:39 pm

The US is now apparently talking about the next package of aid including longer range missiles.
But not ATACMS... Reuters reporting GL-SDB... which if they're not to be launched from Aircraft suggests they've got a compatibility solution ready to roll out for MLRS? Or had that already moved from "drawing board to the factory floor"? SAAB website suggests they are aiming for a containerized platform but I've not seen anything confirmed in terms of availability for that.
You can't polish a turd...
unless its Lion or Osterich poo... http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbus ... -turd.html

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:10 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Wed Feb 01, 2023 11:43 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Tue Jan 31, 2023 10:39 pm

The US is now apparently talking about the next package of aid including longer range missiles.
But not ATACMS... Reuters reporting GL-SDB... which if they're not to be launched from Aircraft suggests they've got a compatibility solution ready to roll out for MLRS? Or had that already moved from "drawing board to the factory floor"? SAAB website suggests they are aiming for a containerized platform but I've not seen anything confirmed in terms of availability for that.
It sounds like GL-SDB, and via USAI procurement, which means straight from the factory to Ukraine. Likely slower, but doesn't use up allocated presidential drawdown authority. Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb is a combination of the Small Diameter Bomb glide bomb and the booster from the M26 unguided cluster rocket. The M26 was the original rocket used with M270 MLRS, and the Small Diameter Bomb is easily small enough to fit into the launch tubes, so it should be available in pods designed for M270 and M142 HIMARS, both of which are already in service in Ukraine. There are also plans for a containerised launch solution, but this would presumably be for people who either don't have M270 or M142 in service, or don't have very many and want to be able to launch larger salvos than their MLRS can handle - the system is heavily promoted as a way to defend Taiwan agaisnt invasion and they are only due to operate 11 M142 HIMARS and no M270.

The continued self-deterrence regarding MGM-140 ATACMS is a disgrace. Ukrainians are dying - military and civilian - because the Kerch Bridge is still partly functional. That is a curable problem, and quickly so, and has been for the entire length of the full scale war.

The Small Diameter Bomb should also be provided as it is a very precise strike option that already exists and should be quite easy to integrate onto Ukrainian aircraft. They also ought to look at adding a small sustainer motor so that lofted attacks from behind the front line can be used to target further behind the frontline. Other options to look into would be fitting Brimstone to Ukrainian helicopters, most likely Mi-8 transport helicopters, as there woud be plenty of room for improvised an targetting computer and someone to operate it. I understand it isn't possible to operate strike aircraft as NATO would as conducting sufficient Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD/DEAD) is not possible, so it is essential to work out how best to work around that and try to fulfill as many of the roles that conventional strike aircraft would normally fulfill for NATO in other ways.

User avatar
EACLucifer
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3146
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: In Sumerian Haze

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:44 pm

Image

This map by DefMon3 gives a good idea of why GL-SDB is so important. It can hit accurately any fixed target in the area indicated (which already assumes the launcher is 15km behind the lines, so for a realy important target it could stretch a bit further). It also had a steel penetrator that makes it radically more effective against structures than M31.

Sadly it does not have the range to hit the Kerch Straits Bridge. Other targets that need to be hit and are beyond its range include the harbours at Sevastopol and Novorossiya; destroying the Black Sea Fleet at its anchorages would prevent a lot of human suffering.

User avatar
TopBadger
Snowbonk
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 pm
Location: Halfway up

Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by TopBadger » Wed Feb 01, 2023 2:23 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Feb 01, 2023 1:10 pm
...so it should be available in pods designed for M270 and M142 HIMARS
The should is what I was getting at with the question of it has yet made it to the factory floor... The promise of the system is clear (cheaper missiles with 3x range with large stock of components for production) but what wasn't clear to me is if the system is completed and ready to ship. If GL-SDB is indeed being supplied then I very much hope that it's MLRS ready in quantity (or is going to be imminently).

That being the case, I expect GL-SDB to be a bigger game changer than the tanks.

As for ATACMS - I'd be happy if the US gave them just two per month, to be used exclusively within Ukrainian borders - just that would be enough to keep the Russians worried.
You can't polish a turd...
unless its Lion or Osterich poo... http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbus ... -turd.html

Post Reply