Bird on a Fire wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 01, 2022 10:49 pm
I feel like we've been hearing they're gonna run out of men and weapons since the first week, but the conveyor belt keeps churning.
In the first week they were conducting lightning fast penetrations of the frontline and advancing hundreds of kilometres in days. Kherson and Melitopol were captured in those opening advances, and Mariupol surrounded.
Since April, they've been achieving First World War speeds of advance. They had to pull out from the north because they'd already lost too many troops (and didn't really have enough to start with) to sustain that operation. When they shifted focus to the Donbas, Ukraine was able to push them back from Kharkiv almost to the border, and from the gates of Mykolaiv to the outer suburbs of Kherson. Now, to counter Ukrainian moves on Kherson, they've had to pull troops from north of Slovyansk as they don't have enough to cover all their fronts even on the defensive. Now the Ukrainian armed forces have pushed them back from a few villages on that front, too. These are signs that attrition is taking its toll.
And they are running low on troops, but it's even worse than it appears at first glance; Russia relies on existing units to train troops. As those units suffer enormous losses, they lose the people who would train the new recruits. Even they try to mobilise, they'll find it rather difficult to actually train conscripts as they come in, and Putin is clearly scared of the backlash to full mobilisation.
As for vehicle losses, Russia's already using far fewer BMP-2s and BMP-3s. Instead of these powerfully armed and well armoured infantry fighting vehicles, Russian troops are going into battle in old, lightly armoured and very lightly armed MT-LBs, and even things like flatbed trucks (and on at least one occasion a dump truck) when they aren't on the front lines. Their documented tank losses are over nine hundred (a third of their pre-war tank fleet, not counting deep reserves), but the methods for documenting those losses only capture between about 77% and maybe as low as 50% or 60% of actual losses. The 77% figure was calculated by comparing The List to captured documents showing the Fourth Guards Tank Division's T-80U losses (as only they use that model), but that was in a period in which the Fourth Guards Tank Division was getting pushed out of northern Ukraine and Ukrainian troops were advancing, meaning they found and photographed the wrecks.
In short, Russia's already suffering degraded performance from losing experienced troops - with units like the semi-elite VDV suffering some of the worst casualties - and this trend will continue. Nothing in warfare is absolute, it won't be a simple, single event as they run out, but a series of developments, including not being able to maintain forces on all fronts, not being able to maintain their shelling, and substitution of front-line equipment like BMP-2s and BMP-3s with MT-LBs and BMP-1s, and substituting T-80Us with less advanced T80-BVs, and the latest variants of T-72s with 1970s A and B variants, or substitution of late cold war MBTs with ancient things like T-62s.