by Larry Johnson at A Son of the New American Revolution
A favorite past time of arm chair generals is to look to history to find an explanation that puts a current battle into context. That is being done with the battle underway in Bakhmut. My belief is simple — history is irrelevant to what is going on in Bakhmut. The battle in Bakhmut will be decided by the country that has the best logistics, the most troops, the most fire power and the best leaders.
The Battle of Stalingrad is cited by retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis in his article, 1943 Stalingrad vs. 2023 Bakhmut: A Decisive Battle That Decides the Ukraine War? Here are the salient points from Col. Davis’ piece:
Like the city of Stalingrad during World War II, the town of Bakhmut is of moderate tactical significance, as it commands a number of important road junctions in the Donbas and its capture would put other Ukrainian positions at greater risk. Also like Stalingrad, the two sides have placed a great deal of emotional importance to holding or taking the city. The side that emerges from this fight victorious may well also set the stage for winning the war. . . .
Not to be deterred, in early February Prigozhin oddly challenged Zelensky to an aerial duel to settle matters. Meanwhile, on the battlefield both Zelensky’s troops and Prigozhin’s forces continued to pour in massive amounts of troops and reinforcements, each reportedly suffering egregious numbers of casualties. After appearing to be considering withdrawing from Bakhmut on March 3, Prigozhin that same day made a video publicly calling for Zelensky to withdraw. On Monday, Zelensky made his reply, saying he and his senior generals vowed “not to retreat” and in fact to further reinforce his defenders. . . .
It could be that like Germany in October 1942 came tantalizingly close to achieving their tactical objectives of reaching the Volga River – but failed – the months’ long Russian attack that has Prigozhin’s men literally a few kilometers from completing the ring surrounding Bakhmut (and sealing the fate of the 10,000 Ukrainian defenders), could likewise fail. If that happens, if Ukraine hangs on to the city, they could win a major tactical and psychological victory.
Not intending any disrespect to Col. Davis, but this is nonsense. For starters, the military units fighting under the command of the Russian General Staff are engaged along a 1000 mile front. The Russians are not just fighting in Bakhmut. It is Ukraine and the West that are touting Bakhmut as the decisive battle. But here is the reality — it is the Wagner Group that is carrying the weight of the battle in Bakhmut while Russia has at least 600,000 troops that it has not yet committed to the various fights along that 1000 mile front. Part of the reason that the West is fixated on Bakhmut is because the Wagner Group’s founder, Evgeny Prigozhin, is one hell of a troll. He is a one man information operation and has proven to be a savvy manipulator of the media.
The situation on the ground is pretty straightforward…Continue Reading