by Bernhard at Moon of Alabama
When the Ukraine launched its Kherson ‘counteroffensive’ on August 29 I was pretty aghast and judged that it was destined to fail:
To break the reinforced Russian lines now would have taken more troops than were available.I am sure that the Ukrainian military knew that this offensive would fail.
For political reasons Zelenski ordered them to launch it anyway. There are now another 1,000+ Ukrainian and Russian lives lost for nothing other then some sensational headlines and political optics.
More than 3,000 Ukrainians have died by now in the Kherson offensive without having made any significant progress. Hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles were lost. A dozen Ukrainian planes and helicopters have been shot down. All the material had come from the ‘west’ which has now emptied its stock of Soviet weapons. No more will be coming anytime soon.
The Ukraine thereby blew its chance to hold a line against any significant new moves from the Russia side. Those moves will be coming.
But what really bothers me is the human toll of this offensive.
I have never been at war. But I have had a decent full time military officer training over several years plus several month long reserve stints in active duty battalions. I have read lots of books and watched dozens of movies about frontline fighting in World War I, II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan etc. If one reflects on those events and the details described in the depictions one gets a ‘feel’ for such conflicts. Then there is the operational math like the numbers of artillery rounds fired per square kilometer, troop density and the toll such artillery bombardments will inevitably take.
The Ukrainian soldiers never had a chance to withstand the might of the Russian military. None whatsoever. That was recognizable from the very onset of the war. That the Ukrainian government and its backers tried to withstand the onslaught was illogical.
The ‘west’ should have given up and make the concessions that Russia had demanded. It will have to make those anyway.
The Ukrainian government has tightly controlled the media and any reporting from the frontline. We have only had Russian reports of high numbers of Ukrainian casualties. Some doubt the numbers the Russians give. I don’t. They mostly fit with what I learned and with calculations.
Now a Washington Post reporter got access to hospitals where wounded Ukrainian soldiers involved in that ‘counterattack’ try to recover. John Hudson’s report is grim even as it is not from the frontline and holds back on the most grievous scenes:
Wounded Ukrainian soldiers reveal steep toll of Kherson offensive
As the piece is behind a paywall I will extensively quote from it:…