by Andrei at The Saker
A reader recently asked me why I have not posted any maps of the military situation in the Ukraine, and that is a fair question which I will answer below.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main and most obvious one is this: unlike the first month or two of the SMO, there are very few changes worth showing on a map. That is NOT to say that there are no changes on the frontlines, there are, plenty, but they just don’t translate into nice looking maps.
A recent post on Moon of Alabama quoted what appears to be a leak from the Ukrainian command and which I will repost here:
Ukrainian channels are discussing what might be a leaked data from AFU General Staff:
– The AFU are only at 43-48% strength
– medical workers at their limit
– small arms and armor are not enough
– 191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)
– there is not enough hydraulics and liquid nitrogen for M777 howitzers
– no one cares about the missing – there are no statistics
– the equipment transferred by the West is running out
– western weapons are operated by amateurs, since there are no qualified specialists
– no way to repair weapons on the spot due to the lack of spares and specialists – everything is sent to Poland
BTW, even with this dire report, I would caution against predicting a decisive break in morale. As with Peski, the walking wounded are sent straight back into the trenches
I would just add here that Peski has been taken.
But the key factoids here are “The AFU are only at 43-48% strength” and “191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)“.
Figures might change from country to country, and it all depends on the type of warfare which is being conducted, but the rule of thumb I was taught is that any unit which loses over 30% of its strength is not capable of fulfilling its theoretical combat missions. Now, in history, there are plenty of examples of units with 30% or even more losses, but such units can only hold their ground, not operate an orderly withdrawal nevermind a counterattack. The eventual outcome is always the same, eventually such units collapse and disappear (dead, prisoner or escape).
Put otherwise, at this current stage of the war, statistics such as the one above tell the story, maps don’t.
That being said,
The truth is that the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass have been in a de-facto operational cauldron since the first week of the SMO. That is not the result of any special Russian military move, but a factor of geography. Simply put, the eastern Ukraine is a gigantic cauldron. True, it as not a locked cauldron, meaning that the Ukrainian side still could move forces into and out of the cauldron, but it was already “locked by fire” meaning that Russian forces could, and did, attack the forces moving in and out with devastating effectiveness.
Quick reminder: the Ukrainians, supported by billions of dollars…Continue Reading