A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jul 13, 2022

How the Ukrainian Army Is Maintaining Its Advantage Over Russia

While absorbing hits from literally everything Russia can throw at them, the Ukrainian army stalled the Russian advance for two months in Donbas, all the while incorporating new weapons, tactics and soldiers into their dynamic strategy. 

They have caused the Russians to expend men and materiel while giving up limited ground in return. Their new weapons like HIMARS missile systems are now allowing them to target Russian supply and command centers, reducing the enemy's capability to advance. They have neutralized the Russian navy in the Black Sea, allowing a growing number of ships to export Ukrainian grain, and the resistance in the Kherson/Melitopol area is sapping Russian strength. The key advantages are adaptation, resilience - and good leadership. JL 

General Mark Hertling (retd) reports in Twitter:

Ukraine leadership has proved adaptable, incorporating arms and logistics from the west, morale is still high, support of citizens and allies is still solid. Russia attempts to occupy cities but can't secure the ground. Ukraine retakes urban ground.All the while, Russia continues to lose personnel and equipment. Ukraine takes casualties and is fatigued but less so. As they garner new equipment, UA will increasingly gain the advantage. (And) in Kherson the resistance/territorials are doing what resistance fighters do...drain the occupiers with attacks on small groups In both the Donbas & Kherson, it appears the RU are following their playbook. 1. Russian Massive Arty barrages 2. Russian Attempts Recon in Force (RIF) 3. Russian targets civilians 4. RU focus on logistics build/regeneration 5. RU lacks Combined Arms Operation action


At the same time, UKR is required to slightly adapt their tactics & operational design 1. UA conducts close counterfire fight vs RU arty 2. UA thwarts RU RIF 3. UA incorporating arms & logistics from West 4. UA employs limited Combined Arms capability
the "formula" I was using to determine each forces' power, giving a + or - for each force.


In going down each attribute of "Power," it's apparent there are a few RU changes: RU arty a critical factor RU supply lines & C2 are more compressed, but still not effective RU equipment losses & resupply operations have been horrific RU morale plummeted. & others...


UA has also experienced change: Leadership has proven adaptable UA gradually receiving more equipment Supply lines are extended, but still operational Morale of force still high, but soldiers are fatigued Support of citizens and allies still solid.


In watching the battles, I'm also paying attention to the personnel situation in the east & the emerging resistance in the Kherson Oblast. Specifically, after the Kyiv fight, many of us said the RU would not be able to reconstitute. I don't think they have. Regeneration is hard under favorable circumstances. And RU doesn't have favorable circumstances RU morale & psychological conditions are extremely low & not improving. Outlets are reporting poor conditions & extremely bad leadership.Signal intercepts provide assessments of poor unit staffing, personnel shortages due to KIA/WIA, refusals by entire units to go into the line, mutiny, desertions, no wages & food, no replacements. A reason for less battlefield damage is RU forces are moving forward?IMHO, that may be because they can't...or they won't...attack in force. The Donbas fight has been a slugfest for over 2 months, so an expectation would be advancement on one side or the other. That's not happened


RU fires arty barrages, UA withdraws & repositions. RU attempts a RIF with limited tanks/infantry, UA counterattacks. UA ground forces move forward, RU again attacks with arty. RU attempts to occupy cities but can't secure the ground...UA retakes urban ground.All the while, RU continues to lose personnel and some equipment. UA takes casualties and is fatigued but less so... and the will and morale remain on UA side. As they garner new equipment, UA will increasingly gain the advantage.Sievierodonetsk, Popasna, Dibrivne (near Izyum), Rubizhne, Zaporizhzyha have all seen this punch-counterpunch action. It's a heavyweight boxing match. In 2 months of fighting, there has not yet been a knockout blow. It will come, as RU forces become more depleted.What's occuring in Kherson is fascinating, as the resistance/territorials are doing what resistance fighters do...drain the occupiers with attacks on small groups of occupiers. That strikes terror in an enemy, and it will cause an increasing draw of RU forces to the south.


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