Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The Stan R. Mitchell report for 4/1/22.
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope your week has been great and that you have exciting plans for the weekend!
I only want to share just a small amount about Ukraine, just because I feel like I’ve overdone it on that topic the past few weeks.
But, let’s look at one of the big problems they’ve been having: logistics.
The Washington Post did a deep dive on this, evaluating the actual battalion tactical groups that Russia uses.
These battalion tactical groups typically have 700 to 900 soldiers, but as the Post notes:
The Russian army operates with fewer support soldiers than other militaries. About 150 of the 700 to 900 troops could be considered support, and because this formation would be an arm of a larger force in the area, they could also expect help from other logistics units.
But the ratio would still not come close to that of the U.S. Army, which deploys about 10 support soldiers for every combat soldier.
And the Post also points out that if Russia had planned a slow, steady advance instead of its all-out push, the Russians would have “set up secure mini-bases every 30 to 40 miles as it captured territory. Each base would have a repair depot, medical station, and stockpiles so that supplies were never far away.”
This is exactly what the United States has done in places such as Afghanistan, but it is NOT what the Russians have done.
Instead, the Russians have pushed up to 100 miles at a time without bases. And that forces long supply runs behind them, without any bases or support forces to help protect the vulnerable tankers and gas trucks that must make those trips.
Picking off those vehicles and tanks are light Ukrainian infantry, hiding in the hills and woods, armed with mostly Javelins.
But we’ve sent so many of those over, that we’re now having to accelerate production here in the United States.
One interesting thing about these attacks is that destroying the heavily-armed tanks is obviously a priority for Ukraine. And more than 300 have reportedly been destroyed.
But as those numbers have climbed, defense expert Thomas Ricks has made a keep observation.
I can’t say I’d want to be a Russian tanker right now, myself.
One other big weakness of the Russian Army was excellently highlighted by Task & Purpose: the lack of Russian corporals and sergeants, or NCOs.
The U.S. pours resources into training and educating its enlisted service members, who become noncommissioned officers, or NCOs, as they promote through the ranks. Often referred to as the “backbone” of the U.S military, NCOs are essential to military operations. They are subject matter experts who bring in years of experience to help officers lead their units, and serve as small-unit leaders across the services. While service members become NCOs at different ranks, depending on the service they’re in, the fact remains that each branch of the U.S. military has — and relies on — noncommissioned officers.
On the other hand, the Russians rely on conscripts and don’t have NCOs. A good article, if you have a few minutes to read it.
Moving to another subject, if there’s one thing more powerful than either political party, it’s probably the military industrial complex and just the pure inertia of the Pentagon. And sometimes, the Pentagon just isn’t very nimble or agile (MASSIVE UNDERSTATEMENT).
Well, this week, Congresswoman Elaine Luria let loose with both barrels, in something you have to see to believe.
Luria is a Democrat, who’s a Navy Veteran, former small business owner, and from the state of Virginia, where Naval Station Norfolk is located. Being prior Navy and from Virginia, plus having been a small business owner, I assume she doen’’t put up with excuses.
And so when she saw the annual budget from the Pentaon, she didn’t hold back.
Her comments are so amazing that I’m pasting all seven tweets below.
I have delayed putting out a statement about the Defense Budget because frankly it would have been mostly full of words you might expect from a Sailor, but here goes: It sucks. 1/7
Once again, this Administration has chosen the divest-to-invest strategy as if whatever future conflict will not occur for at least two decades. Admirals Davidson and Aquilino disagree. 2/7
The Navy owes a public apology to American taxpayers for wasting tens of billions of dollars on ships they now say serve no purpose. 3/7
They propose decommissioning 24 ships; 11 of which are less than 10 years old. 1 has been in service less than 2 years and 2 are currently in modernization. 4/7
All to save…0.5% of their budget. This, along with an anemic building program, will shrink the Navy to 280 ships, at the same time they are calling to build a 500-ship Navy. HINT: If you want to grow the Navy, stop decommissioning more ships than you build. 5/7
China is not a “pacing challenge” when they will soon have double the size of our Navy. We are losing 1000+ VLS cells, with NO PLAN to replace them. (Editor’s note: A vertical launching system (VLS) is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines.)
Instead, we are investing in the next “Gucci” missile and technology that will not be mature for 20+ years. 6/7
Lastly, the Navy has no strategy. Stop saying you do, because if you did you would be able to explain how this Fleet size will allow us to defend Taiwan. 7/7
I didn’t think anything could top this, but pulling together her bio for today’s newsletter, I saw two other tweets I just had to share…
At least it’s nice to see that some of our members of Congress are trying to direct, control, and guide the Pentagon.
Let’s end with some motivation and wisdom.
That’s it for this edition. As a reminder, please be kind and endeavor to love your fellow Americans. We need to pull this country together, and that starts with all of us.
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Stan R. Mitchell
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