Sunday, February 27, 2022

Early impressions of the war in the Ukraine


Some of the pundits told us that the Ukrainians would roll over.

They implied that Ukrainians would not fight for their 700 square-foot cabins, 1/2 acre garden plots and $60 a month pensions.

They told us that the Ukrainians had a few, obsolete Soviet fighters and that Russians would quickly dominate the airspace.

They told us that small-arms were an after-thought on the modern battlefield.

Review of what the pundits "knew"

Be it ever so humble, home is what you defend. If the only thing keeping you and your wife fed is a garden and a Ukrainian state pension, then those are worth fighting for.*

Manpads are cost effective. They cannot hit a fighter at Mach 1.5 at 40,000 feet but those planes have to land sometime. Strafing runs bring them into manpad range.

Without plentiful, clean fuel, tanks and planes are not very useful.

Tanks don't have much armor on the top of the turret. A cheap UAV (aka, drone) can drop a shaped charge on the top of a tank turret. An expensive one can hit it with a missile. Sympathetic detonation of the cannon rounds will obliterate the infantry within 30 yards of the tank.

Molotov cocktails can make tank crews very uncomfortable. They still need air to breath.

The Russian army is filled with civilians who are conscripted for a two-year hitch. They are not career military people. Their homes are not being threatened. They want to go through the motions and muster-out with all their body parts working. Getting shot by a little-old-lady in the gonads is not on their agenda.

*If there is one thing I hope our "elites" take away from this conflict it is that I have different values and a different way of seeing things than they do. They might look at my 50 year-old, 1400 square-foot house and scoff because it is assessed at 10% of what their dwelling is assessed for.

They see an investment. I see my home. Our vastly different perspectives makes me unpredictable because our values map in different directions. Clockwise isomers don't behave the same way in the body as isomers with tails that corkscrew in the counterclockwise direction.


  1. The money and the garden don't pull the strings as much as the love of a good woman and three little kids to feed . Most of us will turn into Vlad the Impaler if you mess with the wife and kids . The Russian Army has been notorious for raping mom , grandma , and the kids after they conquer a people . I don't know if they will win but I can tell you they will fight .

  2. And, should the invaders follow that script, those invaders might, when caught out individually, pray for Kipling's Afghani wen to find them.

  3. "What everybody knows" is almost always wrong.
    For example, the Russian army has been through years of budget cut and has mostly old equipment. The press releases and propaganda they put out don't take the place of trained motivated troops with good equipment.
    Personally, I don't see how the 150k troops they deployed will be enough.

    Also, don't forget that Ukrainians fought a guerrilla war against the Nazis during WWII and against the Soviets for a decade after, anyone who thinks they'll roll over hasn't read their history.

  4. Our "elite" are incapable of learning from real world lessons. They WILL double down on their assaults on us and our freedom. Count on it.

  5. Regarding the stopping of armor, Back around 1998, talk.politics.guns had a thread on citizen resistance. Lots of good opinions, lots of bluster and discussion, a good time had by all and they're all probably on a watch list.
    In a search for the thread, I came across this:

    the relevant(IMHO)excerpt:
    >The public doesn't have anything to defeat a M1a1 abrahms with
    >reactive armor. You can try but you'll be dead long before you could
    >hurt it.

    Go right on believing that... and make sure you're driving the lead

    Of course the M1s don't roll when the drivers get shot in the back of
    the head when they go to the john in their favorite titty bar....

    Stay safe

    1. I swear, I believe I remember that thread. I specifically remember, as former armored crew, that I'd never seen so much derp as I saw from the "tanks be invulnerables" crowd. Something that was proven true less than a decade later.

      It's way easier to immobilize and kill a tank than anyone believes. It takes iron will, a couple of crowbars and some home-made thermite. I suspect the Ukrainians have all three in plenty. And there are other ways....

  6. What we know about the war in Ukraine that can be trusted is basically nothing. Are the Ukrainian civilians valiantly fighting back? Don't know. Are the Russians "winning"? Don't know. Basically it is a propaganda war as viewed from the West.

  7. Listening to NPR today and I noticed they kept on about the Ukrainian civilians becoming armed, digging defenses, making Molotov cocktails. And then they started talking about civilian casualties.

    Once civilians take up arms, they become combatants, and are no longer civilians.

    Prepare to be inundated with stories about civilian casualties, Russian atrocities toward civilians. I'm sure it's in the propaganda mill now as it spins up.

    Once they take up arms, they are legitimate combatants. NOT CIVILIANS. It makes no difference if they were former beauty queens, grandmothers, or Ukrainian presidents. Pick up a weapon and find out.

    It would have been nice if the Ukrainians and Russians could have reached an agreement to avoid war. It would have been nicer if our western foreign policy of ideological hegemony had been such a total clusterfuck and we hadn't been so intent to play in the Russian's sandbox to cause them grief, because it pushed them into doing what they kept telling us they would do.

    1. "...ideological hegemony *hadn't* been ..."
      Fixed it.

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