dead generals

Yesterday I wrote that I didn’t need to write about the war in Ukraine all the time. So this morning, what am I doing? Right; writing about the war in Ukraine. Specifically, all the dead generals. The Russian Army has lost five (and possibly a sixth, though that’s unconfirmed at the moment) generals in the last 25 days. They’ve lost three regimental commanders in the last 24 hours. When I say ‘lost’ I don’t mean they became confused and wandered off; I mean they were killed in combat.

Generals and regimental commanders (in the US military, RCOs are usually full colonels, the rank just below general) hardly ever get killed. They might die of a heart attack or liver disease or something, but they just don’t get killed in combat. They’re rarely close enough to the fighting to be at risk.

You may be asking, “Greg, old sock, why would these Russian generals and RCOs be so close to the fighting?” It’s a valid question (and c’mon, stop calling me ‘old sock’). The answer is, they’ve got to be close to the fighting because failures in their electronic communications equipment force the generals to be there in person to give orders.

You may be asking, “Greg, old…uh, these ‘failures in electronic communication equipment’ of which you speak…what are they?” Another good question, and the answer is both tragic an hilarious. The Russian Army developed a sophisticated, highly secure, cryptophone system called Era. It was supposed to allow secure communication in almost any situation–so long as there is at least 3G cellular telephony available.

What did the Russian Army do at the beginning of their invasion? They destroyed all the cell phone towers. So they basically knee-capped their sophisticated Era cryptophones; they just won’t work. That means the Russians have been reduced to using ordinary cellphones with sim cards to communicate with each other, and those calls are easily intercepted by Ukrainians. Now the generals and RCOs have to get close enough to the fighting to issue strategic orders. Which means they’re close enough to get killed.

Generals and RCOs getting killed plays hell with morale–both the morale of the troops, who hate not knowing who’s in charge, and the morale of the remaining generals and RCOs who now have to take their place close to the fighting.

To make matters worse for the Russian Army (and yeah, we want to make things worse for them), Russia accidentally acknowledged that almost 10,000 Russians have been killed in action, and more than 16,000 wounded. The WIA number is undoubtedly low. As a general rule of thumb, you can assume two to three times as many combat wounded as combat killed–so the number of WIA is probably closer to 20-30,000.

Here’s another thing to take into consideration: in combat, wounding the enemy is often more effective than killing them. A dead soldier can’t be helped, so troops can ignore them and keep fighting. A wounded soldier, on the other hand, is screaming (which has to be distracting) and requires aid, which means other troops have to stop and treat them and carry them off the battlefield–which further reduces the size of the fighting force.

Again, these casualty numbers are in just over three weeks of fighting. The US, in the 20 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, had 7,000 KIA.

In an earlier post, I talked about the Russian Army running out of trucks. They’re also running out of generals and combat troops. They should load the remaining troops into the remaining trucks and get the fuck out of Ukraine.

Oh, and fuck Putin in the neck.

8 thoughts on “dead generals

  1. It’s an astonishing amount of loss of personnel. I’ve also heard that now they have disabled their communications they are left having to steal mobile phones of Ukrainians and having done that the West is listening into tactical conversations between commanders and sharing that info with the Ukrainian military. It’s a shocking cock-up. I think they got complacent knowing they were the biggest army in the world and that everyone was scared of them.

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    • I think you’re right about the complacency of the RU army, but I suspect their biggest problem has been the institutionalization of corruption. You can have the largest army comprised of the best trained troops, but if the people in charge of keeping that army supplied are stealing, accepting bribes, selling off parts, misappropriating funds, and lining their pockets, the army is fucked.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A friend of mine who’s still in the service (he’s one of those RCO grade officers you mentioned, only instead of commanding a regiment he works in DC) posted an M1 Abrams meme with “120mm boom stick, 1500 horsepower, moves like a freight train… and you won’t find one abandoned in the mud.

    To which I responded: “You won’t find one abandoned in the mud because the U.S. armed forces addresses logistics the same way that Chicago does fire: Extremely well and to an almost a paranoid degree.”

    And that’s what we’re seeing in Ukraine. Russia can move the army pretty effectively on their rail lines, but Russian rail lines end at the border. And the logistics to move all of that material and those bodies from the railhead to the front is an area where, like their ComSec, they’re completely falling apart.

    It’s “relatively easy” to address personnel shortcomings in combat (simply mobilize more troops and mothballed equipment and ship it to the front), but there is absolutely NO easy solution for establishing or rebuilding your logistics in combat. We’ve already started hearing intel regarding the build up of Russian forces to support the forces already in Ukraine, but having worked as an Army logistics puke, I can tell you right now that piling more troops into a situation without clear, operable logistics is a near textbook example of a “bad idea.”

    Russia is proper fucked.

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    • I really hope Russia is proper fucked, and fast. It’s unbelievable what they are doing a a neighbour. It’s harsh, but they deserve to die for this. If they pulled a trigger, fired a rocket, aimed a tank at a block of housing, they deserve to not live anymore. And Putin most of all deserves to not live anymore. He choose to steal another country.

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    • Logistics is key to every significant enterprise, You want to build an Eiffel Tower, put a landing craft on the moon, build a highway system, stop a riot, start a riot, put together an orchestra, produce a movie, invade a neighboring nation, you MUST have effective, efficient logistics. Hell, even cooking a meal is a small exercise in logistic.

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      • Cliff, as we’ve both noted, Russia has been very good at using railway lines to move men and materiel around inside Russia, but all that ends at the border. UKR troops and farmers (fucking farmers!) have been destroying rail lines leading out of Russia–and it seems railway workers in Belarus have been sabotaging their own rail lines to stop RU resupply.

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      • Where as this time round Russian logistics didn’t even provide the food for the soldiers to cook, let along the means.

        Liked by 1 person

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