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Morbid Situation at the Front

Serge AMay 26, 2022 (0)

The name says it all. The situation is simply morbid. War is not a fist fight. It is a complex organization of three hierarchies -- strategic, operational and tactical -- separated by time and distance. 

The strategic layer takes years, even perhaps a decade. This is the plan for war. During this time, the aggressor plans and implements operations involving the target country's domestic and international politics, intelligence gathering, insinuations, and staging of events. They may enlist intelligence offices and politicians. Behind the scenes, they may organize developments that even if noticed will soon be forgotten by regular folks like you and me. This stage takes the longest, and if your plan was to conquer territory, that won't happen here, because this portion consists of years of laying the groundwork. 

The next stage is operational. This is the actual attack, and it follows the years of planning and intelligence gathering. Here, distance matters. Now the offensive side tries to grab the territory that for so many years it dreamed of taking over by killing people. The results depend on how well your strategic layer was executed. It is here where you use all the preparation and intelligence gathering to gain the biggest advantage and conquer the most territory. This stage usually sees territorial gain of tens of miles per day, resulting in gains of a hundred or more miles. It lasts as long as necessary to achieve the goal, as long as the supply lines reach the front line, or until the offensive is stopped. 

The third and final stage is tactical. By definition, tactics are situational. Usually, this is when the aggressor stops either because it has achieved its goals or because it has been stymied by the defense. The attacker then sees small gains of territory, perhaps five to ten miles, sometimes none. It is here where the real combat starts. This is where you plan positions, use tactics such as hit and run, maneuver to try to gain advantage and hit your enemy by destroying its defensive positions and in the best-case scenario winning the conflict. 

Russia spent a decade planning the war during its strategic stage. The takeovers of Crimea and parts of Donbas were implementations of Plan B. Plan A was to enslave Ukraine in perpetuity. But that didn't happen. Instead, Russia got a revolution in Ukraine and the takedown of its puppet president, Victor Yanukovich. For the next eight years, Russia implemented its strategy of fostering dependence on its natural resources among European and other world economies; consequently, the rest of the world ignored Russia's murderous intent towards Ukraine.

The full-fledged attack on February 24th marked the beginning of the operational layer. Russia's failure to quickly triumph over Ukraine was due to poor strategic planning. Russia mistakenly thought it would be a cakewalk, and higher army officers even reserved tables at restaurants in Kyiv to celebrate their victory.

Tactics came into play after the Russians were blocked. They tried maneuvering, but their limited knowledge of modern warfare tactics led to failure there too. We also must give credit to the Ukrainian army, the commanders and the men and women who exceeded the expectations of the whole world. The Russian army gained territory, but they were also pushed back from the north. They spread out too thinly over a huge territory. Russians then concentrated their powers on limited directions - the south and the east of Ukraine. Please remember that the initial plan failed. They did attack from the north too and pulled out after realizing that there is no way they could win by attacking Ukraine from all directions. 

This brings us to the situation today.

After Ukraine stopped the multi-pronged offensive, blocking Russia's goal to take over the whole country, the Russians turned to tactical warfare. What is the nature of modern tactical warfare? Above all, Russians use MLRS - multiple launch rocket systems. If you have never seen one in action, look online. These things are petrifying, and they are shooting at Ukrainian soldiers and civilians every day. They fire a large caliber round every second with a general charge of 30 to 40 missiles. Now, multiply that by four or five, which is the amount of truck mounted systems operated at a single time. That's 200 rounds in less than a minute. If you think that this is the end of things, no! There are another five truck crews about a mile away, firing at the same Ukrainian position right after the first one is finished. Russians use powerful ammunition that detonates with the force of small nuclear warheads and even creates the beautiful mushroom of death after it explodes. Yeah, super nice.

What does Ukraine answer with? Nothing! Ukraine doesn't have MLRSs. Our brothers and sisters dig themselves into a foxhole and just wait it out, praying that the missiles do not land in their trench.

All of Ukraine's allies, from Germany to the USA, promised to send MLRS, but they sent none, not even one. Do you know what they did send to counter the Russian MLRS weaponry? Cannons! We received cannons that fire one round every two minutes or so; the Italian ones even fire up to four per minute. Stack this up against 200 missiles in 30 seconds. As you read this, Ukrainian soldiers are getting pounded with MLRSs and can shoot back once with a cannon. Please imagine the horror: they fire once only to get pounded again with another 200. Somewhere out there is a friend of mine, braving the nonstop fire of Russian MLRSs. His last voice message to me said, “I don't know, man, I really don't know.” I haven't heard from him in over a day, and there is nothing I can do. I cannot help him. I cannot help the people of Ukraine and obviously neither can NATO, USA or Western Europe. We are dying over here, literally. 

Ukraine's soldiers stop the rapid fire with their bodies. Those who survive send civilians upbeat videos to calm us down. But we are not calm.  

I don't know where to call or write or how loud I must scream for help.

If you have any doubts about the reality of the Ukrainian soldier - watch this video. 

P.S. We need MLRSs!

Serge A is of Ukrainian descent, grew up in Brooklyn and is volunteering in Ukraine as a legally armed member of a Territorial Defense Group. He was a columnist for the newspaper at Pace University which he attended as an undergrad. 


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