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Russia's 'operational pause'

 From a Twitter  thread by Dr Mike Martin

Time for a little update thread on Ukraine. We are at a very interesting point.

A couple of weeks ago (or so) the Russians announced an ‘operational pause’ in the Donbas. Op pauses are pretty normal in this type of high intensity warfare, because of the vast supplies required and damages inflicted.

Armies sometime just have to take ‘time outs’ to regroup and build up their supplies again. Although normally you don’t broadcast to everyone that you’re doing it. That’s a big weird an makes it seem like there must be another reason that Russian military activity has decreased.

And decreased it has - Russian artillery fire has significantly dropped, and there are a lot less offensives. (They compensated for this by lobbing a few missiles into cites, just to remind everyone they were still there, and still relevant. As if we’d all forgotten!)

And during this RUSSIAN operational pause, the Ukrainians started bringing into action the longer-range, western-donated artillery systems.

And continuing a theme (of the last two months) - while the Russians were focussing on (regrouping in) Donbas, the Ukrainians started hitting targets on the Kherson front in the south.

Just a quick reminder - Kherson is much more important strategically - it is the only foothold that the Russians have north and west of the Dnipro River - which is the major strategic barrier that runs across Ukraine from Crimea to Kyiv.
It is also the route to Crimea for the Ukrainians, which is where they should put pressure on the Russians if they want to evict them from the whole country. If the Russians feel threatened in Crimea they will strip units out of elsewhere, including the Donbas.

Over the last fortnight or so, the Ukrainians have been hitting Command and Control posts up to the 70km range of the new systems (headquarters, communications sites, air defence radars etc.). This dislocates a military force.

This sort of range means that generally speaking they are hitting Brigade and Divisional HQs rather than company and battalion ones. In a war you keep the more valuable things further from a front line to protect them. Longer range artillery upsets this calculation.

Secondly, the Ukrainians have been hitting supply dumps. I’m sure we’ve all seen the videos and photos on twitter. Judging by the size of those fires they were brigade, divisional and corps level supply dumps - which are predominantly fuel and ammo.

And specifically for the Russians and the way that they conduct war - it means a lot of artillery ammunition.

This has meant that the Russians have had to move all of these supply dumps back beyond the range of the new Ukrainian artillery. And this has one very simple effect.

The Russians now have to transport all those supplies, say, 100km rather than 30km. And if you have the same amount of lorries it means you can only bring up 1/3 of the supplies that you could before you had to move your supply dumps. And what does that mean?

It means that Russia, who rely on a very artillery heavy way of fighting war (and artillery is the most logistics intensive thing ever), can probably no longer get enough supplies up to the front line to conduct offensives; they can probably only defend on the Kherson front now.

And, I guess as the cherry on the cake, the Ukrainians have started hitting the bridges over the river Dnipro that connect Kherson to the other side of the river.

In other words, the bridges to the Russian force’s rear.

There are only two of them. And they haven’t destroyed them yet, they’ve just cratered them making them unsuitable for heavy logistics. But if I were a Russian soldier in Kherson I would be pretty scared right now.

The way to get an enemy force to collapse is to hit their command and control, hit their logistics, and then start playing games with their minds.

I would be watching Kherson very closely over the next ten days. I think we might be about to see another Russian ‘goodwill’ gesture as they pull out of Kherson

Doesn’t end. Seems this was happening as I was typing my thread:

Ukraine refuses the enemy's request for a green corridor for thousands of soldiers to exit Kherson region. Ukraine demands their surrender of troops and equipment otherwise they will be eradicated.

Source: The Economist

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