Due to Russia’s lack of manpower, their Special Military Operation was to be a static war of attrition trading Russian munitions advantage for Ukrainian manpower advantage


Russia’s primary problem is lack of manpower. Since Russians have no combat effectiveness advantage over Ukrainians, this meant old SMO was to be a static war of attrition trading Russian munitions advantage for Ukrainian manpower advantage. 🧡

Could work, but take a long time; & would be contingent on Ukrainians not leveling the munitions disparity and further increasing their combat effectiveness advantage; both very plausible developments in light of NATO provisioning it with progressively higher end weapons systems.

However, for a state with a 5x population advantage, fighting this way is absurd, akin to a strategy video game achievement challenge "conquer Ukraine with 200k troops" (a point originally made by @Annatar_I). Doable in principle, but risky.

Introducing 300k conscripts and reservists by formally incorporating LDNR & Kherson into RF will flat out exclude events like Kharkov, where Ukrainians were able to concentrate enough force to outnumber the Russians, break the Russian lines, and achieve operational level victory.

If those 10k Ukrainian assault troops were facing 10k Russian troops (2.5x), not 4k troops, then that breakthrough would never have occurred. Indeed, had that been the case at the start, there would have been no retreats from any territories east of the Dnieper.

As repeatedly noted, where there's rough Russo-Ukrainian numerical parity, combined with more Russia-favorable terrain & greater combat effectiveness of southern Russian troops results, i.e. Kherson, the frontline is static & loss ratios are heavily stacked against Ukrainians.

Raising the Russo-Ukrainian manpower engaged ratio from 1:1 to 2:1 (even more if Luka finally commits), if successful, is enough to secure rear areas as pointed out months ago https://twitter.com/Annatar_I/status/1505497195897753602, while freeing up more experienced units for renewed offensive operations.

To equip and munition this expanded force Russia will need to transition to more of a war economy. There's no doubt that this can be done, as familiarity with military production statistics in WWs. Also contra popular delusions military equipment doesn't rely on high end chips.

Will NATO (the US & gasless Europe) themselves transition to a war economy to fill the gap for Ukraine?

Note that one of their core "value added" contributions, intelligence/surveillance services, has been going full blast from the very start, so is already maxed out.

So only things left now is either emptying out weapons stockpiles, of progressively higher end equipment at that, before it becomes necessary to transition to war economy themselves (crimping already straining consumer welfare in favor of increased military production).

So long as that doesn't happen, Russia can now easily win with its own resources, hence why I raised my assessment of its victory (Novorossiya+) from 60-70% in the aftermath of the Kharkov Offensive back to close to 90%.

Ukrainian manpower is also ultimately constrained by willingness to fight. They think they are winning now, so plenty of volunteers or at least no strong anti-mobilization resistance. Renewed Russian advances will drain that pool even as it continues to be physically drained.

Which as I have argued has likely been occurring at a rate 2-3x that of Russia in absolute terms (and consequently 10-15x in relative population terms). https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1526338990185521154

Old conclusion holds: Eventually, manpower attrition will force Ukraine to fold, or go totalitarian.

One further important trump card is China. Imagine thousands of Type 96 tanks ferried across the new bridge from Heihe into Blagoveshchensk, every Russian gun with a Holosun optic, etc. $5T economy (+Iran) > $4T economy (just Russia), but $30T economy (+China) is >> still.

Obviously it would benefit Russia by radically increasing the already big materiel preponderance it enjoys over Ukraine.

But would China commit? Can't say, but it's clearly within its interests, as Western total technological sanctions are coming either which way.

Moreover, if China is serious about the Taiwan separatism problem it should welcome the opportunity, after all this allows it to increase its own military production (both materiel & capacity) while maintaining an alibi (supplying Russia) until whenever the time is ripe (2027?).

But this is speculation. Major Chinese military aid (as seems to already be happening with Iranian drones) would shorten the war (and result in fewer Ukrainian dead), but it is not a sine qua non of Russian victory short of the Western bloc ramping up to war economy itself.

Incidentally, I will start blogging again very soon.

Make sure to subscribe to https://akarlin.substack.com/.

Originally tweeted by Anatoly Karlin (🐻,πŸ‰) (@powerfultakes) on September 21, 2022.

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