The Shape Of Russia’s Battlefield Tactics

Russia has displayed a quite dazzling array of successful battlefield tactics since the beginning of the Special Military Operation in the former Ukraine territories.

The criticism heaped upon the Russian military by a plethora of western military officers, political analysts and the media does not reflect discredit upon the Russians but in fact demonstrates only too well the inability of these western pundits to understand that Russia is teaching them how to wage war in the 21st century. In fact the more these people offer their opinions and criticisms the more they prove their own inadequacy and incompetence.

Defensive tactics are frowned on by NATO, the Nato doctrine is that fast violent attacks win wars in the shortest possible time. Therefore when Russia waged a war of aggressive defence it was misunderstood to mean that Russian forces lacked the means to strike aggressively at Ukraine. However if you look at the hard facts Ukraine, following the NATO doctrine, lost hundreds of thousands of men battering against dense Russian defences whilst the Russians suffered relatively few casualties. The resulting losses of Ukraine resources both manpower and weaponry rendered each successive attack less powerful with ever increasing attrition of its army and its heavy weapons. This tactical victory allowed the Russians to move from aggressive defence to aggressive offence in the first quarter of 2024. But once again the tactics used protected the infantry from heavy losses by employing innovative weapons . Heavy weight precision guided bunker busting bombs destroyed Ukraine strong points and barometric rocket attacks destroyed Ukrainian infantry in large numbers. Only then did the Russian infantry take over the position. It is slow methodical work. It ensures no pockets of resistance are left behind the front lines to disrupt the supply chains or medical services.

But more than this the local junior commanders and NCOs show huge flexibility in the manner they deal with local threats. In the Russian army officers are leaders, not managers and this is demonstrated time and time again when small units see and seize opportunities without waiting for orders from above. This combination of sound tactical and strategic guidance from the commanders mixed with the innovation and inventiveness of the front line officers and NCOs ensures a fast and robust means of dealing with local difficulties and achieving tactical goals. Another example of the speed and efficiency of this approach was the response to the large-scale incursions into Russian territory by sabotage groups. The local military and border guards not only attacked these forces but very quickly laid a minefield behind them to block their escape leading to very high casualties (87%) of these forces and the loss of all its tanks and other armoured vehicles. The successful operation to take Adveekya after it had been in fortified by Ukraine over the past fourteen years was carried out by a simple ruse of Russian commandos using an old wide bore water pipe to penetrate to the centre of the city. The Ukrainian front line thinking it was trapped threw down its arms and fled in a magnificent rout. The city was taken with minimal losses to the Russian assault infantry.

Simple domestic helicopter drones have been modified by Russian troops on the front line and we see the spectacle of a western tank costing 10 million dollars being destroyed by a drone fitted with an anti tank grenade costing less than one thousand dollars.

Not surprisingly the Ukrainian infantry see these things and their morale plummets resulting in more surrenders and more desertions.

The bluster and braggadocio of the Ukraine leadership doubles in strength as its army disappears in front of its eyes. Its fantasy victories are only matched by the equally ill considered, inaccurate and often downright lies of the western media, complemented by the inane comments of western senior military men and politicians. All of the western assumptions about conducting a war against Russia would fail.

How would they get men to the front line without Russian interdiction destroying the transport routes, airfields, sea ports used by NATO, even if they get boots on the ground in Ukraine how would they supply them with exactly the same problems as outlined above. Russian missile strikes would destroy the airfield in Europe capable of supporting a land invasion and aggressive air operation against Russia. Romania would have its NATO bases and it own armed forces bases destroyed in a single day. The US Ramstein base in Germany would be levelled. Russia can do all of that with ease and Europe has no realistic countermeasures.

Europe is still trying to fight a 20th century war whereas Russian has defined a new style of warfare better suited to the 21st Century.