Why Didn’t Russia Advance in the War?


We continue to make our original critiques on the War of Russia and Ukraine within the framework of War Science, whenever possible. This time I will make a combat-oriented analysis. I will reveal how Ukraine is resisting, why Russia is losing energy and time.

Battlefields are areas of constant innovation, creating surprises and putting pressure on the enemy. We watch as Russia and Ukraine are at war. We also see the contributions of the USA and its partners, indirectly involved in the war. As a result, Ukraine is more “changer” than Russia during the war.

On the battlefield, it can be distinguished in two ways in terms of wearing down, tiring when necessary, creating and implementing changes. Firstly, it is expected that those with more military capacity and secondly, those who have a developed military mind will come to the fore. There is a staff mindset that Russia has a high capacity, but cannot reflect on the field. In response, there is a Ukraine that continues the war with foreign support. The range of weapons is limited and even of different origin. In this case, it should be the staff mind that stands out for Ukraine rather than capacity. Receiving the support of the USA and its partners in every way, the Ukrainian army has both developed and actively used its range of possibilities and capabilities. In this case, Ukraine surprises Russia even more on the field.

Russia enters the terrain with its systems such as tanks, armored vehicles, cannons and rockets, which are strong in numbers, but cannot advance at the speed expected from it. Russian tactical and strategic bombers and armed helicopters are trying to seize air superiority and hitting important targets in the depths of Ukraine, but they can’t make the finishing move. The Russians have short, medium and long range rocket systems and very effective hypersonic missiles, it is thought that they can change the game whenever they want, but their effect on the course of the war is not seen much.

Of course, Russia is within the territory of Ukraine and has captured a certain section of land, has taken or is about to take several of the cities. However, the fact that an army, which ranks second in the world after the USA in terms of striking power, has less influence in front of Ukraine is the main point of surprise for many. Similarly, the United States experienced desperation in the Vietnam War. While Russia also has great power today, it may have deserved trauma based on the characteristics of local resistance.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu made a confession-like statement, “The Russian Army will apply new methods of warfare to better adapt to the conditions of modern military conflict.” In this case, the Russian army realized that it was using the old methods until now, but it can be said that it was too late for new methods of conflict. According to my determination, the main problem of the Russians is the weakness of the fighting manpower.

Various views are emerging for the war in Ukraine, it seems that the success of the artillery will affect the war. These are not unknown issues. It is known to what extent artillery has changed in combat since the Napoleonic wars. Actually, that’s not what’s being said. The main issue is whether there is a logistical success such as delivering the cannon ammunition to the front in the desired amount and on time. The logistical problem is the most specific issue of this war. Russia has never solved this problem.

On the other hand, if Ukraine, for example, can deploy howitzers with US aid or does not have a problem with its ammunition, then there is a very remarkable situation.

I can’t help but mention another fundamental shortcoming: Intelligence. Russia on the field surprise, success, deception, etc. If he is going to create it, he must be doing it with strong intelligence. Combat intelligence (tactical intelligence) should come to the fore here. Russia may be skilled for strategic intelligence, peacetime espionage activities, intelligence supporting covert operations. However, success in combat is not limited to these. Today, combat intelligence means flowing before both planner and implementer in real-time, complete, accurate, adequate, consolidated, uninterrupted. Intelligence cannot be done just by gathering news, interrogating prisoners, or tactical drone flights. Today, combat intelligence is a type of intelligence in which the data of all kinds of collecting means are instantly combined in layers in the field and transformed into a product according to whoever needs what. This must be something Shoigu said, if the combat intelligence is not modern, the effect of the artillery or infantry operations cannot be developed as desired.

Another issue is command-control, which combines all of these. I said unifying, it is a matter of combining this needed capability on one platform. Description of this platform in the context of the systems system; Command, Control, Combat, Computer, Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, or C4ISR for short.

Command-control architecture is realized with technology. When a joint operation is carried out, the weapon system, command system, force component and decision maker at each layer should be able to put their functions into action fully, on time and without hesitation.

It can be a description of command-control related to modern systems, which is Russia’s problem. However, there is a more fundamental problem, the lack of understanding between the plan in the Kremlin and the line of battalion commanders who implement it in the field. There is no need for a modern system for this, a management architecture that needs to be built cannot be established. If Russia will operate under the fear of the regime, as in the USSR era, there will be no progress here.

What else could modern systems be? As it is known, technology is an important issue that is the subject of strategic deterrence. It is possible to explain the way technology is transferred to the field through new types of weapons, information, communication, electronic warfare, network, decision support, directed energy, robotic systems, C4ISR and defense architecture systems in the battlefield. Here, every detail should be included in a comparison to be made. The capacities of Ukraine and Russia have been known since pre-war. Deficiencies or surpluses are obvious. We can even detail the situation of the Cyber ​​War, which had a huge impact on the war. Who has what, is it not clear? The field is important. From these aspects, the ability to implement deceptive, abusive, suppressive and destructive operations in the field can only be understood by those in the field. So, it is not enough to just supply Stinger and Javelin weapons to Ukraine, other supports also affect the way the war takes place.

When modern systems are mentioned, these issues come to mind first. There is no resistance in Ukraine today like that of an army hidden underground in the Vietnam War. The reasons affecting the outcome of the conflict in Afghanistan are also different. When it comes to defense inside cities, Ukrainians need to be supported with modern C4ISR and they can get it too. However, as it was started in Donbass, it is more prominent to apply the principles of warfare by blending them with modern systems and methods in the battles that take place on the land sections consisting of large plains and agricultural areas. As a matter of fact, at this point in the war, howitzer artillery and ammunition, radars and helicopters were given to Ukraine by the USA.

Here, I examined basic issues such as logistics, intelligence, firepower, command-control, which affect the battlefield. I would like you to think through a scenario of capturing the ultimate goal in warfare. Visualize your scenarios according to the ultimate goal of Ukraine, Russia and the US supporting Ukraine. Let’s examine:

  • Russia transfers the power it can bring from its depths to the field, albeit late, and it has the capacity to maintain its determination even if it loses too much.
  • While the USA (and its partners) controls the course of the war and gives its support accordingly, it sees and evaluates the field very well and develops its steps accordingly. Well, while the US is giving Ukraine the weapons systems it needs, can the C4ISR also provide planning and execution support? Yes.
  • Here, Ukraine’s capacity to create surprise and pressure against Russian troops on the ground is automatically assured. Thus, Ukraine can be wearing out and tiring for its enemy on the battlefield. The Ukrainian side applies the war principles well. It conveys an unbroken plan to the field, with its principles of simplicity, manoeuvre, security, raid and command-command resistance. Moreover, it can create a weight center over time, set targets and create opportunities to carry out the necessary counter-attacks. Ukraine can maintain its resistance even with support.

NOTE: Due to intellectual property rights, you can use this information by reference.

Gursel Tokmakoglu

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