Will Schryver Profile picture
Jun 28, 2022 • 29 tweets • 5 min read
🧵Observations on the Ukraine War

I've watched a LOT of drone footage from this war. I've seen, from a bird's eye view, the construction and logic of the field fortifications Ukraine constructed, with US guidance, over the course of eight years.

The logic of these ubiquitous pre-prepared fortifications harkens back to the 1864-65 Battle of Petersburg (US Civil War), with many WW1 innovations – a logic where victory depends on:

- you not running out of men and ammo

- the enemy being comparatively stupid

Of course, when you think about it, the revealed logic of Ukraine’s long-prepared strategy for this war is, in many ways, a reflection of American military delusions and vanities, which multiplied and solidified over the course of the brief and fleeting “unipolar moment”.

Despite not having “won” a war since 1945 (and then only truly against the Japanese), the US military is consumed with the vanity that it has *always* dominated opposing forces in every conflict.

There is some measure of truth in this perspective.

But it is irrelevant. Because, since no later than the Korean War, the US has not faced a peer or near-peer adversary in a high-intensity conflict. The US military has not been, for almost three-quarters of century, truly tested “under-fire”.

This is an indisputable fact.

The US has measured its battlefield mettle, for decades, against brave sandal-shod men with AK-47s, RPGs, and a certain savoir faire for constructing IEDs.

But they have *never* faced anything like Russian artillery or missiles. Not even in Hollywood movies or video games.

Consequently, the Pentagon’s self-perception of unquestioned supremacy has served to disinform and corrupt its doctrinal and procurement decisions for multiple generations of its officer corps. For most US generals and admirals, all putative opponents are underestimated.

That said, I believe a great many have now been awakened from their intellectual slumber by the manner in which the Russian armed forces quickly assessed the Ukrainian order of battle, and then professionally adapted their strengths and tactics to decisively defeat it.

Here is a brief summation of the Russian tactical approach to the Battle of the Donbass:

Step #1: advance reconnaissance units (often in force, with dozens or hundreds of drones overhead) to assess the situation; draw fire; relay to commanders raw video and geo-coordinates

Step #2: with target-correcting drone swarms relaying real-time strike video, proceed to savage the fortifications with towed and mobile artillery, MLRS in gradations of strength and precision, and even horrific thermobaric munitions for particularly suitable targets.

Let smoke clear.

Repeat Step #1.

Still something moving there?

Repeat Step #2.

Repeat Step #1.

Dead bodies everywhere?

Step #3: Send in tanks and infantry to mop up.

Move to next series of fortifications.

And so on and so forth …

This is why Ukraine now suffers hundreds of KIAs every day.

And why, for months, the Russians have suffered very few casualties – at least a 1 to 10 ratio. Probably much lower.

The artillery (with occasional air and precision missile strikes) is doing all the fighting.

But back to Ukraine’s apparent strategy for this war, and the apparent US influence on that strategy.

I will preface my commentary on this issue by stating that I am now thoroughly convinced Ukraine’s fatal blunder was following NATO's advice.

I’ll grant the remote possibility that the Pentagon/CIA had a cogent view, far in advance, of the relative unlikelihood that a half-million-strong, well-armed, and presumptively well-trained (by NATO) Ukraine military didn’t have much chance against Russia.

But watching drone video of Ukrainian fortifications has convinced me the NATO brain trust effectively disdained Russian military capability, and its commanders, in the course of their eight-year-long preparation of the eastern Ukrainian battlefield.

They clearly believed the Russians would be stupid enough to assault Ukrainian fortifications using “modern” tactics entirely ill-suited to the task at hand.

Their vanity persuaded them the Russians would beat themselves to pieces against an entrenched well-armed force.

Indeed, they were so confident of the genius of their plan that they persuasively encouraged many hundreds (if not thousands) of now-killed or captured NATO veterans to “share in the glory” of humiliating the Russians and bringing down the Putin regime once and for all.

They deluded themselves into believing the Russians lacked: strategic and logistical acumen, a sufficiently well-trained force, and – arguably the biggest miscalculation of all – sufficient stockpiles of ammo to conduct a protracted high-intensity conflict.

In short, I have come to believe the US/NATO actually persuaded themselves that this “Mother of All Proxy Armies” they built in Ukraine seriously had an excellent chance to soundly whip the Russians in a battle situated on their borders.

In other words, they not only grossly underestimated their enemy, but they ignored centuries of history that they somehow convinced themselves had no relevance to their 21st century aspirations to defeat Russia militarily and take a great spoil of its resources.

But, as is now readily apparent to all objective, knowledgeable military analysts around the globe, the US/NATO-trained Ukraine proxy army been savaged by a patient, methodical, and significantly outnumbered Russian force, using century-old doctrines and tactics.

Even more revealing is that once-vaunted and universally feared US/UK weaponry – almost all of it rather antiquated – has proven to be far less “game-changing” than the pea-brained strategists in Washington and Whitehall mistakenly believed.

Javelins, NLAWs, and Stingers have been exposed as effectively useless against their intended targets. M-777 howitzers break down after just a few fires. GPS-guided “precision” munitions are routinely jammed by Russian EW counter-measures.

Worse yet, the inculcation of NATO field doctrines in the minds of the AFU officer cadre has resulted in pervasively inflexible responses to battlefield events that developed contrary to expectations; discipline has disintegrated; improvisation has been paralyzed.

To be sure, if one were to go by the laughable assessments of western think-tank propagandists and their dutiful lackeys in the media, “Ukraine is winning” and “the inept Russian military has been humiliated”.

But more discerning observers around the world know better.

What sober military men in potential adversary countries across the globe see is that Russia has, with one hand tied behind its back, eviscerated the massive, relatively well-armed and well-trained Ukraine military. The US intimidation factor has been forever compromised.

More geopolitically significant, at least in the near future, is that European NATO members can also read the scorecard of this war: they now understand as they never could previously that standing on the NATO side of the field is hardly a guarantee of security.

I am convinced NATO will not survive the results of this war in Ukraine. Sure, they’ll “keep up appearances” for the time being, but there can be no doubt that most now understand that siding with a rapidly declining empire is fraught with great risk and minimal gain.

More concerningly, the Chinese have been watching all of these developments with great interest. They are almost certain to be emboldened to act decisively to secure their sphere of influence in the emerging multipolar world.

Great dangers now await in east Asia …


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More from @imetatronink

Feb 23
Short 🧵

My brief commentary on the Wagner PMC/RF MoD tempest in a teapot:

I am strongly inclined to believe it is Russian maskirovka designed to lure the AFU to pump more forces into the closing jaws of the Bakhmut cauldron.

I believe “Wagner PMC” is and always has been acting hand-in-glove with the Russian Ministry of Defense. I do not believe the “Wagner PMC” is what its popular image would suggest. More than likely it is a “shell company”, so to speak, for official Russian policy.

I am also inclined to concur with Alexander Mercouris’ speculation that Yevgeny Prigozhin is very likely a figurehead, rather than the actual “owner” and “commander” of what is reputed to be a 50k-strong Russian-supplied army corps.

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Feb 15
🧵Thread Revisit

I’m on a Twitter hiatus in recent days to gather my thoughts without distraction. But I was reminded of this thread this afternoon and thought it worth revisiting.

Original post linked here; several of my replies further below.

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Feb 10

This article correctly underscores the potency of air-denial tactics in a 21st century great power or near-peer conflict.

But it devolves into utter nonsense propaganda when it speaks of AFU air successes in Ukraine.


Not only has AFU air defense been woefully crippled since the early days of this war, but its offensive air power has been effectively nonexistent.

The original inventory of Ukrainian Air Force fighter and attack aircraft is long-since destroyed.

By and large, Russian aircraft fly where and when they will. Losses have been negligible. Close air support from both fixed-wing and rotary platforms is ubiquitous along the entire line of contact.

Conversely, the general rule for AFU aircraft is: You fly; you die.

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I pledged to publish a new article today.

I won't.

I've worked on it all day long. It became more ambitious than I first planned. Maybe tomorrow.

For now I'm taking a break with some of my all-time favorite guitar soloists.

Johnny Hickman:
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In my humble opinion, this is quite simply one of the greatest live guitar performances ever captured.

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Jan 22
@oloos878787 @SydneyFreedberg @HuntClancy @siberiancattt Response🧵

Iraq 1991 was all about seizing post-Soviet strategic dominance (and permanent bases) in the Gulf region; securing the petrodollar system, and greatly weakening the no-longer-useful Iraqi army the empire supported to fight against Iran.

@oloos878787 @SydneyFreedberg @HuntClancy @siberiancattt Iraq 2003 was about: 1) ostentatiously employing an iron fist against even more potent emerging threats to the global dollar system – in particular Iraq’s gambit to sell its oil for Euros and gold; 2) menace and contain a greatly strengthening Iran.

@oloos878787 @SydneyFreedberg @HuntClancy @siberiancattt The US-manufactured Syrian insurgency originally aspired to dispense with Assad, build pipelines from the Arab vassal states to the Mediterranean, and to kick the Russians out of their key strategic naval and air bases in Syria.

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