Putin's announced mobilization of 300,000 "reservists" was jaw-dropping to me this morning, but not for the reason some might suspect.

Why? Because know how Russian soldiers are trained, in basic training & in their units.

A brief 🧵 on some fun facts. 1/
While I commanded US Army Europe before retiring, before that I commanded all basic & advanced soldier training for the Army (2009-11).

During that period,≈150,000 new soldiers/year at (then) 5 basic training sites & 21 advanced training locations, received training.2/ Image
Most new US soldiers get 10 weeks of basic training (some get more at one-station unit training (OSUT) sites, like infantry, artillery, MPs). Those that don't go to OSUT travel off to different length courses for advanced training in a "specialty" (logistics, intel, etc). 3/ Image
It's a long period of time, trained by very professional drill sergeants. There is an extremely high resource overhead to all this.

Soldiers report to their units ready to be integrated in the specific mission.

Remember, the US population is 344 million & we train≈150k. 4/ Image
Russia, on the other hand, has a population of 144 million citizens, spread over 11 time zones.

Theirs is a conscript force w/ 1 basic training site, (Labinsk in S. Russia). Some RU get advanced specialty training, but most RU soldiers get most training in their 1st unit. 5/ Image
Russian soldiers got just a few days of basic training before being sent to Belarus starting last November (pre-invasion). themoscowtimes.com/2022/07/20/rus… 6/
During 2 visits to RU, I saw basic & unit training. It was awful. Familiarization versus qualification on rifles, rudimentary first aid, very few simulations to conserve resources, and...most importantly...horrible leadership by "drill sergeants." 7/
Officers admitted to me that theirs was a "one year" force, with some - the poorest - volunteering or being elected for leadership roles. 8/ Image
Remember, RU soldiers get almost ALL training in units vs at basic.

How units are resourced play a big part.

One tank unit i visited near Moscow proudly told me they get 1 tank round/crew each year (US units spend hours in simulators & crews fire dozens of real rounds/year). 9/ Image
BTW, Ukraine's army has taken the US model to heart after receiving training from US personnel in both individual and unit training techniques since 2014.

The establishment of JMTG-U by US Army, Europe was instrumental in that. Heres a link to that. 10/
But I digress...

The issue is the Russian army is poorly led & poorly trained. That starts in basic training, and doesn't get better during the RU soldier's time in uniform.

Mobilizing 300k "reservists" (after failing with depleted conventional forces, rag-tag militias...11/
...recruiting prisoners & using paramilitaries like the Wagner group) will be extremely difficult.

And placing "newbies" on a front line that has been mauled, has low morale & who don't want to be portends more RU disaster.

Jaw-dropping. A new sign of RU weakness 12/12

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More from @MarkHertling

Jan 24
For those saying "don't doubt Ukraine's soldiers, they've proven themselves & can handle any tank they're given," I'd say 3 things:

1. I've never doubted Ukrainian tankers to learn how to fire & drive the Abrams. I've worked w/ Ukraine's Army, I know them. They're good. 1/
2. It's isn't "learning the tank" I'm concerned about:
--can they quickly learn the capability of the Abrams (& Leopard II) the way it is designed to operate. That's training w/ other tanks, infantry, scouts, drones,artillery, engineers, intel...all more than crew training. 2/
--when the tank - or small critical parts in the tank - break (which they do), & when those small & large replacement parts need replacing, & when it requires daily/weekly/monthly echelon maintenance, will Ukraine have also trained those who do these things. 3/
Read 13 tweets
Jan 21
Woke up this morning to find a thread from someone claiming I posted things that are "100% untrue" about the "M1."

I hesitate to respond to @secretsqrl123 - especially since he posted an insulting tweet (violating my rule #1) - but providing tank insight is important to me. 1/20
"David" is a "former ADA 16/14R & 96B/P (an air defense soldier & intel analyst w/ airborne experience). He is a "master driver & a 22 yr combat vet." To which I say "thanks for ur service."

Don't know how much tank experience he has, but he gets some things right in his 🧵2/
He also gets things wrong.

Since he gives his creds, here are mine:
-37 years in armor.
-served on M60, M60A1, M60A2,M1, M1A1, M1A2
-tank platoon leader, company commander (x2), cav sqdn S3 (in combat), cav squadron Cdr at Armor School (teaching M1 Tank Commanders Course) 3/
Read 20 tweets
Jan 19
The next US aid package to Ukraine will be announced Friday.

Reports suggest that package includes a large number of Stryker Fighting Vehicles & more Bradleys.

I'm pretty familiar with the Strykers. This is a terrific. 1/10

In 2000, I was commanding 3/2 Armored Brigade (Arrowhead!), when I received new orders to be prepared to field a new organization with new equipment.

Our Brigade would become the 1st Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), then later the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) 2/
While the Abrams tank is named for GEN Creighton Abrams (hero of the Battle of the Bulge), and the Bradley is name after GEN Omar Bradley, the Stryker is named after two Medal of Honor winners - PFC Stuart Stryker (World War II) & SPC4 Robert Stryker (Vietnam) 3/
Read 10 tweets
Jan 16
Military theorists & historians have –in my view, incorrectly- concluded there are 2 types of strategy.
One is annihilation & the other is attrition (or exhaustion).
While these aren’t the *only* strategies, it's helpful to understand them to comprehend Ukraine right now.1/11
A strategy of ANNIHILATION suggests a nation can defeat its enemy by forcing a decision (or series of decisions) by using overwhelming maneuver, effective political & military leadership, and combined actions (like offensive operations, alliances, economics , information, etc).2/
Through history, “battles of annihilation” occurred when a military force is surrounded & defeated & an army is forced to surrender. As a result, the nation no longer resists because it lost its force. (Note: a battle of annihilation isn’t a strategy of annihilation).3/
Read 11 tweets
Jan 12
.@RadioFreeTom nails it again. Yes, it was a big mistake and there must be an investigation & accountability & the govt ought find ways to prevent in the future. But mistakes differ from purposeful actions, lack of remorse, excuses for lying and refusal to return when caught.1/2
I’m going to bet the inquiry into the ones found with @POTUS may show some systemic problems w/ SSO handling as well. That can be fixed. Just admittedly taking govt docs and refusing to return needs to be addressed in a different way.2/2
As a commander, I dealt with improper handling of classified material on numerous occasions. All were investigated. The findings found a range of issues, and punishment also ranged from admonishment to admin action to courts martial. We also learned lessons on fixing processes.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 10
So, I put this information out and 2/3rds if responses are “why didn’t we start giving them this equipment and training them on it earlier?
For those asking those questions, let me reply with a few of my own that might help people consider the implications. 1/9
-How many Ukrainians do you think need training for these kind of operations?
-How many US servicemen will be needed to train them?
-On what specific pieces of equipment?
-since the US doesn’t have warehouses unused military equipment ready to give away, where do we get it? 2/
-What US taxpayer dollars have been allocated for building Ukraine an entire army filled with modern equipment?
-if we take the needed equipment from US military units, what risks are we taking in US national security around the globe? 3/
Read 10 tweets

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