Armchair Warlord Profile picture
May 21 18 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The Battle of Bakhmut is over. It was one of the longest battles of the 21st century to date, and certainly the bloodiest.

Russia won. In doing so it destroyed much of the Ukrainian Army's combat power while buying time to generate forces for future offensives. Image
How much of the Ukrainian Army's combat power?

The Grey Zone Telegram channel compiled a partial list of Ukrainian units reported in Bakhmut at some point during the nine-month battle.

This is something like a third of the AFU's order of battle. Losses were obviously extreme. Image
Russian casualties were modest in comparison and, critically, largely occurred in an auxiliary formation that is not part of the regular Russian military - the Wagner Private Military Company, which bore the brunt of the fighting.

h/t Mediazona ImageImage
Ukrainian propagandists have begun predictably claiming that the battle somehow "bought time" for them to launch a strategic counteroffensive, which can be disproven with a pretty simple examination of the state of play:
Firstly, the Ukrainians already launched a multi-brigade counteroffensive in a failed attempt to retake the city, which failed with considerable losses and little ground taken.

Was that "the" counteroffensive? If they plan to attack elsewhere the lives of those men were wasted.
There is a related talking point that the AFU only attacked with the brigades in the immediate area, which is very misleading - Ukrainian "brigades" are basically front-sector commands that constantly churn through combat battalions.

See @MNormanDavies' work.
As such the actual question is how many battalions a given brigade had assigned to it at that time.

Also the order of battle for the Ukrainian attack was and remains extremely murky beyond the heavy participation of Azov, one of the AFU's premiere units.
Similarly this makes the "AFU ORBAT" graphic above quite misleading - these units were not all packed into Bakhmut at the same time (as rather ridiculously shown on some maps) and mostly showed up as subordinate battalions to a handful of "resident" AFU brigades.
There is another talking point going around that the "Bakhmut counteroffensive" was only a small effort, which is facially ridiculous given the length of front attacked and reports of extremely heavy fighting.

I remind the reader the Russian MoD routinely sits on footage.
They killed hundreds of Ukrainian commandos during an attempt to storm the Zaporozhe Nuclear Power Plant in October, released nothing, and let Ukraine claim no battle even took place for months until they admitted the loss recently.…
And if you think the AFU hasn't suffered grievously during this war, I have a thread for you:

Secondly, the massive Ukrainian commitment to Bakhmut had an enormous cost in operations not undertaken elsewhere.

Remember the great Ukrainian winter offensive in Zaporozhe that never happened? I do. Those troops were fed into Bakhmut.
AFU attrition over the fall and winter was so bad that NATO had to build them another army from the ground up - one larger than that of the United Kingdom - and they may have already lost a significant amount of that force.

Many of those losses were suffered in Bakhmut.
Third and related to the above, Ukraine deployed its regular army to the failed attempt to hold Bakhmut. Russia sent in the Wagner PMC.

The AFU was decimated by the battle, while the Russian Army is not only intact but has used this time to generate substantial new forces. ImageImageImageImage
This was even acknowledged by pro-Ukrainian commentators at some points, along the lines of "Ukraine is losing its army and Russia is losing its prison population."
After spending the last ten months largely on the defensive (there was no Russian winter offensive), and with limited prospects for another large Ukrainian offensive, the Russians are likely to attack in the near future.
The size and scope of that operation is the largest single unknown of this war. Image
Addendum: Why Bakhmut? Because it was the next town in front of the Russian Army after Lisichansk fell last July and the AFU reserves showed up in force to stabilize the front.

Great battles are often fought over obscure places.

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More from @ArmchairW

Jun 3
Speaking of the US Army having difficulty recruiting, an acquaintance's son was recently looking into joining the Army as a mechanic - something I encouraged him to do because regardless of current-year politics the benefits are excellent - and ran into problems.

Short thread:
Specifically, the recruiter insisted that he sign an initial contract for six years on active duty, a very long term for a first enlistment. I had advised this kid to get one for three or four years instead, and he wisely walked away when his recruiter refused to budge.
This entire episode was bizarre to me. The Army missed its recruiting goals last year by some 15,000 soldiers, but recruiters are turning down prospects when they won't sign up to long initial contracts?

Also, BTW, a $15k signing bonus is small by GWOT standards.
Read 4 tweets
Jun 2
I've been informed by my agents that I own real estate in peoples' skulls that I didn't even know about. Might be able to do some renovation, flip this place and make a buck.

(in all seriousness it's been a very good week for Russia, I'll post a summary thread tomorrow) Image
We've had:
- Air campaign week 5 with another Patriot failure
- GUR headquarters destroyed with probable CIA liaison killed
- AFU calls off "Bakhmut flank counteroffensive"
- Belgorod Raid 2 defeated with losses
- Russian territorial gains
- The Yuri Olefirenko sunk in Odessa ImageImageImageImage
Also the Ukrainians conquered Crimea... in Minecraft:
Read 5 tweets
May 27
Looks like the Ivan Khurs got back to Sevastopol undamaged after fending off a Ukrainian kamikaze drone-boat attack.

A couple takeaways from the ongoing struggles of the Ukrainian drone campaign against the Black Sea Fleet in the thread. ImageImage
First of all, this was a campaign that started with high goals in mind - particularly the penetration of Sevastopol Harbor and the destruction of the Black Sea Fleet at its moorings.

Despite several attempts, basic Russian harbor defenses foiled these efforts.

h/t Covertshores ImageImage
They also attempted to attack Russian warships at sea. Anyone remember the Admiral Makarov, and the Ukrainian military releasing a video of one of their evil jet skis supposedly hitting it?

Turned out it defeated that attack and emerged undamaged.

Read 17 tweets
May 23
How the Great Belgorod Raid started vs. how it went

A little post-facto analysis below: ImageImage
This morning the Ukrainian military (under the fig leaf of being a pro-Ukrainian Russian separatist group) attacked a Russian border checkpoint and a couple of border villages, penetrating about three kilometers into Russia proper before being driven back with losses. ImageImage
Russian aircraft quickly arrived on station, at which point the Ukrainian vehicle crews seem to have retreated back into Ukraine and abandoned the infantry to their fate.

Shown: a two-ship of Su-25s delivering airstrikes.
Read 12 tweets
May 17
Let's talk about Russian small-unit tactics on the offensive. With Russian troops stepping up attacks across the front in Ukraine, I suspect this will be very relevant in the near future.

A video came out recently which I will use to illustrate:…
This video was produced by journalists embedded with Russian troops near Spornoe, which I understand are a former LPR unit filled out by Russian reservists. These are ordinary motorized riflemen, not elite troops, equipped with BMP-1s and T-80BVs. Image
The producers do little to sugarcoat things, although they avoid showing anyone being killed on camera. They freely admit multiple vehicles were hit and at least one Russian tanker was killed during the attack. Image
Read 24 tweets
May 16
Wild video from Kiev just now - a Patriot battery apparently emptying its launchers (I counted 30 missile launches in two minutes) before being struck and probably destroyed by an incoming Russian missile.…
I am told there was a second impact and fire after this clip cuts. Judging by the fact there's only one flash in the sky during the clip, these 30 launches appear to have resulted in only one interception out of a likely three missiles fired at the battery.
According to Fennec, this entire production cost north of $160 million US taxpayer dollars.

Read 9 tweets

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