MarkHertling Profile picture
Jun 4 13 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Any commander will make an assessment of their force and the enemy’s force.

There are “indicators” as to what will be outcomes when the two meet.

One area I always watch: Overt show of confidence…in people, leaders, equipment, plan. Not cockiness or swagger, confidence. 1/12
The “hush” video posted by Ukraine is a reflection of this.

No bragging, no bluster, no indicators of what is happening…just a nuanced “we’re ready, and we’re about to go.”

You never underestimate your enemy, but you must be confident in your potential. 2/
Compare that to what’s happening on the Russian side, today:
-more messaging by Prigozhin about dysfunction in RU govt & military
-Russian mutineers killing commander before deserting
-anti-Putin militias continue attack in Shebekino & beyond 3/…
These “indicators” show a vast difference between solid UKR confidence & increasing RU chaos.

This interview with @CIA Director Burns on the anniversary of the invasion last Feb has been on my mind.

“Leaders” with hubris & cockiness aren’t leaders. 4/…
The upcoming Ukraine operation will be challenging & tough. UAF will be on a large offensive w/ new equipment going against RU defensive positions that have been reinforced for 6 months.

But without trained & well-led soldiers overwatching obstacles, RU defenses are useless.5/
Any attacking force is either “force” or “terrain” oriented.

That is, they are either given a mission to 1. attack an enemy force to destroy/defeat it, or 2. To seize ground (capture areas, interfere w/ enemy movement/resupply, regain desired terrain for future operations) 6/
The upcoming UKR offensive, IMHO, will have elements of both.

What will be interesting is to see how the UAF have “task organized” (that is, places different equipment & types of units) in which areas of the front. 7/
This is a hedge, but there is potential for several approaches:
-multiple efficient & effective combined arms “heavy” units conducting breaches & bypasses of RU defenses in key areas, regaining a lot of ground w/ SOF & territorials striking in the rear areas. 8/
-a more methodical breach operations, massing heavy (armored) forces in fewer areas, with the idea of breaking through the front & breaking supply lines & encircling RU forces, while other “lighter” (infantry in “battlefield taxis”) break through & seize key terrain. 8/
-multiple axis of advance across the front with smaller armor & light forces threatening several areas, with a large reserve ready to exploit success.

Those - and perhaps a few others I could provide but won’t - are all potential courses of action (COA’s) 9/
But now, I’ll repeat what I’ve said so many times before:
-any of these COAs require extensive preparation of routes, synchronization of units, and intelligence/reconnaissance
-MOST IMPORTANTLY, all require extensive resupply & logistics planning and execution. 10/
None of us - NONE - know how this will occur, or when, or with what forces, or which branches & sequels follow, or the results.

At the beginning of this war, in Feb 22, I found it easy to predict UAF would persevere.

I don’t have a clue what will happen next. 11/
But I do believe Ukraine will retake ground and will continue to persevere. 12/12

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More from @MarkHertling

May 31
This was a small part of a very enjoyable conversation with @IAPonomarenko.

The article is a good description of the challenges with fielding, maintaining & integrating the M1-series of tanks (and some other equipment).

Ilia didn’t mention how the conversation started. 1/15
In opening, I stated I’ve never been opposed to providing any type of equipment to Ukraine, but rather I’ve attempted to outline the availability, logistics, training, immediate use, national security aspect & cost (political & fiscal) challenges of each item. 2/
Each nation has their own way of war, and the methods, approaches, equipment, training & doctrine are trained & refined over decades by the armies of those nations.

When a nation goes to war, the training, systems, equipment, processes & doctrine kicks in. 3/
Read 17 tweets
May 26
This is a spot-on thread by @LivFaustDieJung.

Those who have never done a combined arms breach - in training or combat - will read this thread and say “wow, that sounds near impossible.”

It is. To execute a successful breach a commander had all sorts of things…1/
…happening at once.
-intelligence prep of the battlefield (with shaping operations, raids, deception, etc)
-a great plan with a solid synchronization matrix
-various means to suppress the enemy (artillery, direct fire, electronic jamming & other means)
-obscuring the breach 2/
-a well-rehearsed breach force with plows, mine clearing charges, “cutters,” etc
-marking of the breach lanes for a well-rehearsed follow-on force that will hold the shoulders of the breach
-a plan to the attack or bypass the defending force that is over watching the breach
Read 10 tweets
May 23
Yesterday, I posited that the attack by the "Russian Volunteer Corps" or "Liberty of Russian Legion" into Belgorod/Bilhorod Oblast was likely a raid.

A raid is doctrinally defined as a type of limited attack for a specific purpose. 1/6
While not having additional intelligence on this incursion into Russia, I still believe it is a raid.

Raids are used to threaten or seize a limited objective, they cause movement by the enemy to defend against the raid & they are usually short in duration with a small force. 2/
Raiding forces sustain themselves (no need for a logistics supply line), and after achieving their objective(s) they usually quickly withdraw.

A raid surprises the enemy, throws the enemy off their plan, and causes confusion. 3/
Read 6 tweets
May 22
What’s going on in Belgorod?

I’d suggest it may be continuance of shaping operations, prior to Ukraines’ offensive.

Some things we may see in the near future are types of “strikes” or deception operations like raids, feints or demonstrations. Here’s some info on each. 1/6
A raid is a surprise attack for a specific purpose. Raids threaten or destroy a limited objective, kill or capture small groups of enemy soldiers or equipment, free prisoners, or cause movement of the enemy to protect the object of the raid. 2/
Doctrine suggests that raids last “…long enough to accomplish the intent of the objective, [cause confusion or panic in the enemy force] and then the raiding force withdraws….”

A raid surprises the enemy, throws the enemy off their plan, and causes confusion. 3/
Read 6 tweets
May 18
Over the last few days I’ve received a few messages suggesting I’ve “hesitated” in supporting Ukraine getting more US equipment.

Let me say that has NEVER been the case.

I’ve been a proponent of supporting UAF in modernizing since 2012. 1/13
What I did suggest is that it’s difficult deluging a partner army w/ equipment because it’s hard for them to integrate technologically advanced weapons, maintenance, logistics support & training….all while fighting a war.

And, it’s hard to get political & financial support 2/
As the war in Ukraine has evolved, I believe western partners - to include the US - have weighed considerations of what they can pull out of their force & supply. But that must be matched by UAF being able to accept & integrate that equipment.

It’s harder than people think. 3/
Read 14 tweets
May 11
In discussing the upcoming Ukrainian offensive yesterday with a group of govt officials, one asked me “when will it start?”

I said: “in the attack, it starts when the commander feels it’s the right time…that’s an advantages of the offensive.”

I then explained RSOI. 1/10
RSOI is Reception, Staging, Onward Movement & Integration.

When units enter a combat zone, they are “received” in country, “staged” to move forward, then “moved” to the combat area, and then integrated into a larger unit.

How is this related to Ukraine, you ask? 2/
Remember that Ukraine’s army has been receiving all kinds of different equipment from many different countries, and they are training at different EU training areas on new skills with that equipment.

Some training takes longer than other, depending on the kit. 3/
Read 10 tweets

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