Logistics Wins Wars and Russian Military Logistic Problems

Russia’s military in Ukraine has shown that they still have major military logistics problems.

“Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars.” quote from Army General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front during WWI.

Russia moves military forces and supplies around primarily with rail inside of Russia and Belarus. Ukraine’s resistance has destroyed/damaged the rail at the border of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus.

Russia is mainly relying on trucks to supply their forces.

Russia has elements of its forces at most of the cities and most of the places that they were targeting. They have to buildup more forces and supplies and then constantly resupply. The logistic problems and failures make it slow going.

If Ukraine’s resistance gets constant significant resupply then they can either hold out a long time or mount a constant resistance that would make Ukraine a problematic quagmire that never stays conquered. Despite those problems, Putin can continue to draft more replacement soldiers and keep fighting. The sanctions will prevent Russia from ramping up and make it harder to sustain operationns at a high level and tempo. The troops that survive on both sides will continue to get more and more experience. Certain current problems with logistics and tactics should get improved and corrected.

There is no reason to think that Russia will be able to use this military to effectively threaten and capture Poland, Finland, Sweden or the Baltics when those places have strong NATO support. This is clearly the biggest conventional war that Russia is capable of fighting. They might capture half of Ukraine but will have a lot of trouble keeping and holding or putting in any lasting puppet government for any length of time.

Russia has maintenance and logistic support brigades of about 1000 people and 400 trucks for each combined army combat group. The 400 trucks can move about 1870 tons of material at a time. Ukraine has been targeting fuel and supply trucks. The 6th Combined Arms Army is headquartered in St. Petersburg and is composed of nine brigades and regiments. This is about 20,000 to 40,000 troops and it has one maintenance and support brigade. Russian currently seems logistically limited to supporting 160,000 troops beyond their border. They will try to build pipelines with 6 inch pipe to transport more fuel. The resupply pipelines will be targeted.

Russia has so far not been able to take many airfields to set up many air bridges to bring more supplies and troops deeper into Ukraine.

Russia has been moving its army down roads because they did not properly maintain the over road tires on many of their vehicles. The failing off-road tires cause the vehicles to get stuck in mud.

Russia has been making about 45000 to 70000 heavy trucks in recent years. This is the complete level of commercial heavy trucks.

It will be problematic for Russia to get any foreign heavy trucks with the sanctions regime.

NOTE: these logistic problems highlight the importance of the lend lease act of WW2 to help the Soviets to advance and defeat the Germans. The US gave/lent the Soviets a lot of trucks and fuel.

The shortage of trucks makes it tough to supply forward operations and advances beyond a certain distance. Russia can move in 45-90 miles but then they have to create resupply points to continue the supply chain deeper into the country.

NATO is united to support the Ukrainian resistance. An analyst for CSIS says the Russian invasion has done more to unify NATO than anything in many decades.

Russia air force is losing a significant number of planes against Ukraine. Mainly single person launched missiles provided by Western forces.

SOURCES- CSIS, ISW, Wendover, Sub Brief
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

21 thoughts on “Logistics Wins Wars and Russian Military Logistic Problems”

  1. Seems that Pravda itself leaked the actual Russian casualty count yesterday.

    Someone promptly deleted it and blamed hackers, but it's another crack in the ice under Putin. One morning I hope to wake up and discover he has fallen through.

  2. You make is seem like there is nothing to worry about, as it is a repeat of 80s Afghanistan and subsequently the Soviet Union collapse.

  3. Soros was amazingly a Nazi collaborator, and was/is a disaster capitalist billionaire, such a well rewarded stalwart of all that is good…
    The Russians want non combatants to leave, either Russian speakers to Russia (where they can be safe), or Ukrainians to the West (where they will strain Western resources), for a number of reasons.

    Putin invading a neighboring country is murderous. Zeesky/Poorosheko murdering his own people for 8 years was equally wrong. Or should those brutal killings be ignored cuz he's one of "our" guys?

    The Russians have artillery in place. Power stations are easy targets. I count 7 cities under siege. Time is not on the Ukrainian side, but maybe they will be able to break those sieges and allow logistics to enter.

    Then there is the logistics of European gas and oil, world wheat supplies, neon, sapphires, titanium and over flight. REally wish none of this had ever started.

  4. I'm not a downvoter, but the Ukrainians have the definite home field advantage and they are being supplied (with Stingers, if nothing else) by their NATO neighbours to the West. And the encirclement does not seem as complete as might be expected, seeing as refugees can still escape.

    It's unfortunate (?) that the Nazi-infested (?) Soros-backed (?!?) — though democratically elected— régime in Kyiv did not immediately collapse under the saving feet of that Nationalist superhero, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Maybe next time around?

  5. KGB THUG #1 may have laid the plan for his OWN DEMISE……

    By Xi ZING PING asking him to delay the INVASION until the Olympics were over…..

    Just enough time to let the ground thaw out and TURN to MUD !

  6. Wow, the Russians are even more transparent that the Chinese. Then again, I don't think anyone has ever accused Russians of being subtle. Sneaky, yes, subtle, no.

  7. Sounds like a Russian post to me.

    That they purposely did not capture any city? Trying to sell the big lie it seems, especially as they have captured a city or two, and then been repulsed with heavy casualties.

    Figures I heard yesterday say Russia had lost 46 fixed wing aircraft, 68 helicopters, 238 main battle tanks, 174 artillery pieces, over a thousand armored personnel carriers, and 500 other vehicles, to include a lot of irreplaceable fuel trucks (civilian ones can't handle the ruined roads and the rail lines were destroyed).

    That could easily be over a quarter of the mission capable birds Russia had, regardless of how many airframes they own. A country with an economy smaller than Italy's, eaten up by incredible corruption, is not going to be able to approach a decent level of readiness. Military aircraft (and crew training) is EXPENSIVE. And, of course, Russia does not have air control. In fact, if this goes on much longer, Ukraine eventually might.

    All of the forces brought in for the invasion have been committed and they are not eager to push. Further forces do not appear to be deploying, probably because they can't, other than some merc units from places like Syria and such. Casualties may run somewhere between 5 and 11 thousand and the army is desperate to get enough ice just to pack the bodies out.

    All this, along with sanctions, means the entire Russian military will likely collapse within two months if it can't withdraw by then.

  8. Three down votes LOL.
    No comment on how wonderfully wonderful the Ukrainian logistics?
    Just because something is pointed out does not correlate with wanting that observation to be true. I really wish the Ukrainians had amazingly good logistics, they would have all the food, electricity, heat, communications and weapons to drive back the Russian invaders.

    Alas, CNN cognitive dissonance (ideological thinking) inspired if wishes were kisses.

  9. That is not going to happen.
    Both putinhead and NATO are using the Ukrainian people as shields. putinhead will never fight an urban guerilla style war. He is just converting Ukraine’s urban landscape to rubble. Ukraine should have surrendered and run up the Russian flag and then the west should have put in place all the sanctions we are doing now. Then follow that up with taking out key putinhead railway assets, mainly railway bridges, that would cripple military transportation in the vastness of putinland. To use the Ukrainian people as pawns and have them slaughtered is ruthless on both sides. I don't think putinhead would hesitate to use what he calls tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine even if it takes out most of his own occupying force of conscripts. Developing thorium nuclear energy 50 years ago would have cut the legs off of the oil producing authoritarian states and putinhead.

  10. Well, let us put it a bit more precisely. Russia is waging war not merely against the Ukraine the state, but also against the Ukraine as a proxy for NATO. So, it's a rather serious war.

    With the help of the State Department, it will become very bloody for Russia to make quick progress and hold on to the conquered regions. On the other hand, predictions of Ukraine turning into another Afghanistan for Russia are likely overblown. Ukrainians are not Pashtun men, zealously guarding their ancestral ways. Ukes "just want a better life for themselves and their families." This is a recipe for emigration, not for resistance (unless, again, the CIA etc are actively involved in the instigation). As a statistic, along with wheat, corn, and sunflower seeds, Ukraine's biggest export is its women, be it as prostitutes or as brides. Just stating facts as they are, don't hate.

    Either way, I do not see that the US apparatchiks care much about Ukrainians as a people. They're, rather, seen more as a convenient tool to hammer Russia with, at whatever it costs in terms of human lives (including, obviously, Russian lives). On the other hand, Russians, including those in Putin's government, for the most part, do not see the Ukraine and the Ukrainians in similar vein.

    Russia will win this conflict. Putin has no choice, as he will be murdered by his siloviki, if he gives up — especially, after the unprecedented sanctions.

    How they will hold on to the Ukraine: *this* is the biggest question.

  11. Except they have a serious demographics problem with birth rates plummeting since the 1990s from levels already much lower than seen in the 1930s and 1940s when they could soak up such losses. Secondly there more advance equipment is nearly impossible to replace given the current state of there economy and the sanctions now in place. For operational aircraft they always state much higher numbers than are actually operational and on Saturday alone they lost 4 helicopters and 5 jets. And finally the level of support for Ukraine will only increase leading to even further Russian losses Russia is normally losing 2 or 3 aircraft everyday and given the increased number of stingers I could see that number double and then triple in the coming days and finally with the increased number of tb2 drones there losses on the ground will only increase further as well with there rear echelon supply lines being hit as well with a number of there fuel trains blasted

  12. If the Russian troops are smart they will surrender and keep heading west. They can go back when Vlad falls on some bullets in the shower.

  13. Yes, the Russians are known for accepting horrendous casualty rates, and their logistics have always been poor compared to the West, resulting in a doctrine of build up resources, launch overwhelming, but limited, attacks to gain ground. Rinse, repeat until the opponent collapses.

    That will almost certainly still work in the Ukraine, if they are given time. But in addition to the military timetable, Russia is now facing timetables for financial collapse and social unrest.

    Which clock strikes first?

  14. You think putinhead cares about logistics? He is just throwing fodder at Ukraine with plenty more where that came from.
    putinhead's tactics: Send your troops in with no water, food or fuel for a return trip and tell them to conquer the country or die. Send the grunts and junk in first to be sacrificed for putinhead’s oligarchs. 
    There is no way for the Ukrainian people to win this. Either live under Putin’s thumb or see their country turned to rubble. Putinhead has both the strategic and tactical advantage as Ukraine is bordered by putinland. 
    What putinhead wants is total control of the Black Sea. Turkey is on putinhead’s radar unless they have already cut a deal. Black Sea liquid natural gas terminals are being planned that could supply eastern Europe with more western natural gas. 
    This was all a done deal between Adolph putinhead and agolf twitler the treasonous traitor while they were in Finland together for their secret meeting. putinhead is gaming Wall Street again and making his short positions good. adolph putinhead might end up with the Ukraine and their natural resources as well. Putinhead gamed the world’s capitalists again by borrowing money at high interest rates and then hoping to repudiate his debt by being removed from the SWIFT system. You deal with a criminal you get burned by the criminal. Capitalists rarely make a long-term bet. 

  15. If logistics wins wars, what is the state of Ukrainian logistics?

    It is an unfortunate situation for the Ukrainians. A reality check is in order when the Russkies are encircling cities to choke off supplies. They are taking it slow, they could have cut off water, electricity, etc. in the first few days of every major city. A simple map shows they could bomb the Dneiper river bridges and capture the eastern third simply by the lack of resupply logistics. The Russians are attempting something else than simply winning a war by brute force, though brute force is a big part of the effort. At least in this point in time. The artillery shelling of Mariupol is likely due to it's center of the Nazi elements Azov Brigade. With time, if there is no surrender, I would expect the same fate to befall other cities.

  16. It is a very hard position for defender, they are surrounded from 3 sides. Their army is stretched, the terrain is mostly flat, no hills or mountains, only 20 percent forests, russians have more firepower, airplanes, anti air, artillery, rockets, tanks and still they are mounting outstandind resistance. Respect to Ukrainians and their will to fight. If they could concentrate their forces more,they could stop southern russian advance. Enemy progress in south was faster, because of less more populated areas or larger cities. Russians are not such good soliders. Anti air is vital, downing 3 russian airplanes per day is not enough, since they have more than 1000 of them.

  17. If enough Stingers, Javelins and other resources can be gotten into the hands of the Ukrainians and they can hold out long enough, the non-Russian majority republics of the Russian Federation may start getting annoyed enough to begin to restart the process of dissolution that ended the Soviet Union—but was halted in part by Yeltsin’s promises of high sovereignty and independence which Putin has since revoked. Already the pro-Moscow leaders of these non-Russian republics are loosing their legitimacy by supporting the war.

    Even if Ukrainians are too overpowered to win they may be able to out live the invasion if they aren’t pressured by the West to capitulate before Russia starts to feel the *real* consequences of this war.

  18. As would love to embrace the narrative of a complete Russian failure but…

    On the one hand: 
    The Ukrainians have put up an admirable defence and every day the add to the Russian invasion costs Russia. Russian forces have demonstrated that they were far more dilapidated than the West gave them credit for after their supposed period of military modernization.

    On the other:
    Sources I’ve read and heard say that the West tends to overlook Russian military policy which is both comfortable with high casualties and tolerant of slow progress in order to build up supply capacity. What the West sees as logistics failure and slow progress may just as well be Russia taking it’s time to get it’s (albeit dilapidated) ducks in a row.

    Most of Russia’s poor performance has been in the North. The Northern front and attempting to take Kyiv may have been a last minute addition to the plan with the west and south of the country (with their reserves of natural gas which would have undercut Russia’s price) being the main target and thus the recipient of the better troops and planning.

  19. In terms of military effect, if you were next to a Russian truck column, and had only one bullet available, you might be better off putting it into a tire than a Russian soldier.

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