When Titans Clashed is Still Relevant

David Glantz and Jonathan House did mankind a service when they delved into Soviet Army archives and produced a must read about World War Two — When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. This book is not just about the earthshaking events from 80 years ago, when the Soviets shrugged off initial devastating losses and proceeded to eviscerate the German Wehrmacht in the course of the war on the Eastern front. The book is still relevant because it provides an understanding of Russia’s approach to military planning and combined arms that is unfolding in Ukraine.

I was particularly struck by the authors’ account of the Operation Citadel aka the Battle of Kursk because of the parallels with Ukraine’s failed 2023 counter offensive. For starters, both the Soviets of 1943 and the Russians of 2023 knew that there was an impending “offensive” or “counter-offensive.” Neither the Germans of 1943 nor the Ukrainians of 2023 made any efforts to obscure their intent to launch a major offensive.

Then there is the matter of defensive entrenchments. The Soviets constructed hundreds of miles of trenches and fighting positions in depth along the expected axis of attack. The Russians erected what is commonly known as the Surovikin lines — a series of defensive structures 30 kilometers deep and spread across a hundred mile front. These Soviet and Russian entrenchments proved effective in defeating the respective Nazi and Ukrainian offensives.

The biggest take away from the Glantz/Houseman book is the difference between a Soviet “war footing” and the current Russian “Special Military Operation.” While modern day Russia is applying some of the planning and operational principles exercised by the Soviet Stavka during WW II, Russia has not fully mobilized nor has it unleashed the kind of firepower associated with Soviet attacks in WW II. This is a simple way of saying Russia has not yet fully flexed its military muscle.

I recommend you read the latest from Simplicius the Thinker, who provides an excellent summary of the panic that is sweeping over Ukrainian and Western authorities in the wake of Ukraine’s defeat at Avdeevka. One of the biggest reasons the West consistently misunderstands and misinterprets what is happening militarily in Ukraine with Russian operations is that the West projects onto Russia what it thinks the Russians should do. For example, when Russia deployed miles of tank columns north of Kiev in March 2022, the West concluded that this was a failed Russian military operation because there was no armored assault on Kiev. Western analysts concluded that Russia had inadequate logistics and could not sustain operations.

We now know that this is incorrect. Russia positioned that force north of Kiev as a bargaining chip as part of a broader diplomatic/military solution. Russia withdrew that force as a gesture of goodwill when it appeared that there was a negotiated settlement in the offing. But the United States and the U.K. sabotaged those negotiations and proceeded to erect a narrative that Russia suffered a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Ukrainians. It was a lie but it had the desired effect of feeding the public narrative in the West.

The West keeps looking for a “big arrow” offensive — i.e., a massive build up of Russian forces in one or two areas and an ensuing armored column attack that attempts to breach the Ukrainian defensive lines. I do not think that is in the cards at all. Russia is employing a dispersed offensive that applies concentrated force at a variety of locations along the 1200 kilometer front. Without clearly signaling their next axis of attack, the Russians are able to confuse what is left of Ukraine’s army and force it to shift forces back and forth along the front. Just as a tsunami builds slowly and then suddenly overwhelms all that is in front of it, I think we are witnessing the Russians unleashing the equivalent of a military tsunami.

I have long been on record that there was no stalemate in Ukraine; that Russia has a clear and decisive advantage. Good to know that former CIA Chief and Secretary of Defense Bobby Gates agrees with me:

The Russian military has broken the stalemate in the Ukraine war, Robert Gates, former CIA director and secretary of Defense, said Wednesday, following Moscow’s successful push to take the front-line city of Avdiivka.

“It’s no longer a stalemate. The Russians have regained momentum,” Gates told The Washington Post’s David Ignatius in a streaming interview. “Everything I’m reading is that the Russians are on the offensive along the 600-mile front.”

Russia has suffered staggering losses in the war, he noted, but with Ukraine now confronting artillery shortages due to flagging U.S. support, “the Russians are feeling that the tides have turned, and while there is much to be done, the initiative has passed to them,” Gates said.

Still, Gates can’t help but peddle stupid bullshit. “Russia suffered staggering losses?” Absolute nonsense devoid of facts. It is this kind of self-deceit that prevents most Western analysts from grasping the dire predicament facing Ukraine and NATO. I suspect the Russians privately are encouraging the West to continue to indulge in such fantasies. Just makes the Russian strategic task easier to pull off.

The post When Titans Clashed is Still Relevant appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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