The Soviet Way of Warfare Redux

Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova explains why the fighting in Ukraine is so bloody — the Soviet Union trained both sides:

Time and again, each side blames the other for the needless carnage and the massive collateral damage. But that’s not the only reason it’s sometimes hard to tell who is doing what to whom. The real problem is that the commanders on both sides of the lines used to be in the same army before the break-up of the Soviet Union, and even the younger ones have learned the same military doctrines that date back to the days of Stalin, and are absolutely brutal.

Vasily Budik, an advisor to Ukraine’s defense ministry, described the core approach of the combat operations in the eastern Ukraine: “First we work with massive artillery fire to clean up space and then infantry and tanks roll in,” he told me over the phone. “That approach has been the same forever.”

Just so. It’s not about hearts and minds, it’s about bodies and real estate.

The Ukrainian military also uses a lot of the same equipment as the Russians, with minor differences. For example, the Ukrainian military mount their Grads (multiple rocket launchings systems) on Ural trucks, while pro-Russian forces used Kamaz trucks.

Such weapons are blunt instruments, and they often are clumsily employed.

The Second Chechen War was effectively won by Russian forces, who flattened the city of Grozny with heavy artillery. No one knows for sure, but perhaps as many as 50,000 — almost all Chechens — died in the fighting. Nearly 40% of the population of Chechnya was forced to flee.

Wikipedia says, “The siege and fighting left the capital devastated like no other European city since World War II; in 2003 the United Nations called Grozny the most destroyed city on Earth.”

The man who began and waged the Second Chechen War was Vladimir Putin.