[March 14, 2022] Yesterday, I wrote about five lessons from the Ukraine War1. While there are many lessons at the military tactical and grand strategic levels, today’s article focuses on the military-national level. In other words, lessons for senior leaders.
Today is the 19th day of this war, and little has changed for the past week. Russia’s Plan A (as I call it) has failed to topple the Ukrainian government quickly, and the Ukraine people are putting up a determined defense. Now, we are well into Plan B, and it is what the Russian military does best; surround the area you want and use massive artillery barrages to weaken the defenders before moving in.
Here are five more lessons from the Ukraine War:
- Flexibility: Reports from the battlefield show a significant difference in the operational and logistical flexibility of tactical units from each country. Russian forces are confined mainly to highways with supply transport systems and armored vehicles. Ukrainian forces are breaking up into small raiding, anti-tank units and are defeating those Russian forces.
- Logistics: USMC Gen. Robert Barrow rightly said, “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” The Russian army has several serious logistical obstacles to overcome on the ground. Much of this is a self-inflicted wound because they were unprepared for an extracted fight with the Ukrainians. Running out of fuel, ammo, and food in a fight is bad news.
- Drones: Turkish TB2 and other aerial drones are used effectively by both sides. These drones are used for reconnaissance and in a direct attack role. Many impressive videos are viewable on the Internet. Much of the footage is propaganda, both true and false mixed together.
- Morale: When things go well for your team, morale soars to its greatest heights. In this war, the Russian fight is not going well; loss of soldiers, lack of food, fuel, and ammo, a stubborn Ukrainian resistance, and a world turned against them. Videos of captured Russian soldiers show them demoralized and sad. Those captured soldiers are telling a story of a dispirited Russian army.
- Outside Leadership: Generally speaking, most of the world has come out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Companies are pulling their products and services out of Russia, and political leaders are lining up to denounce Russia. While much of the West’s leadership has been halting, weak, and ineffective, there remains a high degree of consensus that we must oppose Russia. It is making a difference.
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