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The Ukraine Powder Keg's Hot Matches

Austin Bay on

Nevertheless, Ukraine 2022-2024 is a 21st-century tactical and operational military clash -- with horrifying loss of life and the prospect of nuclear war.

Russia's invasion has had numerous tactical lessons -- all tied to operational and strategic decisions.

At the end of 2017, the U.S. (Trump administration) made the strategic decision to provide Ukraine with lethal military. Ukraine wanted .50 caliber rifles with armor-piercing rounds that could destroy light-armored vehicles and radars. The U.S. also sent 220 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.

When Russia invaded in 2022, Ukraine deployed tactically "dispersed units" that ambushed road-bound Russian columns. Anti-tank teams slaughtered Russian armor confined to roads -- reminiscent of Finland's slaughter of Russian invaders in 1940.

Ukraine also used "data advantage" -- electronic and digital platforms that see the battlefield. Swarming UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles -- drones in the jargon) provide target detection. Fire direction officers then assign targets to weapons within range. That could be anti-tank teams, tube artillery or long-range rockets.

Dispersed guns or soldiers (separated to avoid detection) could concentrate on a single target.

The idea isn't new; the U.S. Army began developing it in the late 1920s, using radios to coordinate artillery fire, but Ukraine has brought it into the 21st century.

Ukraine's USVs (unmanned surface vessels) and UUVs (unmanned underwater vessels) have driven Russia's Black Sea fleet away from the Ukrainian coast.

 

Alas, strategic and operational mistakes by Ukraine's allies have resulted in tactical losses. Delays in delivering tanks, longer-range missiles and combat aircraft (like the F-16) undermined Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.

Tank and personnel mines are unmanned systems. Russian forces have laid millions of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Ukraine. The mines may not destroy tanks, but they damage tracks and cause what the military calls "mobility kills."

Ukraine wages a war for survival -- but its war is also a 21st-century warfare lab -- with matches.

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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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