Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Opinion | Ukraine must keep pressing on its counteroffensive

Opinion | Ukraine must keep pressing on its counteroffensive

Regarding the June 28 news analysis “Ukraine faces mines and manpower challenges in offensive’s early weeks”:

Heavy mechanized warfare is incredibly difficult, and attacking a well-prepared defense in most military doctrine requires a ratio of 3 attackers to 1 defender for a reasonable chance of success. Russia’s force levels are higher than Ukraine’s, a marked disadvantage for Ukraine, and the Russians have been preparing defenses for months. Being in the defense also helps the Russian will to fight. Though a poorly led force with low morale has great difficulty in the attack (they are not inclined to increase personal risk under enemy fire to maneuver forward), those same troops will fight hard to save their own lives when in the defense.

Additionally, Russian leaders are known to shoot deserters, so the best chance for Russian soldiers to survive in Ukraine is to defend their position with all they have, which Russian soldiers and commanders appear to be doing.

The counteroffensive was never going to be like Gen. George S. Patton’s breakout through German defenses after D-Day. In southern and eastern Ukraine, the roads are cut with obstacles, the fields are mined, and the Russians are defending with substantial artillery resources in a layered depth that will make an open-field breakout unlikely. Momentum for Ukraine is the key. Keep pressing every day, keep pressure across multiple attack avenues, and grind the Russians down with superior intelligence and ever-improving firepower. I believe Ukraine will get this done if we keep our support flowing. But give Ukraine time, and plenty of it.

The writer is a former U.S. Army armor and intelligence officer who taught heavy ground combat at the U.S. Military Academy.

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