The war in Ukraine proves Isoroku Yamamoto right?

I haven’t written too much about the war in Ukraine because I don’t speak the languages involved, don’t know the history, and don’t know anything about military strategy and tactics. The situation for individuals is horrifying, I’m sure, and that is not pleasant to contemplate.

One feature of the war, as I understand it, is that the Russian military has had a lot of armored vehicles, e.g., tanks and ships, and these have proven vulnerable to inexpensive weapons on the Ukrainian side.

Who could have predicted this? Isoroku Yamamoto, one of the greatest thinkers and strategists of World War II (had Japan followed his advice, it would not have chosen to fight the U.S. to begin with). Admiral Yamamoto was an enthusiast for naval aviation starting in 1924 and correctly predicted that heavy expensive battleships would be almost useless going forward, vulnerable to submarines but especially to swarms of comparatively light and cheap airplanes. (And, of course, the great admiral was ultimately killed by U.S. fighter planes in 1943.)

I’m wondering why the U.S. Army wants to pay to keep 5,000 tanks in its inventory. If we’re fighting a peasant army equipped only with rifles, these tanks are obviously useful, but then we don’t need 5,000 of them. If we’re fighting a big battle in Europe, doesn’t the Russian experience in Ukraine show that the last place anyone would want to be is inside a tank and its illusory protection?


  • U.S. Army’s official page: The Abrams Main Battle Tank closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower, and shock effect. The Abrams is a full-tracked, low-profile, land combat assault weapon enabling expeditionary Warfighters to dominate their adversaries through lethal firepower, unparalleled survivability, and audacious maneuver. The Abrams tank sends a message to those who would oppose the United States as to the resolve, capability, and might of the U.S. Army.

58 thoughts on “The war in Ukraine proves Isoroku Yamamoto right?

  1. Tanks are still useful as along as the military owns the airspace and there is sufficient infantry support for each tank to discourage the other side from deploying man portable munitions. Although the news is indicating other fancy high tech gear entering the battlefield such as GPS guided artillery, cheap drones, and drone assisted artillery.

    Russia was (again) lagging in technology and probably military strategy back in Crimea (1850’s) when the British and French showed up with rifled muskets and Russians only had smooth bore muskets and they got beat up.

    As to whether we really “need” 5000 main battle tanks, that depends on who you ask and what they do for a living.

    • In 1854 Russian army too had rifled muskets, but they maintained them by cleaning barrels with bricks.

    • The long engagement range of modern ATGMs – thousands of meters for Javelin, 800m for NLAW – means the infantry supporting the tanks can’t hit the ATGM launchers – their assault rifles and light machine guns have effective ranges in the hundreds of meters at most.

      Infantry can still protect tanks from close range ambushes in terrain that allows that – forests, urban.

  2. I am the farthest thing in the world from being a ground warfare specialist, but consider these two numbers:

    1) The cost of an M1 Abrams tank is reported to be US $8.92 million inflation adjusted dollars. We’ve built approx. 10,000 of them plus all the spares, etc.

    2) The 2018 cost of a Javelin anti-tank missile including the launcher and projectile was reported at $206,705 (the Wikipedia page has some updated numbers.)

    That’s four or five Javelins for about a million dollars. So you could outfit 5,000 soldiers with Javelins and they would each have four or five shots at every M1 in the inventory for about 12% of the cost of building the tanks. In truth you’d need 10,000 soldiers because the Javelin is most effective being utilized by two soldiers. You just have to get those soldiers close enough to fire the Javelins at the tanks. They also work against helicopters (and a lot more.)

    So my “back of the napkin” strategy would be to build a lot of Javelins and relatively few main battle tanks – but I guess you should still have a good supply of tanks on hand in case you have to re-conquer a lot of territory and subdue the Deplorables:

    “The Javelin had enough range, power, and accuracy for dismounted infantry to counter standoff engagement tactics employed by enemy weapons. With good locks, the missile is most effective against vehicles, caves, fortified positions, and individual personnel. If enemy forces were inside a cave, a Javelin fired into the mouth of the cave would destroy it from the inside, which was not possible from the outside using heavy mortars. The psychological effect of the sound of a Javelin firing sometimes caused insurgents to disengage and flee their position. Even when not firing, the Javelin’s CLU was commonly used as a man-portable surveillance system.[1]”

    • Sorry, I meant to add at the end:

      Then you roll in the main battle tanks and other troop transporters once you’ve effectively taken the territory and drive them around to menace the remaining population.

    • @alwex (1.0?) Very disappointed you were not able to work in your definition of gun control!

    • @TS: I don’t have any control over what the Pentagon decides to buy, thank goodness! That’s all in the appropriations bills, which I have zero control over or input into. But I do think that one definition of Gun Control is the proven ability to hit one’s target, and I should add the responsibility of controlling the weapon.

      At some point I suppose we will have to reckon with appropriations bills with earmarks for “Rods from God.”

    • And yes it is Alex 1.0. I keep getting push notifications to update my software and firmware but I ignore them.

  3. Tanks and armored vehicles are useful against the domestic population if it revolts against The Party (East German uprising of 1953, Tiananmen square, Canadian trucker protests).

    • Anon: That’s what the Netflix documentary on tanks says. “tanks are increasingly used to stamp out civil uprisings, turning the armored vehicle into a symbol of oppression” (episode 3) and then “In a new era of warfare, the once-invincible tank progressively becomes a dangerous, vulnerable and costly liability.” (episode 4)

      I killed off my Netflix subscription after their latest price increase so I can’t watch these.

    • Would be kind of interesting if ever the US militarized police rolled out their armored vehicles, and some domestic extremists dastardly re-imported some javelins from Ukraine, and took out the police tank.

      How would that escalate?

    • My FL city (pop. 70,000) just purchased its second $500,000 “Peace Keeper” armored vehicle (i.e., a tank). For sure, to be used, when the time comes, against the city’s domestic population.

  4. Regarding the shooting down of Yamamoto, I have the impression the mission was a “long shot”.

    Any opinions from the pilots here?

    Why I considered it a long shot was limited time available at expected rendezvous site, and a requirement to very accurately predict where and when Yamamoto’s plane would appear.

  5. The tank story is bad enough, but I’m more surprised that the Ru’s can’t use their aircraft effectively. They don’t have coordinated control systems, seems they just send planes to ground support roles or out-and-back attack missions. The navy has been an embarrassment. Not to minimize it, but their only effective weapons have been indiscriminate artillery.

    How did our experts conclude this was a formidable military that could take over a resisting modern country in days?

    • If Ru’s can’t use their aircraft effectively then it is outmoded too! Let’ get rid of jet fighters, they are way more expensive then tanks.

  6. As soon as you suggest cutting tank purchase by 50% you will be told that the price for the remaining tanks on order will increase by 150%
    That’s how it works

  7. > I’m wondering why the U.S. Army wants to pay to keep 5,000 tanks in its inventory.

    The people who vote for tanks are funded by defence contractors, and $10M M1 tanks (+ 20 year maintenance programs) are more profitable to defence contractors than $5k tank-killing drones.

    • The people who vote for tanks are funded by defence contractors…

      One of the nation’s largest defense contractors put bread on the table for four generations of my family. My 92-y/o grandmother is still collecting the defense contractor pension from my grandfather and he died in 1995.

    • DP, era of defined benefits is long over. Now defense contractors have regular 401K / stock profit sharing plans. Your grandmother was grandfathered into sun-setted defined pension plan.

  8. Tanks (other then T72 derivative line) are great for active defense purposes.

  9. Actually, Javelins and NLAWs turned out to be not very effective against Russian armor. Did you hear anything about these recently? (Other than US govt is asking Raytheon to make more of them because American stock is depleted.)

    That these aren’t really up to the task was recognized quite a while ago: “Javelin requirements were written in 1988 and never updated. One requirement, the probability of kill given an engagement opportunity (PK(EO))—did not take into account selected human factors and new technology that the contractor would include in the Javelin. By the time one applied all of the contributing factors into the calculation of the PK(EO), the result was much lower than the requirement but good enough to determine the system effective given the newly understood human factors and the availability/reliability factors of system components.” (source: FAS).

    Apparently it takes a significant amount of training to use them properly, and Russians figured out how to avoid situations where these can damage tanks: there are rather crippling limitations on distances and time windows for their use – i.e. the sensor takes 10-15 sec to cool (45-60 sec considering all the manipulations involved from the moment the target is spotted) using a separate gas canister (Battery Coolant Unit) and when cooled they stay ready to use for 3 minutes or so. So AFU started to simply discard them, and the photos of trophy never used Javelins in are now common in the Russian segment of internets. (I’m wondering why tanks are not yet equipped with flares and cheap short-range Doppler radars to detect incoming IR guided missiles like Javelins…)

    In the messy world of a real battlefield low-tech stuff often works better than the latest-and-greatest high-tech wunderwaffes.

    What did turn out to be more effective than anticipated were small drones which are quite deadly in combination with dumb artillery for target spotting and fire correction. So Russian army changed its modus operandi to simple brute-force shelling combined with slow advances when the attrition took care of numbers and morale of defenders. They feel they can spend as long as they want; they are in no rush to storm the cities (where defenders do have advantage). The surrounded cities will simply be allowed to run out of ammo and food, I guess no more Mariupol-style assaults are coming (Odessa, maybe… but that depends on Turkey’s position WRT maritime military supply routes, which may create an incentive to isolate Ukraine from the sea).

    The risk to that strategy is Poland getting in militarily – in which case the Polish troops will be annihilated by massive WW-2 style bombing (so far Russia didn’t use conventional aerial bombing much, apparently out of concern for preserving civilian lives and infrastructure, but it does have large fleet of bombers, and may even use a tactical nuke – just to make sure the message is loud and clear).

    To get an idea of how confident Russians are that they’re winning consider that they committed (by different estimates) only 10-20% of Russia’s military assets to the war with the largest and most heavily militarized and fortified country in Europe. The conventional military wisdom holds that attackers need 3:1 force advantage to prevail. Russians used smaller force to take on the larger army trained to NATO standards, and it looks like the attrition rate is around 10:1, not in Ukrainian favor. To a large extent it looks like a live fire military exercise to Russians, complete with troop rotations and limited test use of new advanced weaponry (i.e. hypersonics and battle lasers). This “exercise” also serves to weed out incompetents in the command staff (a common problem in any standing army — in peacetime the political animals get promoted, rather than the competent warriors who usually don’t shine on personability side). Finally, note that Chechens are given something to do – they treat the war as a big party, something for the young men to prove their mettle as warriors. Much better than joining criminal gangs all over Russia. Diversity is strength, etc. (Russia had two wars with Chechens in post-USSR era, and managed to re-integrate them culturally afterwards.)

    The much-touted propaganda war is decisively lost by NATO where it matters – in Russia itself. Ukrainian insistence on decorating themselves with Nazi insignia and building up Stepan Bandera (a notorious Nazi collaborator) as a national hero did a lot to damage the claim that the war is unjust. So now the Russian propaganda plays Nazi theme for all what it is worth – including calling combined Russian / DNR / LDR forces “the allies”. The torrent of rather obvious (to anyone who’s not a Western journalist or “military analyst”, apparently) fakes generated by Ukrainian side (remember Ghost of Kiev? ROFL) didn’t help – by now anyone paying attention simply ignores any Ukrainian/Western war news, not for any ideological reasons, but simply due to impossibly bad signal/noise ratio.

    • >> Diversity is strength, etc. (Russia had two wars with Chechens in post-USSR era, and
      >> managed to re-integrate them culturally afterwards.)

      interesting – isn’t Russia orthodox Christian ‘mostly’ & checen an Islamic republic.
      how was this feat achieved?

    • Russia is multicultural, like, for real – not the fake American “multiculturalism” which insists that there is no difference between cultures (as long as they vote Democrat). Russia has large Moslem minority (10-12%), the western part has Catholics, and in the East there is a significant Buddhist population. And North, of course, has its pagans. But mostly the country is secular. Russian Orthodox Christianity is the biggest faith (70%), and historically it was central to the culture and the society. It definitely sees a revival now (at least at the cultural level, if not fully religious).

      I grew up in Moslem neighborhood in Northern Caucasus; it was mostly peaceful (and for some reason we had a noticeable Korean community in the city — I still love Korean pickled carrots:)

      Chechens are a somewhat special case – they always were a warrior society, and Russian Empire had real hard time subduing them (for example, Lermontov’s Caucasian poems often refer to warlike Chechens). What Putin did when the second Chechen war was won is actually quite smart – instead of suppressing their culture he hand-picked a pro-Russian clan leader (Ahmad Kadyrov) to lead the region and gave Chechnya a lot of autonomy in governmental and legal affairs (including basically ignoring polygamy and the blatant misuse of federal funds – it is considered internal Chechen matter). Putin also explicitly recognized and praised Chechen culture, thus playing up their cultural identity. So now they pride themselves on being the most fierce part of Russian armed forces (and also on their prowess in marital arts); it goes well with their idea of masculinity, and does not conflict with overall Russian culture – they found themselves a stable niche, like Sikhs in India. The current leader of Chechnya (Ramzan Kadyrov) is a son of Ahmad Kadyrov, and currently personally leads Chechen regiment in Mariupol (he was promoted to LTG recently).

    • Day 85 of 3-day Russian blitzkrieg in Ukraine. Number of :de-nazified” Ukrainian бабусь (grandmothers) clearly shows superiority of Russian weaponry. However, despite deficiency of Javelins and NLAWs, бабусi seem to keep Russian armor in check. As of last week of April after two months of the war, each mentioned loss is documented: “Tanks (671, of which destroyed: 361, damaged: 21, abandoned: 48, captured: 239)”. That’s individually documented losses as of weeks ago. Real armor losses are much higher.

    • @lsi –
      how are the sanctions working out? and has the EU stopped Russian gas already?

      if she wanted to Russia could have easily carpet-bombed Ukraine into shreds, but it has chosen a slower approach while deploying only its half-aged weaponry.

      wait for n watch, while xiden loses Taiwan as well in the next 2 years. then u can also put sanctions on xchina .

    • “managed to re-integrate them culturally afterwards.”

      The populace had a choice: (appear to) re-integrate or die. Only those who took the former option remain. The ensuing Chechen despotism provided a good example for the whole of Russia and its leader, somewhat as if the Union had encompassed and imitated the Confederacy, considering that European Russians are prone to refer to those from the Asian republics as “blacks”, or perhaps “our blacks”.

    • Anon, socialist states of Europe and Americas sanctions work “miracles”, for me it was clear from the outset that parroting what was working against at core socialist/communist self-inhibited economic system of former USSR and expect economic collapse of Russia was senseless. Russia is not going to run out of potatoes, sauerkraut, pickles and vodka the way former USSR did. Saying that, Russian military can forget about quality components for its machinery and especially electronics. Even today it is clear that Russian cruise missiles badly need to be rough – sanded using напильник. By Russian official admission, nothing is made on Russian-made equipment in Russia, even regular nails. And looks like that Russia needs to forget its military for-profit exports.
      It is a joke that Putin planned this military disaster that has resulted in many tenths of thousands of Russian losses in just 2 month of Russain aggression, losses already exceed Russian losses in Chechnya and all 20 years of Soviet losses in Afghanistan. Russain aviation proved to be a joke, can not operate in volume, it seems only mid-level and senior officers are cleared for military patrols and strikes and their action is uncoordinated with Russian ground forces.
      Ukrainian military aviation which was two orders of magnitude smaller then Russian at the start of conflict, still exists and strikes targets in Russian (formerly Kiev губерния under tzars) Belgorod two months after Russian blitzkrieg started.
      Russia completely razed formerly tourist and industrial city of Mariupol and pillaged cities and towns in Northern Ukraine, tortured and killed man civilians and had to withdraw from them for the all the word to see body of Ukrainian civilians in the streets of Bucha and other towns and half-buried remains of tortured Ukrainian families. By Russian military admission, it could not raise one large Azov still mill plant, it took it two months to do. Russia used thermobaric weapons in Kharkiv and shelled Kharkiv residential neighborhoods with rocket artillery and never the less was kicked out of Kharkiv region completely. Russian has not raised the whole of Ukraine is not for luck of trying but of military deficiency and certain response from NATO if nukes were used by Russia.
      Russian image is tainted in the world for the next several generations.. When America elects someone sane and economically sound like President Trump Russian oil and gas revenue will disappear.

    • @averros: The wikipedia entry for the Javelin inre: the Russo-Ukrainian war says they’ve been very effective. I don’t have any dog in this fight but your statement that they’re “…not very effective against Russian armor” is directly contradicted by the Wikipedia Gods:

      “During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO provided thousands of Javelins to Ukraine, where they proved highly effective. Javelins have been responsible for a part of the 230+ of armored vehicles Ukraine has destroyed, captured or damaged.[29] An image dubbed “Saint Javelin”, which shows Mary Magdalene holding a Javelin launcher in the style of an Eastern Orthodox church painting, gained attraction in social media and soon became a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion.[30][31][32] An unknown number of Javelin launch tube assemblies were captured by the Russian armed forces during the conflict; it is unclear if any of the captured launchers contained live rounds, or were simply tubes discarded after being used.[33] On 18 March, the Pentagon claimed out of 112 Javelins fired by the Ukrainians since the start of the war, 100 missiles had hit their target.[citation needed]”

    • People, just stop parading obvious propaganda as facts. Yes, that includes Wikipedia. “Documented” video game footage, “documented” photos and videos from other wars or even war movies, and “documented” obviously AFU losses passed off as RAF wrecks (obviously to anyone with a clue… Russia did modernize its Soviet era equipment, Ukraine mostly didn’t or did it in distinct ways, and if you know what you’re looking for you can tell which is which, it’s not rocket science and takes some digging out the pre-war photos). And… Oryx… are we serious or are we already in the clown world? “Military analysts” collecting a few dollars here and there on Patreon, LOL.

      Here’s a sure-fire way to spot a fake: mass media knows exactly what happened right away, before any third party has been on the scene or conducted any investigation. And, yes, we already had seen Ukrainian official statements passing video game footage for real news: (example: And this kind of stuff goes on and on and on, and, frankly, it’s beyond my comprehension so as to how anyone could still believe anything from the people who were caught lying repeatedly and brazenly.

      And I do know what I’m talking about when I’m talking about Chechens – my mother was born in Chechnya, and I grew up in the vicinity (and had Chechen friends), so I’m quite familiar with mentality of people there. What you think as despotism is just how they live – it’s a very clannish society (they call their clans “teip”, by the way). Some of them (Dudaev clan) did flirt with Wahhabism (yep, the same jihadist crap as ISIS/DAESH), but Kadyrov clan, medieval as it looks to modern Westerners, are actually moderates. Their way of life worked for them for far longer than US (and most European countries) existed, so they see little reason to change.

    • > And I do know what I’m talking about when I’m talking about Chechens – my mother was born in Chechnya, and I grew up in the vicinity (and had Chechen friends), so I’m quite familiar with mentality of people there

      Your mother might be an asshole too, it doesn’t make you a proctologist. ( purely hypothetical I don’t know your mum ).

    • @averros, my knowledge about militant бабусь is strictly from Solovyov. Just put one and one together, “tactical” withdrawal of Russian troops and Solovyov’s Kremlin reporting

    • Anonymus – go insult somebody else, you are no more capable of insulting me than a dog barking at me. You have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt your level of mental development.

    • @Low Skilled Immigrant – I’m not sure which Solovyov you’re referring to (its a pretty common last name in both Russia and Ukraine). I’d appreciate a link.

    • > People, just stop parading obvious propaganda as facts.

      Propaganda and facts aren’t in conflict in a post-truth world, which is precisely why all of the post-Lakoff “discourse” is so dangerous.

      I have never had any doubt that a lot of what shows up on Wikipedia is wrong, dead wrong or statistics, but who can tell the difference any longer?

      It sends a shiver up my spine to remember a childhood encounter in a upscale New Jersey mall with an Encyclopedia Brittanica salesman. My father was trying to tell him that in a few years, the entire contents of the EB would be encoded onto optical disks that anyone could buy. Nobody would need their beautiful, artfully printed and leather-bound volumes. Then he put the icing on the cake by saying that the entries themselves would all be accessible through a home computer and ordinary people would be able to edit them.

      This was something that made that Encyclopedia salesman very, very, very angry indeed. He got into a shouting match, as a matter of fact. My Dad walked away from the fight but he said: “You will see it all happen in your lifetime.” Got the Finger back as a response.

      Well, here we are in the post-truth world with post-truth politicians and post-truth Wikipedia and the only thing that’s real are the dead bodies.

      I don’t know whether this whole “Internet Thing” has actually been good for humanity at all.

    • @Alex – I totally share your sentiment. Particularly about Internet (and I am guilty of contributing a lot to making the Internet happen…) One of my regrets is that I yielded to IPv6 faction by giving up on trying to talk sense into their heads, resulting in what we have now, the NAT-heavy network with information flow controlled by corporations owning the servers while “consumers” cannot run servers or decent P2P – instead of the old ideal of everything-to-everything connectivity. (Building a network with 2^128 or more individually addressable end-points and symmetrical full P2P connectivity is trivially doable with IPv4, using LSRR. This does not require changing backbone architecture, or breaking compatibility with good ole CIDR.)

    • “Particularly about Internet (and I am guilty of contributing a lot to making the Internet happen…) One of my regrets is that I yielded to IPv6 faction by giving up on trying to talk sense into their heads, resulting in what we have now, the NAT-heavy network ”
      @averros, did I buy your books? I could not get through one of them in full, and if I my guess is right it indeed went out of mainstream.
      I am not a great believer in propaganda, Russian, Ukrainian, American or of any other kind and I tried to joke about Kremlin propagandist for “glupiiniy (according to Boris Akunin) narod” that I guess you do not work. But I know and sometimes communicate with on the ground in Ukraine and one of them died in Russian bombing of his apartment building in first week of the conflict with no Ukrainian troops present in the area. I think that you are fulling yourself about real Russian situation in Ukraine.

    • @averros
      > People, just stop parading obvious propaganda as facts
      They won’t stop. They think that media lies about Trump and Covid – but as far as it concerns to Ukraine, it is stellar reporting the Truth.

  10. > not the fake American “multiculturalism” which insists that there is no difference between cultures (as long as they vote Democrat)

    You should definitely stop watching Fox News or whatever batshit media you get this nonsense from.

    • I don’t watch TV _at all_. And you should definitely stop projecting. (I’m not even a “conservative”, LOL.)

    • > I don’t watch TV _at all_.

      Ah so you’re completely out of touch with any form of modern American culture, got it.

    • I’ve noticed this as a Progressive argument technique, i.e., accusing a person of having been poisoned by Fox News. I’m often accused of it right here on this blog, even though we didn’t have a TV at all in the old apartment (we got 6 TVs with the new house because the previous owners didn’t feel like taking them off the walls).

      I think that it is a winning argument in the minds of Progressives because it is self-evidently true that everything presented on Fox News is false. Therefore, someone who has been influenced by Fox News is speaking falsehoods.

    • Probably just a coincidence your comments mirror the talking points from conservative talk radio, Fox News, etc.

      Shitbirds of a feather flock together, or something like that.

    • > Just read U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil’s opinion, leaning heavily on the arguments of Fox’s lawyers: The “‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ ”

      She wrote: “Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”

    • @philg – I think we already determined that this Anonymous is just a troll with nothing useful to contribute to the discussion.

    • Anon: UltraMAGA hates Carlson for conceding the election, the “left” hates Carlson for telling the truth.

      I’m checking Fox News by reading history, going to original sources and relying on actual journalists with an impeccable record like Greenwald, whose “conspiracy theories” are mainstream two years later.

      I’m a classic liberal left/libertarian from Europe and therefore now a “conservative”. People often say that the social justice topics in Fox News are straw men constructed for the right to be outraged at. I’ve extensive U.S. contacts in the software sphere and can say with authority that Fox News 100% correct. If anything, they started focusing on power and financial aspects of the movement too late.

      In general, you’ll find a lot of individualists on “the right”. I stopped watching some conservative podcasts after they revealed their hardliner neocon nature this year.

  11. In the age of shoulder-mounted missiles, I don’t think I would want to be in the tank business, either producing them or sitting in one. It doesn’t help that Russia appears to be fighting this war with WWII equipment.

    Like everything, war is also affected by technology.

    With drones and autonomy, this won’t be the last thing to change, either.

    Perhaps manned fighter planes will be replaced or assisted by remotely controlled drones, perhaps of much smaller size.

    • Modern tank gun reach radius is about 6 miles, several times greater then of shoulder – fired missiles. Modern heavy tank has RPG-resistant armor systems like Trophy that protects it all around and from above incoming ATGMs. It is also a networking center that integrates with drones, artillery and radars. It is a potent player in modern warfare.

    • I’d take what Chris Owen says with a huge grain of salt. First of all, he cites Ukrainian sources – the very same people who post video game screencaps to try to pass it for real war footage.

      Secondly, he is very blissfully unaware of the basic tenets of Russian tank design philosophy – these machines are NOT DESIGNED to be reliable. After all, in a real tank battle the average life expectancy of a tank is hours (if not minutes). This is actually a common theme in all Russian military equipment design – resolutely not over-engineered and mediocre (but adequate) performance-wise so as to be as cheap as possible, and can be manufactured in a hovel, if needed. During WW2 Soviets evacuated most of their heavy industry from the eastern part of the country to Ural, and started making tanks (notably T-34) even as the mills and lathes (a lot of them of 19th century vintage) were being unloaded from rail cars – right under the open sky, and ability to do that was absolutely critical in kicking Nazi ass (read about Battle of Kursk). Tolerances, what’s that? Oil leaks? There’s a lot more oil where it came from. Quality steel? Ah, unobtainium. And, yes, soldiers have infinite amount of time to spend fixing up the stuff – gives them something to do other than drinking. The real war is mostly walking, digging, and waiting for something to happen.

      It’s much better to have 10 tanks out of which 2 break down before getting into the battle than have 1 tank which is highly unlikely to break down but takes 10x more resources to build. The entire Russian military budget is smaller than the amount of money US will spend on military help to Ukraine this year.

      Basically, the idea that better machines are better weapons in a real war is a typical armchair military “analyst” (aka basement wanker) fallacy. The real war is all about logistics and attrition (and replacement) rates, not about cool gadgets. The preoccupation of US military with cool gadgets is the direct consequence of US military equipment manufacturing done by private, for profit, companies. The fancier a gadget is, the more profit they make – military procurement is generally done on cost-plus basis. (Full disclosure – I used to own a small military contractor company in US; my main customer was US Tank Command (TACOM), though the product was crypto software, not tanks, LOL. The last time I was visiting them in Warren, the bored mid-level guys there entertained our team with slick marketing videos by their main suppliers while we were waiting for the brass to show up for the meeting.)

    • @averros, as someone who had been familiar with Soviet military, Russia does not have any longer 3 million-strong army pf former USSR. You suggest Russian version of drone swarm with tanks staffed by draftees (who serve only one year when they actually do serve), seems that this is a tactic which already failed in northern and eastern Ukraine.

    • “Secondly, he is very blissfully unaware of the basic tenets of Russian tank design philosophy – these machines are NOT DESIGNED to be reliable. After all, in a real tank battle the average life expectancy of a tank is hours (if not minutes).

      There is video of small consumer grade drones dropping small and cheap munitions on top of Russian tanks and completely wrecking the tanks. Comments indicate tank design with an auto loader and the ammunition isn’t protected so any minor breach of armor can do that. Running a “special military operation” using tanks with life expectancy measured in hours if not minutes from a country with very low birth rates and now heavy duty sanctions doesn’t seem like a good plan. Granted, Ukraine supposedly has similar problems so its still hard to predict an outcome where the two sides can’t or won’t negotiate a settlement.

  12. Well, even before the Azovstal surrender Russia had far more Ukrainian POWs than the other way around. They are still going to lose because they are prosecuting a “Special Military Operation”, not fighting a war.

  13. Interestingly, the US Marine Corps has totally divested themselves of tanks. Gave ~400 M1 Abrams to the Army, disbursed the personal to other (often adjacent) MOSs.

    While the Army prepares to fight the last war, Marines prepare for the next war… and all of their wargames and intensive simulations found tanks were more of a hinderance in the expeditionary mission the Marines are tasked with. They have limited mobility in a huge percentage of terrain, they are wildly vulnerable, they are resource hogs, they need a robust logistics chain to operate, etc etc. So they ditched them.

    • I was surprised that US Marine Corp had them in the first place. Tanks are not sea-faring vessels. The could save a lot of computing power if they sought my advise. That would help them to fulfill their new chief goal: to save the earth by fighting global warming.

  14. McKinsey was involved in a nepotism German Army scandal with Ursula von der Leyen (she failed upwards to Brussels after the scandal): promoted upwards to Brussels

    Now it turns out that apart from advising the Pentagon, McKinsey also advised Russia defense contractors:

    Given the state that the German army is in (money goes to cronies, SJW and a ballooning bureaucracy) this could be good news: If McKinsey ruins one army after the other, we might have world peace!

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