No equipment, no solid clothes, in a big makeshift. This time the frost won’t help Russia in the war

No equipment, no solid clothes, in a big makeshift.  This time the frost won’t help Russia in the war

No equipment, no solid clothes, in a big makeshift. This time the frost won’t help Russia in the war

The researcher cited examples of failures of foreign troops attacking Russia, which were influenced by “general frost” – a commonly accepted term for the scorched earth strategy used by Russian commanders twice in history: during the invasion of Russia by Napoleon’s troops in 1812 and by Hitler’s troops in 1941. on the territory of the USSR.

“The most famous winter defeat in Russia in Europe occurred in 1812 … when Napoleon’s Grand Army withdrew from Moscow. The Russian scorched earth tactics, which left the French without food or shelter along the lines of withdrawal, made their effect even more deadly.

Beevor described.

“A lesser known fact, and perhaps more important, is how Russia won. Despite the loss of 200,000 men, the Russian military command was much less worried about the number of casualties among the soldiers than Napoleon. Russian officers still considered their villagers somewhat superior to serfs (and serfdom was not abolished in Russia for another 50 years). This lack of interest in the health of soldiers and a relaxed approach to huge losses as a result of the so-called Meat grinder tactics are seen in Putin’s army in Ukraine today” – emphasized the British historian.

During World War II, the Red Army stopped Nazi Germany soldiers outside Moscow in December 1941. “Both the German army and the Luftwaffe were unprepared,” Beevor estimated in Foreign Affairs.

“General Frost” also played an important role in the final victory of the Red Army in 1945. The great Soviet breakthrough in January, the charge from the Vistula to the Oder, was weather dependent

added the historian.

After 1945, the Red Army’s achievements in the Winter War gave it a formidable reputation in the West, Beevor said. The historian recalled that it was only after the poorly planned invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces in 1968 that Western analysts began to suspect that they may have overestimated the combat capabilities of the Soviets. In the 1980s, the collapse of the Soviet empire was marked by a doomed struggle for control of Afghanistan. Then, during the economic collapse of the 1990s, the government of Russian President Boris Yeltsin was often unable to guarantee the salaries of officers and ordinary soldiers, and corruption became institutional. Recruits were often on the verge of starvation as their rations were sold out; theft, intimidation and poor discipline became commonplace, Beevor said.

Corruption became even worse after Russia’s chaotic 2008 invasion of Georgia. Putin began pumping money into the armed forces. Spending on prestigious projects encouraged their contractors and generals to fill their bank accounts. Little seems to have been done in terms of reassessing the doctrine. military”

– wrote the researcher.

However, “Putin’s greatest triumph in the eyes of the Russians” was the secret seizure of Crimea in 2014, a year before his intervention in the Syrian civil war, by infiltrating the peninsula with plain-clothes “special forces green men,” Beevor said. “It was part of Putin’s angry response to the revolution of dignity in Kiev that forced his ally, (Ukrainian) President Viktor Yanukovych, to flee,” the historian wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs.

In February 2022, Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. “At that time, the advance guard was ordered to bring their parade uniforms and prepare to celebrate victory – one of the greatest examples of military hubris in historyBeevor wrote, “However, months later, when the Kremlin was finally forced to order a partial mobilization among the Russian population, it also had to warn the new recruits that uniforms and equipment were scarce; they will have to provide their own body armor and even ask mothers and girlfriends for sanitary napkins that can be used in place of bandages.”

The researcher described the lack of bandages as “astonishing”. An additional winter hazard is mortar shells hitting the frozen ground: unlike the soft mud that absorbs most of the blast, the frozen ground causes shrapnel to ricochet, sometimes fatally wounding, explained the historian.

Beevor drew attention to the problems with the morale of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. “Many resort to sabotage of fuel, weapons and vehicles, not to mention self-mutilation and desertion. However, a long-standing structural problem in the Russian military – a lack of experienced non-commissioned officers – has also led to a dismal record of maintenance of weapons, equipment and vehicles. These problems can cause especially high costs in winter for sensitive technologies such as drones” – said the researcher.

According to the historian, due to the fact that the parties to the conflict are now entering a much harder season of fighting, their outcome will largely depend on morale and determination.

“While Russian troops curse their shortages and lack of hot food, Ukrainian soldiers now benefit from supplies of insulated camouflage suits, tents equipped with stoves and sleeping bags provided by Canada and the Nordic countries.”

– described the researcher.

“(Putin) probably also made another mistake by concentrating missiles fired mainly at the Ukrainian power grid and its civilian population. They will endure the greatest suffering and there is little chance that they will break down” – summed up the British historian in “Foreign Affairs”, indicating that “general frost” will favor Ukraine this time.

Source:, pap



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