Russia’s military in Ukraine has shown that they still have major military logistics problems.

“Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars.” quote from Army General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front during WWI.

Russia moves military forces and supplies around primarily with rail inside of Russia and Belarus. Ukraine’s resistance has destroyed/damaged the rail at the border of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus.

Russia is mainly relying on trucks to supply their forces.

Russia has elements of its forces at most of the cities and most of the places that they were targeting. They have to buildup more forces and supplies and then constantly resupply. The logistic problems and failures make it slow going.

If Ukraine’s resistance gets constant significant resupply then they can either hold out a long time or mount a constant resistance that would make Ukraine a problematic quagmire that never stays conquered. Despite those problems, Putin can continue to draft more replacement soldiers and keep fighting. The sanctions will prevent Russia from ramping up and make it harder to sustain operationns at a high level and tempo. The troops that survive on both sides will continue to get more and more experience. Certain current problems with logistics and tactics should get improved and corrected.

There is no reason to think that Russia will be able to use this military to effectively threaten and capture Poland, Finland, Sweden or the Baltics when those places have strong NATO support. This is clearly the biggest conventional war that Russia is capable of fighting. They might capture half of Ukraine but will have a lot of trouble keeping and holding or putting in any lasting puppet government for any length of time.

Russia has maintenance and logistic support brigades of about 1000 people and 400 trucks for each combined army combat group. The 400 trucks can move about 1870 tons of material at a time. Ukraine has been targeting fuel and supply trucks. The 6th Combined Arms Army is headquartered in St. Petersburg and is composed of nine brigades and regiments. This is about 20,000 to 40,000 troops and it has one maintenance and support brigade. Russian currently seems logistically limited to supporting 160,000 troops beyond their border. They will try to build pipelines with 6 inch pipe to transport more fuel. The resupply pipelines will be targeted.

Russia has so far not been able to take many airfields to set up many air bridges to bring more supplies and troops deeper into Ukraine.

Russia has been moving its army down roads because they did not properly maintain the over road tires on many of their vehicles. The failing off-road tires cause the vehicles to get stuck in mud.

Russia has been making about 45000 to 70000 heavy trucks in recent years. This is the complete level of commercial heavy trucks.

It will be problematic for Russia to get any foreign heavy trucks with the sanctions regime.

NOTE: these logistic problems highlight the importance of the lend lease act of WW2 to help the Soviets to advance and defeat the Germans. The US gave/lent the Soviets a lot of trucks and fuel.

The shortage of trucks makes it tough to supply forward operations and advances beyond a certain distance. Russia can move in 45-90 miles but then they have to create resupply points to continue the supply chain deeper into the country.

NATO is united to support the Ukrainian resistance. An analyst for CSIS says the Russian invasion has done more to unify NATO than anything in many decades.

Russia air force is losing a significant number of planes against Ukraine. Mainly single person launched missiles provided by Western forces.

Russian Air Force losses over #Ukraine in the past 26 hours:

– 1 Su-34 strike aircraft

– 2 Su-25 close air support aircraft

– 2 Mi-24/35 attack helicopters

– 1 Mi-8 transport helicopter

– 1 Orlan-10 UAV (pictured)

— Oryx (@oryxspioenkop) March 5, 2022

SOURCES- CSIS, ISW, Wendover, Sub Brief

Written by Brian Wang,

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