Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset., A/K/A P01135809

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

What We Were Afraid of During the First Cold War

I served back then. I can well remember various threat briefings as to the capabilities of the Soviet Armed Forces. Possibly some of that was justified, as they had a huge land army then; several million men, over 200 divisions. Their equipment was most likely newer back in the day; much of the equipment the Russians are using now date back to Soviet days.

That may color Russian performance. Their materiel is old and, evidently, poorly maintained. By their performance on the battlefield and by their interactions with their so-called Slavic kindred, Russian soldiers seem to be performing more as a poorly-trained rabble than a professionally trained and led army. The Russians seem to be compensating for those failings by firepower alone and a concern for civilian welfare that would not be out of place in the Waffen-SS.

I'm not sure that the lack of basic military competency on the part of the Russians can be overstated. True, they are the invaders and the Ukrainians are fighting for their homes. But, in spite of having air superiority, the Russians have been unable to prevail. If the old saw is true that "amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics", the Russian army would seem to be neither professional nor amateur.

In a professional army, the NCOs are the people who make things work. They make sure that their troops toe the line on maintenance of weapons and vehicles. An army with professional, career NCOs would not have trucks and armored cars that are leaking oil from their hubs. They would not have tires that suffer from sun rot. They would not need to comandeer civilian vehicles. They don't loot civilian homes or engage in widespread rape of civilian women. The evidence is that the Russian army is a horde, not a professional military.

The sinking of the Moskva is a special topic of its own. The Ukrainian Neptune is, in size, similar to a Harpoon or Exocet. For targets larger than a corvette, those weapons are not designed to achieve seaworthiness kills. They are designed to get a mission kill; to do enough damage to the combat systems to knock the target out of the fight. Hitting the superstructure of a ship targets the combat information center, the radar waveguides, cable runs and the things needed to effectively fight with a modern warship.

For the Moskva, a cruiser of over 10,000 tons, to sink from such a hit may imply several things. It may imply that there was a lot of compbustible/explosive stuff to damage that was stored above the hull. The only US Navy ships that did that were destroyers and frigates with ASROC box launchers. Where the launchers were reloadable, the magazine was (on non- guided-missile ships), on the same level as the launcher. That was because ASROC had its roots as a kludged-up system that was added to modified WW2 destroyers (the deck ring for the launcher came from 3"/50 gun mounts).

Soviet warships, on the other hand, seem to have been designed to store copious amounts of weapons and missiles above their main decks. That may have been a conscious decision because, in a general war with NATO, Soviet ships were likely considered to be expended after they fired off their main battery of very large cruise missiles.

That mindset of "shoot and die bravely" may also be behind a lack of attention to damage control equipment, training and readiness. There is nothing glorious or dramatic about damage control. It takes a lot of effort and training to do it right. A small example: It takes time and effort to keep the gaskets on watertight doors and hatches in good repair. It is an easy thing to not do. But if a crew doesn't do it, those watertight closures are neither watertight nor smoketight.

The Moskva was a pretty ship. I'd bet a potato against a case of vodka that everything on the ship was ready for a presidential visit: Paint fresh, brightwork shined, furniture polished and so on, but that damage-control readiness was nonexistent and that shipboard firefighting training hadn't been done in years. I'd be willing to wager that, if the Russian navy used brass firefighting nozzles, that those not right out on the hoses, where they can be seen, were long ago pilfered and sold for scrap.

Two months ago, I was concerned that we might end up fighting a near-peer adversary in the Russians. We still might end up in a war with the Russians, but calling them "near-peer" is polishing up a turd. The Russians would seem to have the Mother of Glass Jaws. Which, unfortunately, raises the risk of a nuclear war.


CenterPuke88 said...

The location of the two potential hits seen on the limited pictures of the Moskva seem to be just below the port side AK-630 twin mounts. The AK-360 differs from the CWIS in that the ammo is belt feed from a remote storage, leaving a potential diversified ignition risk from the impact. Since the Neptune was likely still more than 80%+ fueled, the splashed and ignited fuel adds to the warhead damage, and Russian damage control is certainly not of a high standard anyway. Add the smoke markings that suggest the fires may have reached some of the VLS modules and the apparent rapid abandonment of the vessel, and it paints a pretty damning picture of the Russian navy’s competence for both brown and blue water operations.

w3ski said...

I grew up with a negative view of Russian military capabilities. Their performance in Afghanistan supported my views. Then as I got older they seemed to come around with lots of modern-looking weapon systems. So now, it was mostly bullshit after all?
I wonder what the failure rates on their nukes are?

Comrade Misfit said...

w3ski, that's a good question. I, for one, have no idea how much the systemic corruption in Russia has infiltrated their nuclear program.

BadTux said...

It doesn't matter if 95% of their nukes blow up on launch or fail to detonate on target. That remaining 5% would still be a very bad day for whoever they launched at.

Of course, if they launched at the United States, by the end of the day Russian would only be the national language of Hell. The nation itself would have ceased to exist.

Ten Bears said...

Be quicker than watching our grandchildren choke in our farts ...

But let's not test that thesis, aeh? I'm not laughing at Russian incompetence. A bit surprised, I too was traveling under the assumption there was more there than there. I count it as Providence, as Our Good Fortune. Were the Ruskies competent this would be over.

That said, as overheard on bur yesterday, Putin is not a rational player ...

Richard said...

If i was a Russian- ya di dadi dadi do- i also would feel despair and anxiety.
So i would do the usual Russian thing, which is to murder peasants and whatever other people i can shoot. After this necessary job,i would complain to the world that nobody understands us.