One of the truisms of military affairs is: Tactics are for amateurs. The professionals understand that wars are won and lost through logistics.
The great Tom Ricks has written a short, but deeply informative, piece about logistics that everyone ought to read:
Say you and your family want to visit Granma back in Indiana, about 500 miles away. You and your partner throw the kids, the dog and some clothes in the minivan, and you’re ready to go.
But wait: There is no food available on your route. So you go back inside and pack up a couple of days of meals, squeeze it into the back. And you feel ready.
Also, there are no gas stations on the way. You don’t feel comfortable carrying gas cans in the car, so you get your pick up truck, and fill up some cans, and put them in the back. You can drive that while your partner drives the minivan.
But also there are no dependable sources of potable water. So you put 200 gallons into cans and lift them into the back of the pick up.
Also, there are no doctors or hospitals. So you persuade some medical people you know to come along in their own car. But they also need food and water and gas, and space for their bandages and medicines and equipment, so they bring two pickups with them, loaded up.
Now we have a convoy of five vehicles. Ready to go? Not quite. There also is reliable information that you could be attacked along the way. So you get five truckloads of soldiers—two for the front, two for the back, and one to control and command their operations.
Yes. This. Read the whole thing.
And now keep that in mind when you look at this Phillips O’Brien thread on the maps showing Russian gains:
As O’Brien notes, the only Russian thrust that has significantly exceeded the 140 km threshold is the one ranging from Sumy to Kyiv.
Here is the principle you must always keep in mind about logistics:
Logistics are not an easy problem to fix.
Because it is not normally the case that an army has tons of spare materiel sitting around the yard back home and that they just sort of, you know, forgot to pack it.
“Hey, Dmitri! We probably need 5,000 of those trucks we left back at Belgorod. Can you back, load them up with Krasnopols, petrol, and spare tires and drive them out to the front? Spasibo comrade!”
Normally, fixing a logistical fiasco requires two things: Time and a great deal of money. You throw money at your logistical problem and hope that the force in the field can sit tight until the cavalry gets there.
You may remember that way back on January 13 I told you that Russia was likely to invade Ukraine and that one of the reasons Putin would do it was that he viewed his massive foreign currency reserves as a moat.
He did not believe that Western sanctions could possibly go so far as to attack Russia’s central bank and render those foreign currency reserves inert.
Meaning: Putin cannot throw money at his logistics problems.
But how about time? Does he have it?