From cannon cocker to cannon fodder – TTG

To the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, to the Minister of Defense of the RF. An appeal

We are the artillerymen who were mobilized as part of your order, we arrived to the DPR, to the 1st Army Corps. The Corps command doesn’t listen to us, attempting to form an infantry detachment out of us. According to your order, the mobilized were formed with an artillery specialization and cannot be used for other purposes. The personnel is fully formed to conduct military objectives as part of an artillery battalion. We ask you to look into the matter. We’re already completely trained in line with our original specialty. With respect to you from the mobilized artillerymen.

Comment: This is a video clip translated by Dmitri at It is not an isolated incident. Several Russian military bloggers have spoken of similar cases. Here Alexandr Kots, a military correspondent from “Komsomolskaya Pravda” writes about similar instances on his Telegram channel (@sashakots).

With the training of the mobilized, we have two extremes. At the initial stage, fighters who did not undergo high quality combat training ending up on the front line. Now other stories are coming out. They are trained for one military specialty for a long time and with high quality, but in the end they are sent to a completely different specialty. All preparation is down the drain, and an unprepared unit is going to the front. Prepared for something else.

So now, judging by the appeals to me, it is happening with the Separate 640 Howitzer Battalion, consisting of mobilized people from the Saratov region and the Republic of Bashkortostan. For three months they were trained in the art of artillery, the officers invested their skills and knowledge. And in the end, on December 27, a train with trained artillerymen went to the SMO zone, where, according to relatives (I have a video message), the battalion was told that artillerymen were not needed there. But they needed infantry. A battalion of artillery becomes a whole battalion of infantry. Which, however, was not prepared for infantry operations.

Here my friend, the commander of a howitzer battalion in the 2nd Army Corps, is gathering volunteers all over the country for a new high strength battalion. The Minister of Defense speaks before the President about the creation of five new artillery battalions in strategic directions. And suddenly such wastefulness. The commander of the 640th battalion, they say, tried to fight for his fighters. But unsuccessfully

As it turned out, the transformation of artillerymen, who underwent a three-month training in the specialty, into infantrymen is already a systemic thing. And the artillery battalions, which, upon arrival in the SMO zone, become infantry battalions, are no longer one or two. And as a rule, this happens in one building. Some of them were lucky enough to be trained. But this is rather an exception. And so – either there are no guns, or they are faulty. So, welcome to the infantry. Well, they should have prepared for the infantry. Why waste time and ammunition at training grounds, if you can immediately train those who are needed at the front.

At the same time, there are people who want to join the infantry, but they are not allowed. Here is one of several typical calls: “In our country, on the contrary, people want to get to the front line and not sit in the defense and guard the trenches behind the backs of conscripts on the border.”

Comment: Not only is the Russian mobilization system in shambles, but this situation points out several other deficiencies in the Russian war machine. First, there is a shortage of working artillery pieces at the front. They are either destroyed or worn out. Second, Russian ammunition shortages are real. And third, there is a shortage of infantry to carry out the continuous piecemeal assaults that Russian officers try to pass off as battlefield progress. Such idiocy.

Over 60 mobiks were sunflowered in this one field before Bakhmut. Were they trained as artillerymen?

Sadly, Russia most likely has enough guns and ammunition in storage far to the east. It’s a shame that once those guns make their way to the front, there won’t be any Russian artillerymen to man them. Beyond this military incompetency, this is another human tragedy inflicted upon the people of both Russia and Ukraine by the mad dreams of Putin. 


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22 Responses to From cannon cocker to cannon fodder – TTG

  1. John Minehan says:

    Not uncommon in armies generally.

    When Time made “The US Soldier” the person of the year in 2003, some of the Soldiers profiled were a DivArty Survey Platoon pressed into service as Infantry during the early days of the US presense in Baghdad.

    Field Artillery Surveyers (MOS 82C in my day) are smart, adoptable people who are generally brought into the MOS due to its similarity to what is done by civilian sureyers, (which is not quiet true or, at least exaggerated, but I digress).

    However, on the scale of “adoptability for service as infantry,” they are somewhat less suitable than Foward Observers (MOS 13F) or Cannon Crewmen (MOS 13B). (In addition, these were not large entities, I could not determine from that article if the Field Artillery Metrological Sections [MOS 93F], often considered to be part of the DivArty Survey Platoon, were part of this, )

    • Bill Roche says:

      Isn’t the purpose of training every recruit in basic infantry skills done to enable local commanders to use troops where needed NOT as req’d by a soldiers MOS?

      I have read recently that the Ukrainian military is losing 100 men weekly (dead) and 500 men wounded. Are these numbers accurate. How can Ukraine keep going at that attrition rate?

      • Sam says:


        Both sides have reportedly lost 100k KIA. So with wounded it will be much larger.

        Considering that Ukraine has a much smaller population it is more material. But at the same time it is a considerable percentage of the Russian invasion force.

        The real question is how long and how much losses in personnel and materials both sides can continue to lose. This will go on for some more time. Putin can’t withdraw and he’s gotta change the battlefield dynamics to have a better negotiating position. Zelensky can’t trade land since they’ve already sacrificed so much. The war will continue as a consequence. That’s why IMO the winter and spring offensives by both sides will be instructive as to the next phase of the war.

  2. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    That is odd. This picture of the dead soldiers on the field is from a Wagner Group video. They claim to have stalled an Ukrainian attack using TOS-1 thermobaric shells. The lack of artillery craters in close proximity of the bodies seem to support that statement.

    • Leith says:

      Doctor Somkuti – Russian 152 mm rounds large burst radius scan end deadly shell splinters out to a 100 meter radius. Russian 122mm have only a slightly smaller burst radius. There are hundreds of craters in that pic close enough to have produced those dead bodies.

    • borko says:

      Balint Somkuti, PhD

      Your notion of close proximity when it comes to artillery craters is puzzling.
      There is little else on that photo except people and craters.
      Do you have a link to that Wagner group video ?

  3. Leith says:

    What is the vintage is of those cannons and especially the ammo in far eastern storage?

    “And so – either there are no guns, or they are faulty.” Many were destroyed by counter-battery fire. Located and targeted by spotting drones and counter-battery radar; or by Ukraine’s Polozhennya-2 Acoustic Weapon Locator. The latter is a modernized, 5th or 6th generation computer based system a 1000 times more accurate than the one that Alexander Solzhenitsyn used 80 years ago as a sound-ranging battery commander.

    Others are just worn out from overuse and no maintenance. A few more self destructed when their barrels blew up from faulty propellant charges.

  4. Sam says:

    IMO, the Winter & Spring ground offensives by both armies will provide an indication of the next phase of this war.

    Most of the equipment delivery to the Ukrainian army announced in recent weeks will not arrive to be deployed for the Winter & Spring operations. So both sides will have to duke it out with what they got now.

  5. Fred says:

    The Russians are still bitching? Why just 3 months ago, no 4, the Ukrainians had them on the run (and only paused for a ‘beer break’ ala refueling and resupply) and were gonna bag 10,000+ of them along the coast of the river in Khershorn, or the Donnets Cauldron (take your pick). What gives? I thought Zelinsky was gonna be on the offensive and retake Crimea by now?

  6. Leith says:

    Speaking of cannon fodder. Russian Army conscripts who refuse to fight may soon be in penal battalions under the command of the Wagner Group. Sounds like a metamorphosis to Stalin’s Headquarters Directive ВГК №227 of 1942 that established Shtrafbats or Soviet penal battalions. Over 400,000 Soviet soldiers were turned into Shtrafniki who were forced to charge thru minefields or into heavy machine gun or artillery fire. Only a few survived. Hitler had some also.

  7. Mark Gaughan says:

    “the mad dreams of Putin.” What would those be?

    • TTG says:

      Mark Gaughan,

      Putin wants “to solve” the Ukraine problem. He doesn’t believe Ukrainians should exist as a people, culture or country separate from Russia.

      • JamesT says:


        Since Putin is annexing pro-Russian areas into Russia that doesn’t make much sense. I think it is Zelinsky who doesn’t think Russo-Ukrainians should exist as a people since he has outlawed their language, their religion, and everything else that might sustain them as a culture. Maybe here in Canada we should outlaw French and close all the Catholic churches – we have been coddling the damn Quebecois for too long!

        • TTG says:


          Zelenskyy, himself, is a Russo-Ukrainian. Russian is his first language. Russian is still used in Ukrainian Army units fighting to rid their country of the Russian invaders. Kharkiv, a heavily Russo-Ukrainian city fought like hell to hold back the Russian invaders. Many Russo-Ukrainians are now embracing Ukrainian language and culture enthusiastically to distinguish themselves from Moscow’s domination. Putin has done far more to harm the Russian language and culture among Ukrainian citizens than Zelenskyy’s government or even the nastiest of the old Ukrainian ultranationalists.

  8. Consider:

    The Wall Street Journal: Using Up America’s Oil Reserve Was Easy. Refilling It Won’t Be..

    My view:
    Ignoring the West’s need for Russian hydrocarbons will have any number of highly negative consequences for the West.
    The above article gives one of them.
    A diminished SPR makes the U.S. more vulnerable to future oil shocks.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      What’s so special about Russian hydrocarbons? The West still needs hydrocarbons, but not Russian hydrocarbons. Russian oil and gas are not removed from world supply, just going mainly to India and China.

      • Fred says:


        LOL what’s replaced them in Europe and what’s the impact on prices? How does that impact US supply and US prices?

        • TTG says:


          Germany now imports no gas from Russia. The first of six LNG terminals is already on line. The first shipment of US LNG has already arrived. Gas reserves are above 95% and prices have stabilized to pre-war levels. The mild European winter has something to do with that. Imports now are from from primarily the Benelux countries, Norway and France. The US and the Emirates will become major suppliers later this year as more LNG terminals open.

        • Sam says:


          Russia is forced to sell its Urals #oil at a 50% discount, prices are falling as low as $37.8 per barrel. Diverting the first million barrels per day of oil away from the EU was doable – but diverting the second million barrels per day is much harder.

          Chart of spread vs Brent.

          Russian crude oil is selling for below what it was prior to the invasion. The big beneficiaries being China & India. Those forecasting the Europeans would be burning wood, coal and wearing woolens all winter without Russian gas & oil were being hysterical in retrospect.

        • Fred asked:
          “what’s replaced [Russian hydrocarbons] in Europe
          and what’s the impact on prices?”

          Good questions.
          For partial answers, see:

          From that article:

          With Europe facing critical gas shortages
          as Russian pipeline volumes dropped in response to Western sanctions,
          each cargo of U.S. LNG was highly valued by energy companies charged with keeping power supplies flowing across the continent.

          But at an average of close to $4 billion a month,
          the cost of those U.S. supplies was significant,
          placing a mounting burden on governments and utilities that have also grappled with mounting expenditures in other areas as well.
          [Yeah, like supporting Ukraine!]

          What is interesting is the different emphasis from TTG’s cheery view on European energy.
          I do not know who is more accurately describing the situation.

          In general, I think Russia was cooperating very productively with the West in a number of areas,
          from selling reasonably cheap fossil fuels to providing transport to the ISS to helping in Syria,
          to the mutual benefit of both Russia and the West.

          I find it very hard to view Russia as an enemy, like, say, al Qaeda.
          We should be working with them.
          Enough of this zero-sum game nonsense.

          For more on the LNG situation, see

          From that article:

          despite the massive increase in LNG imports,
          Europe is still short of gas.
          As U.S. liquefied gas exports to Europe surged,
          Russia progressively slashed its pipeline gas exports.
          It’s difficult to know whether the two are linked,
          yet it’s clear that Russia was using its dominance in the EU gas market
          to inflict both political and economic pain on its rivals.
          The result is that
          Europe is more gas-starved than ever,
          with total gas consumption falling more than 20 percent year-over-year in the latter portion of 2022.
          Energy-intensive industries have been particularly hard-hit by the shortfalls.

          Again, note the stark conflict with TTG’s cheery view.

    • Sam says:


      The US is self-sufficient in hydrocarbons. If the policy is straightened out we can produce and transport as much as we need anywhere in the country at competitive prices. Furthermore, if we once again modify policy we can produce terawatts of clean electricity from nuclear power plants. The United States has no need for Russian or Middle Eastern hydrocarbons.

  9. Shako says:

    Connecticut Heavy Artillery as infantry at the Battle of Cold Harbor.

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