” … ‘General Winter’ is about to arrive – this time it’s not good news for the Russian army.”

“Russia is now running seriously short of precision-guided missiles – Ukraine’s defenders are becoming increasingly successful at shooting down Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 drones and other missiles – but all too many of them get through. Ukrainian friends tell me that the atmosphere in Kyiv is tense but fiercely determined – with a brisk market for small generators to offset the expected power cuts. It is going to be very hard for Ukraine’s civilians as they try to endure what is going to be a long winter.

But it’s likely to be a lot harder for their enemy’s troops. Nato has been planning for months to ensure that their Ukrainian allies are as well-equipped as possible. Canada has weighed in with nearly half a million sets of winter gear drawn from their modern and effective military stocks. Other countries, including the US and Estonia have followed suit.

Meanwhile, in an army not renowned for maintenance or logistical efficiency, but rightly famous for its corruption, Russian troops – including recently drafted soldiers with two or three weeks training – will have to find ways to cope with the weather.”

Comment: I am amused by commenters here who try to tell us that the hearty Russians and other assorted creatures “fighting” for Russia will just shrug off the effects of a Winter spent in the field in the sunny, mild weather of the Ukraine. People really think that going skiing or some other sports experience is anything like continual exposure to the elements under northern conditions? My! My! If you believe that, you really have to try attacking some stony hillock with your clothes frozen stiff by freezing rain and sleet, capture the hill and then stand around with the sleet still falling knowing that you are going to spend the night up there. And then you know that you are going to stay out in that weather indefinitely. I used to tell my men that they were the real heroes, not the pampered people who live in Olympic Villages every four years.

The Russian Army has a very good seeming seven-layer system of Winter clothing. OK. Where is it? Where is it? I don’t know about the boots. They look pretty good. Where are they?

For god’s sake, Vlad, these are your men! pl

Ukraine war: ‘General Winter’ is about to arrive – this time it’s not good news for the Russian army (theconversation.com)

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28 Responses to ” … ‘General Winter’ is about to arrive – this time it’s not good news for the Russian army.”

  1. EZSmirkzz says:

    Well Col., following the links in the article, ( I hates Twitter,)


    “Dr Mike Martin 🔶
    Oct 15
    Replying to
    Coupled with this, Putin has just announced that the mobilisation is now being curtailed. It has achieved its objectives or something.”

    Here’s hoping the html tags work, otherwise the quotation marks will have to suffice. Long ago in a galaxy far away I used to do a lot of this stuff. Sigh. Things change.

  2. Lesly says:

    This post reminds me of something I saw when I lived in VT years ago. Two men in cowboy hats and boots, jeans and thin leather jackets making a beeline from the heated, rest stop restrooms to their heated, sleek black limo. The stop was along I-89 maybe 50 miles north of White River Junction, near where, if I remember correctly, the edge of a small mountain was blasted smooth away from the road. In the dead of winter with enough snow long and thin stalactites form in the freeze/thaw cycle on the exposed mountain side. Maybe these guys thought the cold was a state of mind they could overcome by sheer will.

    • Pat Lang says:

      When I was at NWTC they told of a brigade from the 82nd that arrived in central Alaska in Winter to train. The colonel commanding said his men would simply ignore the cold. When cold casualties reached 50%, he was relieved for cause.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Officers who think that a triumph of the will is all that it takes to overcome the laws of thermodynamics need to be weeded out. Mother nature is pitiless and a lack of respect for her can easily be fatal. I have never had to sped the night on a stony hillock in frozen clothes. Your men were real heroes and were lucky to have a leader who understood that.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    General Winter in three months succumbs to Marshall March. Outranked?

    • TTG says:


      Before March shows up, a whole lot of ill-clad Russian troops will succumb to General Winter or as I knew him, the Right Honorable Winslow T. Hawkins, alias The Hawk.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Cute. Very nice. As you know per an earlier exchange we had, I was raised in American Siberia near Lake Ontario. Every spring cars were discovered under melting snowdrifts 10 feet high in which people had frozen to death after dozing off, unaware that they would be enveloped in huge drifts within the next hour or two. Quite unsettling to the visitors from points south who were dumbfounded to discover they had skied or frolicked over citizens who were turned to icicles and likely never knew it. I never personally knew anyone who that happened to, but did observe the flabbergasted look or two of people who never dreamed of those northern horrors. Lieutenant Goth E Drift presiding in those days if memory serves.

  4. TTG says:

    Russia is fully capable of clothing their troops with wonderfully adequate winter kit. They have generations of skill in doing this. The difference now is Putin’s era of corruption. There’s just no money to be made in keeping the troops from freezing to death. The new generation only believes in acquiring money and stuff. At least the old generation believed in communism and the well being of their fellow communists.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      I bet if you’re right about that I know the reason, or better, the method by which said pilfering of warm winter gear was transacted. Ebay. Hordes of silly (in my opinion) collectors of old Soviet gear. Maybe substitute “fetishist” for “silly.” That has a fairly long history. And then it caught on and became more extensive and involved more current gear. Pathetic if so.

    • JamesT says:


      You might want to check out the writer Victor Pelevin.

  5. J says:

    Colonel, TTG,

    The KGB types like Vlad’s only combat experience is the inside the gyms of their respective embassies and consulates . It speaks volumes at their ineptness that their conscripts will pay for.

  6. mcohen says:

    Those Chinese sock factories must be working overtime.The army surplus in a few years will be good value.

  7. Peter Williams says:

    Claims that Russian Troops are fleeing Kherson are disputed by Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    “Russian-backed authorities are evacuating residents to the east bank, but Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said there was no sign that Russian forces were preparing to abandon the city.

    “With Kherson everything is clear. The Russians are replenishing, strengthening their grouping there,” Mr Arestovych said in a video posted late on Tuesday.”


  8. Worth Pointing Out says:

    One correction should be noted: the 500,000 uniforms aren’t being donated from Canadian military stocks.

    The announcement was very clear on that: Canada would purchase 500,000 sets of winter clothing and send that to Ukraine.

    There is no guarantee that these will be up to the same standard as used by the Canadian military, nor that they will arrive in time to keep the Ukrainian soldiers warm.

    As in all things, the devil is in the details.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Very interesting. Thanks for pointing that out re Canada. “On time or not” the clothing will help Trudeau with Canadian/Ukrainian voters. Now to “geography” and I know some correspondents herein will clobber me. I know, and respect the cold, but if the next two months of combat will be in and around Crimea why is anyone worried about cold weather? As we move away from water the ameliorating effect of heat holding water lessens. Differences b/t day and night temperatures are dramatically marked the further inland one goes. But even Kharkiv, with a latitude similar to northern Massachussets, has an average night temperature of about 15 degrees. Winter is a dark time (February in Karkiv has little daylight, not much more then Helsinki and that I don’t understand) so the cold comes sooner and last longer. Germans/Soviets had their share of freezing to death during the German invasion. Were the winters of ’41-42, ’42’-43 unusually cold? The posts on the Col’s blog suggest Putin is consigning his troops to a Stalin like experience in the Finno/Sov. Winter War. OK, I’m missing something. Someone straighten me out. Thanks.

      • KjHeart says:

        Not trying to straighten you out – just commenting from personal experience

        I grew up in Sub Arctic climate

        Moved to, and lived in a sub tropical climate (for a couple years) and the winters there were another kind of cold soppy hell.

        Sub Arctic = properly covered and protected skin can often stay DRY

        Sub Tropical = NOTHING stays dry. Winters (though short) can still have days and days of freezing rain and just-a-great-a-chance for hypothermia.

        From what I can tell – southern UK has a lot colder than the Subtropical and rarely anything like the sub arctic I am accustomed to…

        Being outdoors for days on end with no gear, no shelter, no heat source? I’ll PASS.


      • TTG says:

        Bill Roche,

        Ukraine, especially southern Ukraine, doesn’t experience winters much worse than here in northern Virginia. That’s still cold enough to kill you if you’re not prepared for it. It’s also a wet cold. That’s far worse than a dry arctic cold. The wet cold will quickly incapacitate you with trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia just for starters.

  9. KjHeart says:

    Col. Lang

    It is a relief to see your comment on this plethora of ‘bragging’ about handling cold weather. I grew up also in the sub-arctic climate near the Great Lakes USA – My first real outdoor job was typically outside for more than 3/4 of my shift and winter temps were usually mean temperature minus -20 to minus -30 Fahrenheit. Atypical (possible) weather patterns had the mean temperature at minus -70 or sometimes a balmy (sarc) minus -50 Fahrenheit.

    I survived that job because of three things

    I had good gear;

    I had a WARM building to go into, from time to time to warm up;

    I could go off shift, eat, relax and get that core temperature back up;

    From all reports, the Russian Military has NONE of these things..

    WTF is Vlad thinking!

    oh and I also realized, I had one other thing the PFI (Poor f/n Infantry) does not have:

    I could quit my job.

    I am unclear what ‘quitting’ looks like for the conscripts – I am sure it is not something I want to see close up; Ever.

    Even with all the safeguards I had at that outdoor winter job I still have frostbite injuries, joints that ache, capillaries that have not come back to extremities…
    Really tempted to rant at these ‘weekend weather survivalists glampers’


    • fredw says:

      Agreed. Based on my slightly less rigorous youth in Minnesota. People who have not been in it grossly underestimate the effects of cold.

  10. Sam says:

    Over the past three months the wider world has watched Ukrainian army offensives with amazement. While impressive, their successes are not miracles and can be explained by superb leadership, excellent operational planning and its decentralised chain of command.


    It will be interesting to see the performance of the Russian and Ukrainian forces over the winter. Will there be a lull or will we see intense combat? It would appear that the south is where we could see significant action. Large numbers of the Russian army with fresh reinforcements are positioned in the Kherson region. Their supply logistics have been constrained. The Ukrainian army has been probing all across the frontline and are pushing south along the Dnieper. As Mick Ryan notes in his article linked above the Ukrainian army has been pursuing a strategy of corrosion. How that plays out in the south could become decisive.

  11. Jake says:

    Colonel Lang and commenters,

    Is it possible that Putin doesn’t understand cold and its effects because of where he grew up? He was also educated and trained in that same Leningrad/St Petersburg area. IMHO he has spent a large amount of time in a temperate area.

    Or am I barking up the wrong tree?


    • TTG says:


      You’re definitely barking up the wrong tree. Saint Petersburg gets damned cold in the winter. The port facilities freeze up and often need ice breakers. Although probably the worse Putin suffered as a KGB officer was a winter night’s stakeout in street shoes.

      • Jake says:

        Thanks, TTG. My memory must be faulty. I seemed to recall it was like Chicago and I have looked it up but it’s the web so who knows. But thanks.


      • Jake says:

        “Although probably the worse Putin suffered as a KGB officer was a winter night’s stakeout in street shoes.”

        I should have read the whole comment. Sorry. Your quote above seems to back up what that maybe Putin had no idea of the winter that is coming for his men.


        • Lars says:

          Being in the old KGB was much more comfortable than having to deal with reality in a combat zone and not having enough clothing, or equipment, or food, to prevail. I know from personal experience that being seriously impacted by weather in winter will in one aspect slow you down. Not to mention being distracted. Both that can get you killed in a combat situation.

      • Peter Williams says:

        St Pete is much colder than Kherson and similar to Donetsk – https://weather-stats.com

  12. scott s. says:

    The cold is memorialized here. The Hawaii Nat’l Guard 298 and 299 Inf had been federalized in 1940. In early 1942, the Nesei of the regiments segregated out at Schofield Barracks and during the battle of Midway shipped out to CA where they were redesignated the 100th Inf Bn (sep) and made their way to Camp McCoy in Sparta WI. That winter was for most the first experience of the “buddaheads” with snow and cold. Their cold-weather experience was cut short as they were shipped out in early 43 for Camp Shelby in MS. But it probably helped as they fought in the Apennines at Cassino and the following winter in the Vosges.

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