How big will the counteroffensive be?

I compared my list of known Ukrainian combat brigades with a list of Ukrainian brigades currently at the front.

Result: Ukraine has 30x combat brigades, 6x artillery, 5x territorial defense (TDF), and 4x national guard (NG) brigades in the rear – that’s 155,000+ troops. 

As combat brigades I count:

  • 15x mechanized
  • 3x motorized
  • 3x tank
  • 2x marine
  • 1x jaeger
  • 1x mountain assault
  • 1x air assault
  • 4x offensive guard

Besides these and the 6x artillery brigades I count:

  • 1x air assault regiment
  • 1x special forces regiment 
  • 2x MLRS regiments

This doesn’t mean that all these units will be taking part in the Ukrainian spring offensive. I.e. the TDF and NG brigades are guarding the border with Belarus and Moldova. Some of the combat brigades are reserve units along the front, while some are in the rear to rest and get rebuild after fighting in Bakhmut.

And as Ukraine is rotating its troops in the difficult front sectors, some of the combat brigades have likely rotated into the front by now. We also know that the West is training/equipping at least 9x of the 30x brigades for the spring offensive, while Ukraine is training 3x.

But the Pentagon leak omitted the brigades being equipped by Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belgium, Slovakia, etc. Therefore we can assume that the Ukrainian spring offensive will consist of at 20+ brigades:

  • 9x NATO trained (7x mechanized, 1x marine, 1x air assault)
  • 3x Ukrainian trained (likely: 1x tank, 2x mechanized) 
  • 8x offensive guard (4x of these recently taken out of the front for rest and refit)

As for the artillery brigades: 2x have M777 howitzers, 1x has PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, 1x has M270 MLRS… and the other two: maybe Archer? maybe Zuzana 2?

Most of this information is publicly available: @Militarylandnet collected a lot of it from the social medial pages of Ukrainian units, while @JominiW published maps with the known Ukrainian units at the front.

This info is of little use to the Russians. Ukraine can mass forces between Dnipro and Donetsk and strike either South, or South-East, or East with very little warning for the Russians. And once the offensive gets underway 50,000+ Ukrainian troops will barrel down on 1-2 km of Russian front. With 30-40,000 follow-up troops.

My tip to Russian troops: start shooting your officers and flee to Russia. It’s your only chance.

Comment: This is the Ukrainian order of battle as determined by Thomas C. Theiner (@noclador). He’s a former Italian artilleryman, who has lived and worked in Kyiv since 2009. Theiner is listed as an expert on NATO Cold War land forces and NATO Cold War defense strategy. I don’t know about that, but his writings make sense to me for the most part.

What strikes me about this “guesstimate” is the proportion of the Ukrainian Army that is not now in the fight. If this is right, the Ukrainians are currently holding the Russians off with less than half their forces. That’s one hell of an economy of force move and very encouraging. This coming counteroffensive is not a final roll of the dice like the 1944 Ardennes offensive was. There could be more than one this year. I don’t know how the next counteroffensive will unfold or how successful it will be, but I see Ukraine continuing the fight for as long as she needs to.


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59 Responses to How big will the counteroffensive be?

  1. Leith says:

    Impressive OOB if true. And Theiner is right that Ukraine has the option to strike on any of the three different axes – S, SE, or E. But I’d feel more confident if they had more artillery (with unlimited ammo), more armored formations, and more engineer equipment for breaching obstacles and crossing rivers/canals. Brigade and battalion leadership is going to be key. Especially with the recent comments by Ukrainian Colonel Arty Green on youtube about poor command and control at that level by some units. Some questions. Mostly rhetorical questions, I was just thinking out loud after too much beer and bratwurst:

    1] How many of those 20 combat brigades Theiner assumes will be used in the counter-offensive are to be a mobile reserve? Five or six perhaps?

    2] I suspect he may be wrong about 50,000 Ukrainian troops barrelling down on just one – two km of Russian frontlines. That’s hyperbole except perhaps for the tip of the spear. Wouldn’t the bulk of those attacking troops need multiple lanes of attack?

    3] Seems to me the Ukrainians are writing the book on 21st century war and know better how to train their own troops than we, or the Brits, or any other country. So how well trained are the nine NATO taught brigades? Did they just give them instruction on the new NATO weapons and equipment? Did they conduct unit exercises at levels from squad all the way up to brigade?

    4] It’s going to be a tough row to hoe without air superiority. So how much embedded air defense AA and SAMs are in those combat brigades? And how many sorties per day can those MiG-29s fly and for how long can they sustain that rate?

    5] What happens at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station? Would Ukrainian Special Forces attempt to liberate it during the counter-offensive? Will the occupying Russians deliberately damage one or more reactors?

  2. Babeltuap says:

    Russia sentences opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison. He served as a pallbearer at McCain’s funeral in 2018:

    I don’t pretend to know how this war ends but one thing is for sure; a lot of people will be going to prison in Russia and Ukraine.

  3. Jake says:

    All these men and their armor stampeding towards 1 to 2 kilometers of frontline sounds like a turkey-shoot to me. I read the Russians prepared 3000 kg bombs for just such an occasion. Letting those who survive through to finish them off with crossfire from both flanks, as they hit the well prepared defensive lines. Are you sure this guy is not a Russian agent, serving this Russian war of attrition?

  4. Whitewall says:

    “My tip to Russian troops: start shooting your officers and flee to Russia. It’s your only chance.”
    Let’s hope so. The morale boost to Ukraine will be off the charts. These Russians need to understand that their enemy is in Moscow, not Kiev.

    • Babeltuap says:

      CCP is fully enjoying our self inflicted quagmire. We all know this needs to end (should have never started) but nope. They will steal another election and another and another and keep trashing the Constitution in the process.

      Nowhere in it does it give judges the power to make election laws but that is what they did. Call another emergency and handcuff the Constitution again. Take away religious freedoms, free speech. All gone. And once it’s gone bye bye republic. You now have a failing liberal democracy. The next phase is tyranny. Communism is “becoming what you once hated” as the saying goes. Plato lays all this out in the Republic.

      • ked says:

        “Take away religious freedoms, free speech.”

        not to worry – theocracy is a thriving growth industry in our SE states. however, Moms for Liberty are doing a number on libraries, so that’s a concern. news flash: the Constitution has been “getting trashed” since the ink dried. seems it was designed that way.

      • Whitewall says:

        Interesting. So our enemy is not Beijing or Moscow, but Washington. Republics tend to drift in this direction. Democracy descends to a battle between the corrupt and the ignorant. Something will give.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Sorry Babletuap, I was looking for an appropriate tag for the news I just read. Carlson and Fox announced a permanent split this A.M. Free speech? I don’t like some speech? I don’t think Carlson s/b able to speak?? Here I wish we had Col. Lang’s opinion on this. He and I both enjoyed Carlson until Carlson’s strange romance with the Russians in Ukraine. I reserved comment. Both Carlson and I have a libertarian streak and maybe that informed his ideas on Ukraine?? I wanted to give Carlson a chance to explain his ideas. Guess he won’t on Fox.

        • cobo says:

          From a Zerohedge article:

          “Carlson’s executive producer, Justin Wells, is also out at the network according to Semafor.”

          I agree with much of what Carlson says and strongly disagree with his stance toward Russia, but as he makes clear, that is the essence of free speach.

          But with Carlson and his executive producer going, perhaps we will see his “what’s next.” Carlson has the clout to go out on his own. A third party not beholding to the uniparty is the best medecine, I believe, for our ailing democracy. Maybe this is the leading edge, maybe not, but this is one of the most interesting developments I’m seeing.

          • Billy Roche says:

            After losing an election fixed by the socialists, I hoped Pres. Trump would opt for a third party rather than try to renew a gop owned by professionals w/no ideology b/y winning a seat. Alas, he d/n. So the gop/rnc leviaton continues to rumble along. Could Carlson muster enough money to compete against the liers who occupy the gop? I don’t think so. He’d need Pres. Trump to come along to lead the challenge and buckets of dough. I don’t think its possible. We are left w/a political landscape of socialist who hate America and gop liers who don’t give a ship as long as they win some seats. Sorry, but that’s the sad truth.

  5. Fred says:

    “Ukraine has 30x combat brigades, 6x artillery, 5x territorial defense (TDF), and 4x national guard (NG) brigades in the rear – that’s 155,000+ troops. ”

    So they are already down 300,000 from numbers previously reported here.

    “Most of this information is publicly available: @Militarylandnet collected a lot of it from the social medial pages of Ukrainian units, ”

    So they learned nothing about operatonal security from the Russians doing the same thing a year ago; or they engaging in info-ops.

    • TTG says:


      That’s 155,000 troops IN THE REAR. This is the potential counteroffensive forces. That does not count the troops already in contact along the front, the troops currently holding the Russian Army at bay. The TDF alone has 31 brigades and approximately 167,000 under arms.

      Operational security doesn’t mean total information blackout. All those videos and reports from the front showing the Ukrainians holding the line, destroying Russian armor and artillery and celebrating victories are great for the morale of the nation. So yes, they are engaging in info ops.

      • Billy Roche says:

        TTG; Three questions if you will pls. why are all the force calculations and OB done in Brigades instead of Divisions. What is your gut on whether/when Ukraine will rec’v jets from Poland, Slovakia, or the U.S. Last, not to put words in ur mouth but, I think you favored a Ukrainian move to break through R forces and head straight to Sea of Azov breaking R Forces in two. Is this still your position? Thanks

        • TTG says:

          Billy Roche,

          Ukraine just doesn’t do divisions now. They probably went to brigades mirroring our force structure over the last six years of build up. Combat brigades have been in vogue with us for quite a while now. Our divisions have become more of an administrative grouping for the brigades although that could change again. When I was in the Infantry, the brigades were mere administrative groupings for the battalions and the division identity reigned supreme. Russia was moving from divisions to brigades and in the last year, may be moving back to the division structure.

          Poland and Slovakia are sending their MiG-29s to Ukraine now. I think they’ll get F-16s and/or FA-18s later this year, but that’s just a gut feeling on my part. I’m hoping we allow one or more of our bigger defense contractors hire pilots and ground personnel (and the aircraft) that Zelenskiy will incorporate as the air wing of his existing International Legion.

          I still think Ukraine’s best move is to split the Russians by driving to the coast or at least close enough to close off all overland access to Kherson Oblast and Crimea. At that point, the Russian’s obvious focus will be on reopening that access. Those counter-counterattacks must be anticipated and prepared for as part of the overall counteroffensive plan.

          • gpc says:

            I am refering to your last part:
            a successfull 30miles+ driving to the coast?
            don’t your think the russkies can and will anticipate this bold, but predictable move?
            for my part, UKR will destroy in the beginning the kerch-brigdes – they have to – but a jump to azovsea will need something different – they need to block the supply roads to crimea – any ideas?

          • TTG says:


            A drive towards the coast is fairly predictable, but where along the coast? The Zaporozhzhia front is 200 km long and now there’s even the possibility of a river crossing at Kherson. The Kerch bridges are also an obvious target, but what capability does Ukraine have to hit them right now? Maybe if they get closer.

      • Fred says:


        ‘trigger warning’. You make it sound a whole lot worse. How big is the logistics ‘tail’ as Col. Lang called it? It looks like a trickle of gear of various types from various countries that may or may not be combat ready with a limited amount of ammunition in theatre. On top of that the latest ‘leak’ shows we have no intel on the ground in Ukraine. But by all means, on to Sevastopol!

        Those posts were from a year ago. It is truly remarkable that Russia hasn’t been beaten yet. Of course the latest news is all about the need for US direct involvement in Ukraine.

        • TTG says:


          To support a counteroffensive of this size will require one hell of a long logistics tail. We don’t hear of all support that’s flowing into Ukraine, especially trucks, ammunition, fuel, medical supplies and more. Most of what we hear about are the tanks, artillery and HIMARS. I doubt the logistics requirements are being overlooked. That may be why there is such an “ammunition hunger” among the front line Ukrainian units. It’s being stockpiled for the counteroffensive.

          What I don’t hear a word about is any Russian reserve force. Are they maintaining one? Are the Ukrainians monitoring it? Given what the Russians are now throwing at Bakhmut and Vulhedar, I don’t think there’s much quality left for a substantial reserve. The once top line VDV and guards units have been reconstituted at least once and often twice with low quality meat and they are currently committed to combat.

          • Fred says:


            Didn’t you reread the two posts from last year? Russia had already committed 85% of their land forces to battle and their called up reserves are mediocre at best. It’s a hollow shell the Ukis will bust through, but absolutely not like that last offensive that went 23 kilometers and then stopped for a weekend of beer and refit that has turned into 6 months.

          • TTG says:


            I even reread the comments. The Russian forces are now in even worse shape than last summer except maybe with a greater number of ill-trained, ill-equipped mobiks now at the front. The Ukrainian’s Kharkiv offensive involved just three brigades. It’s a wonder it got as far as it did as fast as it did. In a comment of mine to one of those old posts, I laid out the status of Ukrainian forces at that time.

            “The Ukrainian reserves have nine combat arms brigades organized similarly to the sixteen or so active brigades. At least one of those reserve brigades has been committed to combat already. The rest are still training and equipping. At least one reserve tank brigade has been equipped with Polish t-72s and Dutch upgraded M-113s.”

            Compare that to the forces preparing for this counteroffensive. They have come a long way.

  6. Sam says:

    What happened to the Russian army offensive? Has Bakhmut fallen yet? I was under the impression that it was imminent months ago.

    • Jake says:

      The Russians never announced any kind of offensive, and all their official communications about the war since Surovikin was appointed, is that they are engaged in a war of attrition, killing as many Ukrainian soldiers, and destroying as much NATO-delivered hardware as needed to make them understand that there will be no Ukraine, and no NATO left if they won’t stop. The trouble is, that nearly everybody on this website never read what the Russians had to say, running off with the guidance provided by Western ‘intelligence agencies’, and their political superiors. That is going to be a very costly mistake, by the looks of it.

      • TTG says:


        The Russians have been crowing about their winter offensive all winter. They got Soledar and at least half of Bakhmut so far. They got nothing but death and destruction in front of Vuhledar.

  7. walrus says:

    What do you think the Russians have been doing? The Officers attending parties while the starving conscripts freeze outside in the snow?

    “ My tip to Russian troops: start shooting your officers and flee to Russia. It’s your only chance.”

    – Meaningless drivel.

    What if the Russians have used their time to construct effective defense in depth?’’’

    Meanwhile, as NATO searches for Ukrainian cannon fodder, the rest of the world is reconfiguring itself.”Globalisation” as a business strategy, is dead. Trade will continue – it just won’t involve American British or European corporations because their parent governments can’t be trusted. Astute members may have noticed the evidence in the form of a proliferation of “prohibited country” clauses on invoices lately.

    • TTG says:


      The Russians are constructing defenses in depth, but they’re often poorly sited and poorly constructed. Their dragon’s teeth will most likely stop an SUV. I’m not sure they would stop a tank. A field of garden gnomes might be as effective.

      • walrus says:

        Hi TTG, “Garden Gnomes” great simile! I guess we will see if the obstacles are intended to work or maskirovka. I’m reminded that an obstacle is only an obstacle if it’s covered by fire.

      • Poppa Rollo says:

        For TTG
        Defensive positions become ineffective if the supplies to the defenders are stopped. With the new information-centric warfare and long-range pinpoint attack systems, static defense has become far more problematic.

        • English Outsider says:

          “static defense has become far more problematic.”

          Not sure. Take mines alone. These are said to have caused severe problems for the Russians in Ugledar.

          The Americans have a fearsome mine clearer that’s attached to a tank and literally ploughs its way through a minefield. The video is most impressive, though it didn’t show mines being cleared in muddy conditions. It’s claimed the Russians, for their part, can now disable the mines electronically.

          But even if that’s so, and assuming the Ukrainians have been supplied with the right equipment, it’s still not problem solved. Someone sitting miles away can then lay another set of mines remotely by means of artillery! So you have to start mine clearing all over again from the beginning. While, presumably, under fire and with drones all over the place.

          And that’s just the mines. Below there’s a link to the complicated military choreography needed when the attack gets going. We never trained the Ukrainians in all that in the eight years we were training them before the SMO. To hope they’ve picked it all up in the months since is unrealistic. Even assuming the Pentagon’s war gamed it and planned it all out it’s a pretty desperate throw of the dice, to hope it’ll all work in reality with under-trained and under-equipped troops.

          Casualties? The Ukrainians took heavy casualties in the Kharkov offensive and that was against a very light screen of Russian troops. In the Kherson offensive, before Surovikin’s withdrawal, the attacks invariably turned into a turkey shoot. In this offensive it’ll be a bloodbath.

          And assume that by some miracle of courage and determination and sacrifice the offensive achieves all that’s hoped from it. Go to the limit and assume even the Hodges scenario. The Russians are expected to say “Oh damn. We’ve lost Crimea. Let’s go home” and do just that?

          Of course not. In those unlikely circumstances they’d ramp up even more.

          This is a PR offensive, just like all the others. A desperate enterprise entered into because if the Ukrainians don’t attack Western support withers away. As we’re seeing in Bakhmut right now, Zelensky has to insist on throwing away men in these hopeless actions because if he doesn’t the West won’t back him any more.

          The scale of this callous and pointless sacrifice of Ukrainian troops, at the behest of the extremists in Kiev with nothing to lose and of the Western powers who care not what the cost is as long as they get to “bleed the Russians”, and all for PR reasons rather than in the hope of achieving any useful military result, is by far the most disturbing feature of this war.

          • Poppa Rollo says:

            If your dreams were in any way reasonable Kiev would have fallen in 3 days. Stop trying to tell us that the pony will eventually, it died in the massive Russian traffic jam; 64 kilometres (40 mi) in the Kyiv oblast from Prybirsk to Hostomel.

          • Fred says:


            That traffic jam that the Ukrainians couldn’t shoot to pieces even with the help of the Ghost of Kiev? Yes, Moscow was defeated months ago, they just don’t know it yet. Meanwhile…..

    • Fred says:


      India hasn’t signed up for sanctions, a look at the oil flows out of the Persian Gulf shows just who is vulnerable. What’s Egypt doing in that regard? Will some sod of a freighter captain or canal pilot take a bribe in exchange for a “navigation error” that shuts down oil flows to Europe for a week? What will they do if the Egyptians decide to boycott transit to belligerent states or those that support them? It won’t hurt the Russians any. But Ukraine is going to crush the now destroyed Russian land army with their well-advertised spring offensive.

  8. d74 says:

    Colonel (ret.) Goya, Troupes de Marine, ex Troupe Coloniale, also a Doctor of History, has produced a very interesting and detailed text on the Ukrainian offensive.
    He too sees an offensive in the direction of Berdiansk to cut the Russian forces in two and reach Melitopol if possible.

    The Ukranians have good strengths. The weaknesses are the unknown on the ability of the staffs to combine their forces. At least a divisional command level is missing. The availability of ammunition is also an unknown.
    So, he is not absolutely optimistic. It would be an offensive in view of negotiations.

    In order to negotiate, the other side must be willing or recognize that its war aims have been achieved. In my opinion, these two conditions have not been met. On the other hand, I am convinced that Russia can fight this war as long as it takes. The only condition is that Russia continues to find customers for its natural resources. China and India are bottomless pits for absorbing these resources.


    • ked says:

      from the start of WWI to the Revolution was about 3 yrs. ‘course, maybe Putin can convince everyone it’s a war worth never winning for much longer.

      • Stefan says:

        Comparing Russia, pre Bolshevik Revolution, to modern Russia is more than a bit of a stretch.

        • Leith says:

          Stefan –

          You are right. There is a huge difference. Putin is much worse than Nicholas II. And Nick’s Okhrana was a teddy bear compared to the FSB and other of Putin’s security organs.

          • Stefan says:

            So you say. The Russians dont seem to think so. The big difference is how the average Russian is living now compared to 1910 Russia. Russians seem to like authoritarianism. Wish we here in the US could send them the US citizens that seem to wish for the same system. Like Americans, as long as they think they are living an okay life they will put up with almost amything. If you think Russians are going to rise up in some sort of October Revolution redux, I want some of the newly legalised cannabis you are smoking.

    • English Outsider says:

      Most informative article but a couple of points:-

      1. “A progression of 100 meters or more per hour in a fortified position will be considered dazzling. It all really depends on the value of the resistor. This can collapse right away, and the defenders flee as has sometimes been seen during the Kharkiv offensive or around the Kherson bridgehead.”

      Those two errors relating to the Kharkiv offensive and the Kherson withdrawal reduce one’s confidence in the rest of the proposed scenario.

      2. “One could however again reach the limits of the beginning of the war. As in the Korean War, this could serve as the basis for an armistice.”

      After the breakdown of the Istanbul talks it was evident that this war’s going the distance. Maybe it’ll be cosmeticised but the only negotiations now will be about the terms of capitulation. Anything else and the current Russian administration falls.

      This article is but one of a number of articles and statements currently being put out for propaganda or PR purposes. Both Washington and Berlin/Brussels know that a military victory for them is not on the cards and never was. The intention is to further “bleed the Russians” using our proxies as cannon fodder.

      Also to position themselves for the hoped for post-war dispensation: the use of remnant Ukraine as a means of further “”overextending and unbalancing” Russia.

      As Sleboda pointed out in the interview linked to recently, there’ll be a lot of thrills and spills along the way in this projected offensive. Our proxies are demonstrating great courage and determination. We shouldn’t really be exploiting that courage and determination for the somewhat squalid objectives Washington and Berlin/Brussels have in mind.

    • Leith says:

      SRW – Good link. I recall his earlier rebukes against Putin from last year were remarked upon by several commenters here.

      How does Ivashov keep from being thrown out of a window? Someone is protecting him if he lives in Moscow or anywhere else in the RF. Or does he reside in one of the former Republics in central Asia? His All-Russian-Officers-Assembly is going to run a candidate against Putin in the 2024 election. An impossible dream perhaps. I don’t think they will get far without the backing of the FSB and other of the Kremlin’s security organs.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Thanks. Golden Glove award 2023. I remember his open letter just before the invasion.

  9. Stefan says:

    I have been hearing about the coming collapse of the Russian military for a year now. If the coming Ukrainian counter offensive does not yield any significant results what then? At some point the cheerleaders for Ukraine will have to reasses their rhetoric or be seen as clowns. Same with the Russian cheerleaders.

    The hubris on both sides is defening. Despite negilible Ukrainian ancestry, I have no dog in this fight and think both sides have made mistakes and massive miscalulations for the last 20 years leading Europe to this point.

    Partisans on both sides of this conflict seem to often suspend critical analysis and would rather shake and rattle their pom-poms rather than provide clear, rational and logical thinking. Hubris is the only winter in this war.

    • TTG says:


      This could go on for one, two years or more. In that case, both sides will become more exhausted and less capable of inflicting a killer blow to each other. Look at Afghanistan and Syria, among others, for a possible future.

      • Stefan says:

        Evidence is mounting that the situation is already at this point despite the pop-pom ratling on both sides. If the Ukrainians cannot make decent progress in their much vaunted spring offensive, it will be more evidence.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        You can’t seriously be suggesting that a war between Ukraine and Russia is remotely comparable to the events in Afghanistan (when, exactly? 1979? Or 2001?), and as for “look at Syria” who do you have in mind, and against whom?

        The idea that any war between the USA/NATO and some poor unfortunate non-army like that possessed by the Taliban or ISIS is breathtaking in its hubris.

        Ukraine was immeasurably more competent and infinitely more powerful than those rag-tag forces, and yet this is very, very much their last throw of the dice.

        If this “spring offensive” fails then it is all over for Ukraine because it will mean that the Ukrainian army will have to be rebuilt again.

        And there is nothing left to rebuild it with. Not if the USA wants to fight a war with China over Taiwan.

        Honestly, your statement beggars belief: if this “spring offensive” fails then Ukraine will have suffered the “killer blow”, precisely because the USA will have nothing left to help stand them up again.

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          If the Taliban and ISIS can fight on for years, the Ukrainians can go on for just as long. As you said, “Ukraine was immeasurably more competent and infinitely more powerful than those rag-tag forces.”

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I’m saying that this is a DIFFERENT kind of war.

            A war between two states, with two standing armies, and two recognized governments.

            It ends when one side accepts that its army has lost, and then it asks for terms.

            Honestly, your argument is not particularly impressive.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            True this is a different kind of war from Syria and Afghanistan. But you fail to understand the national strategy of total resistance. The standing army is not the sum of that resistance. As long as Ukrainians exist, the resistance will go on. That’s the whole purpose behind the concept of the Territorial Defense Forces, all citizens resisting in any way they can.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I do not believe that will be the case.

            If the Ukrainian spring offensive fails then the Ukrainian government will accept that the war is lost, and will ask for terms.

            Those terms will be worse for them than the terms that Russia was offering earlier in the war when Boris Johnson rushed over and told Zelensky to walk away from the talks.

            But they won’t be unacceptable, and Zelensky – or his replacement – will accept them.

            The war is over at that point, but there will still be a Ukrainian government, and it will be obligated to ensuring that the “resistance” does not go on.

            You are thinking like an American military man: smash the enemy state, completely occupy it, demolish the existing political system and replace it with one that (a) it completely subservient to Washington and (b) completely lacking in legitimacy amongst the local population.

            Russia will not do that. The existing political structure will remain. They will not touch it, but they will insist that the government ensures that when the war ends they BOTH agree to draw a line through it and get on with life.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            “If the Ukrainian spring offensive fails then the Ukrainian government will accept that the war is lost, and will ask for terms.”

            That’s a whole lot of wishful thinking on your part. Ukrainians want to continue to exist in freedom. I see no in indication that they will willingly abandon a large segment of their countrymen to continued Russian occupation, murder, rape, torture and kidnapping. Maybe you wouldn’t have a problem doing so, but I wouldn’t and I’m certain most Ukrainians wouldn’t stand for that, either.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            To say that I do not agree with a single word of your last post is an understatement of heroic proportions.

            I understood a long, long time ago that fairy tales are works of fiction.

            Apparently not everyone does.

        • Billy Roche says:

          If Ukraine must ask Russia for terms they will be these: Ukrainians will again be Russia’s bitch and their gov’t will have one job. That will be to break Ukrainian partisan resistance. Ukrainians will not see “that gov’t” as theirs. It will be part of continued occupation of Ukraine by Russia. Expect Northern Ireland in spades with bombings from St Petersburg to Moscow to Ekaterinaberg. As Russian bombs have killed Ukrainian children, Ukrainian bombs will kill Russian children. Finns, Balts, and other Slavs will quietly help. From Sweden to Bulgaria the word will be “Beware the Russian”. That will define a Russian victory.

  10. Sceptic says:

    The last major Ukrainian offensive was in Kherson and they suffered heavy casualties. Surovikin withdrew his forces from the right bank in good order, as confirmed by Zalushny in the Economist.

    Back then, the Ukrainians didn’t have Western MBTs, but they did have HIMARS and functional air defences and Russian aviation was limited to missions at treetop height. Now they are dropping 500kg glide bombs from altitude.

    To prepare for this offensive arms and ammo deliveries have been front-loaded: what gets used won’t be replaced in a timely manner. There is little evidence of our MIC being kicked into a war footing yet.

    The Ukrainians better have some new secret tricks – drones, EW etc – to unleash, or I can’t see this working.

    It seems to me a case of zugzwang: manoeuvre warfare in this environment of drones and precision guided weapons is now so difficult, the side to attack first will deplete itself and be vulnerable.

  11. Poppa Rollo says:

    for Fred, the invasion started Feb’24 2022 with attacks from the Donbass and the north. The convoy was spotted Feb’28 2022. Throwing shade on Kiev for failing utterly destroy the convoy in place is quarterbacking of the silly variety.

    • Fred says:


      Leaving a ten-mile-long convoy of sitting ducks for days on end is not tactical brilliance. Discovering this site a year after the initial commentary on the battle, available in the archives, priceless.

  12. Chrisitan Chuba says:

    I don’t see how an offensive will have a chance unless you somehow neutralize Russian artillery. True Ukraine had big territorial gains last summer but the lack of Russian prisoners gives credibility that the Russians were planning to withdraw from most of those positions anyway in order to consolidate their lines.

    The terrain favors Russian artillery. If Russia needs to re-position their artillery, they just have to move parallel to the rivers, Ukraine has to cross them.

    • Billy Roche says:

      All I have is a little common sense but military tactics probably needs more. UM must cross the Dnieper to attack. They will cross and be exposed to RM cannons, lots of them. Once across the river the east side will be flat land and again the UM will be exposed. RM artillery must be silenced. How, by air. But where are those close order Jets Ukraine has begged for the past year? TTG says they’re “acomin”. Can the UM knock out Russian cannon without air support? I don’t know. This is very careful work. If the RM can stop Ukrainian forces and counter the UM will have the Dnieper at THEIR back and get beaten up trying to cross back west. Is a north to south path the safer direction for a Ukrainian spring push. Careful work indeed.

      • wiz says:


        If the Pentagon leak info is to be trusted, Ukrainians are running out of various missiles for their airdefence systems, and Russian AD is still very strong.

        In this situation, even if you supply Ukraine with 10-15 squadrons of F16s along with trained pilots and logistics, how long do you think they would last and what difference would they make ?

        Russians have a much larger airforce and many more artillery pieces than Ukraine and still haven’t managed to take out Ukrainian guns.

        Only recently Ru have managed to temporarily, on certain portions of the front suppress Ukie AD long enough to launch their UMPK FABs.

  13. Billy Roche says:

    I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “if your going to kill the king you’d better not miss”. A miss on a Spring offensive could be fatal to Ukrainian independence. Christian Chuba’s comments made me think about terrain. That’s why I am considering the path of the offensive. Crossing the Dneiper to attack seems to beg for problems. Perhaps (I dunno) it would be better to approach battle from the north crossing a narrower part of the river. There are only two directions from which to attack; west to east, or north to south. Which is less dangerous to the brave Ukrainians. Hope I stimulate some of the ex military correspondents of the Cols. blog to chime in.

    • TTG says:

      Billy Roche,

      The Dneiper would only have to be crossed if the counteroffensive occurs along the Kherson front. Everywhere else, the Dneiper is well behind the Ukrainian lines. The Ukrainians have made a reconnaissance across the Dneiper in the vicinity of the Antonivskyi bridge. This seems to have turned into a target acquisition mission. This puts pressure on the Russians not to pull more troops from this front. I think that’s the reason behind there current cross-Dneiper moves by the Ukrainians.

      I also don’t think this is a “do or die” counteroffensive. I really don’t see this counteroffensive, even if wildly successful, as an end to this war. I do believe it could set the stage for a campaign to make Crimea untenable for the Russians, but even that will not be a quick campaign.

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