The Meat Grinder – TTG

Russian forces prematurely impaled an insufficient concentration of mobilized personnel on offensive pushes near Bakhmut and Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, wasting the fresh supply of mobilized personnel on marginal gains towards operationally insignificant settlements. Ukrainian General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksiy Hromov stated on November 3 that one or two Russian motorized rifle companies with artillery and tank support conducted ground attacks within the past week to seize Pavlivka in an effort to reach Vuhledar, but that Russian forces have suffered losses due to Ukrainian defenses. Russian sources also acknowledged on November 3 that the rate of Russian advances near Vuhledar is slow due to Ukrainian resistance and mud. Hromov stated that Russian forces continue ground attacks at the expense of mobilized personnel, private military company forces, and former prisoners, and that the Russians conducted over 40 ground attacks in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and western Donetsk Oblast areas in the past 24 hours, sustaining over 300 casualties (100 killed) in just one direction. 

ISW has previously reported on the slow Russian rate of advance in Donetsk Oblast and injudicious allocation of resources on the front lines. Russian forces would likely have had more success in such offensive operations if they had waited until enough mobilized personnel had arrived to amass a force large enough to overcome Ukrainian defenses despite poor weather conditions. Russian attacks continuing current patterns are unlikely to generate enough momentum to regain the battlefield initiative. ISW offers no hypothesis to explain Russian forces’ impatience or their continued allocation of limited military assets to gaining operationally insignificant ground in Donetsk Oblast rather than defending against the Ukrainian counteroffensives in Luhansk and Kherson oblasts.

Comment: ISW isn’t the only source at a loss for an explanation of Russia’s deliberate and callous disregard for the lives of her soldiers. Daily Kos also has a clear account of this recent carnage in the link below. In the Chuck Pfarrar illustration above, the Russians appear to have advanced into a deliberate kill zone south of Svatove. His figure of 840 KIA is not for this one battle. It’s the Ukrainian estimate for total Russian KIA for one day across the entire battlefield. With the deployment of untrained, ill equipped mobiks, this seems to have become a normal occurrence.

Why are the Russians apparently comfortable with this level of losses for such little gain? Is this a cultural trait of Russia or, at least, the Russian military? Is it an attempt to exhaust the Ukrainian supply of precision fires? Are they trying to force the Ukrainians to fire on the hapless mobiks rather than on their precious commissioned fat asses sitting in their field headquarters? Are there officers accompanying those mobiks in their forlorn hope assaults or just barrier troops behind them? I see it as a disgusting display of military callousness and incompetence. Those responsible can rot in Hell.


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15 Responses to The Meat Grinder – TTG

  1. Whitewall says:

    A recent photo of fresh Russian soldiers, young men, who had little training and wore the look of what awaits them, was almost heart breaking to see. This photo was followed shortly by one captioned “old men” with the same doomed look as the younger men before. Taken together, it is almost sickening and then this story of continuing waste of men for no other reason it seems than to show the Kremlin some ‘action underway’ by the new command. It would be fitting for these canon fodder Russians to turn on their field commanders with ruthlessness, if there are any commanders at hand.

    Maybe Putin feels dead men will not try and mount a new ‘Russian Revolution’ against him. Too bad as one is badly needed.

    • Al says:

      WW: interesting demographics. Reason Putin has been exporting people from Ukraine area to Russia?

      • Whitewall says:

        AL, I believe so. A sick mind like his will kidnap children and maybe in some cases hope a child’s parents will come and become “good Russians”. This kind of thing has happened throughout human history.

  2. Pat Lang says:

    BTW, those Gepard air defense guns are really lethal against ground targets.

    • TTG says:

      The Gepard radar system is damned good. When paired with MANPADS, it’s especially effective against drones and such. If I was there, I’d use ZSU-23-4s for ground targets and reserve the Gepard/MANPADS teams for aerial targets.

      • Leith says:

        Do they have enough Gepards. I wouldn’t use the ZSU-23s exclusively for ground targets yet. Keep some in the cities to protect infrastructure from the Shaheds.

        At least one Ukrainian unit has improvised its own counter-drone system. My guess is it will be used to protect that unit on the front lines from recon or kamikaze drones and not Shaheds, which seem to be targeting the cities.

        Those PKT machine guns mentioned in the link are the tank mounted version, probably taken from damaged Russian tanks. Only 7.62mm but they can put out a lot of rounds quickly. I wonder how old is that spider-web type AA gunsight? Looks kind of pre-WW2.

        • TTG says:


          They certainly don’t have enough Geopards. The ZSU-23-4s are still better used in the AD role. But I would use those ZSUs for ground attack long before I’d use the Geopards in that role.

          Those twin PKTs are fine in an anti-drone role. It’s just like infantry air defense. Using several of those twin PKTs would be even better. We did okay with M-60s and M-16s from our defensive positions against BAT targets.

          • Pat Lang says:

            IMO you use what you have available. The Shilka is an excellent weapons system in either role. In VN we had the M42 .40 mm “Duster,” the quad .50, and the electrically driven Gatling guns, all on vehicle mounts that were used for point defense of high value targets like heavy artillery batteries; 8-inch howitzers and 107 mm rifles. Very effective.

  3. mcohen says:

    A “y” manevour at staroblisk is probably on the cards somew

  4. cobo says:

    All you all here are who were there, please accept this as a lowly offering to yours and ours and what may come: https:/

  5. Lars says:

    I think one long term effect of this war is future arms sales and I suspect Russia will pay dearly for their lack of production in real combat. That segment of their economy was prominent for many years, but is now in question and will add to the degradation of their national economy. In addition to losing a large number of people.

    I am sure there are other manufacturers who are paying close attention to what works and what does not, as are various armed forces. Even their air forces seem to have performance problems.

    We do not know the entire scope of damage done to Russia, but the long term effects may linger for decades.

    • Bill Roche says:

      As TTG has reminded, Russian soldiers are not ten feet tall. They are simply men. There seems to be something wrong w/their command and control, NCO usage, quartermaster efficiency, and down right corruption. Trifles dear chap, fixed w/a spot of tea. Maybe? Can they be fixed by next spring? Important to my non military mind is this, soldiers must come from somewhere, not on trees. What do Russians, 18-45, think about this empire thing. Do they agree that it’s worth their lives to perpetuate the Russian Empire? Willingness to risk life for something bigger called the Russian Empire needs to be “there”. Is it. What do the young think.

      • Whitewall says:

        That’s what I keep wondering about ‘Gen X’ and younger men. I doubt they care a whit about Empire or even the Cold War and Soviet collapse. This ‘existential threat’ stuff dates back to the Czars and comes forward to ‘boomer age’ Russians and then stops. Young Russians like their tech devices and buying power and clubs….very Western like. These younger people would also like to not be regarded as pariah by the rest of the developed world.

  6. Shako says:

    Russian doctrine – throw ill prepared troops against the enemy, to make the enemy use up their available war fighting capacity – personnel, ammo, supplies, political capital. Everyone, everything is expendable to achieve the ultimate goal – Russian victory. This is alien to American thinking / war fighting philosophy. This is business as usual to Russian thinking. The “State” above all else! Napoleon invasion of Russia; WWI, WWII. Concern for the individual private soldier is an alien concept to Soviet / Russian thinking and is sneered at with derision by the political / military leadership.

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