In the Ukraine War God Is on the Side of the Heavy Artillery

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It feels like years have passed since the Russia-Ukraine War began. The shockingly effective Ukrainian defenses stopped the rapid-moving Russian advances. Then came shocking retreats from Kharkiv and Kyiv.

The war has been a slow, tedious and difficult struggle since then. Much of the attention is now on the ongoing Battle for Severodonetsk in the East.

When and if? Russian forces must capture Severodonetsk. If Moscow does, then the Russian Army’s “independent” Russian-speaking areas of Donetsk and Luhansk will be complete.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday morning:

Although the Russian troops made modest gains in the city, it was costly to both sides. Now they plan to launch an offensive against Ukrainian-held Luhansk regions like Lysychansk across Siverskyi Donets, Severodonetsk. But, things are changing.

Other reports claim that Russian losses were so severe that Moscow had to use obsolete equipment and insufficiently trained troops. Russian leaders continue their struggle with “force generation”, the combination of training, equipment, and morale that creates combat strength.

Russian military personnel continues their criticism of the Russian force generation capabilities. Kotyenok called for the reinforcement of ground troops with well-trained soldiers and experienced recruits. It is unlikely that Russia’s military will be able to quickly generate such a force.

While force generation is a serious problem, it’s not fatal. Russia has historically relied on artillery as a way to make up for its infantry deficiencies.

Foreign Policy published Monday a brief explanation piece that explained why massed gunfire was an “old tradition with cruel purposes” for Russian forces.

Lucian Staiano Daniels summarizes his article as a military historian.

All armies work around their weaknesses. Russia’s artillery was historically strong because it allowed individuals to make improvements while others struggled.

Russia’s commitment to large guns has outlived the tsars. This was to make it easier for infantry to defeat enemy defenses by using heavy artillery barrage with little concern for civilian casualties.

It is the same in Ukraine. Russian troops are capable of using enough large guns to support them. They don’t need to be there. The Russians will take it.

In terms of number, range, and quality, the artillery of Ukraine is generally lower than that of Russia.

This doesn’t mean Russia will win Severodonetsk. HIMARS rockets are capable of traveling 48 miles and can be used against Russian artillery.

If you don’t understand the terminology, counterbattery is when your artillery (rockets being one type of artillery), detects artillery rounds coming in and fires at them.

Rockets are quick to fire and can reach the guns of the other man before he has the chance to redeploy.

But, Ukraine only has a few HIMARS systems. These missiles are more expensive and rare than artillery rounds.

It is impossible to know exactly how the decisive Battle of Severodonetsk will play out. The old saying, “God is with heavy artillery” is true.