NSS translation from EADaily.ru with a foreword by Vince Dhimos.
The Chicago Tribune has published a letter from a seroiusly unhinged reader demanding a “warm” war against Russia and referring to Trump’s “alarming restraint” in not waging war with another nuclear power.
Yes, I know it is pre-election time again in the USA, time to do and say weird things in the interest of “democracy.” But just the same, it is truly terrifying that the media would blame a president for not starting a war with a nuclear power and would blame him for too much “restraint.”
In all fairness to Elizabeth Bloom Albert, she said she only wants a warm war, but one in which Russia would be, figuratively speaking, brought to a boil in a pot of water in such a way that it could not “leap to safety.” But wouldn’t that in itself be an act of war? And what would be the fallout? I mean aside from strontium-90.
Based on this nightmarish op-ed, AEDaily.ru posted in Russian a thorough analysis of what would probably happen if NATO lost all sense of self-preservation and decided to attack Russia. It is a scenario worthy of the category Science Fiction.
There are some important passages in this analysis showing why the US could hardly successfully wage war against Russia.
It starts with brief examinations of the Napoleonic and German campaigns and why they failed.
For example, while Hitler’s troops in Operation Barbarossa were fabulously successful in Kiev, killing 600,000 Soviet fighters, the subsequent trek inland took more time than expected and the operation was impeded by the autumn slush that slowed the men and machines.
The fielded troops and materiel were sufficient for the parts of Russia close to Western Europe, but getting all those men and machines inland turned out to be a fatal problem.
The writer, who seems to be a Russian military analyst and historian, reminds us that the European NATO partners haven’t got enough military hardware to make a dent in Russia and the bulk of the mission would hinge for the most part on the US itself. The trouble with this scenario is that the transfer of sufficient materiel and men to the Russian border would take considerable time, with much of the US forces scattered all over the globe. Business Insider reports that the US has deployed 450,000 troops overseas, many of whom would have to be transferred to the Russian border. Contrast this US problem with the fact that Russia’s troops and war machines are already in place. And once Russia saw evidence of the build-up, it would already be in a position to start preparing a response and countering the US effort.
Here is a passage from the below analysis that should give the US military pause:
“In 1946–48, German generals who were captured by the Allies, were ordered by the Americans to investigate the reasons for the failure of the German invasion of the USSR in general and, in 1941, in particular. (1) The German generals concluded that the dedicated forces for the operation to seize Russia - 183 divisions and 13 brigades, a total of 5.5 million people, 3,712 tanks, 47,260 field guns and mortars, 4,950 combat aircraft - turned out to be insufficient.”
Now, in 2017, the US had 1,281,900 service members, with an additional 801,200 people in the seven reserve components. That’s about 2 million that could be fielded in a conflict. Yet Hitler threw 5.5 million troops into Operation Barbarossa and the German generals, post-war, assessed that this was not enough. The US also has about twice the number of combat aircraft as Hitler had, but Russia’s superior air defences and EW capabilities could offset this strength.
Two facts are instructive in this context.
1—According to thedrive.com and other sources, U.S. Army General Raymond Thomas, commander of US Special Forces, revealed that unspecified opponents, almost certainly the Russians, had been jamming the AC-130 aircraft used for close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.
“Right now in Syria, we’re in the most aggressive EW [electronic warfare] environment on the planet from our adversaries,” Thomas said. “They’re testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our AC-130s, etcetera.” (Notice that, aside from empty threats from ambassadors and other political hacks, US officials’ remarks on Russia almost always sound whiney, while Russian officials sound professional).
“The gunships rely heavily on those systems to help locate and positively identify targets and then coordinate their attacks with other manned and unmanned aircraft and joint tactical air controllers on the ground.”
Revealingly, the general does not breathe a word about how the US plans to remedy this problem. It clearly has no solution.
2—After delivery of the Russian S-300 air defence systems to Syria, Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu stated:
“In regions near Syria over the Mediterranean sea, there will be radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, on-board radar systems and communication systems of military aviation attacking objects on Syrian territory,”
And then, of course, nothing will stop Russian aerospace forces from shooting down US military communications satellites vital to central control operations in the Russian theatre. Clearly, Americans who now urge Trump to engage in a hot or “warm” war with Russia haven’t the foggiest idea what they are asking for.
QUOTE from Chicago Tribune:
“…Trump and his Republican brethren in Congress who are showing alarming restraint vis-a-vis Russia at a time when a will to fight for our democratic institutions and values has never been more needed.”
Note that the Democrats are willing to send their young to fight and die for this nebulous thing called “Western values,” which no one ever even attempts to define. Meanwhile, the Russians know exactly what they are defending. (Perhaps the US military needs to requisition 2 million white handkerchiefs with staffs).
Finally, while the author correctly states that Europe will oppose politically a US-led land war on Russia, there is an important factor that has been ignored, and that is: American conservatives in particular will object to such a war. Many of them feel that Russia’s traditional values are much closer to theirs than those that the elites in Washington are trying to shove down their throats. A war against Russia would therefore not be popular, and would fail for lack of support from the grassroots.
The following is our translation of a thorough expert analysis of how a NATO war with Russia would no doubt look. It is a long article and if you don’t have time to read the whole article, I recommend you save it as a reference. (And in case you have a deranged friend who thinks the US should invade Russia, you may want to send it to them.)
Warm War: Will NATO invade Russia in the footsteps of Napoleon and Hitler?
Letter published in the Chicago Tribune on July 27, 2018.
Make no mistake: We are at war with Russia. It is not a hot war with troops on the ground and bombs flying through the air. It is not a cold war with arms build-ups and classroom bomb drills. No, this is what I would call a Warm War, which is in many ways more insidious. It’s like the frog in tepid water heating up so gradually that by the time the water’s at a full boil the poor frog has lost its ability to leap to safety.
· Elizabeth Bloom Albert, Highland Park
Total war between the USA and Russia with the use of strategic nuclear weapons is suicidal for both sides - this is a generally accepted fact that is voiced by both politicians and the military from both sides. Well, what about the prospects for a big war between Russia and NATO using conventional weapons? Long ago, since the beginning of the 1960s, “sub-threshold” war was considered possible by the military and politicians. In this case, the term usually referenced the precedent of the Second World War, when chemical weapons accumulated in large quantities of weapons of mass destruction were not used by the parties to the conflict, even on the threshold of their military defeat. The presence of a similar potential of the enemy was restrained from the use of the agents, even in combat conditions. That is, theoretically a modern total war with the use of conventional weapons between major powers is possible. The military doctrine of the Russian Federation in 2000 determines its future potential: “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in response to large-scale aggression with the use of conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” At the same time, obviously, the Supreme Commander, the President of Russia, will determine the critical situation. That is, he may or may not determine “criticality.”
After 2014, in mutual hostile rhetoric - through publications in the media, statements by politicians and the military, etc., the military conflict with the use of conventional weapons between the Russian Federation and NATO became a routine topic when discussing future military prospects. The war in Donbass and the annexation of the Crimea created a potential local theatre for the future military conflict, which was believed to grow out of the current proxy war, in which future adversaries act as such in disguise. Then this veil will be dropped. American political scientist George Friedman, in his analytical resource Stratfor, even invented a model of escalating war, by analogy with American participation in the world wars of the twentieth century. Friedman dreamed that, through the Ukrainian conflict, the Eastern European allies of the United States would be drawn into the war with Russia at its second stage. The United States itself will come to this war as a decisive force at the end of the curtain - to finish it “as usual.” So far, the US has supplied the Ukrainian army with old Soviet weapons from the arsenals of Eastern European NATO, but they clearly do not want to openly enter a conventional war with the Russian Federation alone without the United States.
In 2016, analysts of American Rand Corp. threw into the information space the topic of the war between Russia and NATO using conventional weapons in the Baltic States, ie, again in the limited space of the European theatre of operations. According to the Rand scenario, in the event of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states, NATO troops deployed there will inevitably suffer a crushing defeat. After that, there will be a strategic pause to resolve the US’ fundamental question: is it worth continuing the war with a build-up of US forces in the European theatre of operations, or should we recognize that this should not be done? The threat of losing Chicago is not equivalent to the real loss of little Tallinn over there. A refusal to escalate, from the standpoint of Rand experts, would mean the end of NATO.
Rand’s publication on the war with the use of conventional weapons in the Baltic States has given rise to many speculative insinuations in the Western media, and among local politicians there are statements like: “go ahead and try it, Putin.”
In response, the Russian side from the highest level began to warn that any military conflict between the Russian Federation and NATO would not remain at the stage of using conventional weapons and would segue into a war with the use of nuclear weapons. The American media claim that Russia privately warned US Secretary of Defence James Mattis that in the situation of the war in the Baltic States, Russia would not hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons against NATO in small quantities. Since 2014, the West has been warning the Russian leadership that limited use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russian troops would be followed by a response with tactical nuclear weapons. It is better in a military conflict to remain at the stage of using conventional weapons than to inflict nuclear damage, albeit limited, to the European part of Russia.
So far, the mentioned speculations about a possible future military conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation in the Donbass or in the Baltic states indicate an interest in narrowing the possible theatre of military operations to the local level, while the line of possible military confrontation in the European theatre goes clearly beyond this. The future theatre extends 1.8 thousand kilometres from south to north from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The main task of a hypothetical NATO war is to inflict a quick defeat on Russia, which will force the country’s political system to collapse. In principle, this is what Hitler hoped for in his time, directing his blitzkrieg against Russia.
Theoretically, such a goal is seen by opponents of Russia as achievable if the latter’s armed forces are defeated and the capital of the country, Moscow, is occupied - for some reason, the line of occupation is usually established along the Volga. Thus, in order to achieve a military victory over Russia, it is necessary to carry out a military invasion of our territory, to conduct a ground-based offensive operation. The most convenient way to do this is from west to east in the European theatre of operations. The peculiarity of this approach is the presence of two possible operational directions - corridors for invasion - spaces to the north and south of the Pinsk marshes separating Belarus and right-bank Ukraine. The operational direction along the northern corridor passes through the territory of the Baltic States and Belarus. South, ie, south of the Pinsk marshes, is on the territory of Ukraine. Let us review the story. In 1812, Napoleon attacked exclusively along the northern corridor: the main forces were aimed at Moscow through Belarus; auxiliary forces were sent from the Baltic to Riga and from Polotsk to St. Petersburg. Napoleon’s use of a single operational line to invade Russia was a known strategic risk. If the Western Third Reserve Army (Tormasov) deployed in Volhynia and the Danube Army (Chichagov) that approached it had had better guidance and more capable commanders, acting more decisively, then in September 1812 they could have cut Napoleon’s main communications in Lithuania and Belarus, while Napoleon was then still very far away - in Moscow. The collapse of Napoleon in Russia could have be more decisive.
In 1941, as we know, the German Wehrmacht invaded Russia (Soviet Union) simultaneously in three operational directions: along the northern and southern corridors and along the Pinsk Marshes. The Northern Corridor launched an offensive in two directions - to Leningrad through the Baltic States and to Moscow via Belarus. The main blow was aimed at Moscow. The southern operational direction of the offensive was from Polesie to the Black Sea in Ukraine with the main blow falling on Kiev. While advancing on a broad front from the Baltic to the Black Sea, the Germans were forced to synchronize their offensive along these two corridors through Belarus and Ukraine, for fear that the Russians from the south, from Ukraine, would strike a smashing blow at the Wehrmacht troops ahead, which would lead to a collapse of “Barbarossa.” [Operation Barbarossa was the name of the German invasion of Russia—Translator] By mid-August 1941, it turned out that in the configuration of the front that had taken shape after the Battle of Smolensk, Army Group Centre was not able to attack Moscow. Therefore, in the twenties of August 1941, Hitler decided to turn part of the forces of Army Group Centre southward. General Heinz Guderian, a participant in the events as commander of the 2nd Panzer Group deployed to the south, assessed the incident in his memoirs, “Soldier’s Memories”: “The battle for Kiev undoubtedly was a major tactical success. However, the question of whether this tactical success was also of major strategic importance remains in doubt.”
This was an unprecedented victory in military history — the destruction of 600,000 Red Army troops in Ukraine — but was just a “tactical success” that could not compensate for the subsequent strategic failure.
Due to the reversal of Guderian’s tank group and of one army southward toward Moscow, a strategic pause arose. The Germans here were able to resume their offensive in late September and early October 1941, that is, after the autumn slush had formed. As a result, the blitzkrieg failed. The Germans suffered a strategic defeat near Moscow, which was the prologue of Germany’s general defeat in the war.
In 1946–48, German generals who were captured by the Allies, were ordered by the Americans to investigate the reasons for the failure of the German invasion of the USSR in general and, in 1941, in particular. (1) The German generals concluded that the dedicated forces for the operation to seize Russia - 183 divisions and 13 brigades, a total of 5.5 million people, 3,712 tanks, 47,260 field guns and mortars, 4,950 combat aircraft - turned out to be insufficient. Actually, Hitler’s motorized units were not large enough to seize vast Russian territory and exercise control over it. And then the attacking battle formations of the Germans themselves were not deep. In 1941 in the East, they did not possess powerful reserves, as they had during the war on the Western front in 1940. The territory of the local theatre of military operations was of such a form that the Germans had to attack along the expanding corridors as they advanced to the east. It turned out that the further the Germans moved east, the wider their front became and the line of German attacking troops became thinner. Ultimately, it thinned so much it broke.
Disputes about the invasion strategy began. American critics pointed out to German generals that they should have initially focused on capturing the basins of the Black and Baltic Seas by aviation and navy. Here the ground forces had to play a secondary role in order to focus them on the main lines of attack on the centres of Russia. However, the Germans replied that such a plan was not feasible, because their air force and navy were too weak. Disputes arose about actions in the directions and the choice of the goal of the main attack. The Kiev episode with a reversal of part of the “Centre” group’s connections to the south was blamed on Hitler’s “unprofessionalism”. They also remembered that in May 1941, Field Marshal von Rundstedt, the future commander of Army Group South, warned of the impossibility of defeating Russia in a single summer campaign. “We must prepare for a long war and gradually achieve our goals,” he said. In the campaign of 1941, strong army group “North” should have captured Leningrad. This would have made it possible to connect with the Finns, destroy the Soviet Baltic fleet and increase their influence on Sweden. Army groups “South” and “Centre” should have been limited to moving no further than the Odessa- Kiev-Orsha-Lake Ilmen line. If it had then turned out that in 1941 there was still time before the winter cold, Moscow should have been attacked from two directions: from the north-west by the North army group and from the west by army group Centre. If difficulties with schedule had been planned for, then this and all further operations would have been postponed until 1942, when new plans could be developed based on real conditions. However, the main drawback of this proposal by Field Marshal Rundstedt was of a fundamental nature - he initially ruled out the very idea of a Blitzkrieg, but a long war could have been (and was) fatal for Germany.
As a result, the analyst and former General Günther Blumentritt stated the main cause of the failure of the invasion of Russia: “From a political viewpoint, the most fatal decision was to attack this country [Russia] in the first place. Now we had to wage war with a stronger adversary than the one we had met heretofore. In the vast expanses of the East, it was impossible to count on easy victories ... One should be very careful in evaluating the forces of the enemy. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate them. ” These conclusions and the historical aura of Russia’s invincibility obviously influence the determination of modern opponents of Russia to attack it by military intervention. Blumentritt’s conclusion “we had to wage war with a stronger adversary,” is evident in the current warnings of Western experts: “we will have to wage war with a stronger adversary than the ones we have met so far.”
Conventional war with conventional arms against the Russian Federation in the European theatre of military operations remains a rather problematic matter because of the considerable width of the front, with its features as operating corridors and the depth of the theatre. So far, NATO’s eastward advance along the existing operational corridors “north and south of the Pinsk Marshes” has created the most unfavourable configuration for the land operation of the Americans and their allies. Further, the enemy has now advanced in Ukraine, pushing the one hundred thousand strong grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Donbass. It potentially threatens the entire South of Russia, being 650 km from Volgograd (Stalingrad), 500 km from Krasnodar and 950 km from Grozny. However, the NATO-led Ukrainian army is now in the Donbass sitting in an operating pocket, literally inviting its opponent to repeat what Guderian and Kleist did in September 1941 with the South-Western Front. In military terms, the existing strategic configuration of the operational deployment with the forces involved in the east of Ukraine is hopeless for NATO in the event of the outbreak of a war by conventional weapons. As the well-known soldier Švejk discovered America,” [refers to the character Josef Švejk in a satirical Czech novel, who achieved wins by doing apparently stupid things] noting that “a unit surrounded on all sides must certainly surrender.” Any textbook military strategist would view the present situation the same way, without taking into account the political behaviour of the notorious “Kremlin towers.”
The situation regarding the operational direction in the Baltic States can be viewed similarly. The only land communication line connects this with Poland through the so-called “Suwalki corridor,” which is very vulnerable to attack from the north and south. The initial operational configuration for land warfare in the European theatre of operations against Russia is also unfavourable for NATO at this point.
Another important problem: what must be the size of the NATO grouping to make for successful land offensive operations and to conquer Russia? As we noted above, the German military considered that 5.5 million for the invasion of Russia was not enough in 1941. Of course, now modern military technologies require smaller, but more efficient armed forces. That is, it may take less than five million. But still, how many? After all, there may be fewer due to losses incurred by modern weapons and the clash with Russia’s technologically modern armed forces. How many?
For comparison. During the 1991 Gulf War, the Americans gathered forces roughly equal in size to the Iraqi armed forces opposing them. Only 450 thousand US troops were deployed. After 12 years, in the spring of 2003, numerically about the same-sized group was created for operation “Iraqi Freedom” - about 466 thousand US military personnel. Following this logic, for the war with the use of conventional weapons in the European theatre of operations, the Americans should deploy invasion forces that are roughly equal in number to the opposing forces of Russia, and this will be more than one million people. And at the same time it is still not clear whether the required depth should be created at the onset. The land war with Iraq of 1991 and 2003 in terms of scale and front of attack was a front-line operation of medium size. The offensive was carried out by two operational groups from the territory of Kuwait and Jordan. Military operations were carried out on a territory with a total area of more than 150 thousand square km, which is less than the territory of Belarus. Here, Russia will have to act on several fronts in a space extending 1,800 km from north to south and to a depth of 750 km and more. A simple calculation using Iraqi standards shows that, with the existing manning system, the Americans do not have a land army of a size sufficient to carry out an offensive of a similar scale.
At the same time, from the viewpoint of the opponents of Russia, a military campaign against it in one summer season is ideal - only five months allotted by nature, favourable for conducting military actions. Otherwise, as the campaign against the enemy forces invading Russia begins, the unusually harsh cold climate and features of an undeveloped infrastructure, in comparison with Europe, come into play.
To carry out a short-term campaign, the Americans implement the concept of “coordinated ground warfare” (eng. Unified Land Operations), which has been in place since 2011. This is the development of the concept of air-ground operations (English AirLand Battle). And this and more is modern development of the Soviet “deep offensive operation” of the World War II era. The basic principles of this kind of offensive are initiative, depth, speed, and coordination of action. The defeat of the enemy forces is applied to the entire depth of the operational formation of their first echelon. A deep defeat implies a manoeuver into the depth of the enemy’s battle formations with the aim of destroying, blocking or disorganizing its reserves and parts of the second echelon. The success of such operations is based on forcing the enemy troops to conduct positional defence due to air supremacy of American aircraft.
In 2003, in such operations, US ground forces demonstrated a high rate of advance — advancing up to 100 km in the direction of the main attack in the first days of the offensive. Active hostilities to seize the territory of Iraq were completed in 25 days. From the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border to the final point of the offensive - the city of Tikrit, American troops covered a distance greater than 600 km. For comparison, the distance from Tallinn to St. Petersburg is 369 km. The distances from the Donbass to the Russian centres of the South are stated above.
However, now the US military fears that in a clash with a technically prepared adversary - represented by the Russian army, the key technological advantages of the American troops will be lost, which will lead to failure in one or more units of the Unified Land Operation. Russian air defences, electronic warfare, accurate missiles and long-range artillery will disrupt the air offensive, disrupt the control of troops and inflict fire on the upcoming US units.
Next significant point. At present, the Americans in the European theatre of operations do not have the forces to conduct a land war with conventional weapons against the Russian Federation. They are not sufficient even for one army or a front-line operation. By the time of the crisis events in Ukraine in 2014, the American military presence in Europe was reduced to 24 thousand personnel. In the European theatre of operations, only two United States ground forces remained: the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy (Vicenza) and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany (Vilseck) - in practice, light motorized riflemen from four battalions (squadrons) in Stryker armoured combat vehicles. All army, corps and divisional headquarters were disbanded by that time. In 2016, at the session of the NATO Council in Warsaw, it was decided that as of 2017, four reinforced battalion tactical groups of a multinational composition of up to 1 thousand military personnel each would be deployed on a rotational basis in the Baltic States and Poland. In this scenario, the American battalion should be located in Poland. Since 2017, the 1st Tank Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division of the US Army has been deployed on a rotational basis, one battalion each in Poland, Romania and the Baltic States. The 88 tanks in its arsenal are all that Americans have in terms of heavy armoured vehicles in Europe. On the territory of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands there are plans to store weapons and military equipment for another brigade of the US ground forces. As a result, the American military presence in Europe increased to 29-30 thousand personnel. Not much different from the 2014 situation.
Because of the potential available for building up forces in Europe, the Americans could quickly engage the USNATO response force (NRF), which has 13,000 troops in constant readiness. In addition, the 82nd Airborne Division from North Carolina could be airlifted to Europe within a few days. But none of these units have any heavy weapons. Of course, all this taken together is completely insufficient for waging a land war against the Russian armed forces, even in the limited space of a single front-line operation in the Baltic States or in Left Bank Ukraine.
For 2017, the payroll of American army ground forces amounted to 476 thousand in the regular army and 343 thousand in the National Guard. Separately, up to 200 thousand people are members of the Marine Corps, consisting of three divisions, about 20 thousand people each. In total, all of this is not enough to conquer Russia with action on a broad front. But it is enough to conduct a land war in a limited local space in the territory of the European theatre, for example, in the Baltic States.
It is known that the overall scope of the US armed forces exceeds the Russian counterpart. However, unlike our troops, they are largely stationed at bases outside the United States. The United States has 600 military installations in 40 countries. Because of this peculiarity of accommodation, American ground forces cannot be deployed all at once in the European theatre of operations. Therefore, the important question here is: how fast and in what quantity can the Americans send their troops to the European theatre of military operations for a land war with the Russian Federation. In terms of concentration, Russia has an obvious advantage here, and that is, the proximity of mobilization resources and the opportunity to act on internal communications. Now the Americans can only count on a fairly quick transfer of their combat aircraft from the American continent to the front-line zone. That is, air operations are quite possible, in the case of a Russian offensive strategic military operation in eastern Ukraine, for example, a few days after its start, some NATO air resistance would be feared. It is a definite reality.
Now about the possibilities of the American concentration of ground forces. For example. In January 2003, the original land group of Americans for the war with Iraq consisted of 17 thousand personnel. Over three months, it was increased six times. As a result, in the offensive against Iraq in March 2003, the American land group deployed consisted of up to 112,000 personnel, about 500 tanks, over 1,200 armoured combat vehicles, about 900 guns, MLRS [multiple launch rocket systems] and mortars, over 900 helicopters and up to 200 anti-aircraft missile complexes.
The transfer of one American division with standard armament and equipment from the continental US and its deployment in Kuwait took 40 days. The transfer of formations, units and subunits was carried out by a combination of routes: heavy weapons and military equipment were delivered, as a rule, by sea, and personnel with small arms and equipment were delivered by air, on military transport aircraft and by civilian airlines. The Third Infantry Division US troops received their heavy weapons from warehouses in Kuwait. In total, the transfer of US expeditionary forces destined to invade Iraq in 1991 took four months. In 2003, it took six months to prepare for the invasion operation in Iraq at all stages of preparation.
The transfer of ground forces with their weapons and the concentration of military groups will take a lot of time, due not only to the long distances, but also to the state of transport infrastructure in Europe. In addition, it should be borne in mind that modern American armed forces have become extremely dependent on supply. It is difficult to supply a large group of ground forces correctly and in sufficient quantities during combat operations. The other day, in an interview with Voice of America, former US commander in Europe, Ben Hodges, complained: “I don’t think we need more German tanks. We need more German trains. At present, the carrying capacity of railways for the movement of NATO troops, European troops or any troops in Europe is insufficient. The infrastructure of roads and bridges in Eastern Europe needs to be expanded ... Why not include investment in infrastructure that has value for the military in these two percent [of mandatory national military expenditures according to NATO standards]?”
So, the prospect of a large ground war with conventional weapons between the United States and Russia on a broad front in the European theatre of operations now seems unlikely. The reality is that it will take the US many months to gather strength in Eastern Europe which has only some hope of gaining the upper hand over the Russian military. A major land war cannot be sudden, since a long period of transfer and concentration of US troops and heavy weapons in the European theatre of operations will be required. Now a land war seems unlikely, but possible. The fighting may follow a period of steady increase in tension, mutual threats and warnings. This time lag would allow the US to move troops to Europe. But to do so inconspicuously is absolutely impossible. The start of the war will be detected by the mass transfer and concentration of American troops in Europe. Prior to this, there is no opportunity for such a war. Now only the initial deployment of NATO’s military infrastructure in the Baltic-Black Sea region is underway. High technologies are rather fragile and require a very complex network of support, maintenance and repair.
For general reasons, if NATO invades Russia, it is fully capable of being defeated in a land war using conventional weapons. NATO does not have the necessary and sufficient ground potential for such a war with the current organization of the US armed forces. In the course of military operations, US ground forces may remain without the usual air and sea support. Capturing small territories does not make sense at the risk of suffering a general defeat. Since none of the belligerents now has the ability to invade the enemy’s territory and take enough space to force him to surrender, the war from the first cycle to the second will turn into a simple tug of war, which in itself will be a strategic failure for the United States - tantamount to defeat.
There are general considerations that make one view with skepticism the prospect of a large land war in Europe between NATO and the Russian Federation. The fact is that large military alliances are not at all a guarantee of victory. The United States remains the only genuine military force in NATO, and US military and political leaders are well aware of this. Non-American capabilities of NATO without direct American participation are negligible.
Conversely, management of Allied troops may be difficult. Speaking of NATO, the reality is that NATO does not exist without the United States. The United States is the only NATO country that really has combat significance. European allies will not agree at this point to the outbreak of a major American war in Europe. They will offer political resistance to American efforts in this area.
Advanced deployment does not provide major advantages in the case of an actual large-scale land war. From a purely military viewpoint, the current deployment of American forces in the Baltic States, Poland and Romania is primarily of purely political importance. Of course, looking at the American presence in these countries, we are looking at their capabilities, and not the officially proclaimed intentions. But the range of action of modern weapons is such that in the event of war in Europe there will be no real “front” and “rear”, and the means deployed closer to us will become more vulnerable.
In general, summing up, it should be concluded that the prospect of a large land war in the European theatre of operations is rather a political threat from the general set of measures to pressure Russia - what is called a “warm war” in the epigraph to this article. Nevertheless, the prospects of a small land war with conventional weapons in a limited theatre of operations may turn out to be quite real, and they are actively discussing this in the Western media.
More on this this in the sequel.