My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up about the Russian casualty figures that were “leaked” yesterday. If true, they indicated that the Russians are taking around 1,000 casualties (400 killed) per day. I’m skeptical. That the figure seems high, but, considering the Russians’ general incompetence, their losses could be that bad.
While the Russians have improved the technology of their weapons since the Second World War, they made few significant changes in the structure of their army. It is in many ways the same force Zhukov led almost 80 years ago, mostly a bunch of poorly trained conscripts led by corrupt NCOs and inept officers. The equipment may be more technologically advanced, but that makes it more susceptible to poor maintenance. However, today’s Russian army is very different from the Zhukov’s force—it is not repelling an invader; it is not fighting a Great Patriotic War. For now, the Russians are losing senior officers to snipers and drone strikes. How long will it be until the fragging begins? If it hasn’t already.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is fielding a highly motivated force armed with some of the be best weapons of the 21st century. The best Western technology backed by the West’s manufacturing capacity isn’t being sent as aid to Russia but to Ukraine. The Javelin and other anti-tank weapons are doing to Russian armor what the machine gun did to Infantry in the First World War. And Western intelligence service are clearly providing real time information.
The Russians may still win through brute force and sheer numbers, but the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Sometimes the victory belongs to the smart and the brave. That’s beginning to look more like the Ukrainians than the Russians.