In 1942, another dictator made fateful decisions which in the end destroyed his leadership and in the end, his nation. Adolf Hitler could have won World War II. That is just a fact many have to accept because if he had focused his efforts on the Middle East and Africa instead of Russia, the supply chain which kept the British Empire alive would have been cut off, leaving the home islands to wither. Add in the fact that if he had waited until 1944 to invade Russia, his technological leap in weapon technology would have almost all but guaranteed a victory against almost all of his enemies except the United States.
Hitler’s invasion of Russia was delusional, premature, and selfish; no other words for it. He was delusional that Russia was a “pushover” to defeat (like Ukraine now), unprepared for a sustained offensive to destroy the enemy forces within a short time period (like Putin’s invasion of Ukraine now), and selfish, to claim he did what Napoleon could not. Today is much the same as in instead of following a strict military doctrine, Putin wanted to join the #MeTOO movement of the old, not current, US military lore and declare that his military was as badass as the American units.
Apparently Putin’s arrogance will be his undoing as it’s not 1982 anymore. Unlike that era, the United States and NATO are now paper tigers with conventional forces that have become more concerned about building up biofuel capable equipment and LGBTQalphabet “diversity” than winning wars. The German Chancellor finally announced an increase in defense spending, but that does not replenish the twenty-five year plus policy of deterioration. At this very moment, the Germans can barely field one armored battalion with working equipment at any given time and worse, less than 28% of the once feared Luftwaffe is capable of sustained air operations for more than two weeks.
Everything from economic weakness to military cowardice was set up nicely for Red Vlad, and yet it would appear he has failed to achieve his goal of a 96 hour “lightning” victory.”
This quote from one of Nazi Germany’s most famous and intelligent generals summed up why Hitler not only lost the war, but why he lost Stalingrad (via The History Place):
And there were, for Hitler the commander, some deeper flaws as German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein observed: “He was a man who saw fighting only in terms of the utmost brutality. His way of thinking conformed more to a mental picture of masses of the enemy bleeding to death before our lines than to the conception of a subtle fencer who knows how to make an occasional step backwards in order to lunge for the decisive thrust. For the art of war he substituted a brutal force which, as he saw it, was guaranteed maximum effectiveness by the will-power behind it…. Despite the pains Hitler took to stress his own former status as a frontline soldier, I still never had the feeling that his heart belonged to the fighting troops. Losses, as far as he was concerned, were merely figures which reduced fighting power. They are unlikely to have seriously disturbed him as a human being.”
General von Manstein was one of the geniuses that helped the Nazi war machine conquer Western Europe but Hitler’s delusions of Napoleonic grandeur overrode common sense military practice.
Please, read the highlighted portion of the quote above and think about the current situation in Ukraine. The question is being legitimately asked if Putin is still functionally rational. The methodology of his invasion matches nothing to what was supposed to be a demonstration of modern Russian military strategy, thus causing everyone to speculate that Putin is running the military campaign and he went Full Metal Stalingrad.
Never go Full Metal Stalingrad.
What do I mean? I can admit when I am wrong and in this article, The West is Miscalculating the Russian Military Strategy in Ukraine, I proposed that the new BTG integrated armored thrusts would take advantage of air supremacy and the open terrain to cut the Ukrainian military up piecemeal, leaving them isolated in pockets for consolidation and defeat without supply. Instead, Vlad decided that sending his “conscripts” into battle to fight evenly matched conventional forces toe to toe along with what seemed almost personally designed”thunder runs” into Ukrainian territory to rapidly achieve unrealistic goals of a rapid victory by destroying the Ukrainian government.
The initial attacks were not properly supported with artillery and armored support and abandoned the BTG tactical design his generals created. Worse, he failed to achieve air superiority in the first 48 hours, something which was practically possible and should have been easy to acheive.
His personal animus towards President Zelensky plus dreams of World War II historical glory guided his decision making into disjointed full thrusts towards the major cities of Kharkov and Kiev instead of the initial, more practical goal of destroying the Ukrainian military first before imposing a forced surrender by forcing Ukraine to exist on random militia actions against armored units, a not so inviting proposition for the long term.
In other words, he thought, like Hitler at Stalingrad, he could win a quick victory with insufficient military forces and tactics by abandoning all of the reforms and strategic realignment he insisted on making in the Russian military over the past 20 years.
Never go Full Metal Stalingrad.
Unfortunately, if the reports are true that Putin has abandoned the insights of his best generals, like Hitler did, and is personally promoting the current strategy that should be terrifying to the West. The idea that a Western aircraft from NATO carrying arms into Lviv and being shot down is not so insane now. Neither is the idea of a NATO based retaliation against the Russian military and then the nuclear genie may well pop out of the bottle.
Got Potassium Iodine?
-I have some more business to attend to up here in the frozen tundra of the north, so once that is complete, I shall post more updates here tonight. In the mean time, watch gold and bitcoin today as the Russian oligarchs move their overseas holdings to safe havens and Russia prepares to declare open economic warfare, including cyberwar, against Western economies.