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29 February 2016


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The Twisted Genius

I agree there is no reason to assume any large-scale Russian military assistance to the armed forces of Novorossiya, but there is also no reason to deny a very effective Russian assistance program. The effectiveness of Russia's rearming and retraining program in Syria shows how good the Russians are at this. Some critical items of military equipment including ammunition and C3I gear were supplied to Novorossiya through the Voentorg. Training and reorganization of the rebels incorporating modern Russian tactics, techniques and procedures (the current US term) were provided. Granted the heroic men of Novorossiya like Givi, Motorola and the men of their units provide the finest raw material for creating effective fighting units on the Russian model. I always assumed Russia was directly aiding the armed forces of Novorossiya, but in a nuanced and delicate manner. Russia is certainly not sending their forces in Ukraine as the Ukies so often claim.


My conclusion from Russian sources would be that organized aid from Russia started in August 2014. Apparently rebels had to meet conditions in removing from conspicuous commanding positions. Before that most if not all help was from private sources.

As for what kind of help was provided... There are numerous Donbass based sources that claim participation of Russian military at critical moments - so-called "Northern Wind". But how much truth is there I do not know.


Missed 2 words

*Apparently rebels had to meet conditions in removing Russian nationals from conspicuous commanding positions.



I find that film clip of those fellows getting that WW2 tank running and driving it off to be heartwarming. I hope it got in a few good "licks" before its end. pl

The Twisted Genius

As Alex Ovechkin says, "Russian machine never breaks."


The novorussians themselves talk of the "military surplus store" ie the flow of necessary bits from Russia itself. It's one thing to have grads, it's another to have enough rockets to bombard any of the various kettles the Uke army is getting itself into. After Strelkov resigned, the military store re-opened and the Uke army was melted in place with rocket fire.



A report on the weapons used. That the debate in Russia is whether more support should have been given, not less, says a lot.

Accepting the Communist era borders in both the FSU and Yugoslavia guaranteed that there would be conflict in both regions eventually. Mono ethnic states are of course offensive to the Borg, with one notable exception.



Both the IS-3 and the T-34 apparently lacked ammo for the main guns, and were used as armoured OP's.

The Stalin was quickly attacked and "captured" at Slovansk,

But apparently, the T-34 still serves in Lugansk as an armoured transport and mobile OP.

Balint Somkuti

It is all to nice, but the hungarian army also had SA-7 Grails (or 9k32 Strela) and they are only in the most extreme case able to shoot down a jet, especially a supersonic one. Yes these kind of MANPADS are good against helicopters, but not really vs jets incl Su-25. I also saw a video of a WWII vintage IS-3 heavy tank started and used in the fighting, but there is also the story of a complete russian self-propelled artillery battalion disappearing during lunch break in a livex near the border. Not to mention the likes of BUK medium range AA batteries. I am not saying there are little green men like in Crimea, but russian support was and is not clandestine from the beginning. Not that anybody can complain for supporting their kin in their freedom fight.


+1. That clip goes into a special bookmarks folder with other heartwarming stuff like flypasts of Merlin-engined aircraft.

Only wish my late father (WW2 tank man) could have seen it. Didn't talk much about that time, but would wax lyrical about T-34s.

Jag Pop

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006 and was defeated, did Hezbollah create motti or cauldrons or something altogether different?

Patrick Armstrong

Apologies to you all if I've bungled handling the comments – I'm new to Typepad. Anyway I'm off for a few days.
I'm prepared to believe that the Russians have intervened – put their thumbs on the scale, so to speak. But I have seen no evidence of anything. Everything Kiev says is a lie, NATO is lying, Psaki and her "social media" is a joke, blurry sat photos of something or other, reporters who say they see something but forget their smart phones, Bellingprat, phony soldiers' mothers, gravestones, blah blah – it's all BS. Where's actual evidence. And there are umpteen videos of obvious civilians turned soldiers and none of real soldiers.
And the more fake "evidence" of Russian intervention, the less I believe it.



Welcome aboard. I approved a few comments. I can do that. pl

William R. Cumming

Was the T-34 actually designed by an American engineer?



Your articles were great. Love your writing style, easy reading and informative. Glad you’re here. Appreciate it.

William R. Cumming

IMO this is an important and useful post not just for its history! N.B. I separated from active service in July 1979! But I did serve as a support unit S2/S3 in NATO from 1968-1979! When I arrived in Frankfort in September 1968 Soviet Liaison Officers were taking count of each arriving Officers and NCO's as they offloaded chartered aircraft. Same for those departing in 1970. NATO was not an effective fighting force in those years IMO! And the Soviets knew it!

One Example: General Polk SACEUR during one REFORGER exercise used his personal aircraft to resupply a REFORGER units jeeps that had all broken down because grease had not been applied to their left or right wheels (I forget which side]. So need replacements.

I have had a life long interest in military weapory down to webgear. So assigned to support American units in CENTAG as well as 4th ATG and the German 4th Mountain division
[they all wore the Idleweiss in their soft hats] and often guarded and in field exercises with German units to the extent possible I observed their command structure, logistics, and weaponry. I rode e.g. several times in the Leopard II and found it very superior to the American tanks long since replaced.

In armored warfare it has long been known for example that repairing damaged tanks in combat may well determine the outcome tactically. Both the Israelies and the FRG forces were the best in the world IMO when I served. Even FRG wreckers were very very superior to the U.S. equivalent.

And FRG NCO's carried the UZZI which I was allowed to learn how to field strip and shoot. An interesting weapon for its time.

Well the long and short is stationed in CENTAG and what had been the FRENCH NATO zone was very interested in everything from bridging doctrine to logistics.

War fighting in my time and now is for the hard slogging of professionals and now as I go to vote in Super Tuesday wondering how many of the remaining candidates have mastered
nuclear weapons employment doctrine or the employment of Field Armies or Air Forces.



That T-34/85 sat there for fifty years in front of the railroad station or in the main square while the traffic rolled by. It sat waiting, waiting, waiting... Who knows where it had been, Kursk, Prokhorovka, Kharkov? Waiting and then it was re-born. pl


In reply to William R. Cumming 01 March 2016 at 07:59 AM

"Was the T-34 actually designed by an American engineer?"

No. The lead designer was a Red Army engineer named Mikhail Koshkin.

You might be thinking of the (earlier) BT series of tanks which were based on a design by an American engineer named J. Walter Christie (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Walter_Christie ).

The T34 did use Christie's suspension as did a some British tanks but that's not the same thing as the design being borrowed from his work.

Open to discussion on this but I think Koshkin's design was sui generis - the Germans thought so too both Von Kleist and Guderian praised it as being a superb tank. I think it was Guderian who said it was highly superior to any Germany was producing at the time.


Wouldn't the American government have loved to send someone like Powell to wave a bunch of photographs in front of the United Nations, had their satellites been able to see any substantial transfers of military equipment across the Russian border?

William Fitzgerald


As I recall, the suspension system of the T-34 and other Soviet tanks was brought there by an American inventor named Christie in the 1920s, primarily for agricultural tracked equipment. Hence, the "Christie suspension".


William Fitzgerald


The reporting by most of the western media from and about Ukraine may well be the most perfect illustration of the "borg" propaganda apparatus in action.



By the, I did find the "White Tiger" on YouTube in full and it was well worth the watch especially if interested in tank resurrection.

Trey N

NO, but the Soviet designers incorporated the innovative "Christie suspension system" of American engineer J. Walter Christie on the T-34 and the BT series of their tanks (the British also used it on several models of their tanks). The US had rejected adopting the system for its own tanks on the grounds of its being too expensive.


The Guardian in 2014 had some good articles about the salt mine based munition depots in eastern Ukraine. But there is no doubt that Russian men, equipment especially anti-aircraft systems, aerial drones and electronic warfare systems were and are being provided by the Russians.

Trey N

Something altogether different:


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