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10 April 2016


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R+6 is fighting a much larger force than IS. Russian advice has been effective. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is infallible. pl


Aleksandr + SmoothieX12

1- The question with regard to the adequacy of SAA plus ground allies is not one of available units. It is one of number and quality of maneuver units available. Carefully built units like the Tiger Forces and the Syrian Marine Regiment are sensitive to strength losses in combat and can be expended as useful tools if over used. 2 - One or the other of you made a disparaging comment about the capability of US forces. I remind you that governments can commit forces to long term combat within the limits of restrictions on options that preclude victory. 3 - I followed the unfortunate Soviet defeat in Afghanistan closely because my people in DIA were doing all the detailed work that the CIA lacked the military skill to provide ISI. That included targeting that ended in the hands of the mujahideen (non Abu Sayyaf). It was clear that Soviet 40th Army performed very badly with the exception of some battalions that had raised from Spetznaz cadres. Soviet logistics worked really poorly. Troops starved in the field and were not well supllied. Routine tasks were badly performed. Seveal ammunition dumps were blown up by mujahideen. This does not happen to a first rate army. My people did the targeting on the ammunition dumps. Officer-soldier relations were terrible. Conscripts were routinely physically abused and a number attempted to desert the mujahideen where they were treated equally badly. I can only say that I am happy to learn that the Russian Army is not like that of the USSR. pl

Ghost ship

You could be right - RT is reporting that 10,000 Jabhat al-Nusra liver eaters have arrived around Aleppo to surround and cut it off. The Jabhat al-Nusra soldiers seem to have passed unmolested through territory held by US-backed "moderates" and Russia is claimng that Turkey is involved.
Seems like the United States can not be trusted when it comes to agreements it's signed, but we knew that anyway as was seen recently with the reprocessing of plutonium agreement.


Col. Lang
As regards the Soviet performance in Afghanistan, would you say that had to do with the quality of the specific formations involved or was it due to doctrinal problems or even some sort of fundamental problem with the Soviet military itself?


ThomasG There others here far more qualified than I to judge the quality of units in 40th Army relative to those in other major soviet era formations like GSFG. I can only judge from 40th Army's performance in Afghanistan which I would judge to be mediocre at best. The present Russian army and air force are obviously greatly improved. The expeditionary presence in Syria is small but it has been well run and the quality of the counsel being given to the Syrians is outstanding. pl

Patrick Bahzad


Hope PL won't mind me joining the discussion on this topic, even though the question was addressed to him.
Regarding Afghanistan, the Soviet Army was poorly "equipped" to deal with something of this magnitude in several regards:
- on a doctrinal level: the Soviets had never fought a guerilla war previously, other than on the side of the guerilla force. The whole doctrinal component necessary to shape strategy and tactics on the ground was flawed by their belief in a modelisation of the coming operations that vastly underestimated key components of the war (deep social divide within Afghan society, resilience and fighting spirit of the Afghan Mujahideen, Western/Pakistani/Saudi efforts to fund, train and equip the Mujahideen), while overestimating their own capabilities to deal with an insurrection.
- on the operational level: adjustments to the way operations were conducted was slow and often hampered by Soviet style red-tape. AAR focusing on operational shortcomings often never reached their intended addressee. Once tactical and operational changes were implemented, in particular the use aero-mobile infantry units combined with conventional type ground formations, it was already too late as the momentum had definitely shifted sides. In this regard, it may be worth mentioning that the supply of the Mjahideen with Stinger MANPADs also played a decisive role in neutralizing tactical Soviet gains.
- on a psychological level: motivation was poor among the Soviet army and the model of a conscript army fighting a expeditionary war (in a region nobody among the populace in the USSR considered a vital security interest) had devastating effects on the proficiency of the forces involved.
- on a strategic level: the whole idea of invading Afghanistan will go down in history as one of the worst ever strategic decisions a great power has taken. This decision alone bears testimony to the already huge disconnect there was at the time between the Politburo and the "real world". No doubt, those advisers of Brejnew had no clue about Afghan social structures, geography, religious, historic and ethnic fabric, which taken together, should have been a warning to any invading superpower ...

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