Ukraine War: Is it being fought akin to WWII, big armies facing each other? Or is it being fought akin to Vietnam, insurgents endlessly harassing the invader?

No… ISTR that water supplies to Crimea were one of the things the Russians did actually secure pretty early on by capturing some canal that the Ukrainians had shut off back in 2014.

Something like 1/3 of the US Javelin missile supplies have been expended.

US facing shortage of Javelin anti-tank missiles post supplies to Ukraine: Report (

Every post Korea peer conflict (the Arab-Israeli and the Pakistan-India Wars) and even Great Power operations (Iraq both times and Russia in Syria) has seen munitions being expended at eye watering rates. At some point and soon NATO will have to make some difficult decisions about supplies.

The Russians are doubtless in a similar bind, but they do have a very large reserve of dumb ordnance they can use. Ukraine has held on since its used guided weapons in large numbers. Unfortunately they are running out of them since they are using them so fast, they are only surviving since they are using them.

Even if so, canals aren’t exactly mobile or easy to hide… And you only have to bust them up somewhere along the length…

The canal in question wasn’t broken. After the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine dumped concrete in part of it to block the flow of water to Crimea, probably hoping they’d get that territory back one day and be able to restore water flow. What happened was Russia took the canal and removed the concrete themselves.

Considering the Ukrainians had a ceasefire with the Donbas separatists - how’d that go? I suspect that Ukraine will want something more substantial than a Russian promise of non-interference; plus I strongly suspect the west will insist that the Russians contribute a substantial portion of any foreign earnings (energy) to rebuilding Ukraine, so as to guarantee the cash flow.

I don’t see the Russians simply declaring victory and heading home, unless they abandon Donbas and Crimea. Actually, I’m surprised the bridge to Crimea from Russia has not been taken out by missiles yet. I’m sure that’s in the planning stages when it’s feasible.

The nice thing about the US industrial capability is that it’s insulated from the war and has a lot better resources that the Russian side. This is what proved decisive in WWII. I’m imagining that the Switchblade is quick and easy to manufacture in large numbers. The US also has to decide whether it needs to fire up an big assembly line for Javelins long term… no doubt depending on the next phase, it will. That won’t help the next few weeks, but within a few months the Russians may be considering whether it will be worth staying. As they see the Ukraine will be holding out better than expected, they may be happy to initiate a rotation/replacement of their own stocks by sending old stuff aross the border. I could see there would be an initial concern that supplies would be wasted by a defeat and fall into Russian hands, but the current situation makes that less likely.

I guess the question is whether NATO considers that they are in it for the long haul, meaning spending time training Ukrainian troops on western tech and supplying that. The Russians face the prospect of holding hundreds of miles of front against smart cheap arial attacks that don’t risk Ukrainian pilots.

I wonder too if it’s possible to mass produce transmitters that mimic air defense radars, to decoy Russian attempts to attack SAM installations.

I would say that that is a certainty. That sort of thing in EW is SOP. But everything takes time.

The Russians launched a new surveillance satellite a couple of weeks ago that is specifically designed for detection of things like SAM installations. Clearly this wasn’t a coincidence.

Right now I still think that Putin is aiming to take and establish control over the eastern corridor and then offer a to end the war with Ukraine ceding that territory. All by the 9th. If it can’t be done by the 9th, then things open up. The danger is that Putin becomes more desperate in the next two weeks, and resorts to seriously bad behaviour.

Life would become very interesting for Putin if Japan were to become belligerent about the Kuril Islands. I doubt they would, but about now would be a good time to.

The Russians … do have a very large reserve of dumb ordnance that has been stolen or is worthless due to no maintenance.

Everything worth selling has been, and the rest is rusted or otherwise useless.

while i see your point, I venture the guess that Putin’s last moments will be full of hardship for him.

Depends if he goes out like Stalin or like Mussolini. I have seen assertions that he is obsessed with Gaddafi’s demise. He has good reason to now.

Mussolini seems like a better role model, then, hook and all. Although nothing wrong with emulating Ghaddafi hiding out in a sewer pipe…

I think the people around Putin need to be reminded that while Hitler never made it to Nuremberg, many of his minions did. Others have been hunted down even to this day. Do they imagine a Navalny government or some such will still protect them a decade or 3 from now?

I still think that no matter what he offers Ukraine, the West will have different criteria for an end to sanctions - at the very least we should be insisting on serious cut of any foreign transactions go to rebuilding Ukraine.

Plus, with the damage he’s done so far and the poor performance of his army, I can see the Ukraine settling for nothing less than complete withdrawal from Donbas and possibly even Crimea, egged on by better and better supplies from the west. One of Putin’s “bright lines” supposedly is the West supplying weapons that can reach deep into Russia (Cruise missiles?), so watch for that as a threat and bargaining chip from Ukraine soon. Stories circulate that the Ukraine will get aircraft from NATO members happy to replace their older equipment with US-made - they just aren’t going to advertise it. Meanwhile reports are that the recruiters in Russia are having serious problems replacing their manpower, and relatives of the dead soldiers are starting to make noise.

So yes, the next few weeks will be make-or-break.

The question really is more what level of

Here’s an article on that very thing:

Will the United States Run Out of Javelins Before Russia Runs Out of Tanks? | Center for Strategic and International Studies (

Basically we’ve sent 1/4 to 1/3 of our inventories of Javelins and Stingers to Ukraine, and have serious ramp-up times to produce more in quantity. Javelins have a max production rate of 6480 a year, but may take as long as a year to reach that production rate. Stingers are slower- 720 a year, and may take 2 years to ramp up to that rate. Those are full 24/7 3-shift production rates, not normal ones, FWIW.

So the war planners are probably getting pretty itchy about the Ukrainian support eating into their war reserves; this materially affects how long US forces can fight at full tempo.

And yeah, the big question is how long Russia continues to fight in Ukraine. If they do it for an extended period, then production will have to be restarted and/or ramped up significantly, as well as aid to Ukraine curtailed somewhat. If the Russians pull out relatively soon, then NATO countries can probably just replace the donated missiles as part of their usual procurement cycles.

What I wonder is what shape the war will take if it ends up taking many months more. I mean, the Russians can’t keep all their tanks, etc… in Ukraine indefinitely, and they’re using their own high tech munitions fast as well. Is it going to end up being refurbished old T-72s and T-64s versus a much more limited number of high-tech Western ATGMs? Is it going to be fewer tanks overall, and more of an infantry fight?

But the real question is - do NATO really need all those Javelins and Stingers? The current war is using those up because nobody has air superiority, despite the implicit imbalance that suggested the Russians should have established that in a matter of hours. if the war extends all the way across Europe, the amount of direct frontal fighting between ground forces will be much less, and air superiority more important - an inventory of smart bombs to be dropped from planes would seem to me to be more necessary (as would be anti-SAM capability), and in fact ICBM’s and cruise missiles most important. Depleting the inventory of Javelins would be a calculated risk. Switchblades seem simple enough to be easily ramped up to mass production.

In the case of the Javelins, probably not. Consider that they were made to take out Russian tanks and that’s what they’re doing. So in the case of a general war with Russia, there’ll be fewer Russian tanks for NATO to battle.

That’s not to say they shouldn’t ramp up production. I would hope they already are doing that.

Or Chinese tanks. I’d think the US would want to keep some back for that.

I would seriously hope that the moment they began giving away supplies that triggered a need to begin production, and the urgency of faster production has only increased in the last 6 weeks.

If the USA can have a contingency plan to invade Canada, one hopes “what if we have to give Ukraine a lot of Javelins?” was among the type of contingency plans they thought of long before this. Two Gulf wars should have impressed on the military the importance of being able to ramp up all munitions supply in a matter of weeks. After all, with the risks with Arab-Israeli conflicts, with Iran, with the risk to Taiwan - they should be well aware that munitions supply chain is an important issue.

But - we are talking about the military…

That must be a miserable business to be in. “We need 10,000 of these right now!” Then for 10 years - “we haven’t really needed any except the few used for target practice.” A week later “we need 20,000 more - ASAP!!” No wonder prices are so high.

Reports are that 5 recruitment centers in Russia have gone up in flames in the last day.

Yes, they’re probably having some recruiting difficulties.

Well yeah. The ammo levels are probably determined by the TO&E of the US forces, and the number of Javelin/Stinger launchers and the expected use rate. The US Army likely needs thousands of the things just to equip everyone who’s supposed to have them, and then having combat reserves means that many thousands- tens of thousands I suspect, are necessary to sustain high intensity combat for a reasonable duration of time (say… 60 days).

Stingers are much less common, probably because American doctrine expects air superiority, and MANPADS are more for edge situations/helicopters, not primary air defense.

The war in Donbas is more likely to resemble traditional World War II-style combat with an established front line in which the Russians have advantages in both manpower and firepower.

Did WWII really have stablished fronts? Seems to me that whatever side had the upper hand was on the move, and pushing back the other side fairly rapidly compared to WWI trench warfare.

Of course, drones and MANPAD’s and SAMs kind of make trench warfare less possible, since even the one without air superiority can gather intelligence or attack from above. It also makes defending any dug in position less tenable - so someone determined to harass will have the upper hand over an established dug in force. (If that harasser has a large supply of high-tech weapons)

The challenge I see for Ukraine is to get the supplies safely to the eastern front in a timely manner.

Yes it did.
In Italy, with the successive German fortified lines (note the plural) that slowed and halted the Allied advance between summer 43’ and april 45’.
In Russia, around Leningrad, between summer 41’ and spring 44’.
In Finland, with advances and recoils.
and of course El Alamein for 6 months of trench warfare.
that was not the norm, but in conditions when another front seemed more important, or when the climate/weather was preventing use of overwhelming air or artillery fire.