4th October 2022
Also, in a recent article I published, I described how, during the Second World
War, the Red Army had frequently employed deception to lure the Wehrmacht into
situations where they could then be cut off and destroyed in detail.
Of course, the German commanders were brilliant in their own right, and they
frequently turned the tables on the Soviets in the same fashion. A New
Conception of War makes specific reference to such a case - one I believe is
particularly apropos to ongoing events in Ukraine:
"One example Boyd provided of using terrain as a medium for mentally unhinging an
enemy, and not simply as a military objective in itself, came from Field Marshal
Erich von Manstein's "Donetz counterstroke" against the Soviet Red Army in World
War II. Manstein deliberately took a "long step backward," giving up large
swathes of territory to make the Soviets overconfident and overextended. When
Manstein finally counterattacked, the surprise caused complete mental and moral
disorientation on the part of the Russians, netting Manstein all the territory
he had voluntarily surrendered and, more important, large numbers of Russian
(A New Conception of War, p. 108, emphasis added)
Manstein's "long step backward" had the effect of drawing the Soviets out of
well-prepared defensive positions, and into the open field of battle, where the
Germans repeatedly resisted, then withdrew even further, until Soviet supply
lines had been stretched dangerously thin, and their forces were extremely
diluted in the large "bulge" their advance had created.
This is precisely the scenario we have seen play out in the Kharkov region over
the past month.
For weeks now, the vastly outnumbered Russian forces have been executing a
fighting retreat - ceding territory to the advancing Ukrainians, briefly
occupying strong prepared defensive positions from which they inflict severe
losses on the Ukrainian attackers, and then retreating yet again to another line
of prepared positions.
As is always the case during an ongoing battle, reliable casualty numbers are
difficult to ascertain. But the nature of the terrain, the strength of the
prepared Russian defenses, and the Russians' overwhelming superiority in terms
of air power and artillery have afforded them a huge battlefield advantage.
Contributing to this advantage has been the frequently displayed rashness of
almost suicidal banzai-like Ukrainian assaults on hardened Russian positions
which, although their significant numerical superiority ultimately permitted
them to compel another Russian retreat, hugely disproportionate losses of
manpower and military equipment have been inflicted on the Ukrainian attackers.
Late last week, in my article entitled Turning Point, I described how the
Ukrainians had expended thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles in their
quasi-fanatical attempts to take both Kupyansk and Liman.
Nevertheless, those two towns were taken, and the Ukrainians have continued to
make modest advances since then while the Russians prepare yet another hardened
defensive line several kilometers further east.
I've also been reporting for weeks now regarding the never-ending trains of
Russian equipment and troops streaming into the region from various directions -
and yet few if any of these major reinforcements have found their way to the
front lines, much to the chagrin of those cheering on the Russian cause, and who
have been devastated by what appear to be repeated Russian defeats.
However, in just the last few hours, reports have been leaking out that western
intelligence has detected a major buildup of Russian forces in and around
Belgorod, just across the border of the Kharkov Oblast, and immediately north of
the current line of contact.
-- Cont'd at https://imetatronink.substack.com/p/maneuver-warfare