Foreign Policy Experts or Nuclear Nut-Cases?

January 23rd, 2023 - by Moon of Alabama & Gilbert Doctorow / Gilbert

Foreign Policy Experts or Nuclear Nut-Cases?

Steven Starr / Special to Environmentalists Against War

(January 2, 2023) — The B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb is a “variable yield” weapon. However, the lowest yield, or explosive power, is 0.3-kilotons.  Since a kiloton equals one thousand tons of TNT explosive equivalent, a 0.3-kiloton detonation creates an explosive power of 300-tons TNT equivalent.

The explosive power of the largest conventional (non-nuclear) weapon in the US arsenal has the equivalent explosive power of11-tons of TNT.  Thus, the 0.3-kilton B61-12 detonation is 27 times more powerful that the Mother Of All Bombs 11-ton detonation. The extremely low-yield of the B61-12 was created in order to produce a “credible threat” of use for a nuclear weapon, i.e. it is a “useable” nuclear weapon.

The idea that the US is now delivering “usable” B61-12 nuclear weapons to NATO bases across Europe should make any sane person quite worried.  Because these fools running the show in Washington clearly have no real understanding of what nuclear war means or what it would do to the planet if the US and Russia get into a nuclear war.


Ukraine — Russian Army Activates Southern Front

Moon of Alabama

(January 2023) — The long expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has begun.

The Ukrainian army, egged on by its US controllers, had put most of its resource into the static defense of the Bakhmut (Artyomovsk) — Soledar sector of the eastern front. An insane number of Ukrainian brigades, though many partially depleted, were concentrated on that 50 kilometer long front. This left other sectors nearly empty of Ukrainian troops.

Military Land Deployment Map

I count the equivalent of some 27 brigade size formations in that area. The usual size of a brigade is some 3,000 to 4,000 men with hundreds of all kinds of vehicles. If all brigades had their full strength that force would count as 97,500 men. In a recent interview the Ukrainian military commander Zaluzhny said that his army has 200,000 men trained to fight with 500,000 more having other functions or currently being trained. The forces which are currently getting mauled in the Bakhmut area constitute 50% of Ukraine’s battle ready forces.

On the southern and northern sectors of the battle-line the Ukrainian forces have been thinned out and are only able to defend against minor forces.

The Ukrainian forces in the north and south are in the same position Russian troops had been in when the Ukrainian army last year launched a blitz attack in the Kharkiv region.

The Russian screening force of some 2,000 boarder guards and federal police retreated and used its artillery to destroy the oncoming Ukrainian forces. The attack ran out of power and came to a halt after progressing some 70 kilometers on a rather large front. But Ukraine no longer has, unlike the Russians at that time, the artillery that is need to stop a larger thrust.

The big Ukrainian concentration in Bakhmut is now in an operational encirclement. The Russian forces have progressed north and south of the city and their artillery can easily control the western exit roads of Bakhmut. This a Verdun-like situation. Russian artillery is by far numerical superior and can slaughter the Ukrainian troops at will. Even the US military is now suggesting that Ukraine should give up on that city. Should the government in Kiev agree to that it will be a retreat under fire with likely high casualties. Not retreating though will make things even worse.

The Ukrainian concentration on Bakhmut put its other frontlines into jeopardy. I and others have suggested for quite some time that the Russian forces will use the southern Zaporizhia region for a large thrust into the far back of the Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut.

The Russian moves against the third and fourth Ukrainian defense lines will likely be supported by a move from the south that will liberate the rest of the Zaporiziha and Donetsk oblast.

Aside from those operations the Russian command has sufficient number of troops available to run another major attack. This could come from the north into the Kharkiv region behind the Ukrainian troops currently attacking the Russian lines further east.

The Military Land Deployment map, sympathetic to the Ukrainian side, shows just three Territorial Defense brigades covering a 100 kilometer long southern defense line. These brigades are infantry rich but not mobile. They have only little heavy equipment. The Ukrainian 65th Mechanized Brigade is the only capable force in the area. It is screening Zaporizhzhia city but has been heavily bleeding it its position for quite a while.

One Motorized Infantry brigade, the 56th, was added to the southern front some six days ago. Back in August this brigade had been severely mauled in its defense of Peski at the eastern front. It has since been reconstituted with new conscripts and a smorgasbord of ‘western’ delivered equipment. It can not be regarded as a fully capable unit.

There is no Ukrainian artillery brigade in the sector. There are thereby no counter-artillery capabilities available.

The attacking Russian force is the 58th army of the Russian Federation. These are not lightly armored, air deployable VDV forces like those who fought around the Hostomel Airport airport near Kiev. These are not militia of the Donbas republics seen on the eastern front. These are not Chechen forces storming Mariupol. These are not the Wagner mercenaries surrounding Bakhmut.

This is the real Russian army, the Red one, with all its heavy resources and capabilities to wage combined arms warfare.

The first probing Russian attacks in the area were launched two days ago. The Ukrainian lines immediately broke down and the Russian forces advanced some 5 kilometer on the very first day. Yesterday they advanced further.

Everything in red and yellow north of the closed red line are recent Russian advances.

A few weeks ago, in an interview with the Economist, the Ukrainian army commander general Zaluzhny called a Russian attack at this time the “worst” possible situation:

But the main reason Russia has dragooned so many young men, the generals believe, is to go back on the offensive for the first time since its bid to overrun Donbas fizzled out in the summer.

“Just as in [the second world war]…somewhere beyond the Urals they are preparing new resources,” says General Zaluzhny, referring to the Soviet decision to move the defence industry east, beyond the range of Nazi bombers. “They are 100% being prepared.” A major Russian attack could come “in February, at best in March and at worst at the end of January”, he says.

Zaluzhny has claimed to be building reserves but he has since send even more troops to Bakhmut:

The temptation is to send in reserves [to Bakhmut]. A wiser strategy is to hold them back….
“May the soldiers in the trenches forgive me,” says General Zaluzhny. “It’s more important to focus on the accumulation of resources right now for the more protracted and heavier battles that may begin next year.”

It is unlikely that any reserves he currently has are equipped, trained and battle ready. They will be too small to stop a fully mechanized Russian attack through the rather sparsely settled southwest of Donetzk province.

The aim of the Russian thrust in the south will not be to take cities like Zaporiziha. The aim is to bring the main transport routes, railways and roads, from west-Ukraine to the front in east Ukraine under Russian artillery fire. This will prevent not only the re-supply for the Ukrainian troops on the eastern front but also their exit from the front line. A 100-kilometer (60 miles) thrust to the north would mostly do that. A complementary thrust from the north towards south, which may or may not be coming, would finally close the cauldron.


Withdraw from Artyomovsk! [Bakhmut]

Gilbert Doctorow / Gilbert

(]anuary 21, 2023) — This is the advice which social media say the US Government is today giving to the Zelensky regime in Kiev. It follows by a day or two the public release by German intelligence operatives of their own assessment of the latest course of the war, saying that the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to advancing Russian ground units in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), just as the defense of Soledar (lost to the Russians a week ago) was and is a death trap set by the Russians for the Ukrainians.

As the US overlords understand today, continued losses of Ukrainian forces in these hopeless PR stunts are compromising any chances of their making a spring counteroffensive when the advanced military gear now being shipped to them arrives and is put into the field.

What conclusion can we reach from “withdraw from Artyomovsk”?  Very simply that the notion of 1:1 death-and-injured rates that the Anglosaxon news disseminators have been shouting for weeks to slant the news towards some “stalemate” between the opposing sides is pure nonsense.  It would be safer to follow the figures put out by the Russian military, which indicate a 10:1 imbalance in casualties on the Ukrainian side.

Meanwhile, the big news in the past 24 hours was the meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in the German army base at Ramstein. This was most notable for the failure of the defense ministers of the 50 participating countries to reach any agreement over delivery of tanks to the Ukrainians. Tanks are allegedly needed to support Ukraine’s spring counter offensive, with the objective not merely to push back the Russians to the line of demarcation in Donbas prior to the start of the Special Military Operation, but even to recapture the Crimea.

The central issue at Ramstein was German Chancellor Scholz’s refusal to send in German Leopard heavy tanks or to allow the many NATO countries where Leopards are held in the inventory to send any of their tanks to Kiev.  Scholz is said to insist the Americans first ship their own Abrams tanks to Kiev before Germany will lift a finger.

And why is he being so stubborn in resisting all the jackal states in NATO on this very issue? Western reports say he is fearful of leading the pack on delivery of tanks and incurring special Russian wrath.

Let us decode this message:  the German chancellor is not some indecisive imbecile, as our newspapers hint.  No, he is a cunning fox who is unwilling to allow Washington to send him and Europe to hell in what could easily become a Russia-NATO hot war if the Russian red lines forbidding heavy armaments deliveries are crossed.

So all the Ukrainians will get by way of new weapon systems as per the decisions announced yesterday in Ramstein are token deliveries of armored personnel carriers and armored machine gun and cannon vehicles that one might just call light tanks.   That and a lot more howitzers of every variety coming from several different NATO countries.

But in terms of the big picture, what difference would tanks make?   The vision of big tank warfare across the Ukrainian steppes that underlies the Washington war scenario is fallacious.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, despite the lies and PR blasts from Washington and London, the war is being fought according to the Russian scheme, not the US scheme.


We have heard how poorly the Russians coordinate air and ground.  We have heard how they just cannot put together any good shock and awe. But this is beside the point.  The Russians are waging an artillery war for good reasons:  they have the world’s largest manufacturing industry of cannon, multi-rocket field launchers and munitions and they are waging a war of attrition on the ground which can only favor their armies.

If the slaughter of Ukrainians continues at its present rate, if the United States and its allies cannot ramp up munitions production, if the destruction of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure continues, if the logistics for conveying Western military supplies to the front are further impaired, then the Russians will find themselves against a disarmed Ukrainian army some time in the early spring, and they may get the capitulation they seek without shock and awe heroics.

In saying this, I acknowledge my own misreading of the Russian war plans, since I expected them to deliver the death blow to Kiev some time ago.

But then I am joined in this misreading by many others who actually have military expertise guiding their assessments, such as Col. Douglas MacGregor.

Who laughs last, laughs best.  And that may well explain the sardonic smile we see from time to time in President Putin’s public statements about the course of the war effort.

That is not to say that we can sleep calmly in the belief that the end of the war is nigh.  There are risks arising as the inevitability of a Russian victory sinks into thick skulls at the Pentagon.  The latest risks come from those saying publicly in Washington that the Ukrainians must be given longer-range missiles so that they can strike directly at Russian military installations in Crimea if not in Central Russia.

Such extravagant plans for the conquest of Russia can lead only to a nuclear response from Moscow and…the end of civilization as we know it.

© Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.