A Fake Mariupol Narrative?
What do you think will happen in the next few weeks? Will there be the giant World War II type war of attrition and carnage everyone is talking about? Russia unleashing the kraken in the flat-lands to the West of the Donbas?
This is a thought piece.
The media always talks about what Russia is going to do, but seldom what Ukraine is up to? Even when a pundit suggests that Ukraine needs to go on a counter-offensive, the interviewer doesn’t ask, “what might Ukraine try?”
I wouldn’t be surprised that if Western media hears strong rumors about Ukrainian war plans and the equally strong encouragement of government officials not to talk about them. Ukraine looking weak suits Ukraine just fine.
Of course, on YouTube we have various military experts who could easily come up with workable strategies. In any case few risk their reputation on predictions outside the main narrative.
I have no such reputation and I believe even bad and laughable predictions by amateurs can be useful in getting those experts to open up. (hint-hint, if you’re reading!). Even better, if there is a surprise Ukrainian offensive, this story will give one more confidence in the future to do their own analysis.
I believe Ukraine is planning something big. I believe they too are preparing a May 9th Victory Day party for Putin. If not then, then in the weeks or months ahead.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to understand why Ukraine doesn’t give up on Mariupol. The stock answer is that Russia wants a land bridge between Crimea and Russia.
But do a few thousand Ukrainian fighters, most hiding in a steel mill, prevent Russia from moving whatever equipment it wants through Mariupol?
Practically speaking, doesn’t Russia already have its land bridge?
Many say Ukrainian fighters (or the Azof Battalion) in Mariupol are fighting to the last man out of symbolism.
Instead, what if they are staying to give scouting reports to the Ukrainian Army when it makes its push to connect inner Ukraine back to Mariupol? Why is that so important? For the very reason the media keeps harping on! To prevent Russia from operating a land bridge between Crimea and Russia.
The map screams to me: Ukraine must break apart Russia’s land bridge as soon as possible! They cannot let Russia dig in over the summer.
Ironically, after 54 days, no matter how much Ukraine wins against Russia the media only asks questions about Russia’s plans.
Now, about the Moskva. Has the media reporting been manipulated to distract us from Ukraine’s plans? The Ukrainians must have drone images of the ship after the attack, which any military analyst could decipher. Why keep it from the public? Why allow Russia to keep up the pretense that the ship sunk from a fire?
[An unverified photo was released last night]
There seems to be something timed about how much information is released. Somehow, I believe the Moskva and Mariupol are connected.
It might be part of the West’s desire to not to provoke Putin into using nuclear weapons. There are too many possibilities. I just want to point out that the ship was crucial to Russia’s ability to defend Mariupol from the sea. Without it, Ukraine’s air assets can possibly fly along the coast relatively safely.
Then there’s the 18 M777 Howitzers with 40,000 rounds that the U.S. is sending (probably already there). All rounds can fly at least 15 miles (24 kilometers). Some can go over 20 miles with a 30-foot accuracy.
Imagine sitting at a table in Times Square, New York City, with a friend. If you walked North, to the tip of Manhattan, and then up the Hudson River, in about six hours, you’d reach Hastings-on-Hudson. From there an M777 with an Excalibur guided round could kill the friend you left sitting at that table in Times Square.
The M777 isn’t your grandpa’s WWII howitzer.
If we split those 40,000 rounds among the 18 howitzers, that gives us about 2,222 each. If each fires 30 rounds into Russian positions, every 4 hours, moving the howitzers to safer or different locations in between, Ukraine can unleash psychological terror, not to mention the destruction of lives and equipment, on Russia’s Mariupol defensive positions for 12 straight days.
The U.S. isn’t just sending advanced howitzers. It’s sending cutting-edge targeting systems, equipment to protect them, to move the personnel around, helicopters to evacuate the wounded or whatever.
Perhaps a howitzer expert will comment here. My understanding is that the M777 and the rounds it fires can’t match the howitzers Russia is using, when compared in raw distance and destruction. But distance and power mean little if there’s something specific you need to blow up.
Like everything in the war, Russia’s equipment focuses on brute-force terror. The U.S. equipment focuses on high-value target elimination.
The technology of the M777 will allow Ukraine, with the spotting of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, to force Russia to move-it-or-lose on Ukraine’s terms. (Again, just an amateur here.)
Anyway, that’s my prediction. If not Mariupol, then somewhere. Ukraine will use those howitzers with great effect, as they had done everything so far, in the next few weeks. Feel free to rub my nose in it if this prediction never comes to pass.
Remember, the point of this article isn’t that my specific strategy will be used, but that we’re being distracted from what Ukraine is really up to. We shall see!
NOTES: I feel so much less confused about Putin, after listening to Vlad Vexler. So much I wrote weeks ago is just plain wrong. Live and learn!