by John Delach
Putin is a stone-cold killer. He is a sociopath and a thug. He is Russian to the core and his fears and paranoia reflect those of his people. He and they fear NATO. They fear any and all perceived threats from the West. The horrific toll from that the Patriotic War (World War II) has become part of their DNA. Pick a number anywhere from 24 million to 32 million Russians killed during that war and you can begin to understand their paranoia. Never mind that Stalin killed at least a third of those lost because Uncle Joe defeated the Nazis and that’s what Russians choose to remember.
Add to this how the misfits that constitute the Russian Army fight a war; with all the finesse of a bear in a China shop (pun intended.) Armor, artillery, missiles and overwhelming numbers are their Gods. Hit the enemy hard. Hit them relentlessly. Make them succumb to fear, hunger and deprivation. Attack without regard for any sense of honor or the rules of war, let alone basic human compassion.
When Putin began his invasion of the Ukraine on February 24, he fully expected his forces to produce a shock wave that would force President Zelensky, his government, his ill-prepared army and the Ukrainian people to fold like a cheap suit.
I admit, I too thought this would happen. Thankfully, I was wrong. As for Putin, f**k him and the horse he rode in on. I imagined that even if the Ukrainians put up a fight, their meager forces would be quickly overwhelmed. Videos shown on American news stations showing local citizens filling wine bottles with jellied gasoline to make Molotov cocktails didn’t give me any encouragement. Molotov cocktails are final acts of desperation.
Little did I know how the NATO block would overwhelmingly choose to come to the aid of Ukraine with state-of-the-art tank killing weapons: Unprecedented!
Of course, neither the USA or NATO were prepared to take the fight back to Putin to the degree needed. The Western world was not about to start World War III, nuclear war and all that shit.
But we did arm and re-arm and continue to re-arm the Ukrainian army with tank killing equalizers that include one from the UK and one from the USA. Different in design, sophistication and range, curiously, when used together, they presented the Ukrainians with death to Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, (APCs.)
On March 19, The New York Times published a story by John Ismay about how these weapons were destroying Russia’s tanks by the dozens. The British version has the un-sexy acronym for a name: NLAW or: Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon. “The NLAW weighs just under 28 pounds and has no camera.” It takes about 15 seconds to setup and fire. Accurate up to a half-mile, the NLAW projectile destroys its target in less than 15 seconds.
Originally developed by the Swedish company, Saab, Great Britain manufactures these close-in attack weapons at a plant in Belfast under license.
The American Javelin, is an older, heavier but more sophisticated guided weapon with a substantially greater range. “The Javelin, which was designed at the end of the Cold War consist of two parts, a 15-pound reusable launcher that soldiers often use for reconnaissance and surveillance, given its suite of thermal cameras that can zoom in and out for finding targets, and a 33-pound disposable tube that contains the missile.”
The Javelin has a kill range of up to two and one-half miles.
Both weapons can be programmed to fly above the target and detonate downward in order to penetrate the lighter armor on the top or rear of the tank or APC rather than hitting the face which has the heaviest armor. Crew and passengers are annihilated.
“The capabilities of the two weapons make the Javelin more like a sniper rifle for taking out armored vehicles at extreme distances while the NLAW is better for close-quarter battles and ambush scenarios.”
So far, Russian tanks and APCs have not been able to develop a defense against these weapons and make-shift attempts have proven to be futile.
In a recent interview with an anonymous British diplomat, he told told Mr. Ismay:
“Given that the Ukrainians are unable to fight Russian armor with tanks of their own, they must use different tactics. The Ukrainians have shown the will and the extraordinary nerve to get close to the tanks and destroy them in these missile attacks.
“They’re fighting an existential threat and they’re not giving up. So, we’ve given them, at their request as a sovereign nation, the tools to go and do this.”
God bless these brave patriots.
Unfortunately, Putin, like Stalin can’t back down. Stalin couldn’t because his was in a war of national survival. Putin has put himself into a war of personal survival.
Modern history has taught us that Russian strategy, when faced with unexpected resistance on the field of battle, has been to withdraw, regroup, and re-attack in mass at their convenience.
So far, Putin is sending out mixed signals. His agents have entered into primitive peace negotiations while missiles and artillery continue to target Ukraine. As far as I can see Putin remains married to the same gameplan, annex ”The Ukraine.” ‘
Ultimately. it may take considerable sacrifice by NATO, which means the USA, to save Ukraine. Are we up for such a war? Given the alternative, I sincerely hope that is who we are, a nation of True Grit, Only time will tell.