The wall-to-wall coverage of the Russo-Ukraine War in the world’s media has brought home the horror of conventional warfare in Europe.

It seems as if anyone who has as much as sniffed a military uniform has an opinion on the conflict, as broadcasters seek out more and more obscure “experts” and allow them to vent their penny’s worth on the airwaves.


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines.


Much of the commentary has concentrated on the tactics – or lack of them – of both the Russian invaders and of the Ukrainian defenders and the weaponry both sides are using. Who can now not be familiar with the success of the Ukrainian hand-held anti-tank missiles supplied by their allies, or of Russia’s use of massed, and generally not too sophisticated, artillery to smash everything in its path?

Relatively little coverage, however, has been given to what might be called the macro lessons of the war so far. Many of these are reiterations of what has been learned many times before, often at great cost in blood and treasure, and has subsequently been forgotten in peacetime. Below is a selection of the more notable ones just as a reminder. There will be others I have omitted and which you may wish to add.

The first of these is that numbers count. “Get there first with the most troops” may well be the fundamental diktat in warfare, and victory usually – though not always – goes to the big battalions. Despite taking a battering from the Ukrainians, the Russians are still able to continue because of their overwhelming superiority in numbers of men and materiel. 

Their losses have been high, as no doubt have also those of Ukraine, and their forces are certainly downgraded, but they are still going. Recent comments by Admiral Lord West and General Lord Dannatt on the size of the UK’s armed forces takes cognisance of this, and our politicians would be well advised to take heed.

The second lesson is the need to be able to secure air superiority, even if only temporarily in time and space. He who controls the air controls the battlefield, as proven in every conflict since the beginning of the Second World War. This the Russians have failed to do in Ukraine despite a marked superiority in numbers of aircraft; a combination of poor planning and tactics on their part, the Ukrainian pre-emptive dispersal of their own air assets, and the preservation and use of the defenders’ ground-based air defence equipments.

The end result of these factors is that the Russian air force has lost many aircraft and helicopters and has failed to deny the Ukrainian land forces the freedom of manoeuvre. It has been forced to fly limited missions, many at night, whilst the Ukrainians have still managed to launch sorties of their own, event to the extent on attacking fuel storage facilities inside Russia and being able to supply their besieged garrison in Mariupol right up to the final surrender.

The next major lesson is the need to train and operate in combined arms formations in peacetime so that you can operate competently in war. Whether organised into a battalion tactical group (BTG) of 700-900 troops as favoured by the Russians, or into brigade combat teams (BCTs) as preferred by the US and some of its NATO allies, what matters is that the components of these organisations – tanks, infantry, artillery, engineers, air defence, medical staff, logistics and so on – have trained together and are familiar with each other before being thrown into operations for real.

Looking at the earlier Russian attempts to secure Kyiv, or at their more recent attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in the Donbas, you do wonder whether they have ever attempted such operations before in training. The Ukrainians, on the other hand, seem to be better in their combined arms practices, although perhaps a better measure of their competence will come if and when they make the transition to larger scale offensive operations. Clearly, without integrated and all-arms organisation and the appropriate training you are more or less likely to fail.

We have also been reminded of the very real requirement for deception and camouflage from the strategic down to the tactical level. People sometimes talk about the “transparent battlefield” and this at first might seem to have been borne out in the current war. At the beginning, even before the Russian invasion of February 24th, satellite imagery was showing the build up of forces both in Russia and in Belarus. It was clear then that Putin’s “special operation” was on the cards.

The same satellites then followed the course of the unfolding invasion, as did a bourgeoning number of intelligence gathering airborne platforms from NATO and other western allies, providing accurate and much-needed information and intelligence for Ukraine. Add to this the all-seeing drones and UAVs which constantly patrol the battlefield and it would seem that there is no longer any hiding place for troops manoeuvring on the ground.

Well yes, but not completely so. While nobody has started shooting satellites down, not yet anyway, it can be done. Plus airborne sensors can be jammed and deceived. At the tactical level camouflage is still an effective counter-measure, thermal imaging and IR notwithstanding, and decoy or spoof equipment and positions also play their part. What is most interesting is that the Russians, who have a word for such deception operations – maskirovka – seem to have forgotten how to employ it.

Are we in the west likely to be better at it? There have been successes in the past; think of tanks disguised as lorries pre-El Alamein, or the ghost American army in Kent prior to D-Day, or indeed the famous Operation Mincemeat. These demonstrated subterfuge and deception on a grand scale. Do we practice it nowadays? I don’t know if we do, but looking at the current imbroglio in eastern Europe perhaps we should pay more attention to it.

Another significant lesson from the current conflict is the need for stuff – men, munitions, equipment, medical supplies, you name it – in spadeloads. It’s reported that the Russians area already running short of personnel in just over three and a half months of fighting and have initiated measures to try to rapidly make up the looming shortfall. They may have lost as much as 30% of the ground troops they have committed so far too.

Nowhere is this need for stuff more apparent than in the realm of artillery ammunition. Recently the Ukrainians have been complaining that they can fire only 5-6,000 rounds per day and that supplies of Soviet/Russian era 122 mm and 152 mm shells are running out. The Russians could well be firing several times that and appear to using rounds and fuses which may be well past their sell-by date, with possibly up to 30% of rounds fired being duds. The point here is, of course, that ammunition expenditure rates in modern, conventional land warfare in most cases vastly exceed peacetime planning estimates. We need to ensure that we have sufficient stocks to last the course in any future war of the same nature, and I suspect that currently we don’t.

The above list of lessons learned is hardly exhaustive and, as I said at the beginning of the piece, others will be able to add others from their own areas of expertise. For the UK and its western allies it has come as a timely wake-up call, as fiscal pressures reduce the size and scope of military expenditure, and the size of forces, to an all-time low.  It’s not too late to reverse the deficit, but the time to start is now.

© Stuart Crawford 2022

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago

For once, I agree with all of that. UK stocks have been sold off at the first chance, often for pennies. It would have been better to keep them in reserve. Some interesting stuff at Eurosatory. A tracked version of Boxer, that can take the same modules as the wheeled version. Nordic camouflage that looks like a furry coat for tanks/ifvs.. Breaks their look a bit in case UAVs are watching.

johan
johan
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Issue is Modern Munitions have a shelflife, otherwise we would buy them once.

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

Yes, but why ditch good artillery (AS90) & SHORAD (Stormer, Starstreak)?

Jon
Jon
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yes. Lots of new toys at Eurosatory. The Plasan Wilder looks fun, and I wondered if it could be a cheaper alternative for the Command variants of the MRV-P now JLTV has priced itself out of the running.

Aaron L
Aaron L
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

The wilder definitely looks fun but I’m not sure you could get it into the same role because of it’s size.

I was sad to hear about the JLTV decision, it would have made a great replacement for a lot of things.

Joe16
Joe16
3 days ago
Reply to  Jon

*Cough Cough* Foxhound *cough cough*

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

What are the issues with Foxhound, Joe?

Joe16
Joe16
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m not fully read up on it, but my understanding is that it’s very good.
It was picked up as a UOR for Afghanistan, manufactured in the UK by a UK company. But it uses some lightweight metals (i.e. the more expensive ones) in construction, so it was considered too pricey next to JLTV- even though there was talk of a more ‘utilitarian’ version using more normal steel. Now that JLTV is looking more expensive than planned, I personally think Foxhound should get another look.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Joe16

Thanks Joe. I thought you were criticising Foxhound – my apologies.
I am sure it was taken into core use after Afghanistan, although not all UOR purchases were.

Ron
Ron
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Agreed, on the point of MoD stocks, sometimes its good to keep equipment that has just been taken out of front line service and place it in a reserve pool.

I like the new KF51 Panther that was at Eurosatory.

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 days ago
Reply to  Ron

I like its 130mm gun.

John Hartley
John Hartley
3 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Watched a video from Eurosatory about the KF51. That new turret with the 130mm gun, can be retrofitted to existing Leopard 2. I wonder if it would fit Challenger 2 hulls? Not to replace the 148, but any numbers beyond that, should Ukraine cause a rethink for more.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 day ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Supacat were showing off their new, low recoil, mobile 105mm, shoot & scoot system.

Stc
Stc
6 days ago

On the abundance of ammunition point. Chancellor’s are never going to supply the reserves required so weapons that are accurate especially shells is what is required. I think the UK has a good record on this although more to do with cost than anything else. It’s something we clearly have to keep working on and I am sure the manufacturers will do so.

DJ
DJ
2 days ago
Reply to  Stc

I understand that UK closed its last propellants factory (which was in Scotland), some time ago. This means that one of the major ingredients to traditional munitions manufacture has to be imported. Currently the options are Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Australia & USA, that I am aware of. You can set up an ammunition factory fairly fast. Propellant factory not so fast. There are so few left, there is limited experience available worldwide to even set one up. It would take only a handful of missiles to take out Europe’s entire capacity & two of those countries are within… Read more »

dan
dan
6 days ago

Hopefully people will learn that the Western media, defense industry and politicians have been vastly overestimating the capabilities of the Russian military for 30 years. They are nothing more than a 3rd rate military and mostly garbage kit and poorly trained and motivated conscripts.

Rob Young
Rob Young
6 days ago
Reply to  dan

Yet even with overestimating all this we have still allowed our military to degrade in terms of size and capability! We mustn’t allow the current state of Russian forces to give people the excuse to further degrade our capabilities.

johan
johan
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Trouble is that safety in numbers idea, Nato would over whelm due to the over lapping layers

Rob Young
Rob Young
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

Imagine US loses interest due to concerns with China. Imagine Germany slipping back to it’s previous state of utter uselessness. Imagine France pulling out of NATO. Suddenly safety in numbers is looking less secure…

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago
Reply to  dan

But British Army would have been defeated by them. The problem here is that many persons think Ukraine army is some sort of trash.
Ukraine has much more tanks than UK. Only Greece and probably Poland the biggest in Europe are above their numbers. They have ubiquos manpads and ATGW’s, Rpg’s and much more artillery , i am not atalkimg western stuff, the core of their army equipemet is like Russia.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
6 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

2 things.

1. How can you say The British Army would have been defeated by them. The current British Army would have had to fight differently with better more sophisticated kit – but leading on to 2.

2. If the U.K. had a big land border with Russia and the only access to seas being the Black Sea , the entire British Armed Forces would be totally different in size and scope than an island nation on the edge of Europe surrounded by friendly nations separated by water and quick access to the world’s oceans.

Last edited 6 days ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago

Point 1 – Because BA have not enough armor and artillery quantities to fight a land war like this. Simple as that. The quantity depth/reserves are necessary to be able to have armor in front line and armor in rearguard repairing those hit/malfuntion and training. That is non existent. British Army is a one shot weapon. Unless you want to fight with 1 tank battalion only, but then you can’t cover much of a frontline. For example in Yom Kippur war the tanks losses for Syrian/Egypt side reach +300 day and for Israel +100 day. Some were recovered but there… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

It is wrong to assume that the BA fights alone – we would fight as part of NATO. It is true that we have limited numbers of tanks and artillery but we could and would engage in armoured warfare against Russia (if called upon to do so) with allies. If we deployed 2 armoured regiments (112 tanks in total) I doubt we would lose them all in a single day as per your very old (1973) example. Our tanks are ageing but better than the Russian tanks currently fielded by a country mile – and we handle them tactically much… Read more »

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

In the Last 100 years, how many times has the UK Face this kind of war. compared to other types. eggs in ONE basket, easy on paper.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Irrelevant point, what’s that for up do with dans point? Whichever country you are also from, would your country also be defeated? War isn’t about numbers, although it does and should be taken into consideration, it’s about many many other variables and considerations. And you post does show you have little or no subject matter experience.

AlexS
AlexS
5 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

It is certainly you that show to have no experience by that opinion. Numbers can be the what make the difference between victory and defeat in wars of attrition like this.
If this Ukraine army would smaller by half maybe it would have been defeated by now.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

No experience? Mmmmm lifetime career in it, but aside from that the question still stands, would your country also be defeated by the Russians, and if so, how?

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

If you read my reply you will see that I state numbers do count and should be taken into consideration but in war it’s more about just numbers, and if you struggle with that concept then you are showing your absolute lack of subject matter experience, and you are a theory only commentator! If that’s the case so be it, you need to accept it and move on. Some on here have a lifetime of experience in this matter, others don’t, it doesn’t matter.

AlexS
AlexS
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Your case it is worse than lack of experience, lack of history and lack of mathematics, it is lack of thinking.

You seem to not undertsand how quantity can affect the concept of critical mass and tipping points negatively or positively.
In the end of 60’s Israel won war with quality and no quantity advantage and USA lost in Vietnam war with same characteristics So both win and defeat can happen.

There are many wars that that were won by quantity. many kingdoms, countries and tribes disapeared because of quantity disavantage.

Airborne
Airborne
3 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

You don’t seem to be reading my reply, therefore I will reiterate it once more “numbers do count but it’s more than just about numbers” sigh! Is this hard for you to read and understand! Also, my initial question still stands, would your country military be able to stand up and bear Russia? Academic armchair warriors, internet is full of them.

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

Keyboard Warrior, there is no reset Button when you lose all your toys.
Ukraine has proved it couldnt survive without the lethal Aid being supplied.
spent last 8 years selling stock to Russia who have sent it back with Love.
maybe selling Bullets/Bombs/parts to your invader, and then watch its Young Men abandon its country for safe havens.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

You must know of Airborne’s considerable experience, surely.

We would not fight an attritional war against a numerically large opponent (or any opponenent, frankly) – we would fight a war of manouevre.

AlexS
AlexS
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

If you don’t have a ratio of hardware vs losses that make possible to continue to fight all nice theories that were once valid are instead worth zero. British Army do no have depth to fight a war of the size of Ukranian war. It is quite puzzling how unrealistic war is tought here like Challengers are magic tanks and a war is some coreography where everything goes accordingly to plan. I’ll just add something to help think since the “experience” seem to not help it:“ “The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hi Alex, we are comparing chalk and cheese. Ukraine is the 2nd largest country in Europe and has an army of 126,000 regulars, 20,000 airborne soldiers, 900,000 reservists, plus 3rd force paramilitary and also militias. Clearly we have fewer numbers and would be pressed to last as long as the Ukrainians on a purely numbers basis. (I recognise qualitative and other factors are at play, of course). Thankfully the UK is not ever likely to be invaded by Russia and to fight Russia alone – we are in NATO and would fight with allies. I am not sure about your… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
23 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham that is my point Ukraine has quantitative depth at army level which BA lacks. Of course main reason of this is that enemies are further away so UK does correctly give priority to the Navy and AF compounded with last decades British Army bad choices to make it even more stark.

My point about A-10 is that when enemy can shoot back at you you get losses. Significant losses. Those 17 were lost in 42 days of combat against Saddam Iraq army

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
22 hours ago
Reply to  AlexS

Alex, the BA does not need as much quantitative depth (as Ukraine) in Britain’s likely future ops, given the size of Ukraine and the size of the Russian army and the fact that Ukraine is fighting without allies alongside. Britain’s situation is very different but I of course agree that the BA is far too small to absorb much effective enemy fire over a prolonged period and to then fight to win.

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

If was being propped up by other countries, would have lost a while ago. very very simple.

Rob Young
Rob Young
6 days ago

This needs to be a wake up call. The problem is if people decide that Russia is a spent force and we don’t need to worry in future. Two things are very clear. Firstly, modern armies use a lot of munitions. As in A LOT. I would say, Think about what you need, multiply by 5 or 10, and make sure you have a production line available to make up anything used – and quickly! Secondly – anyone who worked out the numbers should have known that Russia had a lot up front, but economically couldn’t have much in reserve.… Read more »

johan
johan
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

You have to question the man, who would invade a country that supplied it with most of its Ammunition and heavy spares.

but also question the country that supplied them

Rob Young
Rob Young
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

You want, people will supply. And if you want to ensure ammunition and heavy spares, and if you can do it by taking over the country that produced them – well, Ukraine was very important to the USSR and I can fully understand Putin wanting it back in the fold whether they like it or not.As a direct comparison with Nazi Germany – this is the German occupation of Czechoslovakia all over – except in this Czechoslovakia is saying ‘on yer bike’…

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I believe their is now an issue over Antimony supplies. You need a small amount in each bullet. The USA closed its last mine & depends on Russian imports. New supply needed soon.

johan
johan
6 days ago

Go back and look at this fella other stories and he would of had 500 leopard tanks parked up ready.
with no aircover because he spent it all on those Tanks.
in the whole of the report fails to grasp a handle on the shelf life of a modern munition.

pointless having a mountain of missiles if you don’t fire them.

and he is supposed to be a expert and advise to WHO wee Jimmy Crankie and her Scottish defence force,

Maybe learn something about procurement chains and active supply,

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

Give him a break. At least he’s writing content for us to read and discuss. Anyone here can put an article together and submit it. And we can critique the content but going on about the author and insulting him is a step to far.
With mountains of missiles comment you made I’m guessing the 20,000 NLAW would fit that waste of time criteria. Weapons can be stored easily and serviced when required.
If you dislike the author so much why did you read past his name at the start.

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

johan’s post often seem angry, & I am often baffled why.

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Its because the very same fella less than 8 weeks ago, wrote the paper on why we should have brought Leopard over Challenger. and says the decline in numbers and what is needed. yet doesn’t have a grip on a budget. and the current problem of there are more retired Ex service than active. no one want to join up. and he is supposed to be a expert, the kind who maybe developed Ajax.

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  John Hartley

another reason for being angry, is because if you work with the Procurement element of the MOD, you are restricted within the guidelines of the protecting the public purse. yet you see request from the likes of the above for items, which are beyond the needs of the few. we have a script on our wall which reads Request for new can opener from XYZ to include Bottle opener. Request sent to suppliers for new can opener with opener. designs returned and unit costs and quantities agreed. Tender approved on the basis of the procurement return. Contract award and delivery… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 day ago
Reply to  johan

The same author in a previous article did say that tanks may need AA gun systems with them for defence against drones/attack helicopters, so he was not ignoring the air risk to tanks. On procurement, I have long said the UK should spend more time & effort, at the beginning, to nail down exactly what we need, to what spec, what numbers, what delivery date & cost. Make sure users, MoD, Gov, HMT, Parliament, MoD botherers, all agree. Then stick to plan & have huge financial penalties if HMG tries to alter spec, numbers, delivery dates. Also huge financial penalties… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 hours ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Projects with a long gestation (10 or so years) will require change of spec. Politicians will always drive down numbers.

Ian
Ian
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

‘serviced’ in this case means replacing the explosive/propellant content because it’s destabilised. Depending on the munition that can be costlier than replacing the whole thing, i.e. maintaining a large stockpile implies making a large financial commitment to continuously replacing it even if it’s never used.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian

If the case is it’s more expensive to service than replace the obvious thing to do would be replace it. NLAW has a shelf life of 20 years before needing serviced. The 20,000 number bought was due to this being the number that would be required if a war with Russia or other large mechanised force broke out. Had Ukraine not happened 20,000 of them would of been thrown away or renewed. I dont think anyone would say it was a waste having the amount the U.K. did. I’m not sure if people are arguing against holding weapons? That sounds… Read more »

Marked
Marked
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I class weapons stocks and the military in general like insurance. You begrudge paying it as you hope you don’t need it.

Come the day you need it though you very quickly regret skimping on the quality of the cover to save money.

Farouk
Farouk
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

Hammer, Nail, Head.

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  johan

👍

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
6 days ago

All valid points. I heard Russia is firing at least 70,000 Shells a day. The back up is required for the military. A country needs to be able to make war items quickly. All ammo and shells etc and be able to ramp up when required.
Smarter weapons that take a long time to make have to be made smarter. So you have power module, guidance, warhead etc. They can serviced easily, upgraded, reused in other systems.

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I am reading “The utility of force” by General Sir Rupert Smith. He points out, that European armies went into WW1, with thinking based on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, where the Prussians fired 33,134 shells in a week. In the Somme in 1916, the British Army fired one million shells in a week. In other words, peacetime assumptions were hopelessly low.

Farouk
Farouk
6 days ago

Just a short gif I have knocked out regards the glacial advances made by Moscow from the 27th of April to the 12th June 2022 after Moscow redeployed all its forces from the north of the Ukraine (start of April) to the east of the country in which to use sheer force of numbers to take what it wanted, it appears they forgot to send that memo to Kyiv.
comment image

Last edited 6 days ago by Farouk
John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Putin should declare a ceasefire & be happy with what he has got. Sadly, he does not seem to care about Russian & Ukrainian losses. He will let it grind on. He has zero empathy for those hurt by this. Characteristic of a psychopath.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Or he could piss off back to Russia and be happy with the largest country in the world he’s in control of already

Gareth
Gareth
6 days ago

Logistics is also (as always) a major issue – it was Russian logistical failures and Ukrainian assaults on said logistics that stopped the attack on Kyiv and much of the rest of North Eastern Ukraine, prior to the current fighting in the Donbas. So naturally the UK government is cutting the C-130J from our inventory as UKDJ reported a couple of weeks ago.

A Moore
A Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Have you never heard of the Pripyat marshes,the Rasputitsa or external lines of communication?

Matt
Matt
6 days ago

Naughty boy 😮 .

I read that headline as Macron !

Marked
Marked
6 days ago

Key thing re uk ground forces is artillery. This war has proven yet again that artillery is a decisive factor and the British army is horrifically under equipped with artillery of sufficient range. Tanks are not dead, are still viable when used correctly, but are more vulnerable than ever before. The limited active defence buy for C3 is exposed for all its folly. All armoured vehicles, not just tanks, in the front line need this protection without exception. The pitiful number of C3 is also exposed, there is no scope to tolerate any losses. Though I fully expect nobody in… Read more »

Stuart Paterson
Stuart Paterson
6 days ago
Reply to  Marked

UK MoD did observe American mobile howitzer trial carried out, wonder if they are looking to purchase a few similar to BAe Archer? Would hope they are looking at more MLRS and replacement for AS90 also. Problem is, where is the money coming from for all of that?

Marked
Marked
6 days ago

One things for sure, there are all well proven off the shelf options available so no excuses for long delays.

They need to find the money and stop making excuses, if the forces aren’t equipped to do the job then we might as well scrap the whole lot, they’ll be a liability other nations need to carry without it. And god help them if they ever need to operate without support from other nations.

Some harsh realities need smacking home to the penny pinchers.

Deep32
Deep32
6 days ago

Believe the MOD has some £800 million set aside for new artillery, with a expected in service date around 2028 for whatever systems they decide to go with. Don’t quote me though!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yes, just mentioned above. The speed of it is ridiculous.

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago

Not sure if this is just for AS90 replacement or more? LG also in need of replacement, as is chronic requirement for VSHRAD gun/missile combo amongst others. In which case its a pitiful small amount…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Primarily AS90 I believe but possibly was once / still some LG in the 2 RA Regs that supported the now defunct Strike Brigades and equipped with LG. ( 3 RHA, 4 RA ) The programme has already suffered a stealth cut where up to 4 regiments were once up for replacement, 2 AS90 and the 2 LG Regs mentioned above. With the planned conversion of one of those to GMLRS, 3 RHA, ( using existing launchers ( an old, old MoD trick ) that allows them to talk “new” but actually reduces gun numbers again ) then this reduces… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
5 days ago

This is almost like redesigning the wheel again! Did we not trial/test both Limar(G) and (R) back in the early noughties, as possible AS90 and GMLRS replacements before ditching the idea? Personally thought we could dust of the designs and update them with something from Supacat. Could have had both a 155 and 105mm system on a truck as well as a UK HIMARS equivalent. If you can put big rockets on the truck, then Brimstone should be a relatively easy fix. Four systems from one design, jobs a good in as they say in the West country! Well it… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago

The FMFP programme had the funding years ago according to a letter seen from D-RA.

Like other MoD programmes it moves at glacial place which I don’t understand.

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 days ago

We should not be too proud to put out the begging bowl & get a few dozen ex USMC M777 cast offs.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
6 days ago

A major lesson to me is that freedom must always be better armed and defended than tyranny is equipped to attack.

A Moore
A Moore
3 days ago

Thats exactly why Russia stands up to American tyranny plus its European colonies,Fritain,Germany,Italy et al

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
3 days ago
Reply to  A Moore

Enjoy your misery, you are beyond stupidity.

Airborne
Airborne
21 hours ago
Reply to  A Moore

Yaaaawn sad sad newbie troll.

George Parker
George Parker
6 days ago

Multiple warnings from knowledgeable members of the British armed forces, of which; ” … our politicians would be well advised to take heed.”
Pigs will grow wings and take to the air, before they take heed. We have permitted them to shirk their primary function. Defence of Great Britain.

By “we” I mean the current and former members of the armed forces who know what is at stake. Tough action is required, not strongly worded letters to the Times/Telegraph/Select Committee.

Make no mistake, enemies abroad are noticing our weaknesses and fully intend to exploit them.

Ross
Ross
6 days ago

I totally agree with all the above, in fact I would suggest that even if we temporarily ignore the very limited quantity of men and systems in the British Armed Forces, even Libya proved we have a serious issue in regards to having sufficient supplies to use those systems in anything approaching a war footing. We’d be out of munitions within days, perhaps a week or two if restrained. That must be rectified.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 hours ago
Reply to  Ross

We were down to our last 3 rounds per gun in the Falklands Conflict but the supply lines were 8,000 miles long. I digress. We get rid of old kit quite quickly and kit with life left in them – I am surprised that some HETs are being sold off now. I doubt we have sufficient munitions for an extended conflict, particularly smart munitions. We only have limited capability to manufacture non-smart munitions such as SAA.

Farouk
Farouk
6 days ago

One thing I have noticed from watching a load of videos coming out of the Ukraine is that many of the Ukrainians have optics fitted to their weapons, where with the Russians not as many. I wonder if this has made a huge impact on the battlefront regards Russian casualties

A Moore
A Moore
5 days ago

Vague nonsense which doesnt mention logistics at all.Russias strategic objective is in truth unknown!

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
5 days ago

Well said. Just hope the politicians take note. A handful of sophisticated electronic based weaponry is all well and good as long as we can keep resupplying them. The same applies to basic ammunition, we need to have the reserve manufacturing capability to cope with the maximum foreseeable usage rate not the preferred peacetime rate. And to note also it still requires sufficient boots on the ground.

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
5 days ago

It could also be argued that we have too much dependency on sophisticated and hence expensive and limited hardware. Having lots of cheap relatively expendable and easily replaced equipment remains a viable tactic. This does of course mean we need to ramp up the manpower levels, which conversely costs as much if not more than equipment. Defence cannot come cheap!

johan
johan
1 day ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

Agree having a tech advantage didn’t work out for Germany, in WW2, But did for the Allies in Iran/Iraq. think its more on how its used. today

JohninMK
JohninMK
5 days ago

Very interesting article of an interview confirming significant Ukrainian hardware losses. Well worth the read. “with Denys Sharapov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of the defense in charge of procurement, support for weapons and equipment and Brig. Gen. Volodymyr Karpenko, land forces command logistics commander, spoke with National Defense Editor in Chief Stew Magnuson and other reporters through an interpreter in the Ukraine Ministry of Defense’s booth at the Eurosatory conference in Paris on June 15.” “Gen. Karpenko: Regarding the first question, I want to add something to what the deputy minister has said in terms of the need for equipment and… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Does the supposed Ukrainian losses excite you? Does it make you drool, get a shaky leg and start to reach for a tissue while staring at your Putin calendar! FFS this is war, we all know Ukraine will take lossses, but they are in the right, Nazi Russia and the sad dying leader Putin are in the wrong! And NATO will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes! So my little Pooptin yapping lap dog, yap yap, yap away but no amount of chuff from you will change the fact that the free world now see Russia… Read more »

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Given the rank and role of the Ukrainian officer stating the figures I suspect that they are more accurate than “supposed”

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Another answer which ignores, and as such confirms the question about your lack of condemnation of Putins illegal invasion of Ukraine! You answer but never the question, or even have enough courage to support your Nazi stance! Cowardly and sad!

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago

They may be late to the party but the Russians are catching up. They have been building up deliveries of this attack drone since April. It has the endurance to patrol over all of Ukraine. The Russian military department announced that JSC Kronstadt (St. Petersburg) has already started series production of Inokhodets unmanned aerial vehicles as early as the fourth month. The “Pacer” UAV is a heavy attack drone designed for reconnaissance flights patrol and observation, fire support for allied military units, and can also be used as an independent strike unit. At present, eight complexes of six aircraft each… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by JohninMK
Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Are you glad? Does this excite you? That an illegal invasion by a Russian Nazi state may eventually have a measure of success regardless of how many people are killed on either side? I suppose their were many instances of Nazi evil in WW2 that you supported also? Was the Warsaw Ghetto and it’s subsequent raising a good idea to you? I suppose that’s a yes? Any condemnation of Putins illegal invasion of Ukraine yet?

Jacko
Jacko
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

All the more to be shot down then I suppose! You might be ‘catching’ up but the longer you take to make any significant advances gives the Ukrainians more time to get even better at stopping what little gains you might make now and more time to take it back.later.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
3 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Imagine being Russian and spending years planning an invasion using the most absurd pretexts, expecting a lightning strike that would overwhelm a country’s defences. . Imagine seeing your supposed elite airborne and spetznatz units wiped out in the first weeks of the war, your guards armoured regiments beaten back and forced to retreat leaving behind scores of abandoned equipment not to mention the bodies of thousands of executed Ukrainian citizens. Imagine, over 100 days later being down over 30% in combat losses and forced to rely on 1970s era equipment. Imagine having a much vaunted airforce that failed. Imagine being… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
3 days ago

Top post 👍!

johan
johan
1 day ago

we Now know why Hitler wanted to wipe them out. as they have changed very little

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago

Deleted.

Last edited 4 days ago by JohninMK
Jacko
Jacko
3 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Best comment you have made on this site👍

Airborne
Airborne
3 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Agreed, the only correct statement you have made!

David
David
3 days ago

Preaching to the converted here, but will government listen?

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
6 minutes ago

Reading this article is a bit depressing as regards the simplistic level of analysis. Historically the UK has never had the largest army and in time of war has fought with allies. The UK in any forceable conflict situation will field expeditionary forces. The recent Government strategy papers have acknowledged this. In an alternate reality where young people where queuing up to join the armed services perhaps we could have a standing army of 120k, but as that reality doesn’t exist I don’t see why people are still banging on about a bigger army. We have been unable for many… Read more »