Attrition Warfare?

Nah, not really

Willy OAM has a nice discussion page for the Ukraine war. Today, 11 May, I made another comment there. RU Northern Offensive – Perfect Timing, Part Of A Bigger Plan? Deception? – Ukraine War Map Analysis (

I was being a little poopy. Here is what I said. I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

“Great discussion, Willy, as usual. I have some mild concern about material you bring up/assert beginning at about the 10:38 mark. That paragraph that starts the ‘Military Dimension’ section is, well, I dunno; it tripped me up. “Military operations in an attritional conflict are very distinct from those in a war of manoeuver.”  Really?  How is that? Where does that come from? Can’t we just say that efforts to attrit can be part of most any scheme? Anyhow, I don’t see how this war is a war of attrition and not one of maneuver. I don’t think an army takes ground with attrition, and it appears from all we have seen and you’ve reported, that the Russians have learned how to work around complex field fortifications. If the Russians are moving forward, it’s logical that moving forward was their intention.  If they do it via multiple small flanking movements and pincers, then, hey, maneuver. “The dominant form of combat is fires and not manoeuver, complemented by extensive fortifications and camouflage.”  Say what?  So the troops deploying on the ground are in support of the artillery and the drones? The fortifications are there principally to stop artillery and not to stop enemy advance?  I think maybe you briefly fell into a logical inversion trap of some kind here.  Maybe the age-old problem in military theory writing of too much deduction over induction.  That is, folks start to like the name of a category and then go looking for ways to find the category. Here’s a strategy theory word I suggest we consider – initiative. When a gen-gen has the initiative, it means he is deciding the actions and the other guy is wondering and reacting. Everything Zelensky says and does right now is that of a leader who does not have the initiative. I think we can safely doubt that Putin is principally or even mildly concerned about any peace talks he isn’t guiding, or is he working off any timeline imagined in Kiev, Stuttgart or Washington.”

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