Logistics Is Everything: Lessons From The Ukraine

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 11 months ago

NYT:

DNEPROPETROVSK, Ukraine — In a cramped kitchen that smelled strongly of cabbage and beets, a small army of women labored into the night, preparing what would become dried borscht to supply Ukrainian soldiers in the field.

One Ziploc bag of the borscht, which looks something like wood chips, can feed 10 men and is distributed as a type of Ukrainian meal ready to eat. Each bag comes with a handwritten note saying, “Bon appétit, made with love.”

“Who in the Ministry of Defense is going to make borscht?” Tatyana V. Sirko, an obstetrician volunteering on a recent evening, said. “I want to help somehow. I want to help our guys. They aren’t having an easy time.”

In late summer, with rebel fighters on the run from a concerted government drive, Russian troops and military equipment poured over the border and launched a devastating counterattack, stopping the Ukrainians in their tracks.

A shaky truce declared in early September has averted all-out war. But as NATO documents the arrival in recent weeks of another incursion of Russian armored columns, artillery units and elite troops, the country is bracing for a new assault.

While the Ukrainian government maintains that it is prepared for any sort of attack, the preparations are veiled in secrecy that many fear is a cover for weakness. Most of the open fortification for the troops is coming now from volunteers, who offer not just moral and physical support but at least a glimmer of hope that the Ukrainian forces can hold their own against what appears to be a vastly superior force.

Powering the Ukrainian war effort, teams of volunteers, most of them women, work around the clock at a logistics center to send an array of products — bottles of homemade pickles, sets of handmade underwear and commercially available military equipment, like night vision scopes for rifles.

In one room, a man stacked hand-sewn ballistic vests, peculiarities of the war in Ukraine, a nation with a rich tradition of handicrafts but a woefully underfunded military. Others at the site sort sleeping bags, miniature wood stoves and wool socks.

[ … ]

Volunteers are also fighting — 15,000 to 20,000 irregular combatants in about 30 volunteer battalions active in the east.

“Without us, the situation would be far more grievous,” Vitaly G. Feshenko, a former furniture salesman and deputy commander of the Dnipro-1 volunteer battalion, said in an interview. “We are lawyers, businessmen and housewives,” he said. Serving in one of his units, for example, is a former cellphone store accountant who fights under the nom de guerre “The Accountant” and is rumored to be widely feared along the front.

Read the rest at The New York Times.  This is an outstanding article on the logistics of fighting a war.  Without socks, clothing, ammunition, medical supplies, R&R for the troops, deployment rotations, food, sleeping bags, functional vehicles, guns and their accoutrements (scopes, magazines, cleaning supplies, etc.), potable water and everything else an army needs to function, all the physical and tactical training in the world doesn’t matter.

Logistics rules.


Comments

  1. On November 25, 2014 at 8:13 am, Miles said:

    Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Logistics and was published November 24th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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