September 9, 2008

Detailed account of the Georgian-Russian war

A military-oriented blog has a highly detailed account of the recent unpleasantness in the Caucasus. I can't judge the accuracy or bias (the author reads Russian, so presumably a lot of accounts by combatants have made their way onto the Russian-language Internet -- no word about how much he got from Georgians).

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


KlaosOldanburg said...

no coverage of the war is complete w/o the saakashvili necktie-eating video

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. If this is correct, it indicates that the fighting was a lot more serious than I had been led to believe. The author is obviously pro-Russian, but not absurdly so, and his account has the ring of truth. The only question that remains is - what in the Hell were the Georgians thinking?


Anonymous said...

"The only question that remains is - what in the Hell were the Georgians thinking?"

I think Sailer mentioned it before. The guys that ran Georgia were a bunch of yuppie Ivy Leaguers who thought they knew better than those idiots Putin and Medvedev, both who went to LSU(Leningrad State U). LSU doesn't even qualify as a safety school!
On a not unrelated note, this is what got Spitzer into trouble, I think. He was too smart to be caught by a bunch of SUNY grads working in law enforcement, right? Nothing but a bunch of dummies who majored in Criminal Justice! I loved his humiliation and downfall, for personal reasons...
Spitzer also ties back into Russia, or at least the Russian mob, BTW. I can guarantee the first time he was nailing that high priced hooker, the Russina mob had the video, recordings and photos and Spitzer got copies the next morning. He never went after them, only after Wall St. Now you know why...

simon newman said...

Fascinating stuff. I hadn't realised that it was the fierce resistance of the Ossetians that doomed the Georgian blitzkrieg (that plus relying on Israeli/Prussian tactics that need a high degree of competency).

Looks like the Ossetian 300 did better (and fought smarter) than their Spartan namesakes. Definitely the making of a movie there - presumably a movie in Russian.

Anonymous said...

Arrogance had to play a role, I agree; but I would have thought that even an arrogant yuppie would have known that Russia was sure to intervene. But I certainly agree with you on one thing - Spitzer had it coming, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...


testing99 said...

There are other issues though that were well known and not addressed:

Russian Air was miserable, and 50 year old pilots were shot down ... by the Soviet designed Air Defense missiles.

The Cruiser Moscow was seriously damaged, a number of sailors killed, by Georgian patrol boats at night, hiding in shore "clutter."

Logistics for Russian forces were horrible, they should have crushed Georgian forces but ran out of gas/food/ammo.

Conclusions: Russian air were serious problems, very likely lack of training for pilots. Naval tactics ignored the threat of patrol boats which btw are huge threats to US forces in the Gulf were the same conditions (shallow, narrow seas and shore clutter at night) obtain. Logistics were ignored, limiting Russian action to the first few days.

I believe the Russians will address these weaknesses, but this also gives ammo to USN people who find our Aircraft Carrier groups horribly vulnerable to the same type of attacks the Georgians pulled off. Let's be honest, their naval forces were not very good but reportedly they came close to sinking the Moscow, a cruiser, with two patrol boats.

simon newman said...

I think for once testing99 may be right in that it does not look as if the swift Russian victory was as much due to increased Russian competence as had been thought. Though they certainly performed much better than in the '90s, and some units performed very well - notably the Russian peacekeeper battalion who held off the entire Georgian army with little more than small arms. Likewise, Russian hardware performance was generally not spectacular, though their Soviet-era ground-attack planes are still highly effective.

The main factors seem to have been:

1. Generally poor Georgian leadership, and moderate-to-poor troop performance. Combined with a plan that required a highly competent "third generation" military to have hope of success.

2. Very, very good performance by the south Ossetian militias in defense, prior to the arrival of Russian forces. I don't know if they were assisted by Russian spec ops, but they certainly performed heroically in keeping the Georgians off the Roki tunnel and in holding half their town with 300 men, leading to a strategic disaster for the Georgians when the Russian counter-attack encircled both their leading elements.

I get the impression that US & Israeli (until 2006) offensive victories vs Arabs have made many commanders lose sight of the general superiority of defense over offense. The Ossetians certainly demonstrated that.