Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Road to Hell III. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Here is yet another example of how military units, road-bound and without an ability to maneuver, can be defeated by more adept and resourceful opposition.

The Finnish Motti.

"Motti is Finnish military slang for an encircled enemy unit, or the tactic of encircling it."

The Finns, in the Winter War of 1940, had repeated success in defeating road bound Soviet military columns. Soviet troops, lavishly equipped but whose movement was confined, found themselves at the mercy of determined, mobile, well-led Finnish ski troops.

Ponderous Soviet mechanized and armored columns, totally road bound, NO room for maneuver, found themselves beset by Finnish units just much more prepared, able, and proficient for the type of warfare fought in the heavily forested terrain of Finland.

[John Keegan rates the Finns as the best soldiers of World War Two [WW2]. The Finns too were provided with very good intelligence thanks to the cryptanalytic work of the Swede Arne Beurling.]

Trevor Dupuy would have said the Finns excelled over the Soviets because:

* [Finnish] leaders were more flexible, aggressive, and dynamic.

* [Finnish] doctrine, and its execution were better.

* More adaptable [the Finns.

* [AND, performed team tasks better.]

Soviet commanders in all likelihood were just largely inexperienced, inept, bound by inappropriate doctrine, pig-headed and under orders from a higher command [Stalin] totally out of touch with reality.

Extracts from the wiki say it best:

"This tactic of envelopment was used extensively by the Finnish forces in the Winter War . . . A motti is a double envelopment manoeuvre, using the ability of light troops to travel over rough ground to encircle an enemy restricted to open terrain or roads. Heavily outnumbered but mobile forces could easily immobilize an enemy many times more numerous."

[first, the head and tail of the road-bound Soviet column was simultaneously attacked, forward and backward movement becoming impossible.]

"The idea is to cut the enemy columns or units into smaller groups and then encircle them with light and mobile forces - such as ski-troops during winter. This turned out to be especially effective against some of the mechanized units of the Soviet Army, as they were effectively restricted to the roads. The Finnish troops on the other hand could move quickly through the forests and strike weak points. The smaller pockets of enemies could then be dealt with individually by concentrating forces against them."

[Right!! Those Soviet units confined to the roads had to guard against attack from all directions. Could NOT use their manpower or firepower advantage in a concerted manner either for defense or offense. The Finns could concentrate their forces, choosing the time and place for attack.]

"If the encircled enemy unit was too strong, or if attacking it would have entailed an unacceptably high cost, e.g. because of a lack of heavy equipment, the motti was usually left to 'cook' until it ran out of food, fuel, supplies and ammunition and was weakened enough to be eliminated. Some of the larger mottis held out until the end of the war, because they were resupplied by air."

"The largest motti battles in the Winter War occurred at the Battle of Suomussalmi. Three Finnish regiments enveloped and destroyed two Soviet divisions (already in retreat) as well as a tank brigade trapped on a road."

[the Finns in this instance had to be outnumbered at least MORE than two to one, with the firepower advantage overwhelmingly in favor of the Soviets. That did not deter the Finns even in the slightest manner!!]

At Suomussalmi, the opponents had at their disposal:

* Finns - - Three regiments and separate battalions (11,000 men.

* Soviets - - Two divisions, one tank brigade (45,000-50,000 men).

Finland - - si, Soviet - - no!


Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One would have hoped the Russians would have learned a thing or two after the Winter War or World War 2:
Pervomaiskaya Ulitsa
Two large armored convoys of the 81st brigade drove down Pervomaiskaya Street, stretching out along the road for a mile. When the first vehicles reached the Presidential Palace, the leading column was ambushed and came under heavy fire from Chechen small arms and rockets, directed from the roofs and basements along the street. The Chechen ambush would typically funnel the Russian armored columns into "killing fields", and then the RPG gunners would knock out the first and last vehicles in the line, thereby trapping the rest of both battalions in the middle. Almost useless in urban combat, Russian tanks were unable to elevate their tank barrels high enough to engage the top floors of many buildings, or low enough to fire into the basements.

"Brigades deputy commander for educational work, Colonel Stankevich, took command of the largest group of the brigade's survivors, as the bulk of the unit's armor was destroyed in the street; joined by some paratroopers, they eventually fought its way back to Russian lines. Having obliterated most of the 81st, the Chechen fighters then moved in search of the more tanks, after plundering what was not on fire for weapons and ammunition. By evening, they gathered in the center of Grozny, regrouping around the city's main marketplace and moving towards the main train station."

What a waste of equipment and the most important resource, people. I have always had a hard time understanding the Russian attitude to casualties. Unbelievable.

12:05 PM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home