Some observations on the war in Ukraine – BTGs

Came across this thanks to the Facebook posts of my friend Stefan Korshak, and it jives with what I have been saying for a while. The Battalion Tactical Group (BTG) isn’t fit for purpose, unless your purpose is to motor around a battlefield you dominate on the ground and from the sky and where the main threat are IEDs and a bunch of blokes driving technicals and armed with 1970s era RPGs.

If, however, your oppo happens to be a bunch of fairly-motivated, western-trained and modern combat-experienced troops with a grievance and a pretty endless supply of shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons, coming at them with a BTG makes the charge of the light brigade look like sound military tactics.

– Ural fuel truck – Ural crane – KrAZ – T-72B3 (?), possibly on the Kyiv/Zhitomir highway, 4 April 2022

The reason for this is that the BTG is a is a tactical dead end. It doesn’t have the infantry numbers to protect the armour (and the training of what infantry it has is… well… questionable) and it doesn’t have the armour to sustain losses, and that’s before we get into their C3I and supply issues.

Ask yourself why the classic Russian ambush victim combo in Ukraine is a Tigr MRAP, a Kamaz truck and either a T-72 or some form of BTR/BMD/BMD/Beedeebedee IFV. The answer appears to me that the next level up doesn’t have the means or isn’t organised enough, or both, to protect the supply line of the BTGs it feeds into combat. So a heavy vehicle needs to be sent along. Even if this works it burns precious fuel, and if it doesn’t? Well congrats comrade Майо́р, you just lost precious armour on a job it shouldn’t have been on in the first instance, but hey, bygones.

As long as the RF feeds in BTGs, in my view Wellington’s observation on French columns applies. They’ll come on in the same old way, and they’ll be beaten back in the same old way. The massing of force in the Donbass region doesn’t change that. It’s not the size of the ship, it’s the motion of the ocean. And the Russian Army is, right now, dead in the water.