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Thread: Wargaming the Baltics

  1. #16
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    Two since 1939.

  2. #17
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rj1 View Post
    That's happened twice in the last 10 years.



    It's not necessarily a bad thing to take minimal risks. But that seems to be why you think this is a non-starter.
    It happened zero times.Georgia and Ukraine aren't in NATO.And everyone,even those I don't trust in a fight are at least involved with a modicum of troops.So while I think most won't offer effective military support,there is little chance they will not give political,economic and logistic suport.

    As for risk,the Russians don't have a vision.They have a few inter-agency conflicts,all masked well enough by the image of Putin the Tsar.
    Getting Kiev in winter was a zero risk operation.For Heavens sake,police in Ukraine was getting lined up in their precints with a random dude claiming to be a Colonel in the Russian Army in charge and everyone was breathing relieved.They got scared by their own success while the GRU and FSB were squabbling on the ground.As a result they got nothing but pain.The alternative was getting a fait accompli and aquiring Ukraine.
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  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    I know the scenario under discussion has been a hypothetical invasion/occupation of the Baltic States by Russia but an alternate scenario did just occur to me.

    While (IMO) still highly unlikely assuming political relations between Putin and the West did deteriorate to the point where Russia actively considered taking military action would it not make more sense to conduct a 'raid in force' into the Baltic States with the idea of getting in and out before NATO ground forces can deploy in force. The objective would be to punish the Baltic States by trashing their electricity and fuel infrastructure, their manufacturing base and other key economic assets before NATO can react. The concurrent political message to all former Eastern Block nations sharing a border with Russia would be would be something like 'look we can do this any time we want and NATO can't protect you'. Or some such.

    Such a strike would have the advantage of maximizing the potential use of relatively quick moving air and naval assets over ground forces. Ground forces would of course be engaged but absent any strategic requirement for a prolonged occupation they would be in a better position to withdraw quickly. Plus the more lightly armed opposition would not be in a position to engage in a war of resistance/attrition simply because Russian ground forces wouldn't be intending to hang around long enough for that to happen.

    Those WAB members more educated is such matters please start poking holes in my scenario asap.
    Last edited by Monash; 14 Aug 18, at 08:53.
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  4. #19
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    All good and well,but this is a high risk-low benefit approach.The risk is that the raiding force gets trashed.Plus there won't even be a morale benefit(since they abandon their conquest,thus they ''lose'').

    Infrastructure gets rebuilt fast.

    This is a possibility and in a sense it is the most likely military COA.And the emphasis in training is to counter such a move.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    The objective would be to punish the Baltic States by trashing their electricity and fuel infrastructure, their manufacturing base and other key economic assets before NATO can react. The concurrent political message to all former Eastern Block nations sharing a border with Europe would be would be something like 'look we can do this any time we want and NATO can't protect you'.
    They can do that by hacking. Finland was pretty much 'turned off' yesterday, Estonia 2007 etc...

  6. #21
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    They can do that by hacking. Finland was pretty much 'turned off' yesterday, Estonia 2007 etc...
    Yes but a politically motivated hack attack, even a strategically targeted full scale onslaught does the attacker no good unless they then publicly claim responsibility. To date while everyone knows Russia has been engaging in such tactics publicly the Russian Government has denied it.

    If we assume in this scenario that Russia's intent is to conduct a large scale strategic strike designed to cripple the Baltic States while also sending a political message to the West then Putin and Russia have to publicly 'own' that attack, otherwise their message isn't delivered. However if they do claim responsibility they also automatically concede to the Western Allies authority to plan and organize a multi-national counter strike of their own against Russian infrastructure. And at this stage Putin would still be intending to avoid/minimize any risks/damage at home which is why a limited convention strike into the Baltic States would be on the cards to start with - it limits the conflict to specific geographical area where Russian forces would enjoy a temporary military advantage pending full NATO mobilization.

    And while Mihais has pointed out that infrastructure can be rapidly rebuilt, in this scenario there would be no counterbalancing strike by NATO into Russian territory (apart perhaps from Karliningrad) so its the Baltic States who would be lumbered with the huge repair bill, not Russia.
    Last edited by Monash; 16 Aug 18, at 02:54.
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  7. #22
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    The only good reason I can see for invading the Baltics is to specifically force NATO to fracture. This has always been a Russian goal. If they could invade a Baltic state and then wait out any military response, NATO would seem invalidated. The risk of course is that NATO actually takes up the cause, and of course that is why a lot of small units from all over NATO are based there. The strategy assumes in particular assumes the US just lets it go and that the Poles do nothing (which also assumes that the Russians specifically don't go through Suwalki and stay in Lithuania). It's a high risk game, and quite honestly all of Russia's moves have been low resource, low risk moves, even Syria. At the end of the day if the US gets involved, any Russian site in the world could potentially find itself a target - from Kalingrad to the Black Sea Fleet to the Pacific Fleet. This isn't to completely dismiss the possibility; NATO should continue to bolster its position in the region as a deterrent. But it would be an out of character move for the Russians. As for tactical nuclear weapons, they are nothing new and both sides have them. Also tactical vs strategic is really about context more than delivery mechanism or target. Iskander might be hard to counter but then so is a AGM-86 or a B-2 filled with B-61s.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Yes but a politically motivated hack attack, even a strategically targeted full scale onslaught does the attacker no good unless they then publicly claim responsibility. To date while everyone knows Russia has been engaging in such tactics publicly the Russian Government has denied it.
    I not sure they do need to say "it was us" when everyone knows already it was them. They deny being in Ukraine which is ludicrous but we all know they are in Crimea and Donbass. Black is white, War is peace,freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. My friend is my enemy too. All they have to do is sow dissension and disunity; spread doubt - literately break things; building is not their problem. They cannot be as powerful as united west by divided they can pick one off at a time.

    They even had the indecency to ask Merkel for money to rebuild Syria. You break it you own it.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    The only good reason I can see for invading the Baltics is to specifically force NATO to fracture. This has always been a Russian goal. If they could invade a Baltic state and then wait out any military response, NATO would seem invalidated. The risk of course is that NATO actually takes up the cause, and of course that is why a lot of small units from all over NATO are based there. The strategy assumes in particular assumes the US just lets it go and that the Poles do nothing (which also assumes that the Russians specifically don't go through Suwalki and stay in Lithuania). It's a high risk game, and quite honestly all of Russia's moves have been low resource, low risk moves, even Syria. At the end of the day if the US gets involved, any Russian site in the world could potentially find itself a target - from Kalingrad to the Black Sea Fleet to the Pacific Fleet. This isn't to completely dismiss the possibility; NATO should continue to bolster its position in the region as a deterrent. But it would be an out of character move for the Russians. As for tactical nuclear weapons, they are nothing new and both sides have them. Also tactical vs strategic is really about context more than delivery mechanism or target. Iskander might be hard to counter but then so is a AGM-86 or a B-2 filled with B-61s.
    the cost vs benefit or risk vs reward is not good for such scenario. I hardly see any value for Russia in occupying baltic states, even if there would be no millitary action for that. It adds really nothing - no resources, no populaiton, no industry, and recently no logistic need..... it cannot even be used by NATO as avanpost due to vulnerability of access to this theatre in case of a millitary conflict.

    Ukraine is absolutelly different story. Lets get popcorn and see how VVP plays out this game till the end. Looks like he would like to take a whole Ukraine not an easter and southern part of it.... lets see.

    VVP is much smarter, he proved that. He doesn't need Ukraine for the cost of his relationships with Germany..... he will get Ukraine and make sure that Russia continues benefiting from trade with Germany. I wonder what will be next moves on this chess game

  10. #25
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    I am shocked that you disagree with Putin's many statements that the war in Ukraine and the referendum in Crimea were nothing to do with him or Moscow!

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