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Thread: Wargaming the Baltics

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    Wargaming the Baltics

    From the current US political thread...

    Well I disagree in part with astralis on this;

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Estonia, no matter how much we bulk it up, will never have the military capability or capacity of Germany.

    the going in plans for most of the Baltic states is the expectation that they will be overrun in short order but will have active insurgencies in place to assist the eventual liberation.
    My point would be that it does not matter so much about a country's GDP or what trained troops they have; what matters is their willingness to fight and on that scale I would rate Estonia (or any of the other Baltic states) way ahead of Germany.


    Some material for the larger debate: First the Suwałki (the "ł" letter in Polish is pronounced as a "w" in English because the w letter is pronounced as a "v" is in English) Gap.

    Name:  Granica_polsko-litewska.png
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    Rosja in the image is the cut of bit of Muscovy in what was Eastern Prussia once - we call it Kaliningrad today, Polska obviously is Poland and Litwa is Lithuania. If they close that gap between Kaliningrad and Belarus there is no land route to the Baltics.

    There have been war games done in Warsawa and elsewhere regarding this Suwałki Gap problem - and exercises (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-na...-idUKKBN1990L6). The Potomac Foundation (Phil Karber) lot played some part. See https://www.baltdefcol.org/files/fil...ssment2018.pdf

    Basically it resolves around the fact that depending how fast the allies can get to Poland we either fight in Poland or in Belarus; thus the NATO 'ready to go' (NRF) force https://www.nato.int/cps/ua/natohq/topics_49755.htm but the readyness of this force has been questioned (see for example https://www.ft.com/content/7ac5075c-...6-cddde55ca122). Thus the exercises.

    At present the 'West' cannot get sufficient troops to Poland in time to keep the Suwałki Gap open IF the Muscovites come via Belarus as well (which they will - recall the Zapad 2017 exercises?). Nor can Poland alone break through the gap if attacked from Belarus. If the Baltic States are attacked (or "little green men - ed") and the Suwałki Gap closed it would take some time for NATO to get sufficient forces on the ground to liberate them - and defend Poland.

    The reason why Ukrainians have 'wargamed' this is because there are essentially in fact two 'gaps'; the other being the "Lviv/Lwow Gap" between Poland and Ukraine. If the Muscovites enter Belarus in force (and they have practiced just that) then a move south west is also possible to cut the Polish/Ukrainian border. This would virtually surround Ukraine so Ukrainian thinking is to attack Belarus if they move with more than two Brigades. The border is pretty much open at present in places - you can just walk over (I have done).

    I do not believe any of this will happen happily as they cannot beat us in Ukraine let alone Polish troops with allied support. Those are some basic thoughts though. I would also mention the old Latvian General Radziņs theory of the importance of Ukraine to the Baltic states which basically says as long as Ukraine remains on side the Baltic States remain free. Basically a restatement of Piłsudski's view that; "There can be no independent Poland without an independent Ukraine".

    Anyway some matters for others to consider when starting on this at present hypothetical question.

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    My point would be that it does not matter so much about a country's GDP or what trained troops they have; what matters is their willingness to fight and on that scale I would rate Estonia (or any of the other Baltic states) way ahead of Germany.
    deterrence is capability x willpower. for the baltic states, the willpower is there; capability is lacking just because of their size.
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    I also keep thinking despite the reduced forces of NATO forces in Western Europe compared to BITD, NATO, for all its issues, is an entity which can field a decent amount of combat power. Russia is just Russia. There is no Warsaw Pact.

    Beyond possibly Belarus, what other nation could/would ally with Russia and provide forces?

    An attempt to hold the Baltics OR Ukraine....if that were even possible...would be damn near impossible for the Russians. They don't have the Category C forces they used to have.
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    They could overwhelm the Baltic States before NATO could there. Then you have the first "who blinks first" question: Who is willing to die for the liberty of Baltic States? Trumpkin? Turkey? Spain? But assuming that a NATO build up to re-liberate the Baltics did occur you would almost certainly be engaged as you got to Poland and there are Iskanders in Kaliningrad capable of delivering tactical nuclear warheads on the build up in Poland. That is the second "who blinks first" moment. How willing you are to risk all for the liberty of the Baltics?

    If the Muscovites go there they will be betting the Western leaders blink first. That is why they do so much to sow dissension and support the far right in your countries. It weakens you morally so you do nothing when they move.

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    The Baltics are roughly Chechnya x 10 when it comes to size.Terrain is 2/3 woods,swamps,lakes.Armed forces & various reserves ~60000 with modern light weaponry.Support may come via submarines or via the Suwalki Gap,even if under occupation.All enemmies of Russia,even the most disagreeable(dudes praying 5 times a day) become our newest BFF.

    Assume that NATO blinks,for the sake of the argument.Russian foreign policy us still dictated by the Soldiers Mothers Commitee.All the above,which is minimum thinkable,still assure a Russian failure.
    Still,I think the emphasis on the Baltics is a bit of disinformation campaign.They get nowhere and gain nothing,but lose a lot.Why try it.
    Russian potential gains are in the South.Serbia is favourable,Bulgaria and Greece are so-so.Geopolitics aside,the get control over the entire energy routes of Europe.
    All Russian wars have been in the South.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    They could overwhelm the Baltic States before NATO could there. Then you have the first "who blinks first" question: Who is willing to die for the liberty of Baltic States? Trumpkin? Turkey? Spain? But assuming that a NATO build up to re-liberate the Baltics did occur you would almost certainly be engaged as you got to Poland and there are Iskanders in Kaliningrad capable of delivering tactical nuclear warheads on the build up in Poland. That is the second "who blinks first" moment. How willing you are to risk all for the liberty of the Baltics?

    If the Muscovites go there they will be betting the Western leaders blink first. That is why they do so much to sow dissension and support the far right in your countries. It weakens you morally so you do nothing when they move.
    I agree that (even with some advance warning/intel regarding a Russian military buildup adjacent to the Baltic States) it would take the NATO states too long to mobilize to prevent the initial Russian incursions - at least as far as ground forces are concerned but surely air assets should be capable of being mobilized more quickly?

    As for getting all NATO members on board and mobilized sans really dubious scenarios where one or more of the Baltic states takes aggressive military action that initiates hostilities with Russia I can't realistically see any NATO members (except perhaps Turkey) chickening out of their commitments. As for Turkey if they do fail to provide military support - the short and medium terms political and economic consequences would be significant,.Turkey would almost certainly risk being drummed out of NATO and having its economic ties with Europe curtailed. Erdogan might not care about military ties with Europe and the US but the consequences for the Turkish economy of pissing all over it's long standing NATO commitments are significant. So even he might be forced to provide at least some token display of force.

    TRUMP is more problematic, there might be delays in the US mobilizing ground forces but even the Trump Cabinet couldn't justify failing to support long standing democratic allies for long. Congress and the Senate would have his balls if he tried and in the end the Trumpster still wants to be loved by all so I can see him recasting himself (at least for as long as it took to get the Russians to back down) as the 'Savoir of Europe'.

    As for the nuclear option I don't see the status quo changing. You have yours and the Russians have theirs and even Putin would know that short of clear and imminent military risk to Russia itself the use of nuclear weapons is not worth the risk. Pushing the Russians back out of the Baltic States is not a threat to Russia just a threat to Putin, he would have to sell the withdrawal as Russia 'making a point' to the West before acquiescing to Western pleas for a withdrawal - or whatever other bullshit excuse he can sell too his domestic audience.

    Finally there is always Kaliningrad itself which can be used by NATO as a bargaining chip. Even if not overrun by NATO it could be it could be threatened with a long term siege.
    Last edited by Monash; 27 Jul 18, at 00:53.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Support may come via submarines or via the Suwalki Gap,even if under occupation.All enemmies of Russia,even the most disagreeable(dudes praying 5 times a day) become our newest BFF.
    Suppose they decide for the Vistula stopping point? Then Suwałki is inaccesable and you cannot ship Brigades on submarines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Russian foreign policy us still dictated by the Soldiers Mothers Commitee.
    That would be hard as it is banned. Besides it is "illegal" in Muscovy to report deaths on active service at present.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Russian potential gains are in the South.Serbia is favourable,Bulgaria and Greece are so-so.Geopolitics aside,the get control over the entire energy routes of Europe.
    All Russian wars have been in the South.
    I agree the southern route is more likely but historically you discount the Great Northern War and the Winter War. Finland was a Grand Duchy remember?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    You have yours and the Russians have theirs and even Putin would know that short of clear and imminent military risk to Russia itself the use of nuclear weapons is not worth the risk. Pushing the Russians back out of the Baltic States is not a threat to Russia just a threat to Putin, he would have to sell the withdrawal as Russia 'making a point' to the West before acquiescing to Western pleas for a withdrawal - or whatever other bullshit excuse he can sell too his domestic audience.
    The question then becomes what is Putin willing to risk for his own survival? I have to tell he has shown little sign caring about his own people let alone others. Yes I believe he would blink if pushed - he is mostly show - but who in the 'West' has the moral authority to test that? Or even the nerve?

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    If Russia went into the Baltics, could they stop with just say Narva and other Russian majority areas, or would it have to be a "all or nothing" affair due to military logistics (presumably Moscow doesn't want NATO trying to ship troops into Riga)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Suppose they decide for the Vistula stopping point? Then Suwałki is inaccesable and you cannot ship Brigades on submarines.



    That would be hard as it is banned. Besides it is "illegal" in Muscovy to report deaths on active service at present.



    I agree the southern route is more likely but historically you discount the Great Northern War and the Winter War. Finland was a Grand Duchy remember?



    The question then becomes what is Putin willing to risk for his own survival? I have to tell he has shown little sign caring about his own people let alone others. Yes I believe he would blink if pushed - he is mostly show - but who in the 'West' has the moral authority to test that? Or even the nerve?

    As if laws are a much respected thing in Russia.Mothers losing sons are not pacified with police.Proof of the thing is that only professionals are sent abroad,conscripts stay at home.Thus,each brigade actually only has one btn usable.
    Russia this time is giant with clay feet.As long as nobody starts an invasion,they can be beaten in their near abroad,as long as there is the will to call their bluffs and hit them hard.
    If they want to try some surprise,they will still get defeated.But they won’t.Putin is not a gambler.He only takes calculated risks and there is no way one can predict a reasonable chance of succes when you pit one third of the Russian army vs BAltics,Poland and a few American forces.
    I am not arguing for being relaxed,but I see no good in a public hysteria.
    Frankly,it is a atrategy to attract funds etc... But is also paving the way for appeasers,and those are nothing but Russian tools.
    Plus there is nothing to be gained there.Tsar Peter wanted long term trade,so he needed harbors.Putin already has his pipeline.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    If Russia went into the Baltics, could they stop with just say Narva and other Russian majority areas, or would it have to be a "all or nothing" affair due to military logistics (presumably Moscow doesn't want NATO trying to ship troops into Riga)?
    They are never going to stop at Narva if they go. Let us say hypothetically that their ambitions were limited to the Baltic States (for the ports perhaps as Mihai says or the Lithuanian LNG terminal) well the idea would logically be connect contiguously with Kaliningrad. In theory this is entirely within their power; the NATO forces in the Baltics are more a "tripwire" than a feasible defencive force. You can see a map of the "Enhanced Forward Presence" participant countries and 'Battlegroups' here: https://kariuomene.kam.lt/en/e_f_p.html (the ones on top provide 'coordination'/command so UK in Estonia, Canada in Latvia etc...). No wargames that have been done - from Kyiv to London - have, as far as I know resulted in the current NATO deployment in the Baltics holding a full on Muscovite assault longer than 115hrs (just under 5 days) and that is with added forces from Sweden for they would likely be attacked in Gotland too - which is strategically important in the Baltic as it commands sea access to Finland and Stockholm. Just before the Trumpkin 'summit' with the dwarf in Helsinki they held a staged assault by air on Gogland (https://taskandpurpose.com/russian-s...mock-invasion/).

    The question is if the Baltic States are overcome - and Baltic access would then be serious threatened - what do want to do? I mean in the worst case this is less than 48hrs they need. Suppose they say "this is my last territorial claim" and arm the Iskanders in Kaliningrad with nuclear warheads? If you go head on and do not violate Belarusian territory (or buy Lukashenka) you have to fight through the 'Suwałki Gap' and get control the Eastern Baltic by sea and air. Alternatively if Belarus is not already full of Muscovite troops - which is more than likely - you go south of the gap - or both ideally. But Iskanders can be armed with nuclear warheads and Muscovite nuclear doctrine is that nuclear weapon use is permissible IF sovereign territory is attacked. So touch Kaliningrad and all options are open by their playbook. Would you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    As if laws are a much respected thing in Russia.Mothers losing sons are not pacified with police.
    Shut up or gulag is normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Shut up or gulag is normal.
    Did not worked in late USSR.Can’t work for long now,if at all.

    They have a threshold.15000 kia is what they can afford before public pressure builds up.Happened in A-stan,also in first Chechnya.
    A war against real armies and real nations is something that is going to be very lethal,very fast.Even small nations by themselves have 10 times the landmass of Chechnya,while their military potential dwarfes the Caucasian militants.
    Plus,even the most decadent appeasers in Europe must pay lip service to the alliance.They cannot simply get an fait accompli and be bussiness as usual.
    As you noticed,they did not invaded when they had the best of conditions.They could have gone to Kiev in a heartbeat in thecwinter.And you may recall our conversations then.It was quite a logical thing to do,after the chaos.But then the volunteer btn’s started forming and that would have created a bloodbath.They could have gone again,after Ilovaisk.But they stopped.And lost the opportunity for good.
    They take minimal risks,which looks like gambling to those used to no risk at all,but they are not audacious enough.
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    At present the new generation of Muscovites - those who can remember no other saviour/leader than Putin - are either fooled by the TV stuff or inexpert at basics sadly. I still have a distant cousin in prison from 2011 protests. Anya Pavlikova, who merely chatted to pals on Telegram (aged 18) about politics - 10yrs. Pussy Riot have been highlighting her case recently. Anya and her pals used to meet in a MacDonalds where the FSB infiltrated the group and arrested them. Sweet sting. Lyudmila Bogatenkova, the Head of the "Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia" was arrested in 2015 for "fraud". Nemtsov; dead, Navalny arrested, Sasha Litvinenko dead, Kara Murza - poisoned twice and now living in the US. Ksenia Sobchak? Putin's God daughter (he worked for her Pater when Anatoly Sobchak was Mayor of St Petersburg).

    I am not at war with the Muscovite people as such but at war with the Chekist Mafia that needlessly kills their own people and my fellow countrymen. I have no doubt that in the end the Muscovite people will regain their liberties and the current Chekist Mafia be overcome for all tyranny is individualist - based around the 'Great Leader' who alone can "save" the ignorant masses being all wise etc... If we can help by killing a few 1000 more of the idiots while liberating our land I am happy. Personally I think we should not stop 'till Rostov so as to cut off the eastern shore of the Sea of Azov and occupied Crimea. Then perhaps we may see rebellion in the last Empire.

    But right now? Or if they went for Baltic States? Not going to happen. Putin is busy looking for a constitutional fix to allow him to effectively stay in power after the end of his current term as 'elected' tyrant; by the current Constitution he cannot do more than two terms consecutively so he would have "castle" (the Medvedev position shuffle) again and then stand again after 7yrs. But he would be 78 by the time he could be 'elected' again and 85 if he finished a 5th term. All men are mortal, Putin is a man, therefore... Honestly, despite the current protests (about the raise of pension age which they did during the Football show such that men get a pension age 65, Ladies age 63 - but average life expectancy for a man in Muscovy is 66 - women 77 - so very few men will get to retire with a pension) it is only after the tyrant is knocked off or dies that change is possible. Look at the Romans - and the Romanovs.

    They will not liberate themselves if he goes into the Baltic States and we would be fools to bet on it.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Plus,even the most decadent appeasers in Europe must pay lip service to the alliance.They cannot simply get a fait accompli and be business as usual.
    That's happened twice in the last 10 years.

    As you noticed,they did not invaded when they had the best of conditions.They could have gone to Kiev in a heartbeat in thecwinter.And you may recall our conversations then.It was quite a logical thing to do,after the chaos.But then the volunteer btn’s started forming and that would have created a bloodbath.They could have gone again,after Ilovaisk.But they stopped.And lost the opportunity for good.

    They take minimal risks, which looks like gambling to those used to no risk at all,but they are not audacious enough.
    It's not necessarily a bad thing to take minimal risks. But that seems to be why you think this is a non-starter.

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    Plus,even the most decadent appeasers in Europe must pay lip service to the alliance.They cannot simply get a fait accompli and be business as usual.
    History is full of nations ducking out of treaties through finding creative ways to read their obligations, repudiating the deal, or dragging ass.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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