Who’s winning in Georgia?

M. Simon thinks the Russians might be in a bit of trouble, and he also thinks they’re now “tied down” with a possible naval blockade of Iran about to begin.

All of that seems like a bit of a reach to me. Probably more than a “bit.”

However, I’ve also been wondering if the fall back strategy was the Georgian playbook from day one. For all of Russia’s fast and merciless advance, we’ve not seen any Georgian prisoners, have we? There’s also talk of an effective anti-tank weapon (possibly Israeli in origin) that has scored well against Russian armor.

Someone mentioned to me that the Russians were looking pretty awesome, and I replied that the Detroit Lions beating the crap out of a Pee-Wee Football team wasn’t going to convince me that the Lions were awesome. Russia probably has more troops and tanks that it has lost track of in inventory for the week than Georgia has on active duty. Russia’s advance shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Is this all, however, part of someone’s bold master plan? Personally, I doubt it at this point. I wondered the same thing about Israel in 2006 and that turned out to be, well, not exactly the case.

That being said, someone’s bold master plan that was transparent enough for Murdoc to figure out a week in would be pretty weak.

UPDATE: Meant to link to and comment on this: Russian tanks head deeper into Georgia

Georgian officials claim Russian tanks entered Gori, beyond the border of South Ossetia. The Russians denied it.

To the west, Abkahzian separatist forces backed by Russian military might pushed out Georgian troops and even moved into Georgian territory itself, defiantly planting a flag and laughing that retreating Georgians had received “American training in running away.”

The developments came less than 12 hours after Georgia’s president said he accepted a cease-fire plan brokered by France.

Here’s a screen grab from an NBC news video:


The news report also showed a bunch of military vehicles apparently abandoned by retreating Georgians, including artillery. Not what you’d expect if the retreat was a planned fall-back as part of a larger plan.

UPDATE 2: A more recent post by M. Simon: The war is over in Georgia and it looks, from the oulines of the peace agreement that Georgia won.

In mobile positional warfare what you want to do is to draw the opposition in an untenable position so that you can deliver a counter stroke when he is fully extended. Draw out the supply lines and then attack the enemy’s rear where he is the weakest and his supply lines are the most vulnerable. Avoid smashing into the spear head. Break the shaft.

My take is that the Georgians had done that and were about to deliver a counter stroke. What do you do at such a point if you want to keep looking good in the world of public opinion? Declare victory and prepare to beat feet.

Okay, I’ve got limited access to hard information on what’s really happening in Georgia. Maybe I’ve been totally spun by the big bad media or something. But I’ve got to say that I don’t read the current situation as one where the Georgians were about to “deliver a counter stroke” that would “break the shaft” of the Soviet military.

When a commenter pointed out that no one else in the blogosphere seems to think that the Rooskies got whipped, M. Simon replied

The Bsphere is too much in thrall to the idea of the all powerful Russians. They were about to lose their Army. They said no mas. Not the actions of a winner.

Folks, Murdoc is not “in thrall to the idea of the all powerful Russians.” Murdoc just doesn’t see any evidence whatsoever that the Georgians were really on top of things. Able to score against the Bear? Sure. Maybe (probably?) even more than most would have expected.

But winning? I just don’t see it. though I wouldn’t mind being totally wrong about that.


  1. Did we just suffer a massive intel miss? The Russians were waiting for the word go with a tank division on the north end of the Roki Tunnel and had other troops offshore in the Black Sea. How did we miss it? Did the Turks miss it too? Or did somebody know and not share? An American Brigade with air support could set up and shred the big Russian formations – that’s what we designed our brigades to do long before we had a war on ‘terror.’ Not sure it would happen while the Russian have free reign in the air. The Georgians were improving but they weren’t there yet and they still have crappy T-72’s. They can make the Russians bleed a little, that’s it. If we or the Georgians managed to collapse the Roki Tunnel, the Russians would be cut-off. Then it would be a new ballgame.

  2. Georgia attacked S. Osettia last week to regain the breakaway province. Today they appear to have no chance now, or in the foreseeable future, of regaining control over S. O. or Abkhazia.

  3. 11Bravo – I’ve become convinced that it was a total setup and the Georgians fell into the trap. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Russia that shelled or bombed Osettia. The Georgians did fall into the trap, I’m not sure it was avoidable. If they really wanted to make a play, they would have done it 2 weeks ago when 2 battalions of American troops were there. They also should have gone after that tunnel with everything they had (maybe they did and failed). The Russians on the other hand, timed it perfectly – tank columns on the borders, troop ships offshore, American troops on the way home and the next wave not there yet. I don’t think they went to the trouble of setting that all up, just to go home if Georgia didn’t take the bait. I hope we mix in a few Stingers and Javelins wih the food and blankets.

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