Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Real Support for the Troops

Strategypage writes about how Ukrainian civilians are actively supporting their troops in battle by providing needed support services that their own military cannot handle. Civilians could do even more.

This is real support:

The fighting in Ukraine found the Ukrainian Army lacking many combat support services. These were never abundant during the Soviet period because the Soviets did not believe in a lot of that. Not much money was spent on such things after Ukraine became independent in 1991. When the Russian aggression began in early 2014 many civilian organizations formed, often spontaneously, to provide needed support for Ukrainian troops sent to fight.

Not content to merely Twitter the Czar, these civilians use social networks and the Internet to organize support to help their troops kill the czar's henchmen.

We've seen similar things here, but since Ukrainians are close to the front, their help is more personal in nature, including delivering the support and even moving casualties.

But what more could civilians do via the Internet to support their troops fighting the Russians?


IT experts across Ukraine have been an important part of the volunteer effort to supply the army with equipment. ...

The Ukrainian army had no drones at the start of the war, while the rebels were using sophisticated Russian drone technology. “Back in summer, reconnaissance drones would have saved many, many lives,” says Andriy Horda, a volunteer scout with the Ukrainian army in the war zone. Now, Horda and others say, the troops are equipped with foreign-made drones and homegrown ones built in workshops across the country.

It would be better to have a class of drone rather than homegrown ones, but Ukraine is making do until they can get that simplicity.

UPDATE: Huh. Lots of coverage on this angle:

Powering the Ukrainian war effort, teams of volunteers, most of them women, work around the clock at a logistics center to send an array of products — bottles of homemade pickles, sets of handmade underwear and commercially available military equipment, like night vision scopes for rifles.

In one room, a man stacked hand-sewn ballistic vests, peculiarities of the war in Ukraine, a nation with a rich tradition of handicrafts but a woefully underfunded military. Others at the site sort sleeping bags, miniature wood stoves and wool socks.

Volunteers tackle even seemingly core military tasks. One group of civilian mechanics in the town of Zhovti Vody repairs trucks and armored vehicles, ancient heaps that break down regularly.

They deserve our help.

As I've said before, I wouldn't go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Ukraine is not in NATO and it creates too much of a grey area about our actual red line to think about.

Nor could we intervene effectively given the distance from the NATO infrastructure.

But that doesn't mean we can't help put Ukraine's military back into working order (training and maintenance) and supply arms to fill gaps in their capabilities. And help with intelligence and advice, of course.

Did the USSR worry about our reaction when they armed North Vietnam when we were at were with them?