Thursday, January 19, 2017

So ... We Have These Things Called Ground Forces

This article goes into all the missiles in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave that could make life Hell for NATO in a war. It's a funny kind of war that the author assumes for a small piece of territory surrounded by NATO nations.


In the event of a military conflict over the Baltic States, Russian missiles in Kaliningrad could target NATO troops heading from Poland. That could slow reinforcements were Russia to invade Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. ...

Kaliningrad’s missiles pose a serious complication to NATO. The enclave is practically loaded with them.

For an article that starts by noting the deployment of an American heavy brigade to Poland, the author's view of war is very one-dimensional.

Yes, the Russians have lots of missiles in Kaliningrad. But the funny thing is about launching positions is that you have to control the launch sites to launch missiles.

Which is why in a war with Russia the first thing NATO should do to counter those missiles is overrun Kaliningrad with ground units.

For all those missiles that Russia has that are clearly a problem for reinforcing Poland, Russia's ground forces are rather limited:

At the beginning of 2010 the number of ground forces in the Kaliningrad special district was 10,500 ground troops (excluding the 1,100 in the Marine Corps), divided into one motorized infantry brigade, one mechanized infantry regiment, one missile brigade with 12-18 defense systems OTR-21 Tochka, one artillery brigade, one helicopter regiment, one defense team.

That's a bit old, but the total is about 3 brigade equivalents of maneuver units. Which are weak compared to Western brigades. The number of armored vehicles there are way in excess of the units assigned.

Also, I have no idea what that blue box means when it claims Russia has 225,000 military personnel in the exclave. There is no way Russia has close to a quarter of their total active manpower in one small, isolated territory. And if so, with only 3 combat brigades to protect them, all those purported Russians would be POWs before too long.

So yeah, Russia has a lot of missiles in the region. Russia can do stuff to NATO that will hurt. That's what makes Russia a threat. Especially in the Baltic states that border Russia but far are from NATO reinforcements. The geography sucks.

But don't forget that NATO can do a lot against Russia when the geography tilts our way.

UPDATE: Yes, the missile threat from Kaliningrad is real. But unless Russian troops hold the ground, there is no threat.

Don't over-complicate this with talk of battling their missiles with our missiles. Occupy the missile sites with NATO troops if it comes to war.