Battle of Somme 1915

One morning we were awakened by the most awful din, it seemed as though hell had broken loose, shells were falling like summer rain. And people have often told me in the course of conversation it was raining shells and I admit I took it with a grain of salt, could not be possible I thought, but such I was surprised to find was possible and actually taking place there about 3.30am. This bombardment started and about half an hour later, I, with three others, were ordered to start reinforcing. We went up in fours, it being considered safer that way, half a mile over open ground we had to do, this being swept continually with shells, to give you a slight idea I can say the previous night, just in front of our reserve trenches was a beautifully green field, and the next morning it was as much as one could do to see any grass at all, simply one mass of craters, varying in diameter from ten to twelve paces. 

Letter from the trenches

A few takes on what is up with this sudden urge to leave the trenches – Orage

Defining this whole affair as a white noise created by tactical minutiae. The hardest thing in life is grasping this seemingly simple principle of the “in the grand scheme of things”. What we are facing today is a complete remake of the world order and, effectively, a wrap-up of the 20th century with real victors coming back for their spoils. But describing this is a whole other matter and that is why I tell my publisher about the new book–not yet, not yet…

Reznikov, Pentagon Chief, General Milley meet before Ramstein format meeting

KYIV. Sept 8 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley ahead of the Ramstein meeting.

“Started the day with a meeting with great friends of Ukraine Lloyd Austin III and General Mark Mark Milley. We appreciate the US staunch support of Ukraine. Look forward to launching Ramstein 5 Meeting with 50+ participants. Making Ukraine stronger together!” Reznikov said on Twitter.

In turn, the Chief of the Pentagon on Twitter said the United States and allies will continue to do everything in their power to help Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor.

As reported, the fifth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group is being held on Thursday at the Ramstein airbase in Germany.

Jack Heart 
I’m backing way off of this whole “war.” Russia has decided or perhaps planned even before their February invasion to drag this thing out for as long as it takes to topple the European Union. It is not to win; I repeat the Kremlin is not trying to win this war and not surprisingly the plucky Ukrainians have taken Balakliye. It would have been better for them if they hadn’t…

Russia Moves Reinforcements to Kharkov Region to Counter Ukraine Balakliye Offensive

Military analyst from Cuba via JS Sep. 10th 2022
Good morning, all comrades. Havana, Cuba. First free territory in America. 08:19AM, hello Fidel.
All the information, from all sides, give account of an unstoppable advance of the Ukrainian forces, be it Balakliia, Chkalovske, Shevchenkove, and now Kupiansk, which they claim to have taken. Also Lyman and probably Izyum. All with the exception of Izyum, were not strategic. For me the strategic thing is to hold the east bank of the Donetsk River. Izyum is different, if it were to fall, which is most likely, the task of conquering the Donbass from the north becomes almost impossible, and since that would be impossible, one should ask why this situation?
I am not one of those who go from triumphalist to pessimistic moods, there are indications that do not deceive. Even in the Ukrainian camp itself, are they not winding us up? What I said 11 days ago, a week before the Ukrainian offensive “…”. On August 31 at 17:30, like every day, I wrote this: As I am not one to believe the futile tales of these guys, the Ukrainians, I think that the US has another plan and the only plan, and it is not that way, I think and I suppose that the main effort is being directed to the north and that the south, which militarily is a clownish, or a suicidal act of desperation, is rather a distraction and that what really matters is the north. If I were in your position, I would try to take Izyum and focus on the defense and reconquest of Kharkov…”, do you think that it was not in the mind and analysis of the Russian high command? And not only that, it was also accessible information.
The times are difficult in the maintenance of these controlled areas, in most of them, there has been no fighting, however, the Ukrainian troops have received many blows, the casualties are numerous and on the Russian side very few, they have taken villages and towns, it is the order they were given, and the casualties have been theirs, the Russians have not fallen, they have retreated. The question is why and what for, the Russian silence is deafening. All information is by networks. In parallel, the Russians have continued to hit with Kalibr, other Ukrainian areas and regions, one may ask, if the Russians prove that they are capable of hitting the Ukrainians from outside the Ukrainian territory, by sea or by land, why didn’t they hit the Ukrainian live forces, I mean with major artillery. Because they did it with the medium artillery, and the other one is dedicated to logistic and command targets.
We have already seen that they suspended the offensive in Kherson, it is all or nothing for Kharkiv, are the Ukrainians right, I think no, they think yes. I am one of those who have always thought that Kharkiv is the main target of the special military operation. In today’s TOM I will explain why. I am not going to change my mind, because I have it for historical and military reasons, regardless of the conflict.
On the map, bottom right is the scale, 1cm by 10 km. you can appreciate the depth of the Ukrainian offensive. There is first the natural division of the river and then the administrative division between Kharkiv Oblast and Lugansk Oblast. 

Military analyst from Cuba via JS Sep. 9th 2022: 

Havana, Cuba. First free territory in America. 08:19AM, hello Fidel.

Going from euphoria to depression and from depression to euphoria is not a good symptom. That is what I have seen, mainly from visceral anti-communists, who today are pro-Ukraine, because when Ukraine was called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine, they didn’t give a damn about that people. My arguments have always been – and will be, associated with history and objective facts – hormonal processes cannot and should not be used by any analysts. That is why I like that they (if they can be called analysts), use it frequently. But it also happens on this side, although not in the same proportion.

When the “offensive” on the part of the Kherson Oblast began, the pro-Ukronazis were ecstatic, and the pro-Russians were worried. While we kept calm. Absolutely. I remember having said it on the first day (a Monday), let‘s wait until Thursday, and on Thursday, as Fidel said, “one day, none of that will exist”. War is an art and it is not for improvising actors. The Ukrainians upped the ante in the north, they forgot about Kherson, which they should not do, because it will be there, where they will feel a devastating blow – and all that while the Russians are nice and leave them signals that the guys do not understand, as for example, yesterday they hit Vinnytsia, ah, I ask you to locate it on the map, it has been hit 5 times only, and accurately, and each time, it was a message, and the guys, they still do not get it.

Today it is the north and it is interesting. In the north the important thing, at this time of the war, is to keep two things, the possession of the east of the Donetsk River, and Izyum, all the rest, is of no strategic importance. Izyum is, but I think that the Ukrainians are not in a position to storm Izyum. What is clear is that the Russians will strike with greater intensity, not because the Ukrainians have advanced 30 km, but because through this advance, they are giving them the possibility to do so. Until 14 days ago, the Ukrainians have spent almost all their time buried, today they have come to the surface, how good! But there is an interesting detail, yesterday watching the video where they place the Ukrainian flag on a building in Balakliia, you can clearly hear them claiming it as the “Kraken Battalion”. Which is the equivalent of “Azov”, but in Kharkiv. 

Very interesting, one more demonstration, as happened in Mariupol: the most ideologized, obvious Nazi elements command the Ukrainian troops. The good thing about that is that militarily they are not the most prepared people. This battalion has been hit hard, and has a rivalry with Azov. 

Already Izyum has been covered with the necessary, the Ukrainians have been stopped 20 km from their target Kupyansk, well, they are also 20 km from Izyum, and I say that not because of Russian possibilities, both places fortified for months – why does no analyst ask how it is possible that Balakliia was not fortified and there was no fighting to take it? Surely the Ukrainian high command in Kiev, not Kraken, must be cogitating, they have been left in cannon fire from the south, east and north. If anyone has not noticed yet. At the moment, all the Ukrainian forces invested in this offensive, do not have defensive positions, the Russians do. Just remember the passages in the south, Kherson, what happened, they launch an assault, open a gap and penetrate like a spear leaving the flanks so uncovered, it made me remember an anti-guerrilla tactic called encirclement with open gap, you encircle the enemy forces and leave open a small part of the encirclement, the enemy believes in a failure of planning. As he has no escape, he leaves through that gap where you set up an ambush just as you see fit.

The pro-Russian desk-bound pro-Russians continue with their criticisms, people who do not even know the smell of gunpowder from a match, I already read one who had changed, because of Kherson, the Minister of Defense and even the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army. And he even gave the names of the replacements, he is keeping quiet, others have already relieved the entire Russian military leadership of the area in question. Nothing has happened, just as I said about Kherson, let’s wait a few days, it won’t be many. Already the US itself has said something today: “The Pentagon warns allies that the war in Ukraine will still be long”. The guys are sons of a bitch, but they are not fools. 

Look at the picture and reflect, and when I say reflect, I mean think it all through; topography, timing, rearguards, positioning, weapons and above all, “POSSIBILITIES”. I am very calm. Slava Russia!

At last. After six months of surrendering territory, Ukraine is on the move and Russia is retreating. Right? Not so fast. Ukraine tried and failed to penetrate the Russian lines around Kherson. That fizzled and Ukraine suffered enormous casualties. Russia did not.

But wait. Ukraine has now unleashed a new offensive in the north around Kharkov and has made some gains. Gee, what a coincidence. The same week that the United States with NATO convened a Ramstein Conference to assess Ukraine’s progress in the war, a gigantic triumph is being trumpeted on the internet. Russia, finally, is really, really on its heels and on the verge of surrendering the Donbas to the marauding Ukrainian troops. At least that is what Ukraine and its NATO allies are saying and the press is happily pushing that meme.

Now, back to reality. The Russian allied forces that faced the brunt of the Ukrainian attack are not the Russian army’s front line troops. It is a mixture of Donbas militia and Russian national guard. When faced with a Ukrainian force that has more troops it should not be a surprise that the outgunned militia and police would retreat and surrender territory. A tactical retreat is sound military strategy.

In commentary, on above
CharlieCanberra says 10 September 2022 at 00:55

Hi again Larry. Again agree. A couple of things I’d like to add to the discussion:
1. How many times in the last 250 years has the Russian/Soviet Army fought over the same ground? A rhetorical question really. They know the battlefield. They know what works and what doesn’t.

2. I’m sure that the current Russian commanders (at all levels) will have made themselves very familiar with the old Red Army General Staff studies – especially the ones dealing with the battles in the are they are fighting such as “The Battle for the Dnepr: The Red Army’s Forcing of the East Wall, September-December 1943 (actually they make interesting reading).

3. “Maskirovka” – “A set of procedures designed to confuse, mislead, and camouflage oneself from the enemy”
The Russians/Soviets are past masters at it. Read an interesting comment in a Journal Article (Slavic Military History I think it was) that “maskirovka” was not only meant to confuse your enemy – but also your allies (here the author was referring to the western allies), and everyone else who didn’t really “need to know” at the time – OR IN THE FUTURE.
A good example for understanding the concept as used by the Soviets is the General Staff study on Operation Bagration.

Since the start of the SMO I have argued that the Russians are extensively using “maskirovka” – ie the 46 km long traffic jam pointing like a lance towards Kiev.


  1. I'd say if it hadn't been for interference the action would have been over beginning of March. The negotiations for surrender were underway. Then London interfered, Boris screaming, an Ukrainian Negotiater got assainated, and just like in WW 2, with the Danzig corridor, turning a regional issue into a broad slaughter. That changed the objective on the Russian side as well as it became clear it's a clash of two world views, much broader than uni vs. multipolar even. This clash has been a long time coming. Who's in the drivers seat, today? – Orage

  2. When I was very young, there was a popular game called King of the Hill. The winners were those who could push, shove, punch or kick all the others off the mound. Today the talking heads are telling you that this is the measure to winning a war. They know nothing.
    This war is directly linked to survival. The west believes it will survive. It has already bought up the Crimea. They believe they can do anything to their idiot population, and the idiots will come back for more. They think they won already in the Ukraine. They won torturing their population for years, and laughing openly about it.
    Go ahead and get your favourite pumps on, you are the great western wonder. Wave your pink banners with the woke slogans and cry triumph, king of the hill…
    Just remember that a war for survival eclipses the games of children.