River Crossings and Logistics in Russian Army

Much was said about the hurdles of supplying Russian troops across the Dnepr River. The thing is, Russia has many great rivers. If we to follow this logic, then any bridge destroyed, or even one which is targeted, is a reason to fall back. Obviously, this notion is ridiculous to the extreme.

First of all, Russia has Railroad troops — a special military service, dedicated to building and repairing railroad communications during the time of peace and especially during the wartime. One of its main objectives, is to build or repair railroad bridges. Since Russian logistics relies heavily on railroad network, much more than in any other country, those Railroad troops (according to wiki) include 10 brigades in 4 districts. Almost 30,000 men serve in those units, and their primary objective is to build and repair railroads.

Yet, during all those months of bridges across the Dnepr being shelled, no new bridges were built in order to prevent a cut-off of logistics. Yes, Dnepr is a large river, but 30,000 men, trained and equipped to build railroads and railroad bridges, are more than enough to build not one, but several such bridges.

Yet this wasn’t done, and now, suddenly, it turns out Russia had bridge problems.

Another related topic is the possibility of Ukrainians flooding the Dnepr by releasing water from some dams. Yet, this possibility was always present. If so, Russian command should have taken its own measures to prevent it. By destroying those dams in convenient manner. It would also probably significantly degrade Ukrainian hydroelectric power generation capabilities, as a bonus. Yet it wasn’t done.

So, we have two factors that were known and present for a period of many months. Any measures that could have been taken to avoid a situation of forces being cut off, weren’t taken or even attempted. And now we got those factors as some kind of force majeure which Russians are unable to resist.

Sometimes, when incompetence goes too far, it turns into plain and simple treason. And the signs of that treason are all over this war. Both Ukrainians and Russian were betrayed by their respective governments. If, in Ukrainian case, it was done to serve foreign masters, then in Russian case the reasons for such betrayal are beyond me.

P.S. Logistics in Soviet Army.

In the USSR, the Army was planning for deep maneuver operations. Tank armies would have to be supplied across thousands of kilometers of enemy territory, including many rivers. This wasn’t something impossible. In fact, Russians could supply large formations via airlifts. Tanker helicopters would fly to the front line to fuel the tanks deep inside Europe. Armament and equipment could be airdropped. Soon, the Railroad troops would follow with railroad infrastructure.

Actually, Soviets were examining some plans ground offence into the United States and Canada through the arctic circle. In the winter, the ice could support heavy armor. This plan was abandoned, as far as I know, but my point is: it was seriously considered. Imagine the scale and the logistical nightmare of supplying multiple armies across the oceans and in another continent.

It was possible then to do all this, for much larger forces, much farther away. And yet, for some unknown reason, Russian Army confessed to be unable to supply its forces across one river, with both banks under its control. While they have superiority in air power. This is truly unfathomable. Again, incompetence has its limits — it borders treason.


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