Supply Chain in Ukraine

I’m wondering if any of our readership can answer a question that has been lingering in my mind for a while.

There are a lot of weapons pouring into Ukraine from a lot of places and I’m glad to see and hear about it and look forward to seeing these weapons used against Russia.

What I always wonder is that when I see something like this…

…are they also sending:
Sufficient Ammo
Spare parts of all shapes and sizes
Trained operators
Cranes, lifts, and other equipment needed to work on this monster (essentially, a “shop”)
Winterization components

and all of the rest of the stuff needed to support this type of equipment? I always hear that country “x” is sending “y” number of (insert equipment here) to Ukraine, but if all of the rest of the back end isn’t sent, it is going to be a “one and done” for these things.

Let me know in the comments if you perhaps have some insight.

34 thoughts on “Supply Chain in Ukraine”

  1. I believe Rand Paul was ridiculed and called a Russian asset for asking about what exactly what being sent where.
    Obviously there’s OPSEC considerations to the details being divulged, but I see no reason to have any faith that what’s being sent makes any sense, or is useable. The Ukrainians use Russian materiel mostly, no?
    The other day I heard some radio host I’m not familiar with (Brian Kilmeade, I think he said?) bemoaning that we could be, but aren’t, sending A-10s, which is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Besides the fact that who knows how long it would take to train Ukrainians to fly it, what would be the expected lifespan of a Warthog in Ukrainian airspace? Ten minutes, maybe?

  2. The external evidence is that they are using them effectively, so apparently enough. The Ukrainians are also motivated which can do wonders. Presumably, at least some sort of abbreviated training with some sort of phone-a-friend. Beyond that, we’ll know eventually. The learning curve for an F-15 or an A-10 is somewhat steeper.

    The A-10 was intended for this exact environment and battle field. It wouldn’t be as one sided as Iraq or Afghanistan but this was what they were designed for.

  3. I frankly have never seen a valid reason for our involvement in Ukraine. The Russian invasion was related to threats of NATO membership on their border. I am confident that, if Trump were still in office, there would be no Ukraine war. The “Military-Industrial Complex” used to sound like a left wing conspiracy theory. Like all my conspiracy theories, this one is coming true as well.

  4. “ The A-10 was intended for this exact environment and battle field. ”
    What? The A-10 requires airspace domination, which Ukraine does not have and never will.

  5. The real question is how many of the weapons that We the People are donating to the Kiev regime will stay in the Ukraine?

    There are lots of stories about weapons being sold — presumably to terrorists as well as to the Russians. And we know the drug cartels can shift heavy loads across the US southern border. How would a Stinger missile work against an Airbus taking off from JFK? Or how about one of those suicide drones against police responding to a bank robbery? We may come to regret the foolishness of our Betters with their proxy war against Russia.

  6. No one is answering the question. I don’t know the answer. But I’m going to ask someone who probably does. Stand by.

  7. Within the last week the Air Force has suggested supplying Ukraine with both the A-10 and the F-16. See here on the F-16:

    Major repair on hardware such as tracked weapons is done out of theater. Largely Poland I think, maybe Slovenia too. The major refit facilty that was in Ukraine was rocketed after it was highlighted on a news broadcast. I would have to believe that routine maintenance spares are available in theater. Maintenance training is done within the donor country. Different makes of equipment is a big headache. 155mm artillary systems from US, UK, Fr, Ger, and Poland are all different, but common ammo. Same issue with tanks and Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

  8. Interesting point. The variety of vehicles/weapons coming in from all over the place would certainly make for a huge logistical headache just for normal maintenance and upkeep much less repairs, Winterization, etc..

  9. I’m sure the Ukrainian logistics are less than ideal, beggars can’t be choosers. Consider the situation at any heavy truck repair shop here. They have to be able to repair any of several different makes of truck, each in several different models and built over more than 20 years. Each truck may have any of several makes of engine, again with many models over many years, several different transmissions, several different suspensions, etc. Yet they do, albeit not without significant infrastructure. The Ukrainians are motivated, having a gun pointed at your head will do that. They don’t have time to worry about how hard it is, they just have to make it work. No doubt things will get more complicated as time goes on. They have the advantage of a great deal of work over many years aimed at continuously improving the reliability, endurance and repairability of these systems.

  10. Real question, of course, is how long Germans or any other Europeans are going to support Ukraine when they have no power or heat.
    German Cities Turn Off Hot Water And Cut Lighting At Government Buildings
    German authorities are scrambling ahead for what could be a hellacious winter of natural gas shortages and skyrocketing prices by announcing new energy-saving measures in cities across the country, reported The Guardian.

  11. Weve soent more on ukraine than 5 years in afghanistan where we had tens of thousands of troops and support personnel deployed

  12. And the amount that’s been “spent” on actual physical things, including weapons, is trivial compared to the amount that’s just disappeared forever, whether into CIA slush funds or directly into Ukrainian government accounts.

  13. I’ll second MCS and raymondshaw. It’s a valid concern but the Ukrainians are not neophytes. They’ve operated and built both Russian-designed heavy tracked vehicles and I think some of their own designs since the breakup of the USSR. While conditions may not be ideal I’m sure they can get the job done logistically, and they can always drag something a few feet over the border into Hungary or Romania for heavy repairs. Ammo supply might be a problem though maybe less so for bog standard artillery rounds as opposed to more sophisticated tank rounds and missiles.

  14. Lex: “No one is answering the question.”

    That reflects the real problem for a supposed “non-belligerent” like the US — we are not getting real information about what is going on in the Ukraine.

    Instead, we in the West are getting a tidal wave of pro-Kiev propaganda — the Ghost of Kiev shooting down dozens of Russian planes (Did not happen); the noble defenders of Snake Island fighting to the last Ukrainian (Instead, they surrendered); and now Zelensky taking time out from fighting a war (mostly against fellow, albeit reluctant, Ukrainian citizens) for a Vogue photoshoot with his photogenic wife.

    From the logistics point of view, one factor which does seem clear is that Russia has not done what the US/NATO did when “Our Guys” bombed & invaded Serbia. We spent over two months literally bombing the Serbs back to the Stone Age — destroying power plants, bridges, water supply, transportation links. As to why Russia has not done that, we are in the dark. But the consequence is that the Kiev regime is able to transport donated weapons hundreds of miles across the Ukraine to the front.

    Some have argued that a part of the reason for the US/NATO failure in Afghanistan was allowing the Taliban to have safe refuge and resupply from neighboring Pakistan. The great risk with Our Betters’ proxy war is that Russia will decide it does not make sense to allow Kiev to use Poland as a safe haven for repair & training — then we will get that Wider War about which we should all be very concerned.

  15. PenGun: “They [Kiev junta] have managed to damage the bridge, but nothing that really finishes it.”

    Militarily, there is something very strange about Kiev trying to destroy that bridge at Kherson. The official pro-Kiev propaganda is that they are gearing up for a massive assault on the “Russian” (apparently, actually mostly Donbas) forces; they will cross the river and push the Donbas Ukrainians back to the sea. (I know, civil wars get complicated). But if Kiev is going to do a big push across the river, they would need that bridge. Think about Operation Market Garden in WWII and “A Bridge Too Far” — capturing an intact bridge would be a key objective of a real assault.

    The implication is that a lot of the Kiev fighting is kabuki theater, designed to keep the dumb Western payola flowing in. Just unfortunate for the ordinary Ukrainians who are dying in droves on both sides of the front lines — instead of being invited to Vogue photoshoots in far-away safe Kiev.

  16. Is anyone here actually following the news from Ukraine? I’ve found Trent Telenko’s twitter feed (@trenttelenko) very useful, and he links to many other useful accounts.

    I can’t find it now, but I thought someone above asked why they didn’t stick to their own Soviet-style artillery. From reading TT, I understand they used it effectively for most of the war, but ran out of the Soviet-style ammunition a month or so ago, even after some former Soviet-bloc countries sent them more. That is why (a) the Russians were doing serious damage on the Severodonetsk front a month or so ago, and (b) they really needed the western long-range artillery pieces. They’ve been doing much better the last few weeks, because the newly-arrived HIMARS and other long-range weapons have allowed them to blow up dozens of Russian ammunition dumps, some of them far between the lines. Now it’s the Russians who can’t supply their artillery with rounds.

    As for “trying to destroy that bridge at Kherson”, that doesn’t seem to be what they’re doing. They’ve put enough holes in it to damage the structural integrity, so that 2-ton cars and pedestrians can still cross safely – but not too many at one time! – but 42-ton tanks would collapse a span. That gives the Russians on the north side of the river a strong incentive to run for their lives while leaving all their tanks and trucks and artillery behind. As Sun Tzu said, “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat” – here it’s a literal bridge, already built. The same thing applies to the railroad bridge east of the auto bridge: if they blow up a train on the approaches on either side, no more trains can cross, and no vehicles, either, not even cars, but soldiers can still flee on foot. Such a rout would save a lot of lives all around.

    Either TT or someone who links showed a clip of a masked Russian in Kherson saying that they all would have fled by now, but there are Kadyrovites (look it up) on the south side ready to shoot anyone who flees. There are also reports that the Russians in Kherson are looting the richer neighborhoods, and that some are switching to civilian clothes to get out of the city.

    As for “doing a big push across the river”, that may be part of the “bodyguard of lies”. Some think the Ukrainians are planning to recapture everything north of the river, which will make an excellent defensive line for them as well as the Russian, then make their big offensive near Zaporizhia. We’re likely to find out in the next few weeks.

  17. P.S. Dan in Madison may particularly enjoy Trent Telenko’s twitter feed, because of their shared interest in supply chains and logistics. What TT has added to the Ukraine discussion – besides good judgment in linking – is the logistics angle. He has shown, with pictures, that the Ukrainians, like all western armies, are using modern logistic methods: palletization, forklifts (including cool tracked forklifts that work off-road), trucks and artillery with cranes attached, and those tracks with tiny wheels that airports use to move luggage, for instance. Meanwhile, the Russians are loading and unloading railroad cars and trucks by hand, taking 10 (?) times as long. I think the only piece of loading/unloading Russian equipment he ever showed was an extra-large 2-wheel dolly on which a Russian was pushing a 400-pound artillery round through a warehouse. Russian ammo dumps are just disorganized piles of naked shells or shells in wooden boxes. Anyway, he gives the supply-chain angle on the war.

  18. “Some think the Ukrainians are planning to recapture everything north of the river”
    Who is this “some”? No one actually thinks that, do they? Rhetorical question, I know, some people have let their hatred of Putin/Russia delude them about Ukrainian capabilities from the very beginning.
    TT is nice and all, but he’s shown extremely hit and miss analytical judgment from the very beginning. Right on some things, wrong on others, some good insight but some strong biases causing overall flawed assessments, I think.

  19. “No one”? I think that, and I don’t think I’m deluded. We’ll all know in a few weeks or months. Don’t worry: I’m not the kind of asshole who will bookmark your comment so I can rub it in later. I’ll be too busy celebrating the defeat of an army that films themselves torturing, castrating, and murdering prisoners, and gets lots of approving comments on their snuff films from civilians back home.

  20. Oh, please feel free to bookmark and check back in in October. I’m no Russophile, so it will be no disappointment to me if you’re right, but Ukraine has showed essentially zero offensive capabilities and we’ve been told to expect Russian collapse at any moment literally since early March.

  21. Odd that a country with “essentially zero offensive capabilities” somehow recaptured roughly a third of the area that Russia grabbed in the first few days: all the vast area from the Kyiv suburbs to the Kharkiv suburbs. If Russia makes another ‘goodwill gesture’ by retreating from Kherson and all the other areas north of the Dnipro, I’m going to call that a Ukrainian victory, an especially impressive one if they leave all their armor and artillery behind. Won’t you? Or does it only count if it’s a bloody inch-by-inch battle with huge casualties on both sides, like the Russian capture of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk?

  22. LOL. Good grief, man, this all happened a few months ago, do you think no one remembers what happened? Russia tried a lightning decapitation strike, it was a miserable failure, foiled at the airport in the first few days, all the support convoys and additional attack columns that they pushed forward to support that stupid plan then retreated ignominiously after they finally realized how hopeless it was to try to take over that portion of the country. What does that have to do with whether Ukraine can turn around the pounding they’ve taken for months now in the south and east?

  23. Is it possible that seizing Kherson and a bunch of other territory north of the Dnipro, with only two highway bridges and two railway bridges to supply them, was also a “stupid plan” and will turn out to be “miserable failure” and we will learn sooner or later that the Russians have “retreated ignominiously” while saying “I meant to do that” to save face? Have you really not noticed that the “pounding” the Ukrainians have taken is now a pounding that the Russians are taking, that the ratio of artillery fire has reversed as the Ukrainians have gotten new artillery and the Russians have had most of their ammunition dumps in Ukraine blown up, as many as a dozen in one night? If they have to put all their ammo dumps three times as far from the front lines, then the same number of trucks will obviously only be able to supply a third as much ammunition to the front lines. If their front-line troops run out of ammunition, they will retreat or surrender or die – their choice.

  24. OK, dude, whatever. Tell you want, I AM the kind of asshole who will bookmark your comment so I can rub it in later, so we can redo this in 8 weeks. If you want to huff the farts of the online propagandists in the meantime, go ahead and have fun doing that.

  25. Your last comment (not least the “dude”) makes it clear that you’re not just a contemptible and self-admitted asshole but a moron and a complete swine, so fuck you, Brian (≠Brain).

  26. Dr. Weevil, you just destroyed your credibility with your personal attack in your last comment. So sad.

    Personal view is that we in the West should not be belligerents in the Ukrainian civil war, which has been running for over 8 years now. Kiev is extremely corrupt — hence the link to the Biden Crime Family — and we still have not heard any reasonable explanation as to why US taxpayers were paying for several dozen biolabs in the Ukraine. We have enough problems at home — problems which our Political Class is failing to deal with. There is no need for us to print billions more Bidenbucks to support that corrupt regime in Kiev.

    This whole war could have been avoided to easily if US/NATO had not been pushing the Kiev junta to continue its violence against people they claimed as Ukrainian citizens. Instead, we are seeing the US’s “Suez” moment — the end of the empire.

  27. GL:
    Read the comment I was replying to. If you think accusing someone of “huff[ing] the farts of online propagandists” is not a “personal attack”, you need to recalibrate your personal attack detector.

  28. PenGun:
    What is interesting is that “the Mi6 HIMARS strike” was very likely no such thing. As the commenters on this Twitter thread ( put it:

    1. “The russians are displaying fragments of HIMARS shells to try convince you the Ukrainians are blame for the deaths of 50 Ukrainian POW’s
    But they are showing the exact same HIMARS fragments they’ve already used in other videos.”

    2. “HIMARS fragments have been raining on Russians for the past month 🤣 It doesn’t take much effort for Russia to pick up some of those fragments and place it somewhere that was bombed by Russia and then blame Ukraine. Stop believing in Russia’s lies.”

    3. “It’s impossible that was caused by a HIMARS Munition. There’s not enough damage. Shrapnel wounds seem nonexistent. The doors weren’t blown off. Small holes in the ceiling. It looks like a type of incendiary munition was used inside the building.”

    Obviously, I don’t know who destroyed the prison. But which is more likely, that a Ukrainian leader decided to murder dozens of Ukrainian prisoners, or that the Russians decided to kill three birds with one stone: (a) make it look like the Ukrainians were murdering their fellow Ukrainians, (b) kill a bunch of prisoners before they could tell the UN they were being tortured, (c) get yesterday’s story about Russian soldiers torturing, castrating, and murdering a Ukrainian POW on camera, and bunches of Russian civilians praising them for it, off the front page?

    Many are reporting that no Russian guards were killed. Assuming this is so (I don’t know), which is more likely: that the Ukrainians warned the Russian guards to step aside while they bombed their fellow Ukrainians, or that the Russians running the prison did so? Who is more interested in sparing Russian lives in this war?

    *PenGens original comment deleted, like all the rest of his/her comments on my posts – Dan.

  29. I’ll be too busy celebrating the defeat of an army that films themselves torturing, castrating, and murdering prisoners, and gets lots of approving comments on their snuff films from civilians back home.

    Are you talking about the Ukrainian army? Because I’ve seen stories about those folks torturing Russian POWs in that manner, nothing about Russians doing the same to Ukrainians.

    But who knows what’s actually happening and the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian sites offer diametrically opposed evaluation of events that cannot both be true.

    My take- a victory for the present Ukrainian regime is a victory for Davos, which means that people who want to starve me until I am forced to eat bugs to survive get an important win. A victory for Russia means that a regime that hates the United States and wishes us ill gets an important win, giving that regime effectively permanent access to resources of significant importance.

    There are no good outcomes for me in this war.

  30. Xennady:
    The castration video hit the news yesterday. I’ve seen the tweet, though I have not, and will not, click ‘play’. I’m pretty sure you can find it on, or linked from, Trent Telenko’s twitter. Nor can I read Russian, but I understand that it got lots of approving comments from Russian civilians, who seem to love watching snuff porn as long as the victim is Ukrainian. As with Bucha and Mariupol, there is far more evidence of Russian atrocities than of Ukrainian.

    As for Ukraine not being a perfect victim, who ever is? Poland in 1939 was a military dictatorship run by a Col. Beck, but they were still absolutely the ‘good guys’ in the war against Hitler and then Stalin.

  31. Xennady: “But who knows what’s actually happening …”

    That is the heart of the problem for us in the West. Western media is pumping out pro-Zelensky propaganda and has sacrificed any claims to credibility. There is no serious attempt to get to the facts of what is happening … or why?

    As best anyone can tell, Kiev forces are getting slowly pushed back by the “Russians” — who turn out to be largely independence fighters from the Donbas and Private Military Contractors (i.e. mercenaries) backed up by Russian artillery and air power. Why is the “Russian” advance so slow?

    One theory is that the “Russians” are incompetent and the Kiev forces are so brave & resourceful and prepared to fight to the death, never giving an inch. Maybe there is some truth in that, maybe not.

    Another theory is that Russia’s interest is in “demilitarizing” Kiev, not so much in taking territory. No need for the “Russians” to advance much as long as Kiev keeps on throwing in fresh troops & equipment to be destroyed.

    Yet another theory for the slow advance is that Russia thinks time is on its side, and is deliberately slow-walking. As Europeans start to suffer economically, their support for US/NATO will evaporate and the Europeans will eventually force Zelensky (or his replacement) to negotiate a reasonable partition of the Ukraine.

    Where is the Western media that is trying to cover all sides of this conflict and help us understand the motivations of all the parties — including belligerents US and NATO?

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