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sillysaurusx · 2022-03-06 · Original thread
It was a tense week, but Russia has lost the war. They can drag it out, but ultimately victory will go to Ukraine.

The reasons for this are subtle but obvious. The Russian military machine can't operate outside of Russia. They have no way of transporting fuel, ammunition, food, and other supplies to the front lies.

This means that their effective operational capabilities are limited to five days.

It's been a hobby of mine to analyze decisive battles from history -- or rather to parrot 100 Decisive Battles

But after analyzing 100 of something (or in my case probably closer to 23), you start to notice some patterns.

The reason Midway was the end of the war for Japan was that it eliminated their ability to carry supplies and troops beyond their borders. At the time, aircraft carriers were the only way to do this. No aircraft carriers meant no protection from aircraft, which meant no way to move troops on boats.

At the heart of it, Japan losing WW2 was as simple as that.

Russia is in an equivalent situation. There's no way for them to carry fuel beyond their borders. Ukraine exploited this weakness brilliantly. Any time Russia tried to send fuel, kaboom.

Russia losing this war is as simple as that. They lost the war the day they lost the airport. No airport means no way to transport large quantities of fuel without relying on trucks. And Russia doesn't have a lot of trucks -- not on the scale of a 150,000 troop invasion.

The question is, what now? All eyes are on Putin, of course. But his goal was to topple Ukraine's government. And governments can't topple unless you invade them. No amount of shelling from afar -- indeed, even a nuke, though there is a limit -- will topple Ukraine.

That means Putin's options are extremely limited. It either makes him more dangerous or less dangerous, depending on how you look at it. Everyone now knows (including Putin) that he can't project power beyond his borders.

The only hope that Russia has of winning this war is to stop, retrain, and focus on logistics from the ground up. That would require purging every general who thought it was a good idea to move troops in with no supply line. Russia historically has been a fan of purges, so this isn't impossible. But it will take time.

Time is not on Putin's side.

sillysaurusx · 2021-01-30 · Original thread
If you like military history (and this style of writing) I highly recommend 100 Decisive Battles From Ancient Times To Present. It gives an overview of 100 engagements that changed the world: the strengths of each army, the expected outcome, and usually some "twist" that turned the tables.


It looks like there's a PDF here, but you'll be waiting 2min:

Here's the list of battles:



Here's the list in text form, sorted by year, for blind users:

sillysaurusx · 2019-10-10 · Original thread
If you enjoyed this, I highly recommend 100 Decisive Battles:

Similar to this article, each battle is presented with clinical detachment and a surprising depth of detail. It always walks you through the historical context and, crucially, the stakes: every battle covered by the book is decisive, since it affected geopolitical history.

sillysaurus3 · 2018-02-06 · Original thread
Yes! 100 Decisive Battles:

If you liked this sort of thing, you'll love that book. It usually stuffs you full of numbers, like this article. But mostly it just tells the stories really well. It has several detailed accounts of Napoleon's battles, including the reversal at Moscow and the final stand at Waterloo. It goes up through the Iraq war.

With the Old Breed:

I can't help but mention this one, even though it's not at all what you were asking for. It's just worth reading. It's unrelated to logistics, but it walks you through the terrifying perspective of a single foot soldier.

sillysaurus3 · 2018-01-03 · Original thread
If you're interested in the subject, is pretty fantastic.

"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and thoroughly immoral -- doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forgot this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms."

- Robert Heinlein

This quote has always stuck with me, and I posted it here a couple years ago. The reaction was almost universally negative. But after wising up a bit, I think offensive ideas need to be faced squarely if we're to evolve as a society.

I don't like it either. But I'd like it even less if it were a truth we conceal, rather than a falsehood we suppress.

It's hard to tell. But one thing is certain: If you read 100 Decisive Battles, you'll see the supremacy of intelligence in warfare. It matters more than any other factor. And the NSA would be our key way to get it.

sillysaurus3 · 2017-11-20 · Original thread
That's the thing: good ideas seem unlikely, otherwise everyone would be doing them. IBM certainly didn't expect the DOS deal to be world-changing.

Someone should write a book, "100 Decisive Tech Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present," a tongue in cheek reference to

The book is excellent, and analyzes battles with a clinical detachment not really found in most history texts.

But each battle is decisive: it shaped the world. There are many skirmishes that would be interesting to analyze but out of scope for the book. That's what makes it a fascinating collection.

If we had to think of 100 technology "battles" that reshaped the world, I wonder what they would be? There is so much freedom in the criteria that it's hard to know where to constrain it: Electricity, plumbing, grocery stores, etc have all shaped the world. Many had a "decisive" effect in that it was technology vs technology, and one tech came out the winner.

I think computing alone could fill a book of 100 tech battles, and it would be interesting to try. Which stories were decisive? It would take months to decide, but it would be enjoyable work.

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