Ukraine: “not the end…But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”
Today may go down in history as the 'beginning of the end' of the war in Ukraine and the start of what appears to be a probing counteroffensive. As a military veteran with time overseas and friends in Europe, I could not resist marking this date.
Just hours ago, Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defence, spoke regarding counteroffensive actions being taken by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Eastern Ukraine. Maliar emphasizes that the counteroffensive should not be reduced to specific large-scale advances but should be understood as a strategic goal to free Ukrainian territories and halt enemy advances.
The counteroffensive involves various measures, including personnel preparation, reserve creation, and the development of multiple action plans to prevent enemy adaptation.
Maliar cites active assault actions in Bakhmut, Mariinka, Avdiivka, and the Lyman fronts as elements of the counteroffensive, but also states that the plans are not being discussed publicly or even internally, as they depend on the capabilities of the Ukrainian army and information on the enemy forces.
Comparing this moment to American battles where an underdog force overcame overwhelming odds, it is reminiscent of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 or the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War. In both cases, underdog forces led by General Andrew Jackson and General George Washington, respectively, triumphed over larger, better-equipped enemy forces.
Like America before, Ukraine's strategy seems to focus on smaller-scale, adaptive tactics designed to keep the enemy off balance.
The Battle of Trenton, Washington executed a surprise attack on the Hessian forces, taking advantage of their lowered guard during the holiday season.
The Battle of New Orleans, Jackson's forces utilized the local terrain and unorthodox tactics to inflict heavy casualties on the British forces.
Ukraine's approach aligns with the lessons from these American battles, which prioritized adaptability, ingenuity, and the element of surprise. This strategy reflects modern warfare principles, which emphasize agility, information superiority, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances on the battlefield. All of which, Putin's forces have lost and lack. Fate has been kind to me. As a young soldier serving overseas, I watched in wide-eyed wonder as the East Germans finally tored down what was thought to be an impenetrable wall. Never take for granted that which is given or told. Long live those that give their time and tragically their lives to defend an idea called liberty and self determination.