As we said in previous SITREP, we didn’t think Russia would announce a full mobilization of its population in the Ukraine war, lacking the ability to readily equip, feed or even transport a million troops to the front.  Russian President Putin gave a speech yesterday where he announced that, “I have already issued instructions for the Government and the Defence Ministry to determine the legal status of volunteers and personnel of the military units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. It must be the same as the status of military professionals of the Russian army, including material, medical and social benefits. Special attention must be given to organising the supply of military and other equipment for volunteer units and Donbass people’s militia.”

This mobilization will be approximately 300,000 reservists of Russian army. Western media jumped all over the story with some predicting it will widen and prolong the war as 300,000 fresh troops are sent to Ukraine.  We think they missed something important that Putin also said in his address to the nation,

“..we are talking about partial mobilisation. In other words, only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.”

What stands out here is they are only wanting those with specific “military occupational specialties.”  Russia is not calling up everyone to go fight in Ukraine.  You have to remember that in just about every army in the world, combat soldiers only make up about 10% of the strength of an army. They are the tip of the spear, the shaft is made up of various support troops who back the combat elements in the fight.

So what “occupational specialties” is he talking about? In previous SITREPs we’ve talked about the large number of broken vehicles that Ukraine seems to be finding all over the place, in repair “depots” that look like anything but an organized effort to fix them and get them back into the fight.  When Russia invaded Ukraine, they did so with units that were only about 60% of their full strength.  Their armored fighting vehicles went into battle with the core crew of a commander, driver, and gunner but they did not have the 7-8 infantry soldiers inside that are what make mechanized infantry, well….mechanized.  They lost hundreds of these vehicles to small units of Ukrainian soldiers hitting them with ATGMs and other anti-vehicle weapons. Lacking infantry that could dismount the fighting vehicle to engage these small teams, their only choice was to run while firing blindly.  Assuming they were not killed by a Javelin on the first shot.  Which is a lot to hope for actually.

As loses mounted we think the Russians took to creating new crews out of their maintenance and support personnel and putting them into fresh vehicles(fresh as in not shot full of holes yet).  They then lost these guys as well in the following months of the war.

So beyond the infantry losses among conscripts and militias, Russia also lost thousands of mechanics, gunners, armorers, and other technicians who make an army function in the fight.  We think this is why we are seeing so many fields of broken and unrepaired vehicles being captured by Ukraine.

The other area where the Russian army is severely lacking is in logistics and supply capabilities.  In the seven months of war that have passed, Russia’s supply problems have not gotten better, they seem to have gotten worse. Russia does things the old-fashioned way.