Thursday, December 20, 2018
Vladimir De Gaulle, Charles De Putin? The "glory" of France -- oops; I mean of Russia?
Recently I pulled apart the reality of the so-called Russian horde at the height of the cold war, supposedly ready to overwhelm Western Europe like Attila the Hun.
Performance of Russian armored equipment versus NATO equipment in the Gulf War -- need I dissect? Russian troops in mid-eighties probably no better than Arab troops -- 180 armored divisions to train in a country that cannot produce a respectable passenger automobile. Syria's Russian bought fighter jets went 0 to 90 against Israel's NATO planes in 1982.
Russia has first quality fighter aircraft these days, but I'm talking back when Europe was supposedly overrun-able by the hordes. Back then, Russia's most numerous front line fighter, the Mig-23/27 series, had the same high wing loading and low thrust to weight ratio as the original "iron butterfly", our F-105, which was never intended to take on other fighters, only deliver tactical nukes on hordes.
Rule of thumb is it takes 3 to 1 to successfully invade. In the mid-eighties, Russia and Warsaw Pact armies had 135 armored divisions facing NATO's 30 in Central Europe (4.5 to 1). Following the Reagan rebuild (M-1 tanks, F-16s, etc.) and going by comparative performance in the Gulf War it looks like any mid-80s Warsaw Pact invasion attempt would have been cleaned out. (It would have been hard to sneak 45 divisions across 11 time zones from China; ditto for 30 up back roads from Turkey.)
With all this unconsciously rattling around in my head for the last couple of weeks that old first impression of overwhelming hordes may have faded out of my head. Without such first impression, Putin's monkeying around in the Ukraine and fiddling with the Sea of Azov and sending two supersonic Blackjack strategic bombers to Venezuela to taunt us begin to look like France trying to hold on to Algeria -- if not trying as seriously. (Russia produced 36 of these 1987 bombers -- at our strategic air command's 1960s height it counted 750 B-52s, 1400 B-47s and 100 supersonic B-58s.)
Maybe it's time for Russia to consider that it never was a first class power and sit back and get over it -- time to settle back to watch our hegemony displaced by China and India who will in turn be displaced by a world with one language and one currency, etc. Just saying.